FG To Include Syphilis Test In Ante-Natal Care

Minister of Health, Dr. Ehanire (m), Director Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health,Dr. Salma Anas (l), Director, planning, Research and statistics, NPHCDA, Dr. Abdullahi Garba (r)

The Federal Government has disclosed that it procured 2.5million dual test kits for early detection of Syphilis and HIV among pregnant women.

Director of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Salma Ibrahim Anas hinted this at the ministerial press briefing organised to update public on Covid-19 pandemic response and Health Sector Developments which held on Monday, October 18, 2021 in Abuja.

TheFact gathered that the government should make antenatal services free to encourage more women to attend, as many pregnant women in the country stayed away from antenatal clinics due to lack of money.

Dr. Salma noted that early detection of Syphilis and HIV in a mother will enable health practioners prevent it from being transmitted to her baby.

She added that the disease can cause miscarriage, still birthday, abnormal growth and brain damage in babies.

Dr. Salma said the ministry has planned to disburse the test kits to states and urged pregnant women in the country to attend antenatal clinics, she said:

“The Federal Ministry of Health, through the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme (NASCP), plan to Deploy to federal and state health care Institutions about 2.5 million dual test kits for testing both HIV and Syphilis in pregnant women.

“I urge pregnant women to always attend antenatal clinics at nearest health facilities and to ensure that they subject themselves to HIV test in order to protect lives of their babies from HIV infection”, she added.

Dr. Salma also disclosed that the ministry was collaborating with ministry of water resources, ministry of information and the ministry of environment to eradicate the surging cholera epidemic in some states.

She said:
“As at 3rd October 2021, a total of 88,704 suspected cases including 3,208 deaths (CFR 3.6%) have been reported from 31 states and FCT in 2021.

“Children between 5 – 14 years are the most affected. Three states – Bauchi (19,451 cases), Kano (12,116 cases) and Jigawa (10,763 cases) account for 48% of all cumulative cases, while Eleven LGAs across five states Bauchi (4), Zamfara (3), Jigawa (2), Kano (1), and Katsina (1) have reported more than 1,000 cases each this year.

“The Ministry continue to provide technical support to states on case management and IPC, training of Health Care Workers (HCW) on management of cholera, distribution of essential response commodities including hygiene kits to affected states, distribution of preventive key message materials, monitoring epidemiological trend to guide ICG request for planned vaccination campaigns especially in hot spot communities namely Jigawa State (LGAs: Dutse, Birnin-Kudu, Hadejia), Zamfara State (LGAs: Shinkafi, Zurmi), Yobe State (LGA: Damaturu), and follow up with states for updates and support”, Dr. Salma explained.

Director, planning, Research and statistics, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Abdullahi Garba said his agency has set up a Joint Task Force comprising of NPHCDA, DSS, ICPC to tackle vaccine racketeering as the agency plans to expand vaccination sites to include private health institutions.

Dr. Garba further disclosed vaccination updates, he said:

” As at 17th October, 2021, a total of 5,337,635 eligible populations have received the first dose representing 4.8 percent of Nigeria’s target population while 2,665,173 have been vaccinated with the second dose signifying 2.4 percent of the target vaccination of 70 percent of the population by 2022.

“As at today, the Nigeria government has received over 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and based on delivery forecasts from the COVAX facility and the African Union, Nigeria will have adequate vaccines to cover more than 50% of eligible populations by the end of the first quarter of 2022”, he said.

He added that the Covid-19 vaccines and card were free of charge irrespective of the location of the vaccination sites both at public and private health facilities.

Director Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, NCDC, Dr. John Oladejo disclosed that there was an increase of covid-19 cases in Kano, Kaduna, Federal Capital Territory(FCT) and Gombe.
There was a decline in number of covid-19 cases in Oyo, Kwara, Ogun, Lagos, Ondo and Delta states.
While the other 17states recorded intermediate number of cases.

Dr. Oladejo said:
“Over the last four weeks, about 3,141,795 million persons have been tested for COVID-19 using either PCR or RDT. The trend of infection shows decline in some states while other States are still experiencing increase in confirmed cases.

“As at Sunday, 17th October, 2021 the reports from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control revealed that about 209,299 Nigerians have tested positive to the virus, 197,143 people have been treated and discharged, while 2,756 have lost their lives”, he said.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire who presided over the meeting emphasised the need for everyone to take responsibility in preventing the spread of the covid-19 pandemic. He said:

” I wish to again, emphasise that covid-19 is very much with us and as we enter the yuletide period, I request everyone to take responsibility and continue to observe public health preventive measures: avoid crowded places, wear face masks, maintain physical distance, practice hand washing or use hand sanitiser, cough or sneeze into bent elbow or tissue paper, go for COVID-19 test to know your status, take the vaccine: it is safe and will protect you and your love ones, go to the nearest health facility for proper diagnosis if you feel unwell.

“I will like to conclude this press briefing by re-iterating that on our part, the Ministry will continue to strengthen its surveillance, testing and control systems especially at the points of entry to check importation of more virulent strains into the country”, said Ehanire.

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