Category Archives: Health

‘Hydroxychloroquine’ Doctor Stella Immanuel speaks again

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Dr. Stella Immanuel, the woman who took the world by storm last month when she claimed that Hydroxychloroquine is the potential cure for Coronavirus, is in the news again. This time, he said God has called her to give life to a terrified world.

Immanuel had claimed that antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and antibacterial drug, Zithromax, were effective cures for the coronavirus.

She dismissed experts’ warning that hydroxychloroquine could cause serious heart problems for coronavirus patients, citing her experience with the use of the drug.

She said she had successfully treated no fewer than 350 patients with hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax. Hydroxychloroquine, long touted by President Donald Trump as the cure for the virus, according to her.

But her testimony has been dismissed as politically motivated.

Immanuel had been silent since then, but on Friday, she was heard again as she tweeted in defense of her assertion, but this time, she went spiritual.

According to her, God had called her to usher His life-giving presence and bring hope to a terrified world.

She said the enemy would soon be defeated and the world would be liberated from the shackles of Coronavirus.

“God has called me in this season to usher in His life giving presence and bring hope to a terrified world. God has had mercy on us.

“He will turn things around soon and the enemy will be defeated. Soon! May our hearts be filled with hope in Jesus name,” she tweeted.

Enugu govt flags off decontamination of schools ahead of resumption

The Enugu State Government, on Friday, flagged off comprehensive decontamination and fumigation of secondary schools in the state, ahead of resumption of academic activities.

The exercise is being carried out by the State Fire Service, led by its Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Okwudiri Ohaa.

It would be recalled that Enugu State Government, on March 24, 2020, closed all educational institutions in the state, as part of proactive measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The state government directed all public officers/civil servants to work from home till further notice, except those on essential services, and has been paying them salaries, including the teachers, as and when due, since then.

Briefing newsmen shortly after the flag off, which took place at Queen’s School Enugu, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze, who monitored the exercise alongside the Chairman of Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) Barr. Nestor Ezeme, said that it was Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s directives that “all our schools, classrooms, dormitories and school premises should be decontaminated and fumigated in preparation for resumption”.

Prof. Eze disclosed that “this is to ensure that when the students and teachers are back to schools, they will be safe to learn in conducive environment”.

The commissioner added that the exercise will take place in all the schools and will be completed on or before the evening of Monday, August 3, 2020.

He pointed out that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has utilized the four months of break in academic activities “in renovation and expansion of our school facilities to ensure that we have enough space for our children to maintain social distancing when they return to schools.

“In fact, a few days ago, His Excellency himself moved round schools to inspect our state of readiness and this decontamination and fumigation exercise, which is very important, is going to be the last stage of our preparation”, Prof. Eze said.

Also speaking, the PPSMB Chairman, Barr. Ezeme, added that “our education friendly Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi during the four months of lockdown had paid our teachers, totaling 11,000 in number their salaries, from the 22nd to the 23rd of every month”.

He said that the teachers are coming back to schools, ready and much energized, expressing optimism that their output will be maximized.

In his speech, the State Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Ohaa stated that the decontamination and fumigation exercise will be carried out simultaneously in about 297 secondary schools, saying: “We are sure that on or before evening of Monday, we will complete it”.

Engr. Ohaa revealed that the state fire service offices at different local government areas have been mobilized to carry out the exercise, reassuring that the schools will be ready “for students and their teachers to be safe when they return”.

He maintained that the Enugu State government has been consistent with the decontamination of its public places since the outbreak of COVID-19, stressing that “there is no other state that is as consistent as Enugu State”.

Appreciating Gov. Ugwuanyi’s efforts towards enhancing the standard of education in the state as well as the welfare and safety of the students and their teachers, the Principal of Queen’s School Enugu, Mrs. Ada Nweke, said that the teachers will ever remain grateful to the governor for his commitment and good works in the education sector and beyond.

COVID-19: Abia Students To Resume August 10

Final year students in Abia State may soon go back to school, as stakeholders in the state education sector are considering August 10, 2020, for reopening of schools to enable students in exit classes prepare and write their examinations.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the state governor on Media, Mr. Enyinnaya Appolos, said this was the outcome of a one-day summit held at the Government House in Umuahia, the state capital, where it was agreed that the planned school reopening was subject to verifiable compliance with all the proposed COVID-19 protocols, prevention and control measures.

