Welcome Message from the Writer

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Good day blogger,

You are welcome to my blog, which is suppose to serve as a health guide to my fellow Nigerians, Africans and all interested fellows around the world. The aim of this Blog is to create an information centre on public health and emergency First aid that can serve as a guide to health officials, parents, teachers, students, as well as volunteers for humanitarian services on how to preserve life and respond to emergency situations that may occur anywhere and at anytime. The contexts of the articles will be simplified so as to be clearly understood by anyone that develops interest in health services. Links to important articles and updates on Laboratory & health services will also be posted on this Blog.
I sincerely appreciate your comments and suggestions on how to better serve you. Thank You.

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Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in China – update

As of 22 April 2013 (18:00CET), the
National Health and Family Planning Commission notified WHO
of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases of human
infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.
Both the patients are reported from Zhejiang province. The
first patient is a 54-year-old woman who became ill on 16
April 2013 and the second patient is a 32-year-old man
who became ill on 14 April 2013.
Additionally, a patient earlier reported from Zhejiang
province has died.
To date, a total of 104 laboratory-confirmed cases of
human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in China,
including 21 deaths have been reported to WHO. Contacts of
the confirmed cases are being closely monitored.
National authorities continue to implement prevention and
control measures.
Investigations into the possible sources of infection and
reservoirs of the virus are ongoing. Until the source of
infection has been identified, it is expected that there will
be further cases of human infection with the virus in China.
So far, there is no evidence of ongoing human-to-human
transmission.
WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry
with regard to this event, nor does it recommend that any
travel or trade restrictions be applied.
At the invitation of the National Health and Family Planning
Commission of China, WHO has convened a team of experts
who will visit areas affected by avian influenza A(H7N9) in
China in order to provide recommendations on the prevention
and control of the disease.

Where does coffee stand in your health?

We are often asked whether coffee is good or bad for the health. The answer is both good and bad.
Many studies have been done that show no overall adverse outcome on health associated with caffeine from coffee. However, there are certain aspects of coffee drinking that may be deleterious to health.

THE GOOD-
The Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professions Follow-up study done on 130,000 people tracked caffeine consumption for approximately 20 years and found that coffee does not increase mortality.

There was no relationship found between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause including cancer or heart disease.

-Studies around the world consistently show high consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee is associated with low risk of type 2 diabetes, so scientists hypothesize there may be a long-term benefit from caffeine on diabetes.

-Other preliminary research has shown that coffee may protect against Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer and liver cirrhosis, as well as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

-A study led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers published in the Sept. 26, 2011, issue of the

Archives of Internal Medicine, found that, among women, drinking coffee may reduce the risk of depression. The study found the risk of depression to be 20 percent lower among women who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee than those who drank little or none. Those who drank decaf, tea, soft drinks, chocolate and other beverages containing less caffeine did not appear to be protected against depression.

-Caffeine has been shown to increase alertness and test performance.

THE BAD-
Coffee contains cafestol, which increases LDL cholesterol levels. Usually, this is resolved by using a paper filter. However, if you drink your coffee boiled and unfiltered, via French press, or Turkish style, you will ingest large levels of cafestol. Unfiltered coffee has been shown in some studies to increase LDL by 8 percent.

-There may be a short-term negative effect on diabetes with coffee. In studies that give people caffeine or caffeinated coffee, followed by something rich in glucose, it was found that the subjects’ sensitivity to insulin dropped and their blood-glucose levels were higher than expected.

-Coffee prepared black, or with a small amount of milk and sugar may be healthy. However, most coffee drinks contain large amounts of processed sugar, syrups, cream and whipped cream – which can increase blood sugars and cholesterol levels. Further, many coffee drinks have upward of 500 calories – 25 percent of the total calories that are needed for a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. Thus, the calories alone in these drinks can lead to weight gain.

-Coffee drinking as a lifestyle behavior appears to be linked to other negative lifestyle behaviors, such as exercising less, a less-healthy diet and increased smoking. Thus, whereas coffee may be neutral on the health, other associated behaviors may cause adverse health outcomes.

