We are very grateful to the US Government for this generous donation of Moderna vaccinesNAIROBI, Kenya, August 23, 2021/APO Group/ --
This morning at 6:15am, 880,460 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi. The vaccines – which form the first of two shipments totalling 1.76 million doses – were donated by the United States Government via the COVAX facility and transported by UNICEF. This is the first time that Moderna vaccines have been received in Kenya and widens the portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines available for the national vaccination rollout.
The flight was met at the airport by senior Kenya Government officials led by Ministry of Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr Mercy Mwangangi and Principal Secretary (PS) Susan Mochache, US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Eric Kneedler, UNICEF Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman and World Health Organization (WHO) Officer in Charge, Health System Cluster Lead Dr Mona Almudhwahi.
“We are very grateful to the US Government for this generous donation of Moderna vaccines,” Ministry of Health PS Susan Mochache said. “This will greatly support the ongoing rollout of Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign and help us reach the target announced by His Excellency President Kenyatta to vaccinate 10 million Kenyans by the end of December 2021. Vaccination is now open to all Kenyans over the age of 18. I would like to emphasise that all WHO and Government of Kenya approved vaccines, including the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines, are safe and effective. Members of the public will receive available vaccines at the health centre they visit, upon registration in the Chanjo System, Portal.health.go.ke.”
“This donation builds on the United States partnership with the Government of Kenya in response to COVID-19,” said US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Eric Kneedler. “These life-saving vaccines will fill an important need at a critical time in Kenya’s fight against this pandemic.”
The roll out of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign is being led by the Ministry of Health (MoH), with support from WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and other partners. As well as procuring and transporting COVID-19 vaccines, UNICEF is supporting MoH in the distribution of the vaccines, procuring, deploying and managing the vaccines’ cold chain equipment. UNICEF and WHO are also supporting MoH with planning, technical support, capacity building, risk communication and community engagement.
“This generous donation of Moderna vaccines from the US Government is a welcome boost to Kenya’s ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign,” UNICEF Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman said. “All vaccines available through COVAX are safe and effective and I would urge all Kenyans to get vaccinated as soon as advised to do so by the Ministry of Health. Once again, UNICEF is delighted to offer our full support in getting these vital COVID-19 vaccines to Kenya. We urge the international community to continue supporting Kenya to further increase the availability of vaccines. Globally, no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
The World Health Organisation has so far approved six COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, including Astra Zeneca and Moderna. The organisation has emphasised the safety of approved vaccines and urged Kenyans to maintain public health measures while the national vaccination campaign is rolled out.
“Getting vaccinated is a choice and responsibility and I can assure Kenyans that all vaccines approved by WHO are safe and effective,” WHO’s Dr Mona Almudhwahi said. “The best vaccine is the first one that is offered to you - we urge all eligible Kenyans to get vaccinated. It is also essential that we continue with public health measures such as mask wearing, regular hand washing, social distancing and avoiding congested spaces and gathering.”
The vaccines arrived through the global COVAX initiative, which is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), working in partnership with UNICEF as well as the World Bank, civil society organisations, manufacturers, and others. COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic will not end in one country until it has ended in all countries,” said Rachel Belt, Senior Country Manager for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, speaking from Geneva. “COVAX has built a diverse portfolio of vaccines suitable for a range of settings and populations and is on track to meet its goal of delivering at least 2 billion doses of vaccine to participating countries around the world in 2021, including in Kenya.”
By Ifeanyi Olannye
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says the state government will partner with the World Bank in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The governor said this on Thursday when he inaugurated the State Project Steering Committee of the Nigeria COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (Co-PREP), at the Government House, Asaba.
Okowa, represented by his Deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, said that the committee would oversee the implementation of Co-PREP projects at the state level.
He said the steering committee headed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, would review progress reports and oversee the State Coordinating Unit (SCU) to ensure timely implementation of the project.
Okowa said the state government would continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and development partners to ensure availability of adequate infrastructure for timely case detection and management.Read also: Features: Women shattering glass ceilings?
He said: “The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the early part of 2020 was an ill-wind that blew the world no good.
“As a state we did all in our power to respond accordingly to the pandemic in terms of what we were meant to do as directed by the NCDC.
“We are thankful to God almighty that the pandemic from all indication even though not completely gone is subsiding, it is our prayer that it should go completely in no distant time.
“It requires us to remain alert, keep our guards and respond adequately giving the information and knowledge that the COVID-19 has different variants and various ways it could be contracted.”