In his opening remarks at the summit, the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, insisted that while the state was desirous of ensuring its high flying students resume classes as quickly as possible, he maintained that his administration would not sacrifice the health of the children for anything.

He said: “We must find a balance between ensuring that they continue to enjoy good health and protection from this virus and continuing their education. I therefore urge all of us to take responsibility for our protection from this virus as well as the protection of our children and loved ones. Our lives cannot stop because of this virus, but we must take necessary measures to protect ourselves and loved ones from the pandemic.”

Addressing journalists after the summit, the Secretary to Abia State Government (SSG), Mr. Chris Ezem, listed some of the agreed pre-conditions to include clearing of school premises, decontamination/fumigation, provision of sick bays with relevant medical staff, compulsory provision of digital thermometers and hand washing stations as well as maintenance of social distance with maximum of 20 students in each classroom.

Ezem said the measures applied to both public and private schools in the state.

He also listed other conditions to include ban on gatherings among the students and ban on food vendors in the schools, however, assuring the state that the government would provide original pocket-size hand sanitizers for all the school children in the exit classes.

Head teachers were also directed to ensure that the students spend a minimum of 10 minutes daily to learn about COVID-19 and its prevention and control measures, while also charging parents to ensure that their children have and wear face masks to school always.

BREAKING: Nigerian govt announces NECO, NCEE, NABTEB exam dates

The Federal Government says the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) organised by the National Examination Council (NECO) for SS3 pupils will commence on October 5.

The examination will end on November 18, 2020.

Also, National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) examinations will start on September 21.

It will end on October 15, 2020.

Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education, announced the dates at the end of a two-day meeting with Chief Executives of examination bodies.

Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education (FMoE), Ben Goong, made the announcement.

Furthermore, the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) into Unity Colleges will hold on October 17, 2020.

The Basic Education Certificate Examinations, (BECE) for JSS 3 pupils also conducted by NECO, will start on August 24 and end on September 7, 2020.

However, registration for the NECO (SSCE), which is on-going, will end on the 10 of September, 2020 with no option of extension.

You are a liar: Dr. Immanuel fires back at US’ disease expert, Fauci

By Michael Adesina

Dr. Stella Immanuel has lambasted US’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthoni Fauci over his claims that hydroxychloroquine is not a tested cure for coronavirus.

Dr. Immanuel took the world by storm on Tuesday when she released her video, claiming that the discredited hydroxychloroquine drug is a tested cure for COVID-19.

Her revelation was backed by President Trump who had overnight tweeted the potentiality of hydroxychloroquine in curing Coronavirus, but the tweets have been deleted by Twitter.

However, Immanuel and a group of Trump frontline doctors went further in Washington D.C. where she gave an impassioned speech testifying that the drug is efficacious.

She said she had successfully treated no fewer than 350 patients with hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax. Hydroxychloroquine, long touted by President Donald Trump as the cure for the virus.

But Dr. Fauci discredited both Trump and Dr. Immanuel’s argument.

“I go along with the FDA. The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease,” Fauci said on Good Morning America Tuesday.

He added that there were other measures everyone should take to protect themselves, including wearing masks.

“We should all be wearing masks outside,” he said. “There are fundamental things we should be doing, particularly if you happen to be in an area where there’s viral activity.”

Reacting on Wednesday, Immanuel said, “Fauci you are lying.”

Immanuel added that Dr. Fauci knows the truth about the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine.

“You know it. Americans are dying and you are playing Russian roulette with their lives. Early Hydroxychloroquinezinc works #HCQzinc4prevention #weshallnotdiebutlive,” she added on Twitter.

Professor Greg Ibe hails Abia Gov Okezie Ikpeazu over COVID-19 recovery

The Chancellor/Proprietor Gregory University Uturu Prof Gregory Ibe has congratulated the Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu on his recovery from COVID-19.

Prof. Ibe in a letter addressed to governor Ikpeazu, dated July 23, 2020, expressed gratitude to God for His intervention that led to the recovery of the governor.

According to the educationist, the period of the governor’s absence prevented the people of the state opportunity to rally round irrespective of political and religious differences, to intercede and petition God for his miraculous deliverance.

Taking a quote from the Bible, in Psalm 118:5 (I called upon the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and set me in a large place), he said “It is against the backdrop of your recent miraculous healing and subsequent deliverance from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic that I hereby write to formally felicitate with you, your family and indeed the good people of our dear state, on this immeasurable divine intervention by the God of Abia.

