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  •  Sudan reports its first monkeypox case
    Sudan reports its first monkeypox case
     Sudan reports its first monkeypox case
    Sudan reports its first monkeypox case
    Foreign2 weeks ago

    Sudan reports its first monkeypox case

    Sudan has detected its first monkeypox case, health authorities said Monday, after the World Health Organization last month declared the disease a public health emergency of international concern.

    The health ministry announced “registering the first confirmed case of monkeypox in a 16-year-old student in West Darfur state in Sudan”.

    Montaser Othman, who is director of epidemic control, said there had been around 38 other “suspected cases” but all had tested negative for the virus.

    An investigation was underway by the federal and state health ministries to determine the source of the infection, he added.

    The impoverished northeast African nation is especially vulnerable given its poor public health services.

    According to UN children’s agency UNICEF, only 70 percent of the 45-million-strong population have “access to a health facility within 30 minutes travel of their home” in Sudan, where 13 of 18 states suffered outbreaks of vector-borne diseases in 2021.

    Last month the WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, the highest alarm it can sound.

  •  India reports Asia s first possible monkeypox death
    India reports Asia’s first possible monkeypox death
     India reports Asia s first possible monkeypox death
    India reports Asia’s first possible monkeypox death
    Foreign2 weeks ago

    India reports Asia’s first possible monkeypox death

    Indian authorities reported on Monday Asia’s first possible monkeypox fatality after a man who recently returned from United Arab Emirates died after testing positive.

    Kerala state’s health ministry said tests on the 22-year-old “showed that the man had monkeypox”.

    Three monkeypox-related fatalities have so far been reported outside Africa in an outbreak that the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency.

    The Indian man died in Kerala on July 30 around a week after returning from the UAE and being taken to hospital.

    It was unclear however whether monkeypox was the cause of death.

    “The youth had no symptoms of monkeypox.

    He had been admitted to a hospital with symptoms of encephalitis and fatigue,” the Indian Express daily quoted Kerala’s health minister Veena George as saying on Sunday.

    Twenty people identified as being at high risk were being kept under observation, she added, including family members, friends and medical staff who might have come into contact with the victim.

    According to the WHO, more than 18,000 monkeypox cases have been detected throughout the world outside Africa since the beginning of May, most of them in Europe.

    Spain last week recorded two monkeypox-related deaths and Brazil one.

    It is however unclear if monkeypox actually caused the three fatalities, with Spanish authorities as of Sunday still carrying out autopsies and Brazilian authorities saying its deceased patient had other serious conditions.

    India has reported at least four cases, with the first recorded on July 15 in another man who returned to Kerala from the UAE.

  •  In Africa 63 Jump in Diseases Spread from Animals to People Seen in Last Decade
    In Africa, 63% Jump in Diseases Spread from Animals to People Seen in Last Decade
     In Africa 63 Jump in Diseases Spread from Animals to People Seen in Last Decade
    In Africa, 63% Jump in Diseases Spread from Animals to People Seen in Last Decade
    Africa1 month ago

    In Africa, 63% Jump in Diseases Spread from Animals to People Seen in Last Decade

    Africa faces a growing risk of outbreaks caused by zoonotic pathogens, such as the monkeypox virus, which originated in animals and then switched species and infected humans. There has been a 63% increase in the number of zoonotic outbreaks in the region in the decade from 2012-2022 compared to 2001-2011, according to an analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    The analysis finds that between 2001 and 2022 there were 1,843 verified public health events recorded in the WHO African region. Thirty percent of these events were zoonotic disease outbreaks. While these numbers have increased over the past two decades, there was a particular spike in 2019 and 2020 when zoonotic pathogens accounted for around 50% of public health events. Ebola virus disease and other viral hemorrhagic fevers account for nearly 70% of these outbreaks; with dengue, anthrax, plague, monkeypox and a host of other diseases making up the remaining 30%.

