GENEVA, Switzerland, February 13th, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA) /-In Africa, where a pregnant woman living with HIV lives has a big influence on whether her baby will be born HIV-free, and, if not, how her infant will acquire HIV.
There are a many reasons for vertical (mother-to-child) transmission of HIV, including: women not receiving antenatal and prevention of vertical HIV transmission services during pregnancy or breastfeeding; women starting antiretroviral therapy but falling out of care during pregnancy or breastfeeding; and women becoming infected with HIV during breastfeeding or pregnancy. However, not all countries face the same challenges, and to make rapid progress in eliminating vertical transmission it is crucial to know which means of transmission is contributing to the most new HIV infections among children in a country or region.
While the causes of vertical transmission of HIV in different regions vary, one thing is sure: far too many babies are still becoming infected with HIV.
FIFA president meets Trump to discuss 2026 World Cup finals
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has met United States president Donald Trump to discuss preparations for the 2026 World Cup, the global football body said on Thursday.
United States are to co-host the finals with Mexico and Canada.
“President Infantino thanked President Trump for his great commitment to the success of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and his engagement in a bright future for football in the United States,” it said.
Infantino also made a courtesy visit to United States Attorney General William Barr where he used the opportunity to “personally thank the United States authorities… for their work in the fight against corruption in football.”
Several dozen football officials, mainly from Latin America and the Caribbean, were indicted in the United States in 2015 on corruption charges leading to the biggest scandal in FIFA’s history.
Several of those have since been jailed.
“Ever since I was elected, we have shown our determination to eradicate the malpractices which tarnished FIFA’s reputation in the past,” Infantino, who was elected in 2016, was quoted as saying.
“I have had similar meetings in Switzerland, and FIFA’s lawyers are also in regular contact with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies wherever and whenever needed,” he added.
“In this way, I am fully convinced that the credibility and reputation of FIFA is being restored at the highest level.”
Infantino himself is the subject of criminal proceedings in his native Switzerland.
These were launched by a special prosecutor looking into meetings the FIFA president had with former Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.
Lauber and Infantino have denied wrongdoing.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
NEPWHAN commends NACA, UNAIDS for initiating HIV self testing roundtable
The National Coordinator of the network, Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.
Ibrahim, who said that the exercise was in line with UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 goals, said it was key to unlocking one of the 90 goals.
He said that self-testing was a roadmap to reducing infection in Nigeria using preventive interventions, having known one’s status.
“Knowing your HIV status is very instrumental in fighting the virus because as soon as you know it, the next step is treatment aimed at suppressing the viral load assuming the status is positive.
The national coordinator advised Nigerians, especially youths to support the exercise by participating in self-testing without fear, aimed at reducing HIV in the country.
NAN reports that the West and Central African Region (WCAR) still registered some of the highest rates of new HIV infections worldwide (16 per cent) in spite of a low prevalence of HIV (1.9 per cent).
In this region, only 48 per cent of people living with HIV were are of their status.
Therefore, being one of the keys to unlocking the first 90 goals as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2016.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Ejiofor)
Fed Cup to be renamed Billie Jean King Cup
Almost 60 years after Billie Jean King helped the United States win the inaugural Fed Cup, the team event is being renamed in honour of the greatest trailblazer in women’s tennis.
The competition will from 2021 be known as the Billie Jean King Cup, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said in a statement.
It was revamped this year to feature a 12-nation finals week to rival the men’s Davis Cup.
This year’s finals, scheduled for Budapest in April, were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
King, a 12-times Grand Slam singles champion and the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), said she was “humbled” to have the competition named after her.
“Very proud, very humbled,” the 76-year-old told Reuters by telephone. “I keep thinking it’s a dream. And then I start thinking about what an opportunity this is to help the game grow globally.
“(The Federation Cup) was 63 years behind the Davis Cup but we’ve gone from 16 to 116 nations.
“We have equal prize money to the Davis Cup and this sends out an important and strong message of equality.”
The Billie Jean Cup, sponsored by BNP Paribas, is the first major global team competition to be named after a woman.