“Though very excruciating, it is however instructive that your season of indisposition presented an irresistible opportunity for Abians to rally together, irrespective of political and religious differences, to intercede and petition God for his miraculous deliverance. Indeed it was a unique case of a people united by adversity and delivered by divinity” the letter read.

Prof. Ibe further prayed to God to perfect the Governor’s healing and strengthen his resolve to take the state to greater heights;

“Therefore, while completely identifying with legions of spontaneous praise and thanksgiving generated by our people to the Almighty, it is my intercession that the good Lord will perfect your healing, preserve you, spirit, soul and body, while strengthening your resolve to recommit yourself to the onerous task of repositioning our state” he added.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu recovers from Covid-19, returns to Abia

After a period of isolation, treatment and recovery from COVID-19, the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD is back home.

The Governor, his wife, his two daughters and a few of his aides went straight to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Umuobiakwa for a brief Thanksgiving Service presided over by the President of the East Nigeria Union Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church Nigeria, Pastor Dr. Bassey Udoh.

The Governor expresses his deep and profound appreciation to the Almighty God whose grace and loving kindness kept him throughout the difficult period as he battled with COVID-19.
According to the Governor, the mercy of God is the only reason he is alive today.

He thanked the team of doctors and other medical personnel who attended to him for their dedication and professionalism.

The Governor expresses his gratitude to the Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Ude Oko Chukwu for courageously holding the forte during his period of absence and commended him for his statesmanship in the running of the affairs of the State.

Governor Ikpeazu sends his appreciation to the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chinedum Orji and all members of the State Assembly for their display of patriotism during the period.

The Governor is also grateful to the Secretary to the Government of Abia State, Barrister Chris Ezem, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr ACB Agbazuere and all members of the State Executive Council, as well as Chairmen of the Transition Committees of the 17 Local Government Areas of the State.

The Governor is thankful to all religious leaders from different faiths and denominations who prayed fervently for his recovery and their unending messages of goodwill.

In addition, the Governor sends his sincere appreciation to all Traditional Rulers, Elder Statesmen, Political Leaders, Women and Youth groups from across the State and indeed all Abians across the globe who prayed for his recovery.

Governor Ikpeazu assures the people of the State that he is hale and hearty and fully prepared to resume duties and continue to discharge his divine mandate of leading the good people of Abia State.

While thanking God for His mercies, Governor Ikpeazu reminds Abians that the COVID-19 pandemic remains with us and this requires every single Abian to continue to take very seriously all the protocols enunciated by the NCDC. He reminds all Abians that the prevailing times demand the highest level of personal responsibility and asked our people not to let their guards down.

He sends his message of solidarity to all Abians who are still battling with the sickness, assuring them that they will come back better and stronger.

“Our administration”, the Governor continued, “will continue to provide the needed support in the fight against the pandemic in the State. I am pleased that our molecular laboratory is now fully in place and I therefore appeal to all Abians to avail themselves of the services of the laboratories and get tested in the strong belief that the disease is not a death sentence”.

Governor Ikpeazu thanked his Wife, Nkechi, their children and members of his family for being strong and steadfast throughout this period.

In the words of the Governor, “Throughout my life, my faith and confidence in the Almighty God has remained unshaken and will remain so. It is His grace that upholds me. This latest in the series of the intervention of God in my life will spur me to rededicate my life to the service of our people”.

COVID-19: Flattening the Curve in Abia State

John Okiyi Kalu

According to scientists, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the strain of coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the respiratory illness responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. In our environment, this highly contagious virus, when in a human host, is known simply as the coronavirus.

While many are aware of the above, it appears not many understand the emphasis on “severe” and “acute” associated with this and other related respiratory diseases, hence, they lose thier lives or that of their loved ones.

Describing something as “severe acute” should warn of very dangerous clinical nature of a disease signposted by sudden onset, lasting for a short time and requiring urgent medical care. Indeed, the duration of illness between life and death, for highly symptomatic COVID-19 patients may not be longer than 5 days from the first day of manifestation of symptoms to death, unless a prompt medical intervention is made in between.