    The most recent data on monkeypox shows a significant increase in cases since April 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. The increase is seen mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, and could be attributed in part to a better surveillance and laboratory testing for monkeypox. capacity in countries, although detailed investigations are ongoing. However, this upward trend is still less than in 2020, when the region reported its highest monthly cases of monkeypox. Overall, monkeypox cases have increased since 2017, except for 2021, where there was a sudden drop. From January 1 to July 8, 2022, there have been 2,087 cumulative cases of monkeypox, of which only 203 were confirmed. The overall case fatality rate for the 203 confirmed cases is 2.4%. Of the 175 confirmed cases for which there are case-specific data, 53% were male and the median age was 17 years.

    The increase in zoonotic cases may be due to several reasons. Africa has the world's fastest growing population and there is a growing demand for foods derived from animals, such as meat, poultry, eggs and milk. Population growth is also causing increasing urbanization and encroachment on wildlife habitats. Road, rail, ship, and air connections are also improving in Africa, increasing the risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks spreading from remote, sparsely populated areas to large urban areas. As we have seen with the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, there can be a devastating number of deaths and cases when zoonotic diseases reach cities.

    “Infections that originate in animals and then jump to humans have been going on for centuries, but the risk of mass infections and deaths has been relatively limited in Africa. Poor transport infrastructure acted as a natural barrier,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “However, with improved transportation in Africa, there is an increased threat from zoonotic pathogens traveling to large urban centers. We must act now to contain zoonotic diseases before they can cause widespread infections and prevent Africa from becoming a hotbed for emerging infectious diseases."

    Halting the rise of zoonotic diseases in Africa is complex and WHO recommends a One Health approach that requires multiple sectors, disciplines and communities to work collaboratively. This includes a wide range of experts, including those working in human, animal and environmental health. Information from routine disease surveillance and response activities, for both animal and human health, should be shared among epidemiologists and other public health experts.

    Further research is also needed to identify the environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural factors that drive the emergence and transmission of epidemic-prone diseases, as well as to better understand the factors that affect the impact and spread of epidemics, including immune status, nutrition . , genetic and antimicrobial resistance.

    “We need all hands on deck to prevent and control zoonotic diseases like Ebola, monkeypox and even other corona viruses,” said Dr. Moeti. “Zoonotic diseases are caused by indirect events from animals to humans. Only when we break down the walls between disciplines will we be able to address all aspects of the response.”

    Since 2008, WHO has strengthened its regional collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organization for Animal Health to support efforts to address zoonotic outbreaks in Africa. The three agencies recently worked together on the 14th Ebola outbreak, which has just ended in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Dr. Moeti spoke during a virtual press conference today. She was joined by Dr Franklin Asiedu Bekoe, Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Service and Dr Karim Tounkara, Regional Representative for Africa, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

    Also present from the WHO Regional Office for Africa to answer questions were Dr. Opeayo Ogundiran, leader of the epidemiology pillar for the regional response to COVID-19; Dr. Charles Okot Lukoya, Epidemiologist; Dr. Pamela Mitula, Routine Epidemiology and New Vaccines Officer; Dr. Tieble Traore, Technical Officer; and Dr. Solomon Woldetsadik, Emergency Response Officer.

  •  Nigeria States adopt integrated vaccination strategy to reach unimmunized children
    Nigeria: States adopt integrated vaccination strategy to reach unimmunized children
     Nigeria States adopt integrated vaccination strategy to reach unimmunized children
    Nigeria: States adopt integrated vaccination strategy to reach unimmunized children
    Africa1 month ago

    Nigeria: States adopt integrated vaccination strategy to reach unimmunized children

    In line with the vision of the Government of Nigeria to integrate all Primary Health Care (PHC) services under one plan, one team and one budget to optimize resources and deliver all services efficiently for one team, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is integrating COVID-19 vaccination with Polio Supplemental Immunization Activities (NPSIA) campaigns, Routine Immunization Services (RI) and vitamin A supplementation.

    Integrated campaigns started in 3 states (e.g. Lagos, Ogun, Gombe) in June 2022. Also, recognizing that many children were left out of RI, NPHCDA, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF , Gavi and its partners collaborated with the States to roll out a Zero Dose (Children Who Never Received a Vaccine) Drop Operational Planning (ZDROP).