He said the inauguration of the vommittee was in pursuant of the state government’s partnership with the World Bank to fight the pandemic.
“This is World Bank assisted project meant to be implemented by the collaboration of the various states in the country and the NCDC to be able to access the grant made available by the World Bank.
“This grant is only accessible on the condition that certain criteria are met and so the inauguration of the committee is an integral part of the requirements by the World Bank,” Okowa said.
Responding, Ononye thanked the governor for finding them worthy to contribute their quota in keeping in check the ravaging pandemic in the state.
Ononye pledged the readiness of the committee members to deliver on the task ahead.
Members of the committee are Chief Fidelis Tilije (Commissioner for Finance); Dr Barry Pere-Gbe (Commissioner for Economic Planning); Mr Charles Aniagwu (Commissioner for Information) and Evelyn Oboro (Commissioner for Water Resources).
Others are Dr Ejiro Ogheneaga (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health); Dr Jude Winful-Orieke (Executive Secretary, Delta State Primary Healthcare Development Agency; Dr R.O. C. Ikwuogwu (Emergency Operations Centre, Incident Manager); and Professor Ehimario Igumbor. (NAN)
By Auwalu Birnin Kudu
The Bauchi State Government says it has expended about N2.5 billion on construction and renovation of primary and secondary healthcare facilities in the past two years.
Dr. Dayyabu Hassan, the Acting Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Saturday in Bauchi.
Hassan said the objectives was to enhance healthcare service delivery as well as optimise health facilities to fast track implementation of the state Minimum Service Package (MSP).
He said that 2,605 health workers were also redeployed to 323 health facilities to enhance access to quality healthcare services at the grassroots.
According to him, the state government will leverage on the existing support including the Health Workforce Programme, to build the capacity of health personnel towards effective service delivery.
The Permanent Secretary said the state government planned to construct 37 additional health facilities and recruit additional frontline healthcare workers before the end of the year.
This, he said, was required for effective service delivery across the 552 prioritised health facilities under the state’s 5-year Investment Plan,
Hassan said the state government also adopted proactive measures to strengthen COVID-19 testing, vaccination and sustain non-pharmaceutical measures as well as scale up integrated outreaches across existing facilities to stem spread of the pandemic.
“The state government will roll out Community Health Influencers Programme Strategy (CHIPS) and other community engagement strategies.
” This will enable us to track pregnant women for ante-natal care and other maternal services” he said.
NAN reports that the Bauchi State Government on Aug. 12, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Aliko Dangote Foundation, Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation as well as other development partners for extension of the five-year primary healthcare intervention programme. (NAN)
By Gami Tadanyigbe
Ten schools from FCT's six regional councils would participate in the Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) nutrition quiz competition launched in Abuja.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the quiz competition was inaugurated on Tuesday at the Kuje Regional Council, by Nestlé Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Education and Nutrition Society of Nigeria.
Nestlé Public Affairs Specialist Ms Edidiong Peters said N4HK incorporates a school-based nutrition education program, which empowers children to make better nutrition decisions from an early age for a healthier future.
According to her, Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) is the company's flagship initiative to help 50 million children around the world live healthier lives by 2030 and beyond.
“The nutrition quiz is a central part of the N4HK program to enhance, recall and retain lessons learned by students in their schools.
“The competition also aims to help children know if they are able to remember and remember what they were taught in school before practice.
“Through activities like the Nutrition Quiz, we are making progress towards our goals of helping children live healthier lives by raising awareness of the benefits of healthy eating and active living.
“Therefore, it is necessary to teach nutrition to children from an early age in school and at home so that they can have a healthier future,” she said.
For her part, Dr Florence Uchendu, President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, FCT Chapter, said the rate of child malnutrition was high in the country; hence the need for the program.
Uchendu said Nestlé Nigeria had championed the course teaching children about nutrition and healthy eating for a healthier future.
“Our goal in this competition is to assess what teachers have taught them, whether they have been taught well and whether children are learning too.
“At the end of this competition we will have the best schools to compete in the final and it will show the lessons they are learning in their schools.
"We also want to catch them young because at the end of the day they will go home and tell their parents what we have taught them so that they can eat healthy meals to reduce malnutrition," she said. declared.
NAN reports that UBE Paseli of Kuje Regional Council and Jiwa Primary School under Abuja Municipal Regional Council (AMAC) won the first round of the quiz competition held in Kuje.