Sadly, in the Nigerian environment, the average number of days between submission of sample and release of test results is sometimes more than 4 days. Hence, many of those recorded as COVID-19 related deaths in Nigeria actually die between the time of sample collection and the intervening period of awaiting result. Within that window, patients suffer from rejection by some clinics as medical practitioners would rather exclude COVID-19 and its associated contagious nature before they take the patients in for proper care. While this is a terribly dangerous practice, experience has shown that medics are also at risk, indeed much more than the rest of us, hence, the need to also take measures to stay alive even while trying to help others.

Practice expectation is that when medics have strong suspicion of likelihood of a patient presenting with COVID-19 they (where space is available for case holding) should not turn away the patient but instead wear full personal protective equipment (PPEs) to engage and stabilize the patient then invite the lab scientists to come forward and collect samples for testing. But this is not the case currently. To worsen our peculiar situation, when fully licensed public healthcare facilities turn away suspected patients they end up in prayer houses or traditional healing homes. In either case, the outcome is same: undocumented deaths from COVID-19 and rapid community spreading of the disease.

During a pandemic, a global outbreak of disease, and other escalating health crises, public health statisticians from leading organizations, such as the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), track the number of confirmed cases, deaths and recovery cases.

What is flattening the curve?

In epidemiology, the curve refers to the projected number of new cases over a period of time. In contrast to a steep rise of coronavirus infections, a more gradual uptick of cases will see the same number of people get infected, but without overburdening the health-care system at any particular time. The idea of flattening the curve is therefore to stagger the number of new cases over a longer period of time, so that people have better access to care.

The word curve in the term “flattening the curve” doesn’t refer to the actual number of COVID-19 cases. Rather, it refers to the projected number of people who will contract the coronavirus diaease.
More specifically, the curve is actually two curves in a chart that demonstrate the spread of the virus with and without protective measures, such as social distancing.

To avoid overloading the health care systems in our communities, because of rising number of people needing to be hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 infection, flattening the curve means slowing the spread of this virus over time using social distancing and wearing of protective face mask, which looks like a lower, smoother curve on the chart. Based on past experiences, the most critical keys to flattening the curve are social distancing and wearing of face mask in public places. That also include closure of schools, people remaining at home for as long as possible, avoidance of worship centers and other gatherings where one is likely to come into contact with infected persons some of whom are asymptomatic and may not know they are carrying and spreading the virus.

With WHO confirmation that COVID-19 is likely airborne and spread through aerosols, it is even more crucial now to avoid gathering within enclosed spaces such as worship centers and event halls.

Within the Abia environment, the challenge remains testing as many people as possible to, as much as possible, determine the spread of the disease with a view to putting in place necessary measures to control, manage and ultimately rid the state of the virus. In this wise, Abia state government had on Monday, 20th July, 2020, formally launched a mass community testing program across the 17 LGAs, in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO) and Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), starting with Umuahia South LGA. The program which is expected to last for one month has as its main goal the breaking of the chain of transmission of COVID-19 in Abia State with the following measurable specific objectives:

1. To identify cases of COVID-19 in the state.

2. Isolate cases from the communities

3. Manage identified cases

4. Protect the entire population of the state from the infection

With 480 confirmed positive cases, as at Sunday, 19th July 2020, and 1,182 negative cases from 1,871 tests conducted in the state, it is expected that the community testing initiative will likely drive the number of confirmed cases in the state up as more than 10,000 samples are expected to be collected and tested. Ultimately, the state hopes to decentralize the response to the pandemic to LGAs where sample collection and surveillance activities will now be initiated and executed.

It is instructive to note that with the measures put in place by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration since the outbreak of the pandemic, the state’s public health infrastructure is not in anyway overwhelmed at the moment. With 365 patients discharged and 110 active cases in the state (majority of whom are showing zero to mild symptoms) no single patient has been lost from any of the isolation and treatment facilities in the state.

In addition, two of the isolation facilities put in place by the state government with combined bed spaces of 135, including the fully equipped 100-bed overflow at Amachara and the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Aba which are yet to be used. Only the main isolation center at the Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Center in Amachara and that of the Federal Medical Center, Umuahia, have so far received and managed COVID-19 patients in the state.

As obtainable in wider Nigeria, most of Abia COVID-19 patients are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic thereby meeting part of the NCDC guideline for managed home isolation after proper review by medical experts in the state. It is therefore not expected that the ongoing case search and aggressive testing ordered by Governor Ikpeazu will overwhelm our medical response infrastructure. Similarly, with 2 state-owned NCDC approved testing facilities already in use and additional 2 facilities expected this week, it can be anticipated that the turn around time from sample collection to analysis will be much more reduced compared to the earlier days of the state response when samples were sent to Edo, Ebonyi and FCT for analysis.

