FG to revamp Primary Health Centres with $500m loan

Medical experts have blamed the recent resurgence and outbreaks of diseases like haemorrhagic diseases such as Ebola, Lassa fever, measles, heat stroke febrile rash illnesses in children, hand, foot and mouth disease; chickenpox; measles, rubella and zika virus in Nigeria, West Africa and several parts of the world on the current heat wave due to the climate change phenomenon presently affecting the world.
The head of Public Health Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Evelyn Ngige who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Nigerian Pilot, said that the hot weather condition Nigerians are experiencing now had been attributed to the global climate change phenomenon which is caused by the burning of fossil fuel in the atmosphere.
“Even though it is not yet proven, some people have attributed resurgence of some diseases to climate change phenomenon. We all know that Ebola was in existence before but the last wave was really catastrophic and it is attributed to some limitation which may have being influenced by climate change.”
The public health expert further said that during the first season of the year, particularly in Nigeria, there was usually the upsurge of meningitis in the meningitis belt, respiratory diseases which are due to pathogens strife due to effect of the heat in the atmosphere.
“Some of those diseases were restricted to some parts but now they seem to flare up everywhere, which is attributed to climate change, and even the Zika virus was there but it is re-emerging,” she said.
Ngige, however, disclosed that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, is conducting research on contemporary diseases like Lassa fever and Ebola in order to develop therapeutic treatment following World Health Organisation, WHO, mandate to countries to establish climate change desks in their ministries of health, in order to develop a plan on the global health policy for climate change.
She further disclosed that the ministry is partnering with the Ministry of Environment through the climate change desk in the Department of Public Health to address health related issues in the country.
Ngige said that although climate change phenomenon had come to stay, but assured Nigerians that the effect could be ameliorated if people observed simple hygiene like regular hand washing to prevent prevalent diseases, keep personal hygiene and staying away from overcrowded places to avoid the spread of meningitis.
Dr. Ogugua Osi-Ogbu, a geriatrics expert at the Department of Internal Medicine, National Hospital, Abuja, also agreed that climate change and the heat wave were the cause of some major public health diseases like Lassa fever, rashes and particularly dehydration of fluids from the human body.
Osi-Ogbu said that the heat wave makes the atmosphere so hot that people lose a lot of water from the skin and through urine.
She said, “During the heat the body sweats more and we lose more water from the body; and whenever you do not have enough sleep the kidney will reduce the amount of urine that we produce.
The doctor therefore advised Nigerians to take at least two to three litres of water every day to help maintain adequate fluid balance in the body.
“Water in the body constitutes 60 percent, and it is very essential for the body; when it is too cool, there would be a lot of water in the body, the kidney will try to conserve the water.”
Osi- Ogbu further advised people to keep maintaining good personal hygiene, and always be clean starting from the mouth by brushing the mouth twice a day, first in the morning and at night.
“Taking regular showers and the use of deodorant, especially in this tropical part of the world where it is so hot, is very important. We need to use sound deodorant to ensure that when we sweat we don’t emanate any mal-odorant smell to make oneself unacceptable to other people.
“For those who can’t afford deodorants, they can do a simple thing like putting powder on their armpit or put lemon in water and use it to wash the armpit. People should change their clothes daily instead of repeating their clothes, and also form the habit of regular hand washing which is very essential at this period,” she emphasised.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, has said that the unfavourable weather condition which is expected to continue beyond year 2100 is largely due to increasing global greenhouse effect, leading to an increase in the average air temperature globally by one degree centigrade, thus making it hotter than it was at the start of the 20th century.
Since the beginning of the year, Nigerians have been experiencing hot weather with attendant severe health conditions like meningitis, measles in children and heat stroke in the elderly, especially in states like Lagos, Benue, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto and Kano.
NIMET has warned that the weather would cause outbreak of diseases that affect children and the elderly due to body temperature increase.
The body tries to maintain its normal temperature by transferring heat sweating and blood flow to the skin, which helps to keep the body cool.