NAN reports that the next round will take place tomorrow at the Abaji Regional Council.
Ofon Fostina, a UBE Paseli student, said she was optimistic her school would win the Nestlé for Healthier Kids quiz in the finals. (NAA)(NAN)
By George Edomwonyi
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo inaugurated a kidney dialysis center in Auchi for the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the center was facilitated by Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC-Edo North) as part of his constituency project for the people of the region.
NAN also reports that dialysis is a process of removing waste and excess water from the blood, and primarily serves as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function in people with kidney failure.
Obaseki, who was represented at the inauguration by Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, said the center was intended to serve the people of Edo North and Nigerians in general.
He congratulated the legislator for attracting the project to the population, noting that “the dialysis center at the Auchi Central Hospital is the first in all of northern Edo to have modern facilities to take care of it. burden patients with kidney.
“The state government has taken over the center and will deploy health workers for efficient use. "
Obaseki added that the state government will continue to partner with people in the health sector to ensure
services to the population.
For her part, Alimikhena said the dialysis center would serve residents of Edo North as they would not need to travel to other parts of the country to diagnose kidney disease.
He added that “my quest is to ensure quality health for the people of Edo North. The increase in cases of renal failure has led to
the citation of the project in the senatorial constituency.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr Osamwonyi Irowa, said the late diagnosis of diabetes and high blood pressure were responsible for the growing number of cases of kidney failure in the country.
Irowa advised people with kidney problems, prostate problems, urinary leakage and blockages to never postpone treatment to avoid further compromising their health. (NAA)(NAN)
Following the eruption of the volcano, Mount Nyiragongo near Goma, tens of thousands of women and girls are in urgent need of critical sexual and reproductive health services, including support to pregnant women, newborn babies and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (GBV).
More than 400,000 people, including 88,000 women of childbearing age and 12,200 pregnant women, fled Goma, a city with a population of around two million, to seek refuge in Sake and Rushuru territories, according to the North Kivu province government. Others were displaced to Bukavu in South Kivu province. More than 25,000 people crossed into Rwanda, where a temporary camp was set up at Rugerero in the district of Rubavu.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) estimated that 31 people died as an indirect result of the eruption and a further 40 were reported missing. For years, the people of Goma and surrounding villages have lived under the threat of volcanic activity from Mount Nyamuragira and Mount Nyiragongo, ranked among the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Seventeen villages in the territory of Nyiragongo were affected by the lava flow, which destroyed homes and infrastructure. Also destroyed were three health facilities, causing health system disruptions and affecting access to critical sexual and reproductive health services, including critical maternal health services.
Many of the humanitarian actors and civil servants have relocated from the ‘red zones’ – Majengo, Mabanga Nord and Sud, Virunga, Bujovu, Murara, Kahembe, Mikeno, Volcano and Mapendo – reducing the response capacity on the ground.
The displaced population in Sake is at risk of armed groups, as the Masisi territory is known for frequent clashes between the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and militia groups, and it also has North Kivu’s third highest number of GBV cases. In times of crisis, women and girls’ vulnerabilities are heightened, leaving them at greater risk of sexual and gender-based violence. North Kivu province, of which Goma is the capital, recorded 14,681 cases of GBV in 2020.
UNFPA, the United Nation’s sexual and reproductive health agency, is working with the local authorities and partners, including the Ministry of Health, to address the sexual and reproductive health of the affected population. Following a rapid assessment of the situation in Sake and Goma, in which premature deliveries and maternal deaths were noted, UNFPA handed over reproductive health supplies to government officials at Kyeshero Hospital for the benefit of those affected in Nyiragongo Health Zone, particularly Kibati, Kanyarucinya and Turunga, including a reception centre for displaced people. Items provided include individual delivery kits for women giving birth and for the midwives attending to them, sexually transmitted infection treatment kits, and dignity kits with essential items for women and girls. The donated items will cover the reproductive health needs of 150,000 people for three months at a cost of US$60,000.
In preparation for an increase in GBV cases due to the population movements, UNFPA is strengthening the capacities of health centres and providing other basic services to facilitate multi-sectorial management of an anticipated 1,760 GBV survivors.
