I wish to draw attention to a public health issue that has become popular in the major cities of Nigeria which is shisha smoking. It is worthy of note that using shisha also poses the same risks as cigarette smoking. I have decided to write this article to create some form of awareness about shisha.
Few days ago, I watched a youtube interview which featured a popular Nigerian artist and throughout the interview the artist engaged in a shisha smoking session which was quite shocking to me.
Following the recent issues emanating with codeine and tramadol abuse among youths in Nigeria,
The federal ministry of health has to up their game in educating the general public on the harmful effects of social substances that are dangerous to health.
There are mixed messages regarding shisha coming from uninformed people that do not understand the ingredients that make up shisha.
The other day I read a comment on social media made by a young Nigerian lady ; advising people that there is nothing wrong with shisha and using it is a way of taking nutritional supplements,
The lady went on to say shisha is mixed with vitamins and minerals and those who engage in smoking it are getting their daily vitamins and minerals.
Her comment had hundreds of likes from people who are as uninformed as her.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) fact sheet on waterpipe tobacco smoking states that -Waterpipe smoke is toxic. Laboratory analyses of waterpipe smoke reveal measurable levels of carcinogens (including tobacco- specific nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAH], volatile aldehydes like formaldehyde, and benzene), and toxicants such as nitric oxide and heavy metals. Additionally, the burning charcoal generates high levels of carbon monoxide.
Systematic reviews of existing research point to significant associations between waterpipe smoking and lung cancer, periodontal disease and low birth weight . More recent data suggest probable associations with oral, oesophageal, gastric and urinary bladder cancer, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic rhinitis, male infertility, gastro-oesophageal reflux and impaired mental health.
Shisha smoking is becoming popular among artists and some celebrities in Nigeria. This is a worrisome trend as such people could easily influence their fans and followers into smoking it as well.
As a clinician I don’t see anything classy in engaging in risky behaviors that could endanger ones health and probably shorten life span.
I care about the health of Nigerians and any little information as regards to self care and healthy living would help especially in this day and age where our healthcare sector is a reflection of system failure in all quarters.
A lot of people believe that smoking shisha is safer than smoking cigarettes but this is not true unfortunately.
The key facts about shisha show that it is even more risky and harmful to health than cigarette smoking.
The British Heart foundation advises that shisha smoking – also called hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking – is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube. (BHF)
Please see below key facts about shisha from a publication by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to learn more:
‘What is in a shisha pipe?
Shisha pipes use tobacco sweetened with fruit or molasses sugar, which makes the smoke more aromatic than cigarette smoke. Popular flavourings include apple, plum, coconut, mango, mint, strawberry and cola. Wood, coal, or charcoal is burned in the shisha pipe to heat the tobacco and create the smoke because the fruit syrup or sugar makes the tobacco damp.
When you smoke shisha, you and anyone sitting near you are breathing in smoke which releases toxins including carbon monoxide and heavy metals –reducing your body’s ability to carry oxygen around in your blood.
How harmful is shisha smoking?
Traditionally shisha tobacco contains cigarette, tobacco so like cigarettes it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead. As a result, shisha smokers are at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy.
It’s difficult to say exactly how much smoke or toxic substances you’re exposed to in a typical shisha session. People smoke shisha for much longer periods of time than they smoke a cigarette, and in one puff of shisha you inhale the same amount of smoke as you’d get from a smoking a whole cigarette.
The average shisha-smoking session lasts an hour and research has shown that in this time you can inhale the same amount of smoke as from more than 100 cigarettes.
Some people mistakenly think that shisha smoking is not addictive because the water used in the pipe can absorb nicotine. In reality, because only some of the nicotine is absorbed by the water, shisha smokers are still exposed to enough nicotine to cause an addiction.
Is herbal shisha safer?
No it isn’t. Shisha, herbal or otherwise, usually contains tobacco. Fruit or herbal flavours do not mean the product is healthy. Even if you use tobacco-free shisha, you’re still at risk from the carbon monoxide and any toxins in the coal or charcoal used to burn the shisha.
Second hand smoke is also a worry. If you’re smoking with other people or in a public place and the shisha includes cigarette tobacco, it’s likely you’ll breathe in their second hand smoke too’’ (BHF).
Now that you know the key facts about shisha, I expect you to make an informed decision whether to use shisha or not considering the risks and associated diseases.
Healthy living is the greatest gift you can give yourself, why not choose health!
Adaku Efuribe is a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Advocate with expertise in medicines management, health promotion and integrated healthcare
Amref Health Africa Kenya Partners with Sisu Global Health and Surgipharm to improve access to blood
Nairobi, Kenya, 17 September 2019 – Amref Health Africa in Kenya, Sisu Global Health and Surgipharm have today unveiled a partnership to improve access to blood and safer surgical outcomes during medical missions and emergencies in Kenya.
The partnership is aimed at increasing blood access in all hospitals to reduce internal bleeding-related deaths through the adoption of HemafuseTM, an innovative medical device that allows clinicians to reuse a patient’s own blood gathered from internal bleeding.
