Category: health

#EndSARS protests: Evaluating Nigeria’s well being and training spending to price of lawmaker maintenance

Nigeria noticed main protests over police brutality and weak governance in October 2020, with younger folks demanding reforms.

Throughout and after the #EndSARS protests, which attracted worldwide consideration, a number of claims concerning the nation’s improvement circulated on social media. 

One of many most generally shared claims in contrast nationwide spending on well being and training to the finances for lawmakers.

“Nigeria’s healthcare finances is N46 billion for 200 million folks. Nigeria’s training finances is N48 billion for 200 million folks. Nigeria’s legislator’s finances is N125 billion for 465 folks. The politician vs the folks,” it learn

We checked if the out there proof backed up these figures. 

Declare

Nigeria’s healthcare finances is N46 billion for 200 million folks.

Verdict

incorrect

No reference interval is given for this and the opposite claims. As of 1 July 2020, the UN estimated Nigeria’s inhabitants at 206.3 million.

To fact-check this declare, we first seemed on the 2021 finances proposals president Muhammadu Buhari offered to the nationwide meeting on 8 October 2020, whereas the protests have been underway.

On this finances, the federal authorities proposed to allocate N380.21 billion to healthcare, or about eight instances the N46 billion given within the graphic.  

We additionally seemed on the present finances. The allocation to well being was initially N441 billion, earlier than being pared right down to N414.46 billion because of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impression on the economic system. 

Information from our promise tracker instrument exhibits budgetary allocations to well being from 2017 to 2019 have been not less than N300 billion.

Healthcare persistently underfunded

Healthcare is underfunded in Nigeria, with its share of the finances often lower than 5%, Prof Kayode Osungbade, who teaches well being coverage and administration on the College of Ibadan, advised Africa Examine. 

Healthcare will get simply 2.9% of the whole finances proposed for 2021. Our promise tracker reveals that its finances has not breached 5% since 2015. 

That is regardless of the 2001 Abuja Declaration wherein African nations set a goal to spend not less than 15% of their annual finances on well being, Osungbade stated.  

“Budgeting so little for well being means there can be poor infrastructure, insufficient provides and low-quality healthcare supply.”

Declare

Nigeria’s training finances is N48 billion for 200 million folks.

Verdict

incorrect

The 2020 finances initially allotted N686.8 billion to training, earlier than revising this to N473.05 billion.

The federal government allotted N541 billion to training in 2018  and N462 billion in 2019, our promise tracker exhibits

For 2021, the federal government has proposed an allocation of N545.1 billion.

Nathaniel Abraham, a professor of instructional administration on the College of Port Harcourt, stated it was an indication of insufficient funding that the training finances was being in contrast with the price of the nationwide meeting.

He cited poor funding and low workers morale as a few of the challenges dealing with public studying establishments in Nigeria.

Extra funding would assist “rebuild our colleges, practice lecturers, present tools and studying materials, and construct expert manpower for the way forward for this nation”, Abraham advised Africa Examine.

Declare

Nigeria’s legislator’s finances is N125 billion.

Verdict

understated

The federal government has proposed N128 billion for the nationwide meeting in 2021.

That is unchanged from the determine the meeting authorized in December 2019. Lawmakers declined to move the N125 billion finances Buhari initially proposed.

Because of the pandemic the manager additionally proposed to chop the meeting’s finances to N115.2 billion however this was additionally not authorized.

The N125 billion declare is N3 billion in need of what was finally authorized.

Some lawmakers have argued that decreasing the nationwide meeting finances wouldn’t make a distinction to the economic system.

However a leaner federal parliament would have a big impact, in response to Abubakar Abdullahi, a professor of improvement economic system and coverage on the Usman Danfodiyo College Sokoto.

Given poverty ranges in Nigeria, “N128 billion makes an enormous distinction,” he advised Africa Examine.

“A minimal wage of about N30,000 a month is but to be totally applied; that’s N1,000 a day. Are you aware what number of minimal wages are in N128 billion?” 

Abdullahi stated that in a scenario the place many of the inhabitants had low buying energy, extra public funds would assist strengthen the nation’s productive sectors, “which incorporates training and healthcare”.

READ: Does a Nigerian lawmaker earn greater than US President Donald Trump?

Declare

There are 465 federal legislators.

Verdict

understated

The graphic means that 465 federal legislators make up Nigeria’s nationwide meeting. 

The nation has a two-chamber legislature;: the senate and home of representatives. The senate has 109 seats, comprising three senatorial districts for every of Nigeria’s 36 states and one for the federal capital. 

The home has 360 members. Whereas the variety of federal constituencies varies from one state to a different, 358 members signify federal constituencies in 36 states whereas two signify Abuja.

Altogether, there are 469 federal legislators, not 465.

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Weighing Nigeria’s sickle cell burden: is it the world’s highest?

Nigerians living with sickle cell disease face stigma as the illness is poorly understood, a TV station in the country reported on World Sickle Cell Day on 19 June.

Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affect or make sick the red blood cells in the blood stream, leading to pain and other serious health problems. It is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes—one from each parent.