2013 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

MILK, SUGARY FOODS CAN INCREASE THE RISK OF ACNE

It’s been a subject of debate for decades, but it
seems diet really does have an impact on a person’s
complexion.
A landmark overview of research carried out over the
past 50 years has found that eating foods with a high
glycaemic index (GI) and drinking milk not only
aggravated acne but in some cases triggered it, too.
Millions of teenagers – and increasingly adults – are
affected by the often painful skin condition which
causes the skin to develop unsightly spots on the face,
neck, chest and back.
Acne is caused by a combination of the skin producing
too much sebum and a build-up of dead skin cells which
clogs the pores and leads to a localised infection or
spot.
It is thought that excess sebum production is caused
by hormonal fluctuations, which explains why around
80 per cent of teenagers experience bouts of acne
throughout adolescence.
While there is no danger from the spots themselves,
severe acne can scar as well as lead to anxiety, low
self-esteem and depression.
Since the late 19th century, research has linked diet to
acne, with chocolate, sugar and fat singled out as the
main culprits.
But studies carried out from the 1960s onwards have
disassociated diet from the development of the
condition.
Dr Jennifer Burris from the Department of Nutrition,
Food Studies, and Public Health, Steinhardt School of
Culture, Education, and Human Development, New
York University, said: ‘This change (in attitude)
occurred largely because of the two important studies
that are repeatedly cited in the literature and popular
culture as evidence to refute the association between
diet and acne.
‘More recently, dermatologists and registered
dieticians have revisited the diet-acne relationship and
become increasingly interested in the role of medical
nutritional therapy in acne treatment.’
Eating high GI foods – foods that are absorbed into
the bloodstream quickly – is thought to have a direct
effect on the severity of acne because of the
hormonal fluctuations that are triggered.
CHOOSING LOW GI FOODS
Only carbohydrates have a GI rating.
Because low GI foods take longer for the body to
break down they help you feel fuller for longer too.
High GI foods include sugary fizzy drinks, cakes,
pastries, chocolate, white bread and potatoes.
Low GI foods include fruit and vegetables, wholegrain
options such as brown pasta, basmati rice, cous cous
and pulses.
Not overcooking your pasta and vegetables helps lower
the GI.
High GI foods cause a spike in hormone levels including
insulin which is thought to instigate sebum production.
An 2007 Australian study showed that young males
who were put on a strict low GI diet noticed a
significant improvement in the severity of their acne.
Milk is thought to affect acne because of the
hormones it contains. A 2007 study carried out by
Harvard School of Public Health found that there was a
clear link between those who drank milk regularly and
suffered with acne.
Interestingly, those who drank skimmed milk suffered
with the worst breakouts, with a 44 per cent
increase in the likelihood of developing blemishes. It is
thought that processing the milk increases the levels
of hormones in the drink.
The authors of the latest overview – published in the
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics –
say that dermatologists and dieticians should work
together to design and conduct quality research to
help the millions of acne sufferers.
‘The medical community should not dismiss the
possibility of diet therapy as an adjunct treatment for
acne. At this time, the best approach is to address
each acne patient individually, carefully considering the
possibility of dietary counselling.’
-Dailymail London