This initiative comes in the wake of the recent move by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to stop its annual funding of KShs2 billion for blood collection and testing services in Kenya. This development comes at a time when the country is facing a chronic shortage of blood as the collection of blood has been plagued by the lack of funds for screening tools and human resources to collect and store blood.
“Blood access is critical to safe surgery. Standard surgical practices require two units of blood on-hand before surgery commences, but there is a severe shortage of blood in the country. Surgeries may be delayed or not performed due to a lack of blood, resulting in increased illness and death. This partnership will make use of an innovative solution that will ensure that patients with internal bleeding have a chance of survival,” said Amref Health Africa in Kenya’s Country Director, Dr Meshack Ndirangu.
HemafuseTM, a product by Sisu Global Health, can filter and pump blood from an internal haemorrhage into a blood bag, allowing it to be re-transfused to the same patient. The device can also be reused up to 25 times. This provides an alternative to donor blood.
“It is inspiring to see Hemafuse used to save lives. With this partnership with Kenya, we look forward to enabling thousands of more clinicians to save more lives across the country. The work we are doing is incredibly important and we are proud to have such a strong partnership with Amref to provide access to blood across Kenya,” said Sajju Jain, Chief Operating Officer at Sisu Global Health.
Speaking at the event, Mr Rakesh Vinayak, Director-Sales & Marketing at Surgipharm, said that the pharmaceutical industry has a critical role to play in finding effective and sustainable solutions to providing access to today’s most pressing health concerns. “Surgipharm has a highly specialised and experienced management team and our relationships with different players in Kenya’s health sector complements and strengthens our existing skill set in logistics across the country. We are excited about the prospects that this partnership brings.”
Memfys Hospital and GE Healthcare Collaborate to Improve Disease Diagnosis for Nigeria’s South-East Regions
Memfys is the first hospital in South-East Nigeria to install GE Healthcare’s SIGNA™ Explorer 1.5Tesla MRI system
LAGOS, Nigeria, August 29, 2019 – The collaboration will help provide innovative technology to enable early diagnosis and detection of diseases; Memfys is the first hospital in South-East Nigeria to install GE Healthcare’s SIGNA™ Explorer 1.5Tesla MRI system.
GE Healthcare has partnered with Memfys Hospital to provide the SIGNA™ Explorer 1.5Tesla MRI system services and training to advance early diagnosis of diseases. By providing clinicians with detailed information about diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and heart diseases, the new equipment will help the hospital to deliver high quality medical services and better care to more patients across the region.
As the only dedicated Neurosurgery hospital in South-East Nigeria, Memfys Hospital is serving a population of over 60 Million People. Investing in the latest technologies such as the SIGNA™ Explorer 1.5Tesla MRI system will help improve the hospital’s diagnostic capabilities for early detection of diseases and at the same time keep up with global best practices to provide the very best for the country and West Africa region at large.
“As a leader in the neurosurgical space, we are committed to continue providing high quality patient care using modern, high tech and reliable equipment that meets the recommendation by the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS). Acquisition of the SIGNA™ Explorer is a huge milestone towards this commitment,” said Professor Samuel C. Ohaegbulam, CEO Global Memfys & Co Ltd.
To ensure sustainability of such investments, Memfys hospital is providing training for both young and experienced doctors embarking on a career in Neurosurgery and Spinal surgery. The hospital is accredited by the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) for full training in neurosurgery making it the only private health institution to enjoy this status in all of Africa. To date, Memfys has trained 20 neurosurgeons and about 10 senior residents.
“We are committed to continue collaborating with both private and public partners to co-create solutions that help tackle pressing healthcare challenges for our region such as Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), as we strive towards Universal Health Coverage. With the SIGNA™ Explorer 1.5Tesla MRI system, the people of South-East Nigeria will not need to leave the region for such specialized services as it has been the practice in the past,” said Eyong Ebai, General Manager for West & Central and French Sub-Sahara Africa Region.
According to WHO’s 2018 report, NCDS including stroke, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are estimated to account for 71% of the 57 million global deaths, while in Nigeria NCDs are estimated to account for 29% of all deaths (2.1M). Early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer improves outcomes by providing care at the earliest possible stage.
Egypt denies postponing official launch of health insurance system
Hala Zayed, Minister of Health Pic: Egypt Today
CAIRO – 29 August 2019: Egypt denied delaying the official launch of the comprehensive health insurance system in Port Said, which is scheduled for the first half of coming Septwmbwe, due to failure of teh pilot phase, according to the cabinet’s media center.
Ministry of Health confirmed that the effective implementation of the system will start in the first half of September, especially after the success of the pilot, the center added in a statement.
Earlier in August, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called for implementing the health insurance system, taking into consideration the technical, human and medical sides to ensure the good quality of medical services.
In July, the pilot operation of the comprehensive health insurance system in Port Said governorate started in July.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said earlier in a press conference that the governorate will be the first to benefit from the new system through 11 general and specialized hospitals and 32 healthcare units.