Next year’s Finals in Hungary will boast 12 million dollars in prize money, equivalent to the revamped Davis Cup.
ITF President David Haggerty paid tribute to King’s fight for gender equality in sports and society.
“From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious United States team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first president, to being the first female athlete awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has never stopped breaking new ground,” Haggerty said.
“Today she adds another `first’ to that list. The new name is a fitting tribute to everything she has achieved.”
King was part of the team that won the inaugural competition, then known as the Federation Cup, in London in 1963.
She won it seven times as a player and four as captain and was appointed its first Global Ambassador last year.
“There is nothing quite like the feeling of representing your country and being part of a team, which is why this competition is so special and important to me,” she said.
“Our job is to share this vision with future generations of young girls, because if you can see it, you can be it.”
France, Russia, Hungary, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, the United States, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland will contest next year’s inaugural Billy Jean King Cup Finals.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Foundation says COVID-19 pushes 37m people into extreme poverty
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed some 37 million people into extreme poverty, a majority of them in developing countries, a report released on Tuesday by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shows.
The Goalkeepers 2020 report shows that after 20 straight years of poverty numbers coming down, the disease has reversed the trend.
“The pandemic has pushed almost 37 million people below the 2,000 shillings ($1.9) a day extreme poverty line.
“The poverty line for lower-middle-income countries is $3.20 a day and 68 million people have fallen below that one since last year,’’ says the report.
Apart from fanning poverty, the disease has disrupted food access and exacerbated child and maternal mortality.
“Due to the COVID-19 economic crisis, local food markets are less busy and consumers have less money to buy food, which means small-scale farmers are selling and earning less.
“This is on top of climate stresses that have been getting worse in recent years as well as this year’s locust infestation in East Africa, both of which threaten their livelihoods,’’ says the report.
It added that COVID-19 was causing more women than men to suffer and die, in large number because the pandemic has disrupted healthcare before, during and immediately after childbirth.
“Preventable, treatable complications such as severe bleeding, infection and high blood pressure cause the vast majority of maternal deaths.
“Many healthcare workers who used to manage these emergencies, including experienced nurse-midwives, are being diverted to COVID-19 wards,’’ says the report.
According to the report, ids and tuberculosis patients are the other groups that are worst affected by the pandemic, according to the report.
“Before COVID-19, there were already three million ‘missing cases’ of TB; people with active TB who didn’t know it and were passing the disease to others while going untreated themselves.
“Now, that number will grow even larger as people either cannot go to health facilities for diagnosis or choose not to go to avoid the possibility of exposure to COVID-19,’’ notes the report dubbed COVID-19, A Global Perspective.
But many countries have responded to the crisis well, notes the report, investing $18 trillion in economic stimulus proving that the world understands how massive the COVID-19 crisis is.
“Many developing countries are doing impressive work on digital cash transfers that put money directly in people’s hands.
“According to the World Bank, 131 countries have either implemented new programmes or expanded existing ones since February, reaching 1.1 billion people,’’ says the report.
In Africa, eight members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, allowed people to open accounts by text message or telephone and follow up later to verify their identity in person.
“More than eight million West Africans signed up for accounts while their countries were in lockdown,’’ says the report.
In spite of bleak projections, Bill and Melinda Gates describe a path to ending the pandemic and resuming progress toward the Global Goals.
In the report, which they co-author every year, they call on the world to collaborate on the development of diagnostics, vaccines and treatment
Collaboration is also required in manufacture tests and doses as quickly as possible as well as delivering these tools equitably based on need rather than the ability to pay.
“The response to COVID-19 pandemic has shown us some of the best of humanity like path-breaking innovation, heroic acts by frontline workers and ordinary people doing the best they can for their families, neighbours and communities,’’ Bill and Melinda Gates write.
“This is a shared global crisis that demands a shared global response.’’
The report makes clear that no single country will be able to meet this challenge alone.
Any attempts by one country to protect itself while neglecting others will only prolong the hardships caused by the pandemic.
Developing and manufacturing vaccines will not end the pandemic quickly unless they are delivered equitably.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde