WHO issues safe abortion guidelines, UK doctors on strike

WHO issues safe abortion guidelines, UK doctors on strike

WORRIED about the rising cases of unsafe abortions due to unwanted pregnancies especially in developing nations such as Nigeria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released technical and policy guidance on the issue for health systems.

The WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research yesterday said it updated its first publication in 2003 in view of the need for evidence-based best practices for providing safe abortion care in order to protect the health of women.

According to the WHO, despite advances in health technologies, an estimated 22 million abortions continue to be performed unsafely each year, resulting in the death of an estimated 47 000 women and disabilities for an additional five million women.

The WHO document: “Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems,” noted that almost every one of these deaths and disabilities could have been prevented through sexuality education, family planning, and the provision of safe, legal induced abortion and care for complications of abortion. Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that improved hand hygiene practice would boost reduction in the high rate of cross-infections. He stressed the significance for change in behaviour and attitude in the general population towards visible and invisible germs which prompt illness.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a national hand hygiene event, Chukwu who was represented by the Head, Family Health department, Dr. Bridget Okoeguale said that global hand hygiene efforts reduce associated infection and patient safety.

Chukwu noted that the theme: ‘Promoting hand hygiene, protecting national health and improving productivity,’ was a strategic direction towards qualitative, accessible and affordable healthcare.

And for the first time in 37 years, doctors in Britain’s state-funded health service took industrial action yesterday in a dispute over changes to their pensions, cancelling thousands of patients’ non-urgent appointments and operations.

The action has elicited solidarity from Nigerian doctors who berated the British government for its hard stance. The doctors under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said the scenario was a vindication of their frequent industrial actions.

President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Osahon Enabulele, told The Guardian yesterday in a telephone interview that the Association “identifies with the demand of the British doctors and urged the government to respond positively.”

Enabulele said the Association “is happy now because the government in Nigeria will no longer use the experience in the Western nations especially United Kingdom to judge them. It is all about the same situation,” he said.

The NMA President explained: “Certainly we made the point that nobody in the world wants to go on strike but poor policy direction and handling of doctors’ welfare. The British issue has been on for some time since 2008. The British Medical Association (BMA) have an agreement with government but three years after the government decided to change it without due consulting the doctors.

He continued: “Certainly, the British government was wrong for insisting on its position which is Draconian. The British doctors are not the highest paid in England so one wonders the high handedness and insensitivity from the government.According to Reuters, the medics are the latest group of public sector workers to take industrial action in recent months over government cuts to taxpayer-funded pension schemes.

BMA said doctors would only treat urgent and emergency cases in a 24-hour protest against government plans to make them pay more towards their pensions and retire at a later age.

Source: Naija.ng

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