Introducing Cervical Cancer Screening in Nigeria through a Social Franchise Project

Cervical Cancer is the most common female cancer in developing countries, with approximately 500,000 new cases and 250,000 deaths each year. In Nigeria, it is thesecond most frequent cancer in women, after breast cancer. Around the world, a woman dies of cervical cancer every two minutes. Women in developing countries suffer disproportionately from the burden of cervical cancer and account for over 80% of cases. Ada Ezeokoli and Chioma Thomas of the Nigeria Health Watch team recently visited a cervical cancer screening project run by the Society for Family Health in Nyanya, Abuja, to learn about the work they are doing to improve the awareness and treatment of this silent killer amongst women.

Cynthia sits quietly with a group of other women at Saffron Hospital in Nyanya, an outlying annex to the city of Abuja. The women are waiting for a nurse to check their vitals and do some paperwork before being ushered into an adjoining room where a doctor and two other hospital personnel are waiting to conduct a simple screening test that will tell if a woman has changes in her cervix that may dispose her to cervical cancer (Cervical pre-cancer). Some of the women, clutching small children, look around nervously. Cynthia however is calm. She is not here to be tested. She has already been diagnosed with cervical pre-cancer and is undergoing cryotherapy treatment, which involves using a cold probe to freeze away the abnormal cells. Until recently, a service like this would not have been available to Cynthia in Nigeria.

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Gestational Diabetes: What you need to know

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Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health. Between 2 and 10 percent of expectant mothers develop this condition, making it one of the most common health problems of pregnancy.

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Africa Vaccination Week: NPHCDA targets IDP Camps

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Like our counterparts in the Americas, Nigeria will be joined the rest of Africa to mark Africa Vaccination Week which began on the 24th April to end 30th of April. In an article written by Ndidi Chukwu for Health Reporters, The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA) has said it will leverage on the gains of Africa Vaccination Week (AVW) and reach out to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Nigeria with the goal to boost ‘population immunity’ among vulnerable groups, mainly targeted at the internally displaced persons. “The strategy for boosting the population immunity in IDPs is through outreach services using health camps where integrated health services will be provided” NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr Ado Mohammad told a press conference in Abuja.

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Dr. Luther-King Fasheun: Improving Maternal Health in Nigeria through Partnership

Embedded image permalinkIt is no longer news that Nigeria is a peculiar country, a nation with huge human and natural resources, and whose diversity of peoples and internal geographies is a blessing. Sadly, it is also not news that the country represents at least 10% of the global maternal mortality burden, with a currently estimated maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 487 per 100,000 livebirths (as at 2011). However, the well thought-out targets of the Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) Working Group present the country with an unprecedented opportunity to change the tide, improve livelihoods for its women and families, and aim to eliminate preventable maternal mortality within a generation, harnessing the right tools and interventions, at the right scale and quality, as well as building on the success factors in the chase for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the harnessing of a burgeoning private sector and surging political will for improved health outcomes for women, families, and communities.

Based on the EPMM Working Group targets, the proposed MMR target for Nigeria is ‘less than 100 per 100,000 livebirths by 2035, with country-specific milestones, with the expectation that Nigeria will cross one milestone within every 5 year interval.’ For Nigeria, I humbly recommend that the country-specific 5 year interval milestones be context-driven on a State by State basis, given that Nigeria has 36 States, with one Federal Capital Territory (FCT, Abuja). While the federal government provides strategic guidance and robust supportive frameworks for implementation of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) interventions for the entire country, the infrastructural and health systems challenges of Nigeria, as well as the resources available to mitigate these challenges, are mainly State-driven. More so, because of the vast population and heterogeneity of Nigeria, as well as the strategic importance of the country to the attainment of global goals, I wish to strongly recommend that the EPMM Working Group sets State-by-State targets, working in partnership with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, and governments of all the 36+1 States.

A State-by-State framework must not shy away from the interconnectedness of States, and the virtual nature of geographic borders, especially because of the very mobile nature of Nigerian women and families, as well as unavoidably shared natural resources, for example. To this end, there should be significant cooperation and sharing of insightful knowledge, under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health, and with the assistance of NGOs, CSOs, bilaterals and multilaterals. In this manner, Nigeria presents a window of opportunity to show the world a model that works to eliminate inequities to the last mile, helping to reach global set goals and targets for maternal mortality ratio (MMR) reduction.

The adoption, last year, of the Maternal Death Review (MDR) surveillance mechanism, at the National Council on Health (NCH) meeting, marked a watershed in the history of Nigeria, as it demonstrated a readiness for evidence-based policy frameworks that will mitigate Nigeria’s huge maternal mortality burden. This policy adoption is being followed through with full vigour. Even more recently, the Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage promises a new guiding light for the elimination of inequities and barriers to access to healthcare, especially at the primary healthcare level, where the key to unleashing tremendously scaled-up interventions, to save the lives of mothers and children, exists.

Source: Maternal Health Task Force Blog