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Gunshot Wounds: We are ready to treat victims, health workers declare

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Healthcare professionals and law enforcement officers have expressed their support for the recent directive issued by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Olukayode Egbetokun. The directive instructs hospitals to provide immediate treatment to individuals with gunshot wounds without the need for a police report from the victim.

These professionals believe that this action will significantly save the lives of innocent people in the country. They call on the police to reconsider and improve their implementation of the Gunshot Act, as well as conduct a comprehensive awareness campaign to inform all healthcare workers about this new policy.

The reluctance of healthcare workers to treat gunshot victims in the past was rooted in their concern for potential legal repercussions, as some of their colleagues had faced legal issues for adhering to their professional duty as per the Hippocratic oath. However, the Gunshot Act of 2017, signed into law by former president Muhammadu Buhari, mandates all medical facilities to promptly provide care to gunshot victims, irrespective of whether the hospital is public or private. It also requires assistance from law enforcement agencies.

The Act’s provisions include:

Section 1, which establishes the right of every gunshot victim to receive treatment.
Section 2, which mandates security assistance for the victim.
Section 3, which prohibits any inhumane or degrading treatment of the victim.
Section 4, requiring hospitals to notify the police and the victim’s family.
Section 5, stipulating that the police investigate the circumstances of the shooting.
Section 16, which prescribes penalties for offenses related to the Act, including the obligation to make restitution to the victim.
Despite the Act being adopted in some states, hospitals have been hesitant to comply due to concerns about potential entanglement with police investigations targeting criminals. Tragically, this hesitation has resulted in the loss of innocent lives in need of urgent medical care.

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The case of a woman named Greatness Olorunfemi, who bled to death after being refused treatment at Maitama General Hospital in Abuja, highlights the urgent need for change. She was denied care until a police report was provided.

In response to this incident, the civil society group YALI Network petitioned the Minister of Federal Capital Territory and the IGP, urging action to prevent similar occurrences.

The IGP subsequently issued a directive on October 25, 2023, instructing hospitals to treat gunshot wounds without requiring a police report. This directive, addressed to police officers at various levels, emphasizes compliance with the Gunshot Act of 2017 and the need to raise public awareness regarding this law.

Healthcare professionals and experts have expressed their views on this directive. Dr. Eleanor Nwadionbi, President of the Medical Women’s International Association, emphasizes the importance of collaboration among all stakeholders involved in ensuring the safety and well-being of citizens.

Reproductive healthcare physician Dr. Chioma Nwakanma-Akanno notes that not all hospitals reject gunshot victims, but ignorance of the law and concerns about past experiences with the police have contributed to such refusals.

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Dr. Samuel Chinwueze Johnson, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, asserts that he does not reject treating gunshot victims, as the law provides protection for doctors who adhere to it. He emphasizes that doctors should refer cases to the police when necessary.

Former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Dennis Amachree, believes the IGP’s directive clarifies uncertainties among hospitals. However, he acknowledges that unresolved issues remain, such as who will cover the costs of surgery after treatment.

Certified Protection Officer (CPO) Frank Oshanugor supports the directive and emphasizes the need for a clear framework for enforcing the law, including consequences for non-compliance.

Security expert Mr. Christopher Oji highlights that the law has long existed, but a lack of enforcement and concerns about police extortion have deterred hospitals from complying. He calls for an educational campaign by the police to inform hospitals about the importance of treating gunshot victims promptly and seeking police involvement afterward.

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NCDC reports 1,598 suspected cholera cases in Nigeria

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has documented 1,598 suspected cases of cholera across 107 local government areas.

The cholera outbreak is marked by a case fatality rate of 3.5%, which is notably higher than the national average expectation of one percent, indicating the severity of the situation.

Dr. Jide Idris, the Director-General of NCDC, disclosed these figures on Monday in Abuja while updating the public on the cholera epidemiological situation in Nigeria. He also detailed the ongoing efforts at both national and sub-national levels to prevent and respond to the outbreak.

Cholera, caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, is a severe diarrheal illness that poses a significant health challenge, particularly in regions where sanitation and access to clean water are inadequate.

Understanding how cholera spreads is crucial for implementing effective prevention strategies to contain its transmission.

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Idris stated, “The government is deeply concerned about the rapid spread and the higher-than-expected mortality rate, indicating a more deadly outbreak.” He emphasized that the fatalities represent substantial personal losses, affecting families, spouses, parents, and healthcare workers.

He also pointed out the potential exacerbation of the situation as the rainy season intensifies.

Regarding the distribution of deaths, Lagos State recorded the highest number with 29 fatalities, followed by Rivers with eight, Abia and Delta with four each, and Katsina with three. Bayelsa reported two deaths, while Kano, Nasarawa, and Cross River each recorded one death.

Idris underscored, “This worrisome pattern underscores the urgent need for a coordinated response to prevent further escalation of the crisis.” He highlighted that sixteen states accounted for 90% of the confirmed cases, with Lagos serving as the epicenter. Lagos State has received significant attention and resources to effectively manage the outbreak given its high caseload.

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Sexually transmitted ringworm found in man who had affair with multiple men

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Health officials are warning about a new case of ringworm likely spread through sexual contact, reported in New York City—the first such case in the U.S.

Fox News reports that the infection, caused by a rare fungus called trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII (TMVII), was detected in a man in his 30s. He had engaged in sexual activity with multiple men during trips to England, Greece, and California, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology by doctors at NYU Langone Health.

The report noted that the man developed a red, itchy rash on his penis, legs, groin, and buttocks upon returning from his trip. The rash resembled eczema rather than the typical ringworm infection, which forms in circles.

Tests confirmed the presence of the fungus, and doctors prescribed standard antifungal oral medications. However, it took four and a half months for the infection to clear. The man initially took fluconazole for four weeks without improvement, then terbinafine for six weeks, and finally itraconazole for eight weeks.

Doctors found no other infections that could have worsened his condition. Dr. Avrom Caplan, an assistant professor of dermatology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and author of the report, told NBC there is no need for public alarm. “There’s no evidence that this is widespread or that people need to be worried,” Caplan said. “But if people are experiencing itchy eruptions in the groin area that aren’t improving, they should see a doctor.”

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John Zampella, co-author of the study, urged physicians to help identify the fungus. “Physicians need to directly ask patients about rashes around the groin and buttocks, especially those who are sexually active, have traveled recently, and report itchy areas elsewhere on the body,” Zampella said.

Fox News also reports that the man’s case is the first in the U.S., following 13 similar cases reported in France last year, with twelve of those patients being men who had sex with men. The man noted that none of his partners reported similar skin issues.

Caplan suggested that the infection was likely transmitted through sexual contact but could not rule out the possibility that the man contracted the fungus at a sauna he visited two months before his symptoms appeared.

The study indicates an increase in male genital fungi in India, consistent with the emergence of a slightly different ringworm form called trichophyton indotineae. Climate, hygiene, bathing practices, and sexual contact likely contribute to the spread of this fungus, which causes itchy and contagious rashes similar to TMVII and often resists terbinafine treatment.

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Ekiti govt prepares for vaccination of girl child against cervical cancer

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As part of measures to prevent the scourge of cervical cancer in Ekiti State, the government is set to begin the vaccination of female children beginning from May this year.

To this end, a technical working group has been inaugurated to begin the necessary planning that would make the vaccination a success.

Inaugurating the group in Ado Ekiti, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Oyebanji Filani, read out the terms and conditions which include “Mapping all relevant HPV stakeholders (EPI and Non-EPI), Provide coordination, management, and planning for all stakeholders meeting through the introduction, monitor and track the release of funding for the HPV rollout at the state, review the budget requirements for the pre-introduction and introduction activities, and monitor the timely disbursement of these funds to the lowest level.

Others are to provide overall guidance in the smooth running of the operations rooms during the introduction of the HPV vaccine, which includes early identification and proffer solutions to mitigate challenges during the HPVV introduction process. The team may make use of electronic communications through a group email to facilitate information sharing among all members between formal meetings.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mrs. Olusola Gbenga-Igotun, the commissioner said the vaccine had been proven to be healthy and safe, urging parents to allow their children to take the vaccine.

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He said the vaccine would be given to female children between the ages of nine and fourteen, while other age groups would be captured later.

Other stakeholders who spoke on the occasion, including clerics, market women, and CSOs, commended the government for the proper planning ahead of the vaccination and urged members of the public to embrace it.

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