Showing posts with label WHO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WHO. Show all posts

Monkeypox: Avoid repeat of Covid "inequities" in Africa, WHO regional director urges

Africa wants to be adequately prepared for a monkeypox outbreak as cases have been confirmed in eight countries across the continent. In an online press conference Thursday, Dr Matshidiso Moeti the WHO Regional Director for Africa reiterated, her desire for the continent to avoid experiencing the inequalities noted in the Covid-19 response.

"As WHO in Africa, we are already ramping up support to countries to urgently increase testing capacity for monkeypox, and we are in the process of procuring thousands of tests for the continent, Matshidiso Moeti  explained. As far as the vaccine is concerned, one of the newer and safer smallpox vaccines has been approved for the prevention of monkeypox. Although we are certainly not recommanding mass vaccination at this stage, we must ensure that we are ready, should the need arise."

A World health organization committee will assess next Thursday, the 23rd of June, whether monkeypox outbreak represents a public emergency of "international concern."

Since May, 1,900 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Reported cases thus far have no established travel links to an endemic area.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is  virus transmitted to humans from animals with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. The disease is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the Poxviridae family. There are two clades of monkeypox virus: the West African clade and the Congo Basin (Central African) clade. 

Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.



Ebola in DRC: WHO rules out risk of regional and international spread

In a further accusation of former President Jacob Zuma, the latest report by the commission of inquiry into state capture has found that Zuma was prepared to do anything requested by the controversial Gupta family, which has fled from South Africa.

The fourth part of the investigations into the plots that led to the looting of South Africa's state coffers during the presidency of Jacob Zuma (2009-2018) was handed over to the presidency on Friday.

Since January, the anti-corruption commission of Judge Raymond Zondo, has been churning out the conclusions of four years of investigation and hundreds of hours of hearings on organised state corruption linked to a sulphurous trio of businessmen of Indian origin, the Gupta brothers.

The new report focuses on the misappropriation of funds at the state-owned electricity company, Eskom.

According to the report, "the Guptas set up a plan to take over Eskom" and former president Jacob Zuma was "a key player" in interfering in their favour in the composition of the board.

The former management, against whom Judge Zondo is recommending criminal proceedings, is suspected of having entered into irregular contracts worth more than €96 million (R1.6 billion) with consultancy firms.

-A coal supply contract with a Gupta-owned entity, Tegeta, worth more than €221 million (R3.7 billion) was also tainted by irregularities.

"It is clear that from the beginning of his first term in office, President Zuma did everything the Guptas wanted," Judge Zondo said.

The company said it had been the victim of "immense prejudice" and said in a statement that "appropriate action" would be taken if anyone involved was still employed.

Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of South Africa's electricity, is struggling to recover from the wrongdoing, burdened by a debt of about 24 billion euros (400 billion rand). Unable to maintain ageing power plants, it regularly plunges the country into darkness with load shedding.

The report also found suspected fraud in contracts for social housing and asbestos removal in the central province of Free State, then headed by one of the ruling ANC party's most senior officials, Ace Magashule.

The report denounces "a debacle", saying that "either no houses were built or so few were built that they are not worth mentioning".

The final report is due by 15 June. President Cyril Ramaphosa will then have to decide whether to prosecute.

After taking over from Zuma, he estimated that about 30 billion euros (500 billion rand) had been embezzled and made corruption his focus. However, he too has been called to testify before the commission.

Mr Zuma, 80, is on parole after being sentenced to prison for refusing to testify before the commission. His imprisonment sparked violence in July that left more than 350 people dead. Africanews 


Russia war: Ukraine health facilities stretch to breaking point - WHO warns

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is working “day and night” to keep medical supply chains open and preserve the health system in Ukraine, where, it says, medical facilities are stretched to breaking point, amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

The UN agency’s relief effort continues, despite missile attacks on healthcare facilities, workers, and patients in Ukrainian cities, which have killed 12 people and injured 34.

Nurses have had to ventilate patients manually in hospital basements, away from Russian shelling.

