By Gistflash News
Sept 14, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, on Tuesday said more than 5.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered globally, but only two per cent of them in Africa.
The UN agency is urging every country to vaccinate at least 40 per cent of its population by the end of 2021, and hopes to help ensure that 70 per cent of the world’s population is vaccinated by the middle of 2022.
At a press conference on COVID-19 and vaccine equity in Africa, which is home to more than 1.2 billion people, Ghebreyesus informed that, so far, just two countries in Africa have reached the 40 per cent target, the lowest of any region.
“That’s not because African countries don’t have the capacity or experience to roll out COVID-19 vaccines. It’s because they’ve been left behind by the rest of the world,” he said.
Ghebreyesus explained that “this leaves people at high risk of disease and death, exposed to a deadly virus against which many other people around the world enjoy protection”.
For him, the longer vaccine inequity persists, the more the virus will keep circulating and changing, the longer the social and economic disruption will continue, and the higher the chances that more variants will emerge that render vaccines less effective.
To avoid this situation, in 2020, WHO partnered with UNICEF, CEPI, GAVI and others to create COVAX.
So far, the initiative has shipped more than 260 million doses to 141 countries.
Ghebreyesus pointed to several challenges, with manufacturers prioritising bilateral deals and many high-income countries tying up the global supply of shots.
He also highlighted a similar initiative, established by the African Union, the COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, known as AVAT.
On Monday and Tuesday, WHO representatives met with the leaders of AVAT “to agree on a way forward”, Ghebreyesus said: “Vaccine inequity is a solvable problem.”
He called on manufacturers to prioritise COVAX and AVAT.
To countries with high coverage levels, he asked them to swap their near-term vaccines deliveries, fulfil their dose-sharing pledges immediately, and facilitate the sharing of technology.
WHO chief also called on all countries and manufacturers to share information on bilateral deals, supply and delivery projections and to recognise all vaccines with a WHO Emergency Use Listing.
Kano State records 11,475 cholera cases, 329 deaths – Official
By Gistflash News
Sept 22, 2021
Kano State has so far recorded no fewer than 11,475 suspected cholera cases from March to date with the death of 329 people.
The Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO) of the state, Mr Sulaiman Iliyasu, disclosed this at a media sensitisation on COVID-19 pandemic and Cholera outbreak on Wednesday in Kano.
He said that the cases were reported across the 44 local government areas of the state.
Iliyasu said out of the number, 11,115 cases had fully recovered, while 329 people had died.
He revealed that 31 cases were still receiving treatment from three local government areas of the state as of Sept. 21.
The officer said that Kano was second in the country with highest number of the cases.
According to him, Sumaila Local Government Area has the highest number of cases with more than 2,000 cases.
He said that Bichi and Gwarzo, were second and third in the prevalence, while Kunchi and Dala local governments had the least number of the cases.
“Kano State has the population of more than 15.3 million, the attack rate is 0.074 per cent,” he said.
Iliyasu said that the state government had distributed drugs to contain the spread of the disease.
He said the government had established cholera treatment centres, intensified social mobilisation, community awareness and chlorination of water points all as part of measures to check the disease.
He revealed that poor personal hygiene and environmental sanitation as well as taking unhygienic food and drinking contaminated water, were responsible for the outbreak.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, the state Director, Public Health and Disease Control, Dr Ashir Rajab, said that more than 98,000 samples had been taken for laboratory tests.
Rajab said that about 4,000 cases were confirmed positive, while 3,900 cases had been discharged and about 119 persons died as a result of the disease.
He revealed that the state had enough vaccines in all the 44 local government areas of the state.
Rajab urged the media to intensify efforts in enlightening people on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and continue adhering to the experts’ guidelines and protocols.
In his contribution, Mr Ogu Enemaku of UNICEF urged the media to intensify partnership with the government to contain the diseases outbreak.
He also urged people to desist from the practice of defecation and ensure good personal hygiene and environmental sanitation.
Enemaku urged people to come out en masse to be immunised against COVID-19.
