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Snake bite: Victims’ survival slimmer as anti-venom prices hits the roof– Expert

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Anti-Snake Venom (ASV)
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…..Says local anti-venom production can save over 3,700 peasants annually

Victims of snake bite in Nigeria are faced with very slim chances of survival as the prices of Anti-Snake Venom (ASV) have gone up drastically, (NAN) reports.

A correspondent, who visited some snake bite treatment centres in Plateau, reports that the cost of treatment had risen drastically with many victims struggling to foot hospital bills.

Ifnvestigation revealed that a vial of ASV, which used to cost between N23,000 and N25,000, currently costs more than N45,000, almost double its former price.

Dr Nyam Azi, a medical officer with the JUTH Comprehensive Medical Centre, a specialist snake bite treatment outfit in Langtang, Plateau State, attributed the rise in ASV cost to rising dollar rates.

“It is a hard situation. It is particularly regrettable coming at a time when a high number of cases are being recorded.

“A vial of ASV costs at least N45,000; it used to be around N23,000 to N25,000. The current price is very high considering that it is peasants that are mostly affected.

“There are peak periods for snake bites – the heat season, planting and harvest time. We are entering the peak of harvest season, so the numbers are going up.

“We record about 50 cases per month; sometimes we get 20 cases per week. This month alone, we recorded about 40 and the month is not over yet,” he said.

Azi said that the snake bite victims in his health centre come from Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States.

He added that the situation was worrisome as patients required four or more doses for standard treatment.

“The standard dose a patient requires is four vials of polyvalent or one vial of monovalent, while some patients require even more,” he said.

Azi regretted the high cost of treatment, adding that some patients had absconded from the hospital after treatment without paying for the drugs.

“Such abscondments lead to huge losses to the hospital,” he said.

He said that death was “almost certain and inevitable without the ASV”, especially since most of the victims were usually bitten by carpet vipers, the most common snakes in central Nigeria.

He disclosed that the ASV produced by ECHITAB remains the only potent vaccine for effective treatment.

The physician urged government to resume subsidising the ASV for victims to ease their sufferings.

“Government used to subsidise the rates of the ASV, but no one does that anymore. They have stopped. I want to urge them to resume the subsidy to reduce the suffering of the peasants in this area.

“Most of the snake bite victims are peasant farmers and children. The cost of treatment is too high and they can barely afford it.

Dr Nandul Durfa, Managing Director of ECHITAP, producers of the ASV potent for the treatment of bites from snakes in Nigeria, told NAN that the cost of the vaccines went up because of the rise in hard currency.

“The vaccine is produced in Liverpool in UK; the rise in the exchange rate of the Naira to the Pound Sterling has pushed up the local cost of the drug.

“The only solution is for Nigeria to begin the production of ASV locally. If we cannot do that, we’ll continue to suffer this persistent rise in the cost of this very crucial drug,” he said.

It would be recalls that the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, recently said that an average of 20,000 cases of snake bites were recorded in Nigeria every year.

Mamora added that about 2,000 of such victims die from the menace annually, while 1,700 lose their legs or arms to the menace.

The minister, in an address to mark the 2021 International Snakebite Awareness Day, urged stakeholders to put heads together toward tackling the trend.

Snakes bites, especially in the central and southern zones of Plateau and adjoining states such as Benue, Gombe, Nasarawa, have remained a common and worrisome trend over the years.

Various accounts from victims indicate that snakebites inflict a sustained psychological torment with significant level of mortality that result into attendant distortions in family and social structure.

Major effects of the menace include loss of breadwinners, prolonged hospital stay and incidental expenses, amputation, loss of income and productivity, among others. (NAN)

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Health

Shaibu Relocates Office Out Of Edo Govt House

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Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy Philip Shaibu
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy Philip Shaibu
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The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu has commenced the relocation of his office to an area outside the vicinity of the Government House.

The development follows last of Shuaibu’s suit filed at the Federal High Court to stop alleged plots by week’s withdrawal   the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, to remove him from office.

The new office is situated at No. 7, Dennis Osadebey Avenue, close to the Government House.

Sources close to the deputy governor said  that a letter was sent by the Head of Service to the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor instructing her to supervise the movement of civil servants and files to the new office.

It was also gathered that the new office is not habitable as there is no electricity, is waterlogged, and the office spaces are significantly small.

The state government had however insisted that the deputy governor’s new office is within the confines of the area designated as the Government House.

 

 

 

 

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NARD SET TO CALL OF STRIKE AFTER SENATE’S INTERVENTION

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Senate Leader, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, other members of the Senate with NARD officials
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••• Cancels Planned National Protest

Striking members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) are set to call off their two week old strike after a closed door meeting with Principal Officers of the Senate on Tuesday.

Adressing the media shortly after the closed door meeting with President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio and other Principal Officers of the Senate, National President of the association, Dr Emeka Innocent Orji, stated “we had a very fruitful meeting with the Senate led by the President of the Senate and from our discussions with them, we are very hopeful that when we table our discussions today before the NEC, something positive would come out.

“From our interaction with the President of the Senate and the practical demonstration he did before us today, we are very confident that there would be light at the end of the tunnel in the next 24 hours.

“Because of the intervention of the President of the Senate, who is the number three citizen and the assurance he has given us, our planned national protest has been cancelled while the decision on the ongoing strike would be taken as soon we meet, he assured.

Speaking in the same vein, Senator Akpabio, thanked the medical doctors for honoring the Senate by calling off their planned national protest and also working towards calling off the strike.

According to him, ” I thank you onbehalf of the Senate for honoring us with your decision not only to cancel the planned public protest, but to also call off the strike in the interest of the suffering masses.

“Your demands are well noted and let me assure you that as soon as a Minister in charge of Health is appointed, the Senate will work with him or her to expeditiously adress all your grievances. The President Bola Tinubu-led administration is Doctors friendly and that explains the large number of medical practitioners he has appointed into his cabinet.

“Strike by medical practitioners should not be allowed even for a day because of the impacts it creates in the polity and that is why the Senate is determined to ensure through interactions and consultation with relevant offices, amicable settlement of the impasse is reached,” he stated.

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio (3rd from left), Dr Emeka Innocent Orji (middle) Senate Leader, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele and Senator Ireti Kingibe (first from right)after a meeting with national officers of NARD in the office the President of the Senate on Tuesday.

 

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Nigerian-Made Noodles Safe To Eat, Says NAFDAC

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Noodles
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The agency re-assured the public that it is proactive and committed to protecting the health of the public.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has certified noodles manufactured in Nigeria, saying they are safe for consumption.

The confirmation followed the Agency’s investigation into the presence of ethylene oxide or its metabolite in noodles or their seasonings.

This was made known by the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Moji Adeyeye, during a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday.

She noted that ethylene oxide or its derivative was not found in any of the instant noodles produced in Nigeria and their seasonings which make them safe for consumption.

The NAFDAC boss also declared that the level of mycotoxin and the heavy metals were within the internationally acceptable limit.

“Therefore, the noodles made in Nigeria are very safe to eat,” she stated.

Giving account of how the sampling of the noodles was conducted, she said, “Samples of chicken flavoured instant noodles of various brands (and the seasonings) were drawn from the production facilities across the country.

“This was to ensure that the investigation was robust, covering other instant noodles brands manufactured in Nigeria, besides Indomie, the implicated brand.

“The Post Marketing Surveillance Division also visited markets/retail outlets in the major cities of Lagos, Abuja, and Kano and drew samples of instant noodles for laboratory analysis.

“The market visits served as surveillance for the presence of the Taiwan and Malaysian special chicken noodles in the Nigerian market.

“The samples drawn from production facilities and trade were properly packaged and delivered in good condition to our Central Laboratory, Oshodi, Lagos, where analytical activities commenced immediately in accordance with international standards and methods of analysis.”

For the sampling, a total of 114 samples of instant noodles and the seasonings were received, the NAFDAC DG stated.

The agency re-assured the public that it is proactive and committed to protecting the health of the public.

 

 

 

 

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