But the disease is not a death sentence, said TVC News. The station was reporting on local groups marking international awareness days dedicated to the disease and to blood donation in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state in the south of the country.

To show the national burden of sickle cell disease, the news report made three claims we looked at. 

Africa Check has asked the station for its evidence for the claims and will update this report when we receive a response.

Claim

‘Nigeria currently has the highest burden worldwide of sickle cell disease.’

Verdict

correct

Organisations such as the country’s Sickle Cell Awareness and Health Foundation are urging the government to reduce this statistic, TVC News said. The foundation also called for affordable blood testing centres. 

The “burden of disease” is a measure of how a disease or other health problem affects a population, according to the World Health Organization or WHO. This can include death or the loss of health. It is useful for making policy. (Note: For more on how it is measured read here.)

The disease burden is comparable across regions because it considers several factors such as the number of deaths, incidence, prevalence and life expectancy. Prof Tanimola Akande, of the epidemiology and community health unit of the University of Ilorin in western Nigeria, explained this to Africa Check.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, at the University of Washington in the US, publishes data on the global burden of disease. To do this, it works with the WHO.

Its most recent data from 2017 shows Nigeria has the highest number of people with sickle cell disease and those who die from its complications.

Effect of disease in numbers

What does this look like in numbers? A measure called the Disability Adjusted Life Year, or DALY, is used. This is calculated by adding the number of years a person loses by dying prematurely from a disease, and the years lost due to living with disabilities linked to the disease.

One DALY represents the loss of a full year lived healthily and it is expressed per 100,000 of a population.

For sickle cell disorders, Nigeria had an average of 643,374 disability-adjusted life years per 100,000 people, the highest globally. For deaths it had 7,105 per 100,000, also a global high. 

Incidence of sickle cell trait among Africans

The country’s population size and the incidence of the sickle cell gene and the resulting sickle cell disease play a significant role in its burden, Collins Boakye-Agyemang from the WHO’s communications team told Africa Check.  

He directed us to a 2010 report that showed sickle cell disease is the most prevalent genetic disease in Africa, with between 10 and 40% of the population carrying the gene. An estimated 2% on the continent had the disease.

While national estimates were “challenging because of the lack of federal newborn screening programmes”, it was estimated that every year, at least 150,000 newborns in Nigeria had sickle-cell disease. There are about 7 million births in Nigeria annually.

 Although limited data was available, Boakye-Agyeman said one newborn screening programme in Africa showed that the prevalence of the disease in newborns was 3%. 

Claim

‘Nigeria bears 50% of the global sickle cell burden.’

Verdict

incorrect

The claim that Nigeria accounts for 50% of the global sickle cell burden is incorrect, Prof Isaac Odame told Africa Check. He is the director of the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network, a community of clinicians and scientists who study the disease globally, and the Alexandra Yeo Chair in Hematology at the University of Toronto, Canada.

“No, Nigeria bears 30% of the global sickle cell burden,” said Odame.

Even if only the number of newborns with sickle cell anaemia were considered, Nigeria still wouldn’t have half the global burden.

He referred us to research on the global burden of sickle cell in children under age five which estimated that in 2010, Nigeria, India, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo represented 57% of the annual number of newborns with sickle cell anaemia. 

According to the study published in 2013, these countries will account for 55% of the total by 2050, with Nigeria’s share projected to increase from 30% to 35%. 

Claim

‘For every two babies born with sickle cell in the world, one is a Nigerian.’

Verdict

incorrect

This claim is incorrect, Prof Isaac Odame from the University of Toronto, Canada, told Africa Check. 

“No, one in every three babies born with sickle cell in the world is a Nigerian,” Odame said. He is also a physician in the division of haematology and oncology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

Dr Prebo Barango, the head of the WHO’s intercountry support team for East and Southern Africa, also said the claim is off the mark.

But the country still has a high number of deaths in children from the disease, Barango said. 

He identified late diagnosis and immunisation gaps, for example against pneumonia and meningitis, as some reasons for this.

“They are more prone to have adverse outcomes of not being immunised.”  

Collins Boakye-Agyemang from the WHO also told Africa Check the claim is incorrect.

In Africa, deaths from complications of the disease occur mostly in children under five, adolescents and pregnant women, he said. Less than half of affected children reach their fifth birthday, with childhood mortality being between 50 and 80%.  

In 2010 African countries approved a regional strategy against the disease but many are struggling to follow through on it informing the persistently high burden on the continent, Boakye-Agyemang said.

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No, Nigeria hasn’t found Covid-19 vaccine yet – but hunt is on

Has Nigeria developed a vaccine against Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus? 

News of this potentially significant development was widely shared on social media in late June 2020. A barrage of local headlines also broadcast it, with some international media joining in.

“Breakthrough As Nigerian Scientists Unveil Covid-19 Vaccine,” said the headline of Nigeria’s Leadership newspaper.

The Guardian went with “Nigerian universities’ scientists discover vaccine for Covid-19”.

There has been some consternation in the country that Africa’s largest economy has been reduced to a bystander in the global search for ways to counter the pandemic.

Have these Nigerian researchers beaten others in the hunt for a vaccine? 

Potential vaccine ‘candidate’, not vaccine, discovered

The story stems from a news conference called on 19 June by a group of scientists based in Nigerian universities. It was widely reported that they said they had discovered a vaccine.

A vaccine is a biological preparation that helps the body’s immune system recognise and fight viruses and bacteria. 

The leader of the research team, Dr Oladipo Kolawole of Adeleke University in Osun state, reportedly said the vaccine, while developed in Africa for Africa, would work anywhere.

While the news headlines played up the discovery of a functional vaccine, the articles themselves suggested it was still work in progress.

We therefore asked Kolawole what exactly his team had done.

“We referred to the news as a potential vaccine candidate, not a vaccine. Those who referred to it as a vaccine chose to do what they wanted to do,” he told us.

Researchers focused on African data

Kolawole, a specialist in medical virology, immunology and bioinformatics, said the group had explored the SARS-CoV-2 genome from African countries to select the best possible vaccine.

SARS-CoV-2, or “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”, is the technical name of the virus that causes Covid-19.

In March 2020, Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control announced that local researchers had sequenced the genome of the coronavirus strain in the country’s first confirmed case. They found it to be a match with the virus circulating in Italy and Wuhan, China, the health agency said, adding that this was the first time the virus had been sequenced in Africa.

Sequencing refers to investigating the genetic make-up of an organism. 

Press conference ‘hasty’ – virology expert

Kolawole was also reported as saying it would take a minimum of 18 months before the vaccine could be unveiled to the public.

He told Africa Check that “[the potential vaccine] has to undergo a lot of test trials before you can conclude finally that it is a vaccine. There are a lot of tests to be conducted in animals, humans, and approval from authorities”. 

Professor of virology and former president of the Nigeria Academy of Science, Oyewale Tomori, told Africa Check that the researchers may have been too hasty in calling the press conference as it could lead to the spread of misinformation. 

“It is not correct to say we have found a vaccine, instead it should be called a candidate vaccine. To say we have found a vaccine means you have already tested it and confirmed that it is good. If you called it a candidate vaccine, that would have been correct,” Tomori said.

Authorities ‘not aware’

Nigeria’s centre for disease control told Africa Check it had not received an official notice of a locally produced vaccine.

“Scientific innovations are best announced through peer reviewed scientific publications in reputable journals, not via unvalidated press releases,” said Chinwe Ochu, the head of prevention programmes and knowledge management at the agency.

“As much as NCDC will be happy to receive health innovations to support the public health response, such products must follow standard scientific protocols for scrutiny and validation to ensure they are effective and safe.” 

The path to a vaccine

What hurdles does a vaccine encounter before it is ready for use? According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are six basic stages in developing a vaccine, from the exploratory and clinical development phases to regulatory approval and manufacturing.

As of 23 June 2020, more than 8.9 million cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed around the world. Over 469,000 people had died from the disease. Nigeria had over 20,000 confirmed cases, while more than 500 people had died since the first case was reported on 27 February.

While there were many potential vaccines being developed, there was no operational vaccine available for Covid-19 yet, according to the World Health Organization

According to a 22 June update by the global health agency, there were 13 different candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation, which is a three-phase process. There were another 129 candidate vaccines across the world in the preclinical evaluation stage. No Nigerian vaccine was listed in the update. 

Conclusion: Still long way for Nigeria in search for Covid-19 vaccine

Several media publications reported in late June 2020 that Nigerian scientists had unveiled a vaccine for the new coronavirus. 

But the researchers said what they had was a potential vaccine candidate, and it would be months before it could be said to be effective. The country’s NCDC also said it has no knowledge yet of a functional vaccine.

If confirmed as a candidate, it would join the ranks of tens of others that are in various phases of development. 

Additional reporting by Motunrayo Joel

Further reading:

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LIVE GUIDE: All our coronavirus fact-checks in one place

The global spread of the Covid-19 disease has led to unprecedented measures around the world. But spreading almost as fast has been misinformation. [LAST UPDATED: 27 AUG 2020]

As the world battles to bring Covid-19 infections under control, more and more people are seeking information around the virus.

The World Health Organization says that the pandemic has been accompanied by an “infodemic“: “an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”. 

Africa Check has been busy fact-checking viral WhatsApp messages, Facebook posts, tweets and news articles. We will continue to do so as long as there is a need for accurate information during this difficult time. 

We have grouped our fact-checks into a running list of six broad categories. 

Want even more fact-checks?

Do you have questions for us? Please submit them through our dedicated Info Finder Covid-19 page. You can also find answers to the questions you have asked.


Bonus Reads – all about masks:

ANALYSIS: Not all cloth masks are equal, but better than no protection from coronavirus

And on 5G:

FACTSHEET: Five questions about 5G technology answered

More Resources

Are you a reporter battling against the tide of misinformation? Or just keen on learning more about misinformation in this tough period?

Share this #LiveGuide

Many people may feel helpless during this time, especially if they are working from home or self-isolating. But we can all help combat false and misleading information about the novel coronavirus.

Please share this #LiveGuide and encourage your friends and family to share accurate information. Tag @AfricaCheck and use #CoronaVirusFacts.

 

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website”, with a link back to this page.




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