Among the most-needed lifesaving supplies, the UN health agency has sourced oxygen and insulin, surgical supplies, anesthetic, and transfusion kits to collect, test and safely transfuse blood.

“Supply chains have been severely disrupted,’’ WHO said in a statement on Monday.

Many distributors are not operational, some stockpiles are inaccessible due to military operations, medicine supplies are running low, and hospitals are struggling to provide care to the sick and wounded.”

Some 18 million people in Ukraine are believed to have been affected by the war, including 6.7 million internally displaced.

A key priority of the WHO relief effort is to provide support to the healthcare systems of neighbouring countries, which have taken in some 2.8 million people in the last two weeks.

One of those countries is Moldova, which has seen over 310,000 people enter its territory since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, however, called for international humanitarian law to be respected in Ukraine, amid reports that a convoy of some 160 civilian cars has managed to leave the city of Mariupol, which has been surrounded by Russian forces for over two weeks.

According to local officials, the convoy was evacuated under cover of a “humanitarian corridor”, which would make it the first such ceasefire to be successfully organized between the warring parties.

Conditions in Mariupol have severely deteriorated since the siege began.

Guterres said that the UN and humanitarian partners are working to ensure passage from besieged areas and provide aid where security permits. Dailypost 


Africa faces 470m COVID-19 vaccine shortfall in 2021 – WHO

As the COVAX Facility is forced to slash planned COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Africa by around 150 million this year, the continent faces almost 500 million doses short of the global year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of its population. This shortfall comes as Africa tops 8 million COVID-19 cases this week.

With the cutback, COVAX is now expected to deliver 470 million doses to Africa this year. These will be enough to vaccinate just 17% of the population, far below the 40% target. An additional 470 million doses are needed to reach the end-year target even if all planned shipments via COVAX, a multilateral initiative aimed at guaranteeing global access to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, and the African Union are delivered.

“Export bans and vaccine hoarding have a chokehold on vaccine supplies to Africa. As long as rich countries lock COVAX out of the market, Africa will miss its vaccination goals. The huge gap in vaccine equity is not closing anywhere near fast enough. It is time for vaccine manufacturing countries to open the gates and help protect those facing the greatest risk,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa.

As export bans challenges in boosting production at COVAX manufacturing sites and delays in filing for regulatory approvals for new vaccines constrain deliveries, COVAX has called for donor countries to share their supply schedules to give more clarity on deliveries.

COVAX has also called for countries with enough vaccines to give up their place in the queue for deliveries. Manufacturers must deliver to COVAX in line with firm commitments, and countries that are well-advanced with vaccinations must expand and accelerate donations, ensuring doses are available in larger, more predictable volumes and with longer shelf lives.

About 95 million more doses are set to arrive in Africa via COVAX throughout September, which will be the largest shipment the continent receives for any month so far. Yet even as deliveries pick up, Africa has been able to fully vaccinate just 50 million people, or 3.6% of its people.

Around 2% of the nearly 6 billion doses given globally have been administered in Africa. The European Union and the United Kingdom have vaccinated over 60% of their people and high-income countries have administered 48 times more doses per person than low-income nations.

“The staggering inequity and severe lag in shipments of vaccines threatens to turn areas in Africa with low vaccination rates into breeding grounds for vaccine-resistant variants. This could end up sending the whole world back to square one,” said Moeti.

WHO is ramping up support to African countries to identify and address gaps in their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. WHO has assisted 15 African countries in conducting intra-action reviews, which analyse all aspects of their vaccination campaigns and offer recommendations for improvements. The reviews have shown that vaccine supply security and uncertainty around deliveries have been a major impediment for many African countries.

With over 300 staff in place across Africa supporting the COVID-19 response, WHO is deploying experts and producing support plans in specific areas where countries need tailored assistance, including securing staff, financing, strengthening supply chains and logistics, and boosting demand for vaccines.

As of 14 September 2021, there were 8.06 million COVID-19 cases recorded in Africa and while the third wave wanes, there were nearly 125 000 new cases in the week ending on 12 September. While this is a 27% drop from the previous week, weekly new cases are still at about the peak of the first wave and 19 countries continue to report high or fast-rising case numbers.

Deaths fell by 19% to 2531 reported in Africa in the week of September 12th. The highly transmissible Delta variant has been found in 31 African countries. The Alpha variant has been detected in 44 countries and the Beta variant in 39.

Moeti spoke during a virtual press conference today facilitated by APO Group. She was joined by Dr. Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, Co-Chair of the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance, Ms. Aurélia Nguyen, Managing Director, Office of the COVAX Facility, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Also on hand to respond to questions were Coordinator, Immunization and Vaccines Development Programme, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Richard Mihigo; Regional COVID-19 Deputy Incident Manager, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Thierno Balde; and Senior Technical Officer, Health Systems Development, WHO Regional Officer for Africa, Dr Humphrey Karamagi.



COVID-19 won’t be last pandemic – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that COVID-19 might not be the last pandemic the world would witness.

WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, stated this at the ninth General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Epidemiological Society of Nigeria held in Port Harcourt.

Mulombo noted that Coronavirus has provided Nigeria and the global community an opportunity to strengthen immunisation, build capacity of health workers and strengthen disease surveillance.

“COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a great lesson on preparedness.

“It is not yet over. It may not likely be the last pandemic. Therefore, we must sustain the tempo,” Mulombo said.

As at Monday morning, Nigeria has 174,315 confirmed cases and had recorded 2,149 deaths, amid fear of a third wave of COVID-19. Dailypost


WHO: Africa faces ‘rising threat’ of a COVID third wave

Healthcare systems across Africa are “far from ready” to cope with a fresh surge of coronavirus infections, with vaccine deliveries at a near standstill and cases surging in many countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

“Many African hospitals and clinics are still far from ready to cope with a huge rise in critically ill patients,” WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said on Thursday.

“The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising,” she added in a virtual briefing.
Africa has officially registered more than 4.8 million cases and 130,000 deaths, according to the WHO, representing 2.9 percent of global cases and 3.7 percent of deaths.

According to a survey conducted by the WHO in May, the essential health facilities and personnel required to manage critically ill COVID-19 patients are grossly inadequate in many African countries.

Of 23 countries surveyed, most had less than one intensive care unit bed per 100,000 population and only one-third had mechanical ventilators. In comparison, countries like Germany and the United States have more than 25 beds per 100,000 people.

“Treatment is the last line of defence against this virus and we cannot let it be breached,” Moeti stressed, calling for better equipment for hospitals and medical staff.

Rising cases

In recent weeks, the continent has seen a rise in infections. South Africa, officially the most affected African country, has tightened health restrictions and now has more than 1.6 million cases and 56,439 deaths.

In the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kinshasa, the WHO detected an “exponential rise” last month in cases that mirrored a “clear deterioration” in the wider province.

The DRC Health Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani said that the country was experiencing a new wave of infections.

“I officially announce the onset of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in our country, with Kinshasa as its epicentre,” Mbungani told reporters.

A low vaccination rate and haphazard observance of recommended hygiene practices were among the reasons for the rising infection rate, he said.

Meanwhile in Uganda, the number of cases has jumped 131 percent in one week with outbreaks in schools and an increase in cases among health workers. Angola and Namibia are also seeing a resurgence.

Simultaneously, the continent is facing a shortage of vaccines and deliveries are almost at a standstill in Africa, according to WHO, which hopes for new deliveries in the coming months through the international COVAX scheme, including a pledge of 80 million doses from the United States.

Only 2 percent of Africans to date have received at least one shot, compared with 11 percent of the world’s population, according to Our World in Data. Six countries have not kicked off inoculation, four of which are in Africa: Tanzania, Burundi, Chad and Eritrea.

Separately on Thursday, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong, slammed rich countries once again for failing to step up their effort in guaranteeing more equitable access to vaccines.
“I would like to make a moral case to the leaders of the G7 that our limited supply of vaccines on the continent has definitely a serious boding for us, a serious economic boding for us,” he said during a press briefing.

“Perhaps it is a greater moral boding for those who are sitting on excess doses of vaccines; because actually, they want to be on the right side of history.” Aljazeera

Gonorrhea now resistant to antibiotics - WHO

Gonorrhea one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world is becoming untreatable as cases of “super-gonorrhea” have been reported throughout the world.

According to the World Health Organisation, a lot has been heard about ‘super gonorrhea this year. 

“Basically, when we say ‘super gonorrhea’ we mean ‘gonorrhea superbug,’” stateds Dr. Teodora Wi, WHO medical officer. 
“These are extensively drug-resistant gonorrhea with high-level resistance to the current recommended treatment for gonorrhea (ceftriaxone and azithromycin) including resistance to penicillin, sulphonamides, tetracycline, fluoroquinolones, macrolides.” 

Wi adds that the “superbug” has been reported in several countries around the world. 

He attributes the increased resiliency of gonorrhea to the overuse of antibiotics, inappropriate selection of antibiotics, using less than optimal qualities of antibiotics, unrestricted access to antimicrobials, genetic mutations within the Neisseria gonorrhea organism, and extragenital infections.

Gonorrhea can affect anyone and is contracted through unprotected sexual contact with a person who has the infection. It can also be spread from mother to baby during delivery. 

“This bacterial infection is on the rise and is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Of more concern, in recent years there have been two cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea in Canada related to travel to Southeast Asia.” 

Wi said the development of new antibiotics is being outpaced by the development of resistance in gonorrhea. However, on a more positive note, Wi concludes that health organizations are collaborating to develop new treatments for the infection. 

“Gonococcal antimicrobial resistance will only be effectively mitigated when additionally the global gonorrhea burden is reduced. This is why sex education is so important.. “Apart from prevention through safer sexual behavior, the development of a vaccine to prevent transmission is vital and an effective gonococcal vaccine is likely the only sustainable solution for effective control of gonorrhea.” Vanguardngr

157,680 Nigerians die of TB yearly - WHO

The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) has raised the alarm over the significantly higher incidence of tuberculosis over COVID-19 in the nation, killing 157, 680 Nigerians yearly.

The NTBLCP and Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation (ACSM) Focal Person, Mrs. Jumoke Adebari, disclosed this, yesterday, during a one-day virtual media training for journalists in Ondo and Ekiti states.

She noted that tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, adding that it is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis that affects mainly the lungs but may affect any other parts of the body.

Adebari, who lamented that based on 2020 WHO Global Tuberculosis Report, that Nigeria was classified among the 14 countries with high burden of tuberculosis, which is an airborne disease caused by germs, said 18 Nigerians die of tuberculosis every hour.

MEANWHILE, the Ondo State Co-ordinator of Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (OD-STBLCP), Dr. Oluwafemi Aina, has reiterated the readiness of the agency to synergise with other relevant duty bearers to tackle the disease.

Aina, therefore, urged people across the 18 local councils of the state to visit the TB centres in their areas whenever they sense the symptoms and also desist from stigmatisation of TB victims. Theguardianng

COVID-19: WHO says virus 'catastrophic' for cancer care in Europe

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a "catastrophic" impact on cancer treatment, the World Health Organization's European branch warned on Thursday, with cancer services disrupted in a third of countries in the region.

"The impact of the pandemic on cancer in the region is nothing short of catastrophic," WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warned on World Cancer Day.

Among the 53 member states in the UN agency's European region, which includes several in central Asia, one in three countries has experienced partially or completely disrupted cancer services because of the strain COVID-19 has put on health systems and travel restrictions.

"Some countries have experienced shortages of cancer drugs, and many have seen a significant drop in new cancer diagnoses—even the most resource-rich countries," Kluge said in a statement.

He added that pre-existing inequalities were also growing because of the economic crisis, making it harder for many to adopt healthy behaviours or have access to prevention and care services.

In the Netherlands and Belgium during the first lockdown of 2020, the number of cancers diagnosed dropped by 30-40 percent, while at the Kyrgyzstan National Center of Oncology the number fell 90 percent.

Delayed diagnosis and treatment in the United Kingdom are expected to result in an increase in the number of deaths from colorectal cancer by 15 percent, and by nine percent for breast cancer over the next five years.

In a normal year, non-communicable diseases such as cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the WHO European region, accounting for more than 80 percent of fatalities, the agency said.

The WHO said it plans to mobilise authorities with a cancer initiative focused primarily on prevention, early detection and access for all to diagnosis and treatment. (Medicalxpress)

Vaccination efforts boosted, WHO to probe Covid-19 origins in China

Vaccination efforts were boosted Monday as BioNTech planned millions more doses than expected this year and mass inoculation sites opened across England while the world neared two million pandemic deaths a year since the first fatality was recorded.

As countries across the globe looked forward to vaccines finally allowing a return to normality in the months ahead, WHO experts were also focusing on Covid-19’s origins and planned a mission to China this week to probe the initial outbreak.

The 10 World Health Organization scientists will visit from Thursday, more than a year after the pandemic began and amid accusations Beijing has tried to thwart the investigation into the virus that has now infected more than 90 million people.

The announcement of the WHO team’s arrival came on the anniversary of the first death confirmed by China in the central city of Wuhan, where a wet market was identified as the first major outbreak of the disease that then spread around the world.

China has largely brought the virus under control, but is tackling a number of local infections, and more than half a million people were placed under lockdown in Beijing on Monday as the government imposed strict measures to stamp out a handful of cases.

Infection numbers were, however, surging across Europe, particularly as Britain coped with a new strain of the disease running rampant, posing the risk of hospitals being overwhelmed.

The virus has also exploded across the United States, the hardest-hit country, and US President-elect Joe Biden was to receive his second dose of the vaccine publicly on Monday as part of efforts to boost confidence.

There were also fears that the full impact of socialising over the holiday season worldwide has not yet been felt.

‘The way back’

The announcement by BioNTech, the German company that partnered with US firm Pfizer to produce the first vaccine approved in the West, provided some hope as countries face difficulties in distributing and delivering the jabs.

There have also been concerns over whether there will be sufficient vaccine supplies to cover the world’s population.

BioNTech said it expects to produce two billion doses in 2021, up from the previous forecast of 1.3 billion.

Britain was the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and has since approved those from Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna.

On Monday it opened seven mass vaccination sites across England.

“I feel this is the way back,” said Moira Edwards, 88, after receiving her first vaccination. “I can’t understand anybody not wanting to have it.”

While wealthier nations in Europe and North America have started vaccination drives, India — with the world’s second-biggest virus caseload — will begin giving shots to its 1.3 billion people from Saturday in a colossal and complex undertaking.

Russian officials said Monday they will trial a one-dose version of the country’s Sputnik V vaccine as they aim to provide a stopgap solution for badly hit countries.

‘Safest city’

The human and economic toll of the pandemic has caused anger and frustration worldwide, giving even greater political significance to the WHO’s long-awaited investigation mission to China.

The WHO team will “conduct joint research cooperation on the origins of Covid-19 with Chinese scientists”, Beijing’s National Health Commission said in a statement that provided no further details.

Beijing has faced international criticism over its lack of transparency during the early days of the pandemic. The United States and Australia have led international calls for an independent inquiry, enraging China.

The anniversary of the first reported death passed by unmarked on Monday in Wuhan, where commuters move freely to work, and parks and riverside promenades buzz with visitors.

“Wuhan is the safest city in China now, even the whole world,” 66-year-old resident Xiong Liansheng told AFP.

The recovery of Wuhan is in sharp contrast to the many parts of the world where the pandemic is still raging, fuelled by new variants that are prompting governments from Israel to Australia to reimpose restrictions, including lockdowns and even curfews.

Pope Francis and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II became the latest high-profile figures over the weekend to join the global vaccination campaign.

The pope denounced opposition to the shots as “suicidal denial”. 



Vaccine will not be enough to stop pandemic - WHO

The head of the World Health Organization said Monday that a vaccine would not by itself stop the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic is raging months after it broke out, with infections soaring past 54 million and claiming more than 1.3 million lives.

“A vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them,” director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic.”

The WHO’s figures for Saturday showed that 660,905 coronavirus cases were reported to the UN health agency, setting a new high watermark.

That number, and the 645,410 registered on Friday, surpassed the previous daily record high of 614,013 recorded on November 7.

Tedros said that supplies of the vaccine would initially be restricted, with “health workers, older people and other at-risk populations (to) be prioritized. That will hopefully reduce the number of deaths and enable the health systems to cope.”

But he warned: “That will still leave the virus with a lot of room to move. Surveillance will need to continue, people will still need to be tested, isolated, and cared for, contacts will still need to be traced… and individuals will still need to be cared for.”


UNICEF, WHO Call on Nigeria Govt for Additional Financial Resources to Fight Measles, Polio

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted immunisations against deadly diseases, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have called on the federal government to increase funding for immunization in order to avert major measles and polio epidemics.

The organisations have also estimated that $655 million — $400 million for polio and $255 million for measles — are needed to address dangerous immunity gaps in non-GAVI eligible countries and target age groups.

They also said that failure to eradicate polio now, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as in some other African countries, would lead to global resurgence of the disease, resulting in as many as 200,000 new cases annually, within 10 years.

In a statement signed by UNICEF communications specialist, Oluwatosin Akingbulu, UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said Nigeria cannot allow the fight against one deadly disease to lead to the loss of ground in the fight against other diseases.

She said Nigeria remains at risk of both polio and measles outbreaks due to the inadequate improvements in increasing the routine immunization coverage in children receiving lifesaving vaccines. Nigeria was declared free of the wild poliovirus in August 2020.

Also, measles continues to be among the leading cause of death and disability among children, with first dose of measles vaccination coverage of only 54 per cent as reported by the National Demographic Health Survey, 2018.

According to her, “We cannot allow the fight against one deadly disease to cause us to lose ground in the fight against other diseases.

“Addressing the global COVID-19 pandemic is critical. However, other deadly diseases also threaten the lives of millions of children in some of the poorest areas of the world. That is why today we are urgently calling for global action from country leaders, donors and partners. We need additional financial resources to safely resume vaccination campaigns and prioritize immunization systems that are critical to protect children and avert other epidemics besides COVID-19.”

The UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Mr. Peter Hawkins, also added that immunization is the best way to secure the future of the Nigerian child, adding that it is very safe, effective and available at all government health centres.

He called on all caregivers and parents on the need to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated and protected from childhood killer diseases, including ensuring that all doses are taken so that the vaccine can be effective.

“Immunization is the best way to secure the future of our children. It is very safe, effective and available at all government health centres. All caregivers and parents need to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated and protected from childhood killer diseases – including ensuring that all doses are taken, so that the vaccine can be effective,” he said.

In his speech, the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on health services and in particular immunization services worldwide, but unlike COVID, the organization has tools and the knowledge to stop diseases such as polio and measles.

He said: “But unlike with COVID, we have the tools and knowledge to stop diseases such as polio and measles. What we need are the resources and commitments to put these tools and knowledge into action. If we do that, children’s lives will be saved.”

In the same vein, WHO country representative, Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said there must be a continued engagement of traditional and religious institutions, as well as other key stakeholders at the community level who will stay vigilant and keep up vaccination rates to avert a resurgence of the wild poliovirus.

“We must continue to engage traditional and religious institutions, as well as other key stakeholders at the community level, to stay vigilant and keep up vaccination rates to avert a resurgence of the wild poliovirus – and to address the continued threat of the vaccine-derived polio and other vaccine preventable disease outbreaks, including measles.”

In recent years, there has been a global resurgence of measles with ongoing outbreaks in all parts of the world. Vaccination coverage gaps have been further exacerbated in 2020 by COVID-19. In 2019, measles climbed to the highest number of new infections in more than two decades. Thisdaylive

WHO: DG goes into isolation after contact with COVID-19 patient

The WHO DG made the announcement via his Twitter account on Sunday.

Ghebreyesus said though he is asymptomatic, he will undergo self-quarantine in line with safety protocol and work from home.

He called for strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines in order to prevent a spread of the infection.

“I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID19. I am well and without symptoms but will self-quarantine over the coming days, in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols, and work from home,” he tweeted.

“It is critically important that we all comply with health guidance. This is how we will break chains of #COVID19 transmission, suppress the virus, and protect health systems. My WHO colleagues and I will continue to engage with partners in solidarity to save lives and protect the vulnerable. Together!”

According to Worldometer, a website which provides real-time figures on the COVID-19 situation globally, over 46 million cases of the disease have been confirmed worldwide.

Of the total figure, over 33 million patients have recovered while 1.2 million persons have died of the infection.

The US remains the worst hit with over nine million cases and 236,501 deaths.

In Nigeria, a total of 62,964 COVID-19 cases have been recorded with 58,790 recoveries and 1,146 deaths. TheCable

Reopening: WHO harps on COVID-19 prevention plans

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has emphasized the need for effective COVID-19 prevention plans as countries reopen their economies and borders.

Its Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, gave the advice during a news briefing from Geneva on Monday.

Ghebreyesus said he had observed the eagerness of countries to “get their economies going again”, eight months into the coronavirus pandemic.

According to him, if countries are serious about opening, they must prioritise suppression of transmission and safety of lives.

He warned that opening up without efficient and effective prevention measures in place was “a recipe for disaster”.

Ghebreyesus said this might seem an impossible balance, but it could be done if countries were in control of transmission.

“The more control they have, the more they can open. The reality is that coronavirus spreads easily.

“It can be fatal for people of all ages and most people remain susceptible.

“To control transmission, it is essential to prevent events that lead to outbreaks,” he said.

The virus spreads efficiently among clusters of people, the WHO boss stated, adding that “explosive outbreaks” are linked to gatherings at sports stadiums, nightclubs and places of worship.

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While noting that there were ways to hold gatherings safely, Ghebreyesus said decisions about how and when must be made with a risk-based approach, tailored to local conditions.

He said countries experiencing significant community transmission might need to postpone such events.

Those seeing sporadic cases or small clusters, on the other hand, can find creative ways to hold events while minimising risk.

He called for emphasis on reduction of deaths by protecting the elderly, people with underlying conditions and essential workers.

“Countries that do this well may be able to cope with low levels of transmission as they open.

“Individuals must play their part by staying at least one metre away from others, cleaning their hands regularly, practicing respiratory etiquette by wearing a mask and avoiding close-contact settings.

“For governments, widespread stay-at-home orders can be avoided if they take temporary, geographically targeted interventions.

“It is important to find, isolate, test and care for COVID-19 cases – and both trace and quarantine contacts,” he said. NAN

172 countries engaging with largest COVID-19 vaccine campaign - WHO

Up to 172 countries have been engaging with the “largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio” coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), its chief said on Monday.

“At present, there are nine vaccines that are part of this dynamic portfolio,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus at a virtual news briefing, referring to the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility.

He added that nine other vaccines were under evaluation for the longer term.

According to him, COVAX is a mechanism for joint procurement and pooling risk across multiple vaccines so that whatever vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, all countries within the facility will be able to access them.

He said that global competition for vaccine doses could lead to prices spiking exponentially in comparison to COVAX.

The COVAX allocation framework aims at ensuring that low, middle and high-income countries all receive the vaccine in a timely way as soon as there is supply of a safe and effective vaccine, he said.

According to the WHO chief, it is important to provide the vaccine to those at highest risk, including health workers, people over 65 years and those at higher risk of dying from COVID-19 due to certain diseases they already have.

“A number of vaccines are now in the final stage of clinical trials, and we all hope we will have multiple successful candidates that are both safe and effective,” he said.

He added that the goal of COVAX would be to deliver at least two billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021.



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