FEC approves N836m augmentation for 38 COVID-19 oxygen plants
By Gistflash News
Sept 22, 2021
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N836million as augmentation for the establishment of oxygen production plants for COVID-19 pandemic intervention across the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the council had in June approved N5.615 billion to four major contractors for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of the 38 oxygen plants in various parts of the country.
NAN reports that the approval in June followed the Presidential Steering Committee’s (PSC) announcement to increase oxygen reserve capacity in the event of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting, on behalf of the Minister of Health, said the approval of the upward review followed a memo presented by the minister of health to the council.
The meeting was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday in Abuja.
The minister said: “The Minister of Health also presented a memo seeking for an upward review for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of the 38 oxygen plants all over the country.
“You will remember in June, the Federal Executive Council, actually approved the sum of N5.615 billion to four major contractors for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of 38 oxygen plants in various parts of the country.
“Regrettably, the four companies also came back recently with the same complaints ranging from fluctuation in the foreign exchange and the scarcity of the material all over the world as a result of COVID-19.
“So, he presented a memo for augmentation in the sum of N836 million and this was also approved today.
Mohammed disclosed that the council also approved a revised estimate costs and extension of the contract of the consultants supervising the Bagwai Water Dam Irrigation project from an initial sum of N98 million to N302.8million.
“The Bagwai Water Dam Irrigation project in Bagwai Local Government Area of Kano State actually was commenced, the initial contract was actually awarded in year 2005.
“And due to several logistics problems, the project is still on and just recently the FEC actually approved an augmentation of the entire contract and that means also that the mandate of the consultant supervising the construction would also have to be reviewed.
“So, now the total cost for the consultancy is N302. 9 million.’’
IHVN joins 5-year multi-country project to improve maternal, new born health
By Gistflash News
Sept 19, 2021
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has joined a multi -country research project to improve Maternal and Newborn health in conflict-affected countries, including Nigeria, according to Dr. Emilia Iwu, Senior Technical Advisor, IHVN.
Iwu, who disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday, in Abuja, added that the five-year project would focus its research on the day of birth and the first week of life, the timeframe with the highest number of Newborn deaths globally.
Iwu disclosed that the new partnership aimed at improving maternal and Newborn health in conflict-affected countries, through the creation of a multi-country research consortium.
“With funding provided by UK Aid, the $11.3 million contract will be led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) alongside IHVN, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and its university-wide Centre for Humanitarian Health, the Somali Research and Development Institute, and Université Catholique de Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Ensuring quality access and learning for mothers and new borns in conflict-affected contexts — this contract is one of the largest research investments to date on the topic in humanitarian contexts and will work to identify and fill evidence gaps that could ultimately improve policies, programming, and outcomes for mothers and new borns,” she said.
“In 2019, alone, 2.4 million babies died in the first month of life. 75% of which occurred in the first week.
“The consortium will conduct research in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan ; countries and regions where maternal and Newborn mortality rates ranked among the highest globally.
”In Nigeria, for example, 35 new born babies die for every 1,000 live births , a devastating statistic that is nearly ten times higher than the risk faced by new borns in high-income countries,” she noted.
Iwu added that in addition to delivering cutting-edge research, EQUAL would invest in opportunities for partners and key stakeholders, to share expertise and strengthen technical, research, and operational capacities.
She added that this would include dedicated training and mentorship for female researchers, as well as using the research findings to help inform national health policies and guidelines.
“In Nigeria, IHVN will collaborate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, the Government of Yobe State, the Faculty of Shehu Sule College of Nursing and Midwifery to conduct operations research on the quality of midwifery education and practices.
“Specifically, we will conduct a 5-year assessment of the recently implemented Community Midwifery program to examine the effectiveness these midwives have in addressing gaps in maternal and neonatal health within rural communities in Yobe State.
”Of particular interest are factors affecting the midwifery workforce, participation, retention, performance, and personal resilience, during periods of increased insecurity,” Iwu explained.
According to her, the need for this work had become even more apparent in the face of COVID-19, as mobility restrictions, fear of transmission, and limited resources continued to prevent women from accessing safe delivery and postpartum care.
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