UNFPA’s proposed emergency intervention package includes support for assisted delivery, including Caesarean sections, for around 800 pregnant women by qualified personnel; providing 5,000 delivery kits for women giving birth; supporting the medical treatment of 5,300 cases of sexually transmitted infections; providing holistic care for 1,760 victims of GBV at targeted structures; supporting the One-Stop Centre at Kyeshero Hospital; supporting family planning services for 12,200 new users of a modern family planning method; training 180 maternity providers in the prevention and control of infections in obstetrics; provide 100 vulnerable women with financial support of US$200 each for socio-economic reintegration; distributing 5,000 dignity kits to vulnerable women and girls; and providing targeted health facilities with emergency reproductive health kits.
By Ismaila Chafe
The federal government condemned the reaction of social media group Twitter to President Muhammadu Buhari's series of tweets via his verified Twitter account @mbuhari.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the Nigerian leader warned on Tuesday via his Twitter account that a "brutal shock awaits" these unpatriotic elements who promote the insurgency and burn essential national assets across the country.
“Many of those who misbehave today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of life during the Nigerian civil war.
"Those of us who have been in the fields for 30 months, who have been through the war, will treat them in the language they understand," the president said via his twitter page.
Twitter, however, reportedly deleted the tweet, stating, "This Tweet violated Twitter rules."
Reacting to development, Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed accused Twitter of double standards, claiming that Twitter deliberately ignored prompting tweets from the leader of the indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and his cronies. .
The minister also accused Twitter of displaying the same prejudices as during the ENDSARS demonstration where the government and private property were looted and set on fire, taming his human rights, while "he finds Buhari's tweet offensive ".
According to him, the role of Twitter is suspect and Nigeria will not be fooled.
He said: “Twitter can have its own rules; it is not the universal rule. If Mr. President anywhere in the world feels very bad and worried about a situation, he is free to express such views.
“Now we should stop comparing apples to oranges. If an organization is banned, it is different from any other that is not.
"Second, any organization that gives directives to its members, to attack police stations, to kill police officers, to attack correctional centers, to kill guards, and you are now saying that Mr. President did not Right to express dismay and anger about this? We are guilty of double standards.
“I don't see anywhere in the world where an organization, a person will stay somewhere outside of Nigeria, and order its members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organization has been banned.
“Whatever the name, you cannot justify giving the order to kill the police or to kill someone you do not agree with.
The minister, who briefed State House correspondents on the results of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, revealed that the council had approved 5.6 billion naira for the establishment of an oxygen plant. in each of the 36 states of the federation.
Mohammed, who briefed on behalf of his counterpart in the Ministry of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said:
“The Minister of Health presented a note, which was approved, for the emergency supply, installation and maintenance of oxygen production plants and the construction of factory houses in each of the 36 Federation States and Abuja.
"The contract was approved for the sum of N 5,615,127,479, including 7.5 percent VAT, in favor of four different companies, with an execution period of 20 weeks."
He said the approval was aimed at cushioning the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had made oxygen a very critical commodity.
Mohammed also revealed that the council had approved N1.1 billion for the purchase of aviation security uniforms and accessories for use at various airports across the country.
He said: “The Minister of Aviation has obtained approval for the award of a direct procurement contract for the design, manufacture and supply of aviation safety uniforms and accessories.
"The total sum is N1, 127, 945,000. The peculiarity of uniforms for the aviation industry is that it has certain standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which would be followed."
He further revealed that the Niger Delta Ministry of Affairs also secured an approval of 864.7 million naira for two road contracts which were abandoned by previous administrations.
“The Minister of the Niger Delta obtained the approval of Phase I of Okpula-Igwartanta linking Imo and Rivers State, started in 2010.
“It got approval for a variation of N620 763,000. It also got approval for erosion flood control on the Ndemili-Utagba-Onitsha road in Delta State, started in 2014.
"The council today approved 244 million naira to increase the amount of the original contract," he added. (NAA)(NAN)
By Florence Onuegbu
The Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mr Anofiu Elegushi on Sunday said 10,000 religious organisations, both Christian and Muslim, were captured in the government’s website.
Elegushi made this known in Ikeja during the 2021 Ministerial Press Briefing to Commemorate the Second Year in Office of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
He said this was aimed at carrying them along with state government’s policies.
”The ministry is presently imputing data of every place of worship located in the state on a centralised database, to allow the state government have reliable data of churches, mosques and their locations, with a view to carrying them along with government’s policies.
”It is expected that the policy, because of effective resource allocation and efficient management inherent in it, will bring about extended benefits to many more churches and mosques in the state.
”At present, the website designed for this enumeration, has over 10,000 data of both Muslim and Christian organisations across the state,” Elegushi said.