If all go according to plan, we estimate that by year end the state would have fully stabilized its response to COVID-19 pandemic and possibly manage the disease as a routine clinical challenge with designated facilities that test, isolate and treat patients. Until then, all citizens are strongly advised to compulsorily wear face mask when leaving their homes and observe other protocols on social distancing and regular hand washing with soap under running water.

As stated by NCDC, Community surveillance is key for prompt identification, isolation and treatment of COVID-19 cases, to slow the spread of the virus. But ultimate responsibility for our collective protection rests with each one of us. If you protect yourself and I protect myself we will all be safe from Coronavirus.

-JOK

Abia flags off community surveillance & testing for COVID-19, targets 10,000 tests in 30 days

Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, today flagged off the coronavirus (COVID-19) community surveillance and testing program which is aimed at breaking the chain of transmission in the state and stem community spread of the disease.

Speaking during the flag off at the Umuahia South Local Government headquarters, Apumiri Ubakala, on the theme: “Breaking the Chain of Transmission of COVID-19 in Abia State through Community Surveillance and Testing”, the Governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government and chairman of inter ministerial committee on COVID-19, Barr Chris Ezem, stated that the exercise which demands maximum support from the citizens should be taken seriously. He noted that Abia State is the first state in the South East to embark on such mass community testing against COVID-19.

The Governor noted that testing positive to the virus is not a death sentence as patients are being nursed back to health at the state’s isolation and treatment facilities while advising that those who test negative should continue to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols already given which include: maintaining social/physical distance of a minimum 2 meters, use of nose mask, regular washing of hands under running water or use of hand sanitizers and avoiding crowded gatherings.

The State Chief Executive warned that failure to observe the laid down rules will result to enforcing a total ban on social gatherings in the State.

Earlier in his speech, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji noted that the virus which broke out on the 31st of December, 2019 in Wuhan, China, has spread across the 36 states of Nigeria and FCT, hence the need for all states to take necessary measures to break the chain of transmission and flatten the curve as quickly as possible.

He commended the Governor for his efforts against the spread of the virus in the State while thanking the Chairman of Abia State COVID-19 task force, Barr. Chris Ezem for his coordinating efforts so far.

He informed that the ministry of health has trained frontline contact tracers and sample collectors in all the LGAs of the state with the aim of carrying out the massive sampling and testing of a target of 10,000 samples across the 17 LGAs in the state, an exercise which took off today the 20th of July, 2020. He further stated that the main aim of the initiative is to break the chain of transmission through the identification of cases, isolation of positive cases, managing the symptomatic back to health, contact tracing and monitoring of all the LGAs.

In a welcome address, the Transition Committee Chairman Umuahia South LGA, Dr. Max Ndukwe Adindu, noted that the event is an evidence of commitment of the state government to the health care of citizens and residents of the State and commended the Abia State Government for its doggedness in combating the spread of the virus. He urged Abians to cooperate and support the initiative by submitting themselves for the test.

While thanking the Abia State COVID-19 taskforce for their proactive measures, the LGA Chairman noted that the distribution of palliatives by the Abia State Government is still ongoing whereas other states have long stopped delivering to citizens.

In their goodwill messages, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Chief Eze Egbulefu, the Executive Secretary, Abia State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ASPHCDA), Dr. Chinagozi Adindu, and the representative of World Health Organizations (WHO) partners, Dr. Linus Okoro, lauded the Governor for always leading in the fight against COVID-19 and for showing a high level of commitment towards the wellbeing of the people of Abia State. He also commended the efforts of the task force team, noting that all measures put in place to curtail the spread of the virus will yield positive results.

In her vote of thanks, the State Epidermiologist/Incident Manager for COVID-19, Lady Peace Nwogwugwu, thanked the government of Abia State for the massive support to the fight against the virus and urged Abians to volunteer themselves for the mass community testing so as to ascertain their health status.

The event which featured collection of samples for COVID-19 testing from volunteers was well attended by dignitaries in the State such as the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, Abia State Head of Service, Sir Onyi Wamah, Head of Service Umuahia South LGA, former Commissioner Bureau of Training and Establishment, Lady Elizabeth Uhuegbu, Traditional Rulers of communities in Umuahia South LGA in the State amongst others.