HEADACHES: SYMPTOM OF UNDYLYING AILMENT

A headache is a pain or discomfort in the head. It is
among the most common pain experienced
everywhere in the world. Headaches can be triggered
or made more severe when sufferers are exposed to
specific environmental factors, such as strong odours
like cigarette smoke or perfume.
Specific aspects of one’s diet – beverages, meals or
snacks – also may trigger a headache. For example, low
blood sugar as seen with prolonged fasting or
extensive dieting may lead to increased headaches.
Most people with headaches can feel much better by
making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax, and
sometimes, by taking medications.
Headaches come in different forms, and it is
important to understand the type one has in order to
know what to do immediately.
Most people often take headaches for granted by
taking OTC (over the counter) drugs, such as
Paracetamol or other painkillers, which only give
temporary relief. It should be borne in mind that taking
self-medication, instead of getting to the root cause
of a headache, has its own side effects.
The good news about these headaches, says Dr. Holt, a
physician at the University of North Carolina School of
Medicine, is that they are all completely harmless. But
not every aching head is a simple headache.
Dr. Charles Agadu, an Abuja-based medical
practitioner, has this to say about headaches:
‘Headaches, generally, are symptoms of underlying
pathology going on in an individual.’
According to him, headaches could arise from a variety
of disease conditions, especially fevers like malaria,
typhoid, yellow fever, Lassa fever and other
hemorrhagic fevers. It can also occur in a wide range of
bacterial and viral infections like meningitis, Herpes
simplex, shingles, HIV, and so on.
‘Headaches can also result from a space occupying
lesion of the skull like various tumours of the brain and
scalp, brain abscesses, hemorrhage stroke affecting
the cranial vessels, and hypertension. Whatever the
causes of a headache may be, it is good to identify
them and treat them immediately,’ Dr. Agadu advises.
Below are types of headache that could be a sign of
something serious, and potentially deadly.
Tension headache:
This is a headache with diffuse pain wrapping across
the top of the head. These headaches often result
from stress or lack of sleep. They are not usually
disabling, typically fade overnight, and can be easily
relieved with ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin.
Migraine headache
Migraines tend to hit one side of the head and can last
from several hours to several days. Typical migraine
headaches are pulsating, moderate or severe pain,
made worse with activity, and associated with nausea
and sensitivity to light and/or noise. Some patients
experience an aura – a neurological symptom that
gradually develops over five to 20 minutes and usually
lasts less than 60 minutes – before the headache.
Cluster headache
This type is an excruciating attack that explodes
behind one eye, and reaches a crescendo after about
an hour, and then vanishes, only to return in a day or so.
This goes on for a few weeks, and then, stops for
months. Numerous drugs target clusters, including
some of the migraine medications.
Thunderclap headache
If head pain hits you like a bolt out from nowhere,
intensifying in a few minutes into the worst headache
you’ve ever had, see a doctor immediately. The list of
causes for this kind of headache isn’t long – aneurysm,
stroke, meningitis – but almost everything on it can be
very quickly fatal.
Exercise headache
This type of headache comes on quickly and furiously
with violent physical exertion, and it is advisable to see
a doctor right away. Chances are the cause is benign.
But it also could be a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Headaches that spread to the neck
Benign headaches stay in the head. Headaches that
don’t can be meningitis or a hemorrhage. There is need
to see a doctor immediately, especially if you have a
fever, just getting over a bacterial infection, have a
rash, or can’t think clearly.
Headaches that won’t go
A headache that comes and goes for days with a low-
grade fever, visual disturbances, and aching in one or
both of your temples often signals an inflammation of
the arteries that can leave one blind if not treated.
Contagious headache
For those who live in climes where central heating is
needed, if one develops a headache as the day goes
on, and it grows steadily worse and anyone else has the
same headache, move everyone outdoor immediately.
There’s a malfunction in your heating system, and it is
sending out carbon monoxide. Once you’re out of the
house, call the fire department. Your headache should
clear up in a few hours.
Headache that wakes you up
There should be concern if headache has been
worsening for weeks, or if it is present every morning
when you wake up. This is the classic pattern for a
slowly expanding mass. It means you should see your
doctor right away.

By NBF news.

Survey ranks Nigeria worst in Healthcare/ NHIS

Nigeria has been ranked among the worst countries with weak national health system, making it the worst in health delivery system coming 197 out of 200 according to a recent survey.

This was attributed to inequitable distribution of healthcare resources between urban and rural areas; and lack of functional referral system due to poor funding.

This grievous statistic was revealed in Benin City at a one-day sensitization workshop organized by National Health Insurance scheme [NHIS] for beneficiaries of the health service.

The workshop with the theme: “Enrollees’ rights and benefits under the NHIS scheme,” aimed at those currently benefiting from the scheme the various problems that have hitherto confronted them in the course of accessing health care services under the scheme.

Dr. Chidoziem Egwuonwu who represented the zonal coordinator (south-south)of NHIS, Prince Nasiru Ikharo at the workshop, also revealed that only 39 percent of births are assisted by skilled health professionals, just as only 23 percent of children between12 and 23 months receive full course of immunization against childhood killer diseases.

Dr. Egwuonwu however reassured that the NHIS was set up in the year 1999 to tackle the poor state of Nigeria’s health system, to address the rising cost of health care in the country and to mobilize extra resources to complement the inadequate budgetary allocation for health.

According to him, NHIS as the missing link for attaining the highest standard in healthcare service in Nigeria will make access to good healthcare available to those enrolled on the scheme, as well as protecting families from the financial hardship of huge medical bills.

He disclosed that the scheme which is currently made compulsory for all federal workers has so far accredited 8000 health facilities across the country, with 4.5 million enrollments of people accessing health care through the scheme, adding that NHIS has also implemented the MDG subsidy funding for pregnant women and children under age five in 12 states of the federation.

A new NHIS bill currently before the senate is seeking to make all States to join in the scheme. The scheme is funded through contributions by employers and employees, with each contributor, his wife and four children benefiting.