    Integrated Approach

    In Lagos state, the immunization campaign aims to reach more than 5.4 million children aged 0 to 59 months with oral polio vaccine (bOPV), more than 4 million children aged 9 to 59 months against measles and almost 5 million with vitamin A, while to those over 18 years old millions of people over 18 for COVID-19 vaccines.

    Ms. Ope A, 39, a mother of three residing in the Alimosho Local Government Area (LGA), is passionate about children's health and was grateful that all vaccines were available and could be administered during the campaign.

    Seeing the vaccinators, she called other mothers in the neighborhood to get their children vaccinated.

    “Bringing all vaccines to our doors is a good strategy since parents will no longer have excuses for not showing their children to be vaccinated.

    I have met many mothers who have not taken their children to the clinic to be vaccinated, and I always advise them that vaccination keeps the child healthy,” he said.

    In addition to providing IR to children, the team distributed COVID-19 vaccines to those over 18 years of age.

    For example, Mr. Oluwademilade, a father of two residing in Yaba LGA, Lagos State, was one of the parents who took advantage of the integrated campaign and received the COVID-19 vaccine.

    “My wife and I had no excuse because the vaccinators brought the COVID-19 vaccine along with other essential childhood vaccines,” he said.

    Similarly, Ms Favour, a mother of two residing in Kosofe LGA, Lagos State, said: “I like that they have brought us the COVID-19 vaccine this time with the vaccination of the children because, in previous years , only children were considered. .

    Having received all full doses of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the campaign, Ms. Favor said the initiative would encourage adults who have not yet received their vaccinations to do so.

    Reinforcing the importance of effective immunization activities throughout the state, Ms. Shagari, an official with the NPHCDA, said that “the reason for integration is to reach all communities and hard-to-reach areas and offer them the best services in terms of immunization for both adults and children. The goal of integration is being achieved as the records and data collected during the campaign, especially on vaccination against COVID-19, indicated that many novices were being vaccinated,” she said.

    Keeping polio at bay

    While the focus of the campaign is measles, an opportunity arose to administer polio vaccines to eligible children in every state, to contain the spread of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2).

    As of December 2021, Nigeria had recorded a total of 1,028 confirmed cVPV2s from different sources in 31 states. This represented more than 70% of cases in the African Region.

    In Gombe state, the immunization campaign aims to reach more than 700,000 children aged 0-59 months with bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV), more than 700,000 children aged 6 months to 59 months with measles and vitamins A and 2 million people ages 18 and older for COVID-19 vaccines.

    Mr. Musa Muhammed, a resident of Funakaye LGA, Gombe State, and a father of five, praised the tenacity of the government and partners in keeping children safe in his locality.

    “Vaccination teams visit our community regularly as they were also here less than two months ago. Carrying out vaccination of children with the COVID-19 vaccine is also a welcome intervention because it will encourage those who have not yet received the vaccine to accept it,” he said.

    coordinated partnership

    “Integrating NPSIAs (eg measles, yellow fever, meningitis) with PHC and other services, including COVID-19, will allow us to use one activity to capture a wide range of the population, says Executive Secretary, Gombe State. Primary Health Care Development Agency (GSPHCDA)”, Dr. AbdulRahman Shuaibu.

    Dr. Shuaibu also highlighted that the innovative approach will maximize the cost of running the campaign.

    Furthermore, Dr. Adamu Haruna Ismaila, WHO Northeast Zonal Coordinator, explained that the integrated approach “is essential as the country must ensure that all eligible children are vaccinated in accordance with the Gavi-funded ZDROP through the WHO.

    The implementation of ZDROP

    As part of the process to address equity issues and linkage to Gavi 5.0 and the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030), the campaign focused on the use of SIA to reach children with zero dose. ZDROP has been integrated into these campaigns to further improve vaccination reach, especially in 313 low-performing, underserved and hard-to-reach settlements in 59 districts in 13 LGAs in Lagos, Gombe and Ogun states. A total of 39,659; 49,633; and 91,699 zero-dose children received bOPV, measles vaccine, and yellow fever vaccine, respectively, in the 3 states between June 17 and July 6, 2022.

    WHO supported planning activities by conducting trainings at both the national and state levels, and by overseeing implementation activities.

  •  Kenya and Tanzania launch mass distribution of anti biotics targeting trachoma
    Kenya and Tanzania launch mass distribution of anti-biotics targeting trachoma
     Kenya and Tanzania launch mass distribution of anti biotics targeting trachoma
    Kenya and Tanzania launch mass distribution of anti-biotics targeting trachoma
    Africa1 month ago

    Kenya and Tanzania launch mass distribution of anti-biotics targeting trachoma

    Kenya and Tanzania have embarked on a joint cross-border mass drug administration exercise as efforts to combat blinding trachoma intensify.

    The exercise, which was launched Tuesday at the Olposimoru center in western Narok sub-county, is a collaboration between the Kenyan and Tanzanian ministries of health and targets the Maa cross-border pastoral community living in the two neighboring East African .

    Speaking at the launch, the Head of the Division of Vector-Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases of the Ministry of Health, Wycliffe Omondi, said that synchronizing the administration of drugs in the two countries remains the most effective way to forcefully treat trachoma.

    “Giving medication is not the only solution. Integrating other measures such as hygiene and environmental cleanup will go a long way in addressing the problem. The government is doing its best to provide medicine to members of the community and I urge them to take it.” Omondi said.

    According to George Kambona, Tanzania's NTD program manager, previous efforts by the two countries to tackle the problem independently had not been as effective. He said that the current coordinated efforts between the two governments will ensure that the vast majority of the pastoral community is reached.

    Peter Otinda of Sight Savers, one of the partners supporting the initiative, says that members of the Maa community move along the common border in search of pasture for their cattle, making the synchronized cross-border exercise the more effective in reaching target groups.

    The mass drug administration will take place over five days, targeting an estimated 1,324,392 beneficiaries in four counties of Narok and Kajiado in Kenya and Longido and Ngorongoro in Tanzania. 228,360 people are expected to be treated in Ngorongoro and another 161,367 in Longido. In Kenya, 934,665 people will benefit with 576,091 people removed from Narok and another 358,574 from Kajiado county.

    Nearly 3.6 million people need antibiotic treatment in Kenya and Tanzania if transmission of the bacteria that causes trachoma is to be stopped. The exercise is expected to help in the projected efforts of total elimination of trachoma with a prevalence still at 6% according to the latest WHO report.

    In Kenya, trachoma is endemic in five regions of West Pokot, Turkana, Baringo, Kajiado and Narok counties. More than 53,200 Kenyans have already been blinded by trachoma, but due to the constant implementation of the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in the country, the situation has seen remarkable progress.

    Trachoma is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the 20 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide.

  •  WHO calls for development of new vaccines to tackle AMR
    WHO calls for development of new vaccines to tackle AMR
     WHO calls for development of new vaccines to tackle AMR
    WHO calls for development of new vaccines to tackle AMR
    General news1 month ago

    WHO calls for development of new vaccines to tackle AMR

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the first-ever report on the pipeline of the vaccines currently in development, to prevent infections caused by Antimicrobial-Resistant (AMR) bacterial pathogens.

    A statement issued by the organization on Tuesday said the analysis pointed to the need to accelerate trials for AMR related vaccines in late-stage development and maximise the use of existing vaccines.

    According to the report, the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance is of major growing public health concern.

    “Resistant bacterial infections alone are associated with nearly 4.95 million deaths per year, with 1.27 million deaths directly attributed to AMR.

    “But AMR is about more than bacterial infections.  AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines.

    “When an individual becomes infected with these microbes, the infection is said to be resistant to antimicrobial medicines. These infections are often difficult to treat,” it said.

    The statement said the vaccines were powerful tools to prevent infections in the first place, and therefore had the potential to curb the spread of AMR infections.

    It said that the AMR vaccine pipeline report aimed to guide investments and research into feasible vaccines to mitigate AMR.

    It said the analysis identified 61 vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical development.

    According to the statement, it includes several in late stages of development to address diseases listed on the bacterial priority pathogens, which WHO had prioritised for research and development.

    It said the report described the late-stage vaccine candidates as having a high development feasibility while the report cautioned that most would not be available anytime soon.

    Dr Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant Director-General, Antimicrobial Resistance, said “preventing infections, using vaccination, reduces the use of antibiotics, which is one of the main drivers of AMR.

    “Yet of the top six bacterial pathogens responsible for deaths due to AMR, only one, Pnuemoccocal disease (Streptococcus pneumoniae) has a vaccine”.

    Ht stated that affordable and equitable access to life-saving vaccines such as those against pneumococcus, were urgently needed to save lives, and mitigate the rise of AMR.

    The report calls for equitable and global access to the vaccines that already existed, especially among populations that needed them most in limited-resource settings.

    It said that there were already vaccines available against four priority bacterial pathogens: pneumococcal disease (Streptococcus pneumoniae), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) Tuberculosis (mycobacterium tuberculosis) and Typhoid fever (Salmonella Typhi).

     

    It said that the remaining three vaccines were effective and needed to increase the number of people receiving them to contribute to a reduction in the use of antibiotics and prevent further deaths.

    “Of significance in the global fight against AMR, the bacteria noted in the priority pathogens list pose a significant threat to public health.

    “Precisely because of their resistance to antibiotics but they currently have a very weak vaccine pipeline in terms of the number of candidates and feasibility.

    Dr Haileyesus Getahun, WHO Director of AMR Global Coordination Department, said the lessons from Covid 19 vaccine development and MRNA vaccines offered unique opportunities to explore for developing vaccines against bacteria.

    He said that the report examined some of the challenges facing vaccine innovation and development, including for pathogens associated with hospital-acquired infections (HAI).

    Dr Kate O’Brien, Director Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Department, WHO, said vaccine development was expensive and scientifically challenging.

    “We have to leverage the lessons of COVID vaccine development and speed up our search for vaccines to address AMR.” She said. (

    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  President Kenyatta Launches Construction of WHO Regional Operations Centre and Logistics Hub
    President Kenyatta Launches Construction of WHO Regional Operations Centre and Logistics Hub
     President Kenyatta Launches Construction of WHO Regional Operations Centre and Logistics Hub
    President Kenyatta Launches Construction of WHO Regional Operations Centre and Logistics Hub
    Africa1 month ago

    President Kenyatta Launches Construction of WHO Regional Operations Centre and Logistics Hub

    President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday inaugurated the construction of the African regional operations and logistics center of the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Speaking as he presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the facility at the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) in Kiambu County, President Kenyatta welcomed the WHO's decision to set up the emergency center in Kenya.

    Kenya is one of three African countries selected by the WHO to host a logistics hub that will be equipped with emergency medical personnel, supplies and equipment to support countries with emergencies in East Africa.

    Senegal and Nigeria are the other two African countries selected to host the WHO centers that will also be centers of excellence in emergency medical training with the capacity to respond to more than 100 crises at once.

    President Kenyatta commended WHO for launching the innovative new initiative to enhance the capacities of African countries to respond, in real time, to increasingly complex and numerous health emergencies.

    “An expanded and more versatile emergency hub in Kenya will allow WHO to effectively and rapidly support Kenya and all countries in Eastern and Southern Africa by maintaining stockpiles of medical and logistical supplies.

    "It is in this context that the WHO Regional Office for Africa sought to strengthen and expand the WHO emergency hub in Kenya, to coordinate high-quality responses to health emergencies," the president said.

    To facilitate the start of operations of the center, President Kenyatta said that the Government has allocated 30 acres of adjoining land to KUTRRH and has committed USD 5 million for the operation of the center.

    "We will continue to work with other development partners to secure additional resources to support the completion and full commissioning of this center," the president said.

    He added that the Government has also provided WHO with free office space at the KUTRRH to accommodate the initial staffing component of up to 150 officers needed to begin preparations for the establishment of the center.

    "This space has been identified in the KUTRRH Training, Research and Innovation (TRIC) building," said President Kenyatta.

    The Head of State expressed satisfaction that his directive to the National Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority to expedite customs clearance for medical supplies from the emergency logistics center has been put into effect.

    “I am pleased to note that the Kenya Revenue Authority, in collaboration with other government agencies, has developed an end-to-end process flow map for this expedited clearance process to ensure the smooth operation of this facility.

    "I wish to assure the WHO of Kenya's unwavering support to strengthen the WHO as a global leader and coordinating entity for preparedness and response to pandemics and other health emergencies," said the Head of State.

    At the same time, President Kenyatta announced that Kenya has endorsed the legally binding International Pandemic Treaty under the WHO, which aims to strengthen global solidarity, high-level political commitment and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics during pandemics, especially in the developing world.

    Earlier, President Kenyatta inaugurated a cath lab and Executive Wing Onesmo Ole Moi-Yoi at Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital, saying the two facilities add to the growing complement of health in public hospitals.

    KUTRRH Board Chairman Prof. Olive Mugenda thanked President Kenyatta for being instrumental in the development of the regional hospital.

    "With their support, we have an integrated molecular imaging center which continues to be a great boon to many Kenyans and others in the region. So far we have scanned 1,200 Kenyans who would otherwise have gone to India to be scanned," said Prof. Mugenda said.

    He noted that the opening of the Cath Lab will significantly address cardiac issues such as coronary heart disease and heart attacks, while executive wing Onesmo Ole Moi-Yoi will help troubled patients in need of personalized care.

    WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said the construction of the emergency logistics hub and center of excellence marks Kenya's continued partnership with his organization and the United Nations at large.

    "President Kenyatta, I would like to express my gratitude and admiration for your leadership and vision in supporting WHO and for sponsoring this half that will help build a stronger and more resilient Africa," said the WHO Director-General.

    He said the center will help tackle at least 100 health emergencies each year, such as outbreaks of cholera, yellow fever, meningitis, measles and Ebola, as well as humanitarian disasters, including the current hunger crisis.

    Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe also spoke at the function which was attended by Chief of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua and other senior Government officials as well as UN representatives.

  •  Skilled Health Workforce Key in Delivery of Universal Health Coverage UHC President Kenyatta says
    Skilled Health Workforce Key in Delivery of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), President Kenyatta says
     Skilled Health Workforce Key in Delivery of Universal Health Coverage UHC President Kenyatta says
    Skilled Health Workforce Key in Delivery of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), President Kenyatta says
    Africa1 month ago

    Skilled Health Workforce Key in Delivery of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), President Kenyatta says

    President Uhuru Kenyatta has underlined the importance of well-trained health workers in delivering the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pillar of the Big 4 Agenda.

    The president emphasized that qualified human resources are a key component in the health system that should not be overlooked when meeting the country's health needs.

    “The latest technology and modern medicines are useless if the human element is substandard. Skilled, equipped, adequately supported and well-trained health workers are essential in providing services to individuals and communities, whether preventive or curative.

    “Indeed, the success of our efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) depends largely on the availability of a health workforce equipped with the right skills and supported by the provision of accessible and affordable health care for all. ”, President Kenyatta said.

    The Head of State spoke on Saturday as he presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the AMREF International University (AMIU) campus in Ruiru Northlands in Kiambu County.

    President Kenyatta said that while the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the progress of UHC in the country by straining the health system, it did not stop efforts to achieve it.

    At the same time, the President noted that Africa's socio-economic success in the post-COVID-19 era must be based on the recovery of its health system, which relies heavily on health workers.

    “…for that reason, there is a need for greater investment in training and policy reforms within the sector to make up for lost ground,” the President said.

    He noted that Africa faces an acute shortage of health workers compared to other regions despite the continent having 25% of the world's disease burden, according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

    “This huge shortfall has created a dire need for at least a million community health workers and 350,000 midwives in sub-Saharan Africa, just to meet critical minimum levels.

    “It is also worth noting that millions more existing health workers lack the necessary support, equipment and training to make them fit to fulfill their mandate,” said the Head of State.

    President Kenyatta noted that the shortage of health workers in Africa has prevented nations from adequately responding to pandemics such as Covid-19, achieving health equity and meeting the health needs of the population.

    In this regard, the President said that the Government has put in place a series of measures, including full support for the implementation of community health services as a platform for the provision of primary health care and UHC.

    Other measures include the establishment of progressive frameworks to improve labor relations between national and county governments and health worker unions, as well as the absorption of community health workers (CHWs) into the general health system. .

    Likewise, the President expressed the Government's commitment to increase internal financing for community health as part of the efforts to promote primary health care.

    President Kenyatta commended the AMREF International University fraternity for its ambitious expansion plan to increase the training of health workers in Kenya and across the continent.

    He said that AMREF's 65 years of innovative and quality intervention and training in public and community health have contributed significantly to the improvement of the health sector in Kenya and Africa in general.

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said AMREF has been a key partner in the continent's quest to formulate a new curriculum to train health workers, noting that the new institution will be crucial in enhancing the organization's ability to deliver quality training for health professionals.

    “And I am pleased, Your Excellency, that through the cooperation of AMREF and the universities that are here, we have made progress in preparing a new curriculum on how we are going to train all of our healthcare workers both at KMTC, universities and all institutions. ”, said the Health CS.

    The Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that his organization fully supports AMREF in its efforts to build another training institution for doctors and said that AMREF's 65 years of service in the countries Africans have had a huge impact on the continent's health sector.

    AMREF Health Africa Executive Director Dr. Gitahi Githinji said that AMREF International University hopes to receive a letter that will enable it to train more health workers.

    “We will be starting an AMREF University scholarship fund to support young women from marginalized communities and fragile countries to come and study at this university,” said Dr. Githinji.

    The event was also attended by the Head of Public Service, Dr. Joseph Kinyua, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, and the President of the International Board of Directors of AMREF Health Africa, Charles Okeahalam, among others.

  •  Kenya WHO Launch Bold Initiative to Transform Africa s Health Emergency Response
    Kenya, WHO Launch Bold Initiative to Transform Africa’s Health Emergency Response
     Kenya WHO Launch Bold Initiative to Transform Africa s Health Emergency Response
    Kenya, WHO Launch Bold Initiative to Transform Africa’s Health Emergency Response
    Africa1 month ago

    Kenya, WHO Launch Bold Initiative to Transform Africa’s Health Emergency Response

    The Government of Kenya and the World Health Organization (WHO) today held a groundbreaking ceremony in Nairobi for a WHO Health Emergencies Centre, which will include a Center of Excellence for the Health Emergencies Workforce, laying the foundation for a broader initiative that aims to change the way the continent handles emergencies.

    The African region experiences more than 100 health emergencies per year, more than any other region in the world. In recent years, much progress has been made thanks to the efforts of countries, WHO and partners. For example, the time needed to end outbreaks has plummeted from 131 days in 2017 to 45 days in 2019.

    Despite progress, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed huge gaps, in particular the lack of emergency response personnel on the continent. The WHO analysis finds that less than 10% of countries in the African region have the necessary workforce to prepare for, detect and respond to public health risks.

    The new center will help train a corps of 3,000 elite first responders from across the region. The goal is for every country in Africa to have at least one integrated team of emergency experts that will be ready to deploy within the first 24 hours of a national health crisis. A wide range of professionals will be trained, including laboratory experts, epidemiologists, data managers, anthropologists, field logisticians, and mental health and psychosocial experts.

    The President of Kenya, HE Uhuru Kenyatta, the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, attended the opening ceremony.

    “Kenya is proud to be at the forefront of efforts to improve emergency response across the continent,” said Kenyan Health Minister Senator Mutahi Kagwe, who joined the ceremony. “The Center of Excellence and Emergency Center builds on Kenya's global health security leadership and will lead to an empowered Africa that can contain outbreaks and other emergencies quickly. It complements the country's health response developments that have seen the establishment of local manufacturing capacity and robust research on emerging health challenges."

    The Government of Kenya is contributing US$31 million to the Emergency Center. This includes the allocation of 12.14 hectares of land, with US$5 million for construction and free office space for 120 WHO staff members at the nearby Kenyatta Teaching Hospital for three years.

    The Emergency Center will also oversee a variety of sub-regional activities in East Africa, including maintaining stockpiles of medical and logistical supplies and stationing WHO staff to ensure rapid deployment during emergencies.

    One such emergency is the deepening of the drought and food insecurity in the region. More than 80 million people in the East African region are food insecure and with malnutrition on the rise, a health crisis is looming.

    “I thank the Government of Kenya for their leadership and generosity in supporting the Emergency Center,” said Dr. Tedros. "The Hub will enhance the capacity of African countries to prepare for, detect and respond to health emergencies, support resilient health systems and strengthen regional and global health architecture."

    The Center will be central to WHO's flagship initiative in Africa for health security, also launched today. The initiative aims to ensure that one billion Africans are better protected from health emergencies by the end of 2025. The WHO is contributing US$47 million in funding towards the implementation of the regional flagship initiative.

    “COVID-19 has exposed how critical it is for Africa to be self-sufficient,” said Dr. Moeti. “By developing our own elite national response teams, building strong surveillance systems, and investing in pandemic preparedness, we are strengthening the speed of response and creating a better future for our children. I thank the Government of Kenya for their visionary leadership ensuring that the continent can stand tall and proud and not be brought to its knees by a virus.”

    The WHO flagship initiative is the result of extensive consultations with more than 30 African government ministers, technical actors and partners from across the continent, who have helped shape the priority activities.

  •  Ghana reports first ever suspected cases of Marburg virus disease
    Ghana reports first-ever suspected cases of Marburg virus disease
     Ghana reports first ever suspected cases of Marburg virus disease
    Ghana reports first-ever suspected cases of Marburg virus disease
    Africa1 month ago

    Ghana reports first-ever suspected cases of Marburg virus disease

    Ghana has announced the preliminary finding of two cases of Marburg virus disease and, if confirmed, they would be the first such infections recorded in the country. Marburg is a highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever in the same family as the better-known Ebola virus disease.

    Preliminary analysis of samples taken from two patients by the country's Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research indicated that the cases were positive for Marburg. However, as per standard procedure, the samples were sent to the Institut Pasteur in Senegal, a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating center for confirmation. The two patients from the southern Ashanti region, both deceased and unrelated, showed symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting. They had been transferred to a district hospital in the Ashanti region.

    Preparations for a possible response to the outbreak are rapidly being established as further investigations are conducted.

    “Health authorities are on the ground investigating the situation and preparing for a possible response to the outbreak. We are working closely with the country to increase screening, contact tracing and be prepared to control the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Francis Kasolo, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Ghana.

    WHO is deploying experts to support Ghanaian health authorities by strengthening disease surveillance, testing, contact tracing, preparing to treat patients, and working with communities to alert and educate them about the risks and dangers of disease and collaborate with emergency response teams.

    If confirmed, the cases in Ghana would mark the second time Marburg has been detected in West Africa. Guinea confirmed a single case in an outbreak that was declared over on September 16, 2021, five weeks after the initial case was detected.

    Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases of Marburg in Africa have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda.

    Marburg is transmitted to people by fruit bats and spreads between humans through direct contact with bodily fluids from infected people, surfaces, and materials. The illness begins abruptly, with a high fever, severe headache, and malaise. Many patients develop severe bleeding signs within seven days. Case fatality rates have ranged from 24% to 88% in previous outbreaks, depending on the virus strain and case management.

    Although there are no approved vaccines or antiviral treatments to treat the virus, supportive care (rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids) and treatment of specific symptoms improves survival. A range of potential treatments are being evaluated, including blood products, immunotherapies, and pharmacotherapies.