He said religious harmony and peaceful coexistence of people belonging to the two major religions existed in the state.
”We pride ourselves in saying that what divides and creates security breach in other parts of the country is what unites us in Lagos state, bearing in mind that Lagos state has become a home to people from across Nigeria and beyond.
”I am happy to report that in the last two years, the state has enjoyed tremendous religious’ harmony and peaceful co-existence.
”This is through one of the critical functions of our ministry that is facilitating, maintaining and enhancing harmonious relations among faith-based groups and organisations in the state,” the commissioner said.
Elegushi said the feat was achieved through regular, vigorous and consistent engagements and discussions with religious leaders in the state, under the umbrella of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
While giving account of stewardship of both the Muslim and Christian Pilgrims Welfare Boards, he said the ministry went the extra length to partner with the Ministry of Health in ensuring seamless vaccination exercise for all of its intending pilgrims.
Elegushi said as part of measures to ensure a successful pilgrimage, intending pilgrims were screened both administratively and medically, with COVID-19 vaccine administered to them.
”Over 2,500 intending pilgrims received jabs of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine between Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28 by the Christian and Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards in collaboration with the state ministry of health.
”This was in fulfillment of the requirements for gaining entry into Saudi Arabia for the performance of Hajj and Jerusalem Pilgrimages,” the commissioner said.
On the readiness for 2021 Pilgrimage exercise by intending Christian pilgrims, Elegushi said the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, led a 6-man delegation to Jordan, ahead of the proposed May 2021 pilgrimage.
He said this was to ascertain the preparedness of pilgrimage Grand Handlers and to also have a better and clearer view of historical sites in Jordan.
The commissioner said more improvements on the activities of the ministry would be implemented, while also deploying new methods of delivering excellent services to residents of the state. (NAN)(NAN)
By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says there is need for synergy among stakeholders in order to promote road safety in the country.
Osinbajo made the call on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while receiving on courtesy visit a team led by Sen. Adeleke Mamora, Minister of State for Health, in commemoration of the Global Road Safety Week.
The slogan chosen for 2021 UN Global Traffic Safety Week is “Street for Life,’’ to call for 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits to be the norm for cities, towns and villages worldwide.
Osinbajo, who is Chairman of the National Road Safety Advisory Council, congratulated all of the agencies, ministries of health and transport, and the lead agency on road safety administration and safety management.
“We must commend the UN, especially for the resolution, which has brought all of these about.
“ I think that making road safety a public health issue is one of the very creative ways of ensuring that we all able to synergise as the Ministry of Health is properly brought into the picture properly; which explains why the minister is a key part of the activities of this week and of course the second decade of action.
“I think that those synergies are important; the synergies between the ministries and the synergies between the Federal Government, the states and the Local Government Councils.
“Many of our streets belong to states and local governments; so, there is absolutely no way we can talk about road safety in any sensible way without bringing in the states and local governments; I think those synergies are important.
“And I am sure also that you are walking with the ministries of health and transport in the states of the federation.’’
According to him, what the federal government is trying to do is first to encourage states to do not just their roads, but federal roads, where they can.
He said that federal roads were practically in all the states.
“With this administration, the president was able to open up the states for states to do federal roads and be compensated for where they have sought appropriate permissions in order to do those roads,’’ he said.
Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, Corp Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corp, who is a part of the team, later told State House correspondents that the initiative was geared at promoting reasonable speed limit in the urban areas.
Displaying a card with the inscription “30km/H”, Oyeyemi said that the Global Road Safety Week was being celebrated globally.
“Speed is the major challenge in the highways; 50 per cent of the fatalities is as a result of speed violations and the global body’s focus is to promote the need for people to be more safety conscious in reducing the speed.
“I have seen that a lot of young ones are been killed in urban areas; hence the need to compel member bodies to make sure that the maximum speed limit in urban areas is 30 km per hour.
“And we are happy for the vice president for spear-heading this as the chairman of the National Road Safety Advisory Council; so the same thing is going on in other parts of the country.
“It is promoting the need in urban areas to cut down the speed maximum of 30 km per hour and we believe we will be able to achieve this with the cooperation of all the road users,’’ he said.
Oyeyemi added that the corps would work with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure that appropriate road signs were installed in the urban areas as well as stop signs at the junctions.
On his part, Mamora said there was need to eliminate the burden of accidents; hence the focus on prevention which, in itself, was part of managing the health of human beings as well.
