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Nigeria’s “Street Doctor”, Samson Shonowo provides free healthcare for the poor2 minutes read

From free maternal healthcare to caesarian sections and more, Dr. Samson Shonowo opens his doors to whoever needs help

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Nigeria's "Street Doctor", Samson Shonowo provides free healthcare for the poor
Dr. Samson Shonowo, founder of Shonowo Hospital.

Illnesses are no fun for anyone, but imagine being seriously ill with a serious condition that requires not just visits to the hospital, but surgery.

Now, imagine being too poor to afford the visits and the treatment necessary to get better.

This is where “The Street Doctor” comes in. Dr. Samson Shonowo of Shonowo Hospital is popularly called ‘The Street Doctor’ because he’s made it his mission to care for the sick in local communities who, otherwise, would not be able to afford their medical bills.

The 37-year-old started his career as a young medical officer at General Hospital in Agege Lagos, where he found himself in constant turmoil, having to attend to several patients who could not afford to pay for their healthcare.

“Every time I had to break the news to a patient or their loved ones that they would be needing surgery and I see their shoulders sag in despair and hopelessness, my heart broke.”

“These are people that can barely afford money to pay for hospital registration cards or recommended lab tests. I decided to do something about it,” he said.

What Dr. Shonowo did was to open his own hospital about 4 years ago and take on as many charity cases as he possibly could.

From free maternal healthcare to caesarian sections, breast lump removals, fibroid removals, hernia repairs and other procedures, Dr. Shonowo opened his doors to whoever needed help.

“It’s not easy, I have to tell you,” he says.

“It’s hard running a hospital where over 60 per cent of your patients cannot afford their care. Bills need to be paid, staff need to be taken care of and medication needs to be supplied, yet, we do it all without external funding or grants”.

“Standard healthcare is not negotiable. It is a right that everyone deserves to have and I believe that as a private healthcare practitioner, it is my duty to humanity to do my part.”

On government’s responsibility, Dr. Shonowo says the Nigerian government must pay better attention to Primary Healthcare.

“When the primary health care system does well, it meets people’s health needs, and that is essential if we are to make progress toward the country’s health goals.”

“Primary Health Care should be free for everyone to access. It will help with preventive medicine and it will handle most people’s health needs before it becomes a major problem.” he further added.

Dr. Samson Shonowo is making good on his commitment by opening up the Shonowo Free Surgery program again. This November, 100 hernia patients will be screened and treated for free.

Intending patients can register and book appointments via the hospital’s website.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central TV’s editorial stance.

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East Africa News

Ugandan charity group recalls condoms over poor quality concerns

Marie Stopes Uganda told reporters that the two affected batches each contained “around 400,000” condoms

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Ugandan charity group recalls condoms over poor quality concerns
A pharmacist displays a pack of Life Guard condoms at his pharmacy in Kampala, Uganda on November 19, 2019. - Global health charity Marie Stopes said on November 20, 2019, it had recalled hundreds of thousands of faulty condoms on sale in Uganda, where HIV rates are among the highest in the world. (Photo by Isaac Kasamani / AFP)

Global health charity Marie Stopes said Wednesday it had recalled hundreds of thousands of faulty condoms on sale in Uganda, where HIV rates are among the highest in the world.

The recall followed a warning from Uganda’s National Drug Authority (NDA) that the Life Guard brand condoms had failed manufacturing “quality tests” because they contained holes and may burst.

The affected condoms were manufactured by India-based MHL Healthcare in April 2019 and have an expiry date of April 2024, the government regulator said.

Marie Stopes Uganda spokesman David Kamu told reporters on Wednesday that the two affected batches each contained “around 400,000” condoms.

Ugandan charity group recalls condoms over poor quality concerns
Packs of Life Guard condoms are displayed at a pharmacy in Kampala on November 19, 2019. (Photo by Isaac Kasamani / AFP)

Earlier reports had suggested millions of condoms could have been involved but NDA spokesman Fred Ssekyana told reporters the figure was below one million.

Marie Stopes Uganda said more than half of the condoms of concern had been recalled.

“While the LifeGuard brand follows strict quality controls, unfortunately, two recent batches have fallen short of the quality we demand,” the charity’s country director, Carole Sekimpi, said in a statement Tuesday.

Marie Stopes is the largest and most specialised sexual reproductive health organisation in Uganda, the charity says on its website.

According to UNAIDS, 1.4 million Ugandans are living with HIV.

Last year 53,000 people were newly infected with the disease in the country, the UN agency said.

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Health

8 Foods that help in keeping the kidneys healthy

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8 Foods that help in keeping the kidneys healthy

Kidney failure is one health condition that many dread. Its incurability has been compared to HIV,  cancer and liver problems. Kidney failure is a condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and balance fluids. Kidney failure comes with signs and symptoms which may include: dry and itchy skin, tiredness, urge to urinate often, blood in one’s urine, swollen ankles and feet, loss of appetite, persistent puffiness around the eye, muscle cramp among others.

It is estimated that 10% of the world population suffers from chronic kidney disease and millions die every year mainly because they could not afford medical treatment. When signs and symptoms are detected early enough the symptoms can be curtailed to avoid it progressing to chronic kidney disease which can hardly be treated.

Because It is better to prevent rather than to cure or manage a disease, we will highlight foods that can help improve the functioning of the kidneys and ultimately keep them healthy:

8 Foods that help in keeping the kidneys healthy

Water: The most important food in the fight against kidney diseases is water. Body cells use water to transport toxins to the bloodstreams. The kidneys then use water to filter the toxins out of the body through urine. It is advised you take at least 2 litres of water every day to maintain healthy kidneys.

Fatty fishes: Cold-water fishes like salmons and tuna that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids is good for the kidneys. Since the body cannot make omega-3 fatty acid, we are left with the option of sourcing it from our diets. Also, omega-3 fats reduce fat levels in the blood. They may also lower high blood pressure, as a result, reducing the risk of kidney diseases. 

8 Foods that help in keeping the kidneys healthy

Berries: Berries like raspberry, strawberry and blackberry are rich in antioxidant compounds and other helpful nutrients that protect body cells from damages. Berries are better options when sourcing for sugar than other inorganic sugary foods. 

8 Foods that help in keeping the kidneys healthy

Apples: Apples contain fibres called pectin. Pectin help reduce risks factors for kidney damage like high blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

8 Foods that help in keeping the kidneys healthy

Cherries: Daily consumption of cherries help reduce inflammations. Cherries are packed with antioxidants. Think of healthy kidneys then think cherries!

Egg whites: As we already know, egg whites are rich in high-quality protein with very essential amino acids. Why egg white is recommended for a healthy pair of kidneys is because the proteins contained in egg whites have less phosphorus than are present in other proteinous foods.

Garlic: Garlic has been used medicinally for years because of its antioxidant effects. The University of Maryland medical centre reported that garlic has been used to enhance the immune system and guard against kidney and heart diseases. Garlic is also said to have diuretic properties. Diuretic eliminates salts and water from your body. This, it does by forcing the kidney to put more sodium in the urine. It is essential to maintain a kidney-friendly diet.

8 Foods that help in keeping the kidneys healthy

 Apple Cider vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar contains citric acid that helps in dissolving calcium deposits. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8oz of water help reduce kidney stones symptoms and prevent their development.  Apple cider vinegar is best taken before every meal.

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Health

New vaccine introduced to curb 15-month-old Ebola epidemic in DR Congo

The new vaccine, produced by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, will be administered to about 50,000 people

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Doctors in DR Congo to deploy second Ebola vaccine in November

The Democratic Republic of Congo on  Thursday introduced a second vaccine to fight a 15-month-old epidemic of Ebola in the country, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.

The new vaccine, produced by a Belgian subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, will be administered to about 50,000 people over four months, the charity said.

It aims to broaden the fight against an outbreak that according to official figures has claimed 2,193 lives.

More than a quarter of a million people, many of them frontline health workers, have already been immunised with another anti-Ebola vaccine.

“It’s not a replacement for the first vaccine, it’s being used to complement it, especially in areas where there are no cases of (Ebola) transmission,” MSF coordinator Steve Akuha told AFP.

The epidemic began in August 2018 in the province of North Kivu before spreading to neighbouring Ituri and South Kivu — a remote and largely lawless region bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

It is the DRC’s 10th Ebola epidemic and the second deadliest on record after an outbreak that struck West Africa in 2014-16, claiming more than 11,300 lives.

Two-dose vaccine

Fifteen people received a first injection of the new vaccine in MSF facilities in the North Kivu capital of Goma early Thursday. The formula is administered in two doses at 56-day intervals.

“I’ve just had my vaccination. I’m going to bring my whole family along too,” Joseph Munihire, a 38-year-old father of six, told AFP.

“I call on all those who still have any doubts to come and get vaccinated.”

The disease’s epicentre is in Beni-Butembo, about 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Goma, a sprawling urban hub of between one and two million people on the border with Rwanda.

Four Ebola cases were recorded in the city in July and August, sparking fears the virus could spin out of control in a chaotic, mobile environment.

Efforts to combat Ebola in eastern DR Congo have been hampered by militia violence and local resistance to preventative measures, care facilities and safe burials. 

Health workers have been attacked 300 times, leaving six people dead and 70 wounded since the start of the year, according to the government.

Despite these problems, statistics point to a downward trend. 

The health ministry late Wednesday said it had recorded four new cases of Ebola but no deaths, while 508 suspected cases were being monitored.

“In its current phase, the epidemic is not urban but has become rural,” Professor Jean-Jacques Muyemebe, in charge of coordinating the anti-Ebola fight, said last month.

“We have to track it down, force it into a corner and eliminate it,” he said.

Novel vaccines

The new J&J vaccine was initially rejected by DRC’s former health minister Oly Ilunga, who cited the risks of introducing a new product in communities where mistrust of Ebola responders is already high.

But Ilunga’s resignation in July appears to have paved the way for approval of the second vaccine. He is currently under investigation for alleged embezzlement of Ebola funds.

Both vaccines are novel formulas that, when they were introduced, had been tested for safety but were unlicensed, meaning that they had yet to achieve formal approval from drug authorities.

Manufactured by the US laboratory Merck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD), the first vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, was licensed by the European Commission last week. It is being marketed under the brand name of Ervebo.

Feared virus

The Ebola virus is passed on by contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected or recently deceased person. 

Following incubation of up to three weeks, a high fever develops, coinciding with weakness, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat. 

This is often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, and internal and external bleeding. 

The death rate is typically high, ranging up to 90 per cent in some outbreaks, according to the WHO.

The virus’s natural reservoir is suspected to be a tropical bat which does not itself fall ill but can pass on the microbe to humans who hunt it for food.

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