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UK Employs 353 Nigerian Doctors In 100 Days

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At least 353 Nigerian doctors have been registered to work in the United Kingdom  in the last 100 days.

Checks on the website of the General Medical Council – the body which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the UK – showed that the GMC licensed at least 353 Nigerian-trained doctors between June 10, 2021 and September 20, 2021.

The statistics also showed that between July 24, 2020 and September 21, 2021, about 862 Nigeria trained doctors were licensed in the UK despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, 8, 737 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria currently practise in the UK.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on Tuesday, the Vice-President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Julian Ojebo, said the rate of migration might double in the coming weeks since doctors were not given the right remuneration.

Ojebo argued that the doctors migrating to Saudi Arabia might even be more than those moving to the UK.

He said it was unfortunate that the government had failed to address the plight of doctors and meet their conditions for calling off the strike which began on August 1, 2021.

Ojebo stated, “If 353 Nigerian doctors have been licensed in the last 100 days, I am sure the figure will double within the next one month. The strike has opened the eyes to the doctors that Nigeria does not care about them.

“I am sure the statistics for those migrating to Saudi Arabia would be higher. I have always said it that remuneration is usually the trigger for migration. It is now worse today due to insecurity and the lack of political will by government appointees to address the issues affecting the health sector.

“I can tell you categorically that some of the issues we are fighting for are matters that should have been addressed since 2014 and we are still protesting in 2021. Like we have always said, whatever you earn in Nigeria, you stand the opportunity of earning three times that amount with better working conditions.”

A poll by NOI in 2018 showed that 88 per cent of Nigerian doctors were considering work opportunities abroad, but experts say the figure may be higher due to the rising insecurity and economic crunch.

Meanwhile, NARD has continued its strike amid rising COVID-19 and cholera infections.

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Nigeria targets 2030 to eradicate malaria, says Buhari

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Nigeria will save N687 billion in 2022 and N2 trillion by 2030 by ending malaria transmission in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

The President stated this on Tuesday during the inauguration of the Nigeria End Malaria Council (NEMC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

He told the 16-member Council headed by the founder and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, that beyond improving the quality of life, health and well-being of Nigerians, the strategy to tackle malaria had both public health and socio-economic benefits for Nigeria.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying, ‘‘Our inauguration today will therefore ensure that malaria elimination remains a priority on our agenda, with strong political commitment from leaders at all levels.

‘‘Additionally, the End Malaria Council will provide a platform to advocate for more funding to protect and sustain progress made so far by our country, and put us on a pathway to ending malaria for good.”

He expressed concerns that the age-long disease had remained a major public health challenge in Nigeria.

The President cited the World Health Organisation (WHO) report of 2021, showing that Nigeria alone accounts for 27 percent of all cases of malaria and 32 percent of deaths globally.

He said, ‘‘Malaria infection can cause severe disease and complication in pregnant women and lead to high rates of miscarriage.

‘‘It is also responsible for a considerable proportion of deaths in infants and young children, with children under 5 years being the most vulnerable group affected. These are reasons we must not relent in fighting malaria.’’

On his choice of Dangote to chair the Council, President Buhari explained that it was in recognition of the track record and passion of Africa’s richest man in supporting initiatives on various health issues such as polio and primary health care system strengthening.

He said Dangote would bring his outstanding achievements to help the country achieve its goal of malaria elimination, adding that a group of eminent personalities, who have also made their mark across all walks of life, have been selected to work in the council.

He said the membership of the Council reflects government’s commitment to significantly reduce the malaria burden in Nigeria, to a level where it is no longer a public health issue.

‘‘We must work together to reduce the unnecessary deaths attributable to malaria and ultimately improve the well-being of citizens. I implore the Council to ensure best practices and innovative strategies in achieving its mandate,’’ he said.

President Buhari used the occasion to thank the Chairman of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the Executive Secretary of ALMA, RBM Partnership in Nigeria for their continuous support to the Federal Ministry of Health and the malaria programme, in particular.

He also acknowledged the contributions of the Global Fund, the United States Agency for International Development, the President’s Malaria Initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO , UNICEF, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office, other implementing partners, and the private sector.

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Resident doctors threaten strike, gives FG two-week ultimatum 

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The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has given the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to implement the agreement reached on the welfare of its members.

The association gave the ultimatum after its national executive council meeting on Saturday in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital.
The association said should the FG fail to comply with its demands, it would embark on an industrial action.

The communique was signed by Dare Ishaya, NARD president; Suleiman Abiodun, the secretary-general, and Alfa Yusuf, publicity and social secretary.
“The NEC observed with dismay, the unnecessary delay in the implementation and payment of the new Hazard Allowance for over seven (7) months since its approval on 22nd December 2021 in a circular with reference No. SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406,” the communique reads.
“The NEC observed that the skipping arrears covering 2014, 2015 and 2016 have remained unpaid despite several negotiations with the Federal Government over the matter.”
The association alleged that years after the implementation of a new minimum wage, some of its members are yet to benefit from the adjustment.
NARD also expressed displeasure over the condition of its members in Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe states who are “owed 10, 5, 3 and 2 months respectively”.
The association urged the federal government to expedite action on the payment of the newly reviewed Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF).
“The NEC demands the immediate implementation and payment of the new Hazard Allowance and arrears as contained in the circular from the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) dated 22nd December 2021 with reference number SWC/S/04/S.218/11/406 within two (2) weeks, ” the communique read.
“The NEC demands immediate payment of consequential adjustment of minimum wage to our members who have been deprived this benefit since it was implemented several years ago.
“The NEC demands an immediate review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and other related allowances given the current economic situation in the country, and also in line with the agreed terms from the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that it will be reviewed regularly.
“The NEC enjoins the Federal and all State Governments to look into the issue of assault on doctors and thoroughly investigate the ongoing cases and put measures in place to nip this menace in the bud to forestall future occurrences, as these inhumane acts have affected our members both physically and mentally.
“The NEC urges the Federal Government to take steps toward curtailing the brain drain in the health sector and find ways of eliminating all bureaucratic bottlenecks in the employment and replacement of the Resident Doctors leaving our institutions daily to seek greener pastures.”
The association said it will reconvene in two weeks to review the “progress made so far and take further actions for which nationwide industrial harmony may not be guaranteed.”

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NIMR Discovers New Severe Malaria Vector In Northern Nigeria

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The Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) says it has discovered a new malaria vector named Anopheles stephensi in northern Nigeria.

According to Wikipedia, Anopheles stephensi is a primary mosquito vector of malaria in urban India and is included in the same subgenus as Anopheles gambiae, the primary malaria vector in Africa.

It is a highly competent vector of Plasmodium Falciparum and P. Vivax, considered an efficient vector of urban malaria.

The Anopheles stephensi mosquito has long since been considered an Asian malaria vector. It is native to parts of South-East Asia and parts of the Arabian Peninsula

Director General of the Institute, Professor Babatunde Salako, told newsmen in Lagos during his 63rd birthday ceremony on Monday night that the discovery was one of the institute’s recent research discoveries.

The vector, according to him, spreads malaria called plasmodium falciparum.

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He described the vector as a rugged one that is very difficult to eradicate.

“This has implication for malaria control in Nigeria because hitherto, the vector was known in West Africa sub-region,” he said.

Professor Salako further disclosed that the Institute is currently looking at vaccine development as a lot of studies have been done. According to him, the institute is working with five groups in a consortium to develop local vaccines in Nigeria.

He explained that development of vaccine, which the institute is into, is different from vaccine production.

The idea behind the vaccine development, he said, is to ensure that Nigerian researchers are able to learn the development process from the beginning to the end.

“This is important so that when we have a new epidemic or disease, known or unknown, it would be possible for Nigeria to develop its own vaccine,” Salako added.

He further disclosed that the institute is working on testing 2,000 people in Nigeria with a view to knowing whether the three COVID-19 vaccines evoked a response or not and also also to know how long it can be effective in their bodies.

“The essence of this is to know the effectiveness, side effects and responsiveness of human body to COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.

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