Speaking, Dr Sydney Ibeanusi, the Country Director and Focal Person for the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety and Injury Prevention for Nigeria, said the benefits of the initiatives would be immense.
“The short time benefit of this will be to save lives; saving the number of people who are killed or injured on the roads.
“In the long term, the huge economic impact, we lose between three to five per cent of our Gross Domestic Product annually from road crashes; that translates to about N6 trillion to N9 trillion every year; so the long time impact is huge.
“Most developed countries have realised that and took up road safety as a major economic investment and are reaping the benefits,’’ he said.
He said that the target was to reduce deaths and disability by 50 per cent by the year 2030. (NAN)(NAN)
As the world battles new COVID-19 variants and supply and rollout of vaccines remains critically low in Africa, new research from the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) indicates that burdens experienced by people in African Union Member States remain grave: 81% of survey respondents reported challenges in accessing food, 77% reported experiencing income loss and 42% reported missing medical visits since the start of the pandemic. The report calls for targeted public health measures for high-risk populations, increased surveillance in light of new variants, and scaled-up vaccine supply from the global community to control the pandemic in Africa.
“As case counts surge across the world, new variants emerge and vaccine rollout remains slow, it will be crucial for African Union Member States to use evidence-based strategies to manage COVID-19,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. “The PERC report provides valuable insights to countries to strategically tailor their ongoing responses.”
Limitations in testing capacity and surveillance—as well as uneven demand for testing—are likely masking the true severity of COVID-19 on the African continent, fueling the dangerous myth that much of Africa has been unscathed by COVID-19. Test positivity rates were above 10% across many Member States during the second wave—substantially higher than the 5% maximum warning level suggested by the World Health Organization and suggesting that many cases have gone undetected.
Vaccine acceptance was high among survey respondents—67% of people said they would get the vaccine when it’s available—with several important caveats. Acceptance varied widely among countries, from 91% in Morocco to 35% in Tunisia and Cameroon. At the time of the survey, most respondents did not yet have access to vaccines or much information about specific vaccines rolling out in the region. In fact, among those who expressed hesitancy about vaccination, lack of information was a leading reason.
“Vaccine hesitancy is driven by high levels of disinformation, misinformation, and lack of information, which erodes trust in the safety and efficacy of vaccines,” said Dr. Richard Mihigo, Program Coordinator, Immunization and Vaccine Development, WHO’s Regional Office for Africa. “Going forward, we must prioritize sustained and targeted campaigns which address the growing infodemic around vaccines while providing evidence-based information to dispel myths and build confidence in vaccines. Communication and engagement is key to building trust and creating a positive discourse around vaccines from the ground up.”
Nearly nine in 10 respondents reported using masks when near others in February 2021—almost identical to findings six months before. However, in some of the populous and hard-hit countries, such as South Africa and Ethiopia, self-reported mask use trended downward in February, suggesting the need to redouble efforts to promote this low-cost and effective intervention in some areas. Overall, self-reported adherence to measures restricting social gathering and movement declined significantly between August 2020 and February 2021.
Given the delayed rollout of vaccines and the threat posed by new variants, all AU Member States will need to scale up effective testing strategies to detect early indications of potential surges and sustain the strategic use of public health measures to prevent subsequent waves while ensuring social protection. The researchers conclude that clear, transparent communications from leaders and public health officials will be vital in building trust and influencing people to follow any further measures; respondents who expressed high satisfaction with their government, community leaders or Ministry of Health were more likely to report adherence to public health measures than those who expressed dissatisfaction.
“Countries are most effective controlling the pandemic when they consider what measures people will actually follow at this stage in the pandemic and take steps to inform, partner with, and support communities,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “Analysis of PERC data can help governments predict adherence to preventive measures, craft effective communications and mount a stronger response to COVID-19.”
The PERC survey—the third in its “Using Data to Find a Balance” series— was fielded in February, when Africa was emerging from a second, substantially larger wave of COVID-19. PERC polled more than 24,000 adults across 19 African Union (AU) Member States, compiled social, economic and epidemiological data from a range of sources and compared results from the previous survey conducted in August 2020.
Other key findings in the report include:
Recommendations include that governments and the global community invest in:
To read the full report, please visit: https://preventepidemics.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/PERC-Finding-the-Balance-Part-III-12-May-2021.pdf
To view a recording of today’s briefing, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk7TLQrBG4Q