HPV infection and cervical cancer in Nigeria

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A study confirms that in Nigeria, as elsewhere, women infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18 are at higher risk of developing invasive cervical cancer than those infected with other high-risk HPV types. Current HPV16/18 vaccines have enormous potential to reduce cervical cancer in Nigeria, the study concluded.

In the general population, 26.3 percent of women were HPV-positive, among whom the prevalence of HPV35 and HPV16 were equally frequent (12 percent). Among those with cervical cancer, however, HPV16 predominated strongly (67.6 percent of HPV-positive cases), with the next most common types being 18 (10.3 percent), 35, 45 and 56 (each 5.9 percent).
Comparing among HPV-positive women only, HPV16 and HPV18 were over-represented in cervical cancer cases versus the general population. Other high-risk HPV types, as well as low-risk and multiple HPV infections were less common in HPV-positive women with cervical cancer than from the general population.

1. Okolo C, Franceschi S, Adewole I, et al. Human papillomavirus infection in women with and without cervical cancer in Ibadan, Nigeria. Infectious Agents and Cancer 2010; 5: 24. (open access)

Famine linked to non-communicable diseases in Nigeria

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Fetal and infant undernutrition is associated with significantly increased risk of hypertension, overweight and impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes among Nigerians who were born during the famine that afflicted the Biafra region of Nigeria during its civil war (1967-1970). Of the one to three million Igbo people that are estimated to have lost their lives during the Nigerian Civil War, only about 10 percent died of military violence. The majority succumbed to starvation.

 Prevention of undernutrition during pregnancy and in infancy should therefore be given high priority in health, education and economic agendas.

1. Hult M, Tornhammar P, Ueda P, et al. Hypertension, diabetes and overweight: looming legacies of the Biafran Famine. PLoS ONE 2010; 5(10): e13582. (open access)

Malaria prevention practices of adolescent students in Nigeria

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The problem of malaria among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa has largely been overshadowed by the huge burden of the disease among younger children, as well as the huge burden of HIV/AIDS among adolescents.

A study of school adolescents in the coastal community of Calabar, Nigeria, highlighted the need to empower teachers with malaria information in order to address the lack of knowledge and misconceptions about the transmission and treatment of malaria among teenage students. The study indicated that more than 75 percent of the students were aware that mosquitos transmit the malaria parasite through biting.

The adolescents’ malaria prevention practices demonstrated their lack of knowledge. Few would prevent malaria attacks by:

  • clearing the vegetation in their peri-domestic environment (13.5%),
  • filling up potholes (16.9%),
  • opening up drainage (11%),
  • using insecticide-treated nets (25.7%) or
  • using antimalarial drugs (11.2%).

Less than one-tenth said they would use various other methods such as not accepting unscreened blood, while only 11 percent obtained the information from their teachers.

1. Udonwa NE, Gyuse AN, Etokidem AJ. Malaria: Knowledge and prevention practices among school adolescents in a coastal community in Calabar, Nigeria. African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine 2010; 2(1): 103. (open access)

HIV/AIDS education improved by digital audio technology

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An HIV/AIDS education program implemented in rural Nigeria that incorporated digital audio technology and was tailored to the culture and language of the community may provide a feasible and cost-effective alternative to improving HIV/AIDS knowledge in low-literacy rural settings.

A study, which compared the technology-assisted program to a conventional seminar/pamphlet-based program, was published in the journal BMC International Health and Human Rights.

The audio device-assisted intervention was associated with more improved HIV/AIDS knowledge among participants than the conventional approach of educating the public through seminars and pamphlet distribution, the study found.

Read more at Suite101.com.

1. Ofotokun I, Binongo JNG, Rosenberg ES, et al. Culturally-adapted and audio-technology assisted HIV/AIDS awareness and education program in rural Nigeria: a cohort study. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010; 10: 2. (open access)