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Bello insists Kogi is COVID-19 free, lifts lockdown in Kabba-Bunu

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The Yahaya Bello led Kogi State government has lifted the lockdown imposed on Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area of the state over suspected cases of  COVID-19.

Governor Bello, on Friday announced this at the Government House in Lokoja, the state capital.

The governor informed that the decision became necessary after the result of all the samples taken and subjected to tests by the health workers in the local government came out negative.

As a result of this, Bello insisted that Kogi has remained a COVID-19-free state.

The governor also urged the people of the state to adhere strictly to the protocols of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to curb the spread of the disease.

Governor Bello had earlier ordered a 14-day total lockdown in Kabba-Bubu in a state broadcast on Monday.

 

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UCH commends Makinde for continuous support to institution

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The Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Professor Jesse Otegbayo, has applauded Governor Seyi Makinde for the supports given to the college on treatment and management of COVID I9 cases in the hospital.

Professor Otegbayo , gave the accolade on Monday following the donation of a ventilator and oxygen concentrator by the State government to the college .

Professor Otegbayo, who received the donation from government delegates at the college, maintained that the machines were adequate for treatment of coranavirus patients.

He revealed that the existing facilities were already overused considering the interval of their usage, noting that the machines would go a long way in improving service delivery.

While reiterating the commitment of the college in ensuring the well – being of indigenes of Oyo State, Professor Otegbayo appreciated philantropists in the State and beyond for reaching out to the college during trying period.

“This period of COVID is a difficult period in Nigeria and for the College hospitals like ours, that was why we sent out requests to philanthropists and Oyo state government for support.”

“Since two weeks ago, we have been receiving supports in this regard from Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration.

“It is a thing of delight to us to receive the ventilator and oxygen concentrator to take proper care of the people of Oyo state which we are committed to.

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“On behalf of the board, management and staffers of the College, we want to send our appreciation to His Excellency, Engr. Seyi Makinde who has being a partner in progress to the college and the entire people of Oyo state for good things they are doing for us.

“We want to promise that we will make good use of these machines to ensure they render the services they are meant for.”

Earlier in his remark, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Adebisi Ayoola, who presented the equipment on behalf of the Oyo state government, said the donation became imperative to further improve the care given to indigines of Oyo State placed under coronavirus treatment in the hospital.

Dr .Ayoola, while reiterating the commitment of the state government to delivery of quality health care for all and sundry, hinted that the machines would assist in strengthen the operations of the college.

 

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Lagos Doctors to begin warning strike tomorrow

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The leadership of the Medical Guild in Lagos state on Sunday said its members will begin a three-day warning strike from Monday.

The Chairman of the guild, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, announced this while addressing a press conference in Lagos State.

Dr. Sodipo informed that the medical practitioners took the decision to embark on industrial action over issues they say affect their safety and welfare.

He stressed that the decision formed part of the resolutions reached during the meeting of the leadership of the association convened to review the challenges of medical doctors in the state.

According to him, “After robust deliberations, the Council observed that the following were some of the unresolved demands of the Guild.

“They include wage disparity between Federal and Lagos State doctors which was not being given attention, the issue of COVID-19 hazard allowances and inducement allowances as approved by the Federal Government which have not yet been domesticated by Lagos State for her doctors; that the doctors working in the isolation centres were still being owed two months’ allowances which have not been paid as at the time of the meeting.

“There were also concerns that they (the doctors) were unceremoniously disengaged without recourse to their welfare,” the guild chairman added.

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In view of the challenges, he revealed that the representative council resolved to activate the resolution of the association on a three-day warning strike.

Sodipo noted that the industrial action would commence from 8am on Monday to 8am on Thursday.

He, however, said members of the guild working in the state’s coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation centres have been exempted.

 

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WHO calls for equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccines in Africa

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The World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa joined immunization experts in urging the international community and countries in Africa to take concrete actions to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, as researchers around the world race to find effective protection against the virus.“It is clear that as the international community comes together to develop safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19, equity must be a central focus of these efforts,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Too often, African countries end up at the back of the queue for new technologies, including vaccines. These life-saving products must be available to everyone, not only those who can afford to pay.”

WHO and partners launched the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to speed up the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. It brings together leaders of government, global health organizations civil society groups, businesses and philanthropies to form a plan for an equitable response to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO is collaborating with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to ensure a fair allocation of vaccines to all countries, aiming to deliver 2 billion doses globally for high-risk populations, including 1 billion for low and middle-income countries.

The African Union has endorsed the need for Africa to develop a framework to actively engage in the development and access to COVID-19 vaccines. Countries can take steps now that will strengthen health systems, improve immunization delivery, and pave the way for the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine. These include: mobilizing financial resources; strengthening local vaccine manufacturing, and regulatory, supply and distribution systems; building workforce skills and knowledge; enhancing outreach services; and listening to community concerns to counter misinformation.

Globally, there are nearly 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates and currently 19 are in clinical trials. South Africa is the first country on the continent to start a clinical trial with the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg testing a vaccine developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute in the United Kingdom. The South African Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine VIDA-Trial is expected to involve 2000 volunteers aged 18–65 years and include some people living with HIV. The vaccine is already undergoing trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil with thousands of participants.

According to the African Academy of Sciences only 2% of clinical trials conducted worldwide occur in Africa. It is important to test the COVID-19 vaccine in countries where it is needed to ensure that it will be effective. With more than 215 000 cases, South Africa accounts for 43% of the continent’s total cases. Clinical trials must be performed according to international and national scientific and ethical standards, which include informed consent for any participant.

“I encourage more countries in the region to join these trials so that the contexts and immune response of populations in Africa are factored in to studies,” said Dr Moeti. “Africa has the scientific expertise to contribute widely to the search for an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Indeed, our researchers have helped develop vaccines which provide protection against communicable diseases such as meningitis, Ebola, yellow fever and a number of other common health threats in the region.”

Earlier, this month WHO Africa’s principle advisory group on immunization policies and programmes – the African Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) – also noted the need to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 and other vaccines in the region.

“As the world focuses on finding a vaccine for COVID-19, we must ensure people do not forget that dozens of lifesaving vaccines already exist. These vaccines should reach children everywhere in Africa – no one can be left behind,” said Professor Helen Rees, Chair of the RITAG.

Initial analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immunization in the African Region suggests that millions of African children are likely to be negatively impacted, as routine immunization services and vaccination campaigns for polio, cholera, measles, yellow fever, meningitis and human papilloma virus have been disrupted.

Despite these challenges, RITAG members also noted significant milestones and markers of progress. For example, there have been tremendous gains in the fight against wild poliovirus, and the African Region is expected to be officially certified free of wild poliovirus in August 2020. The Democratic Republic of the Congo also announced the end of its 10th Ebola outbreak in eastern DRC, which was the worst in its history. An effective vaccine was a key tool in the response.

Dr Moeti spoke about COVID-19 vaccine development in Africa during a virtual press conference today organized by APO Group. She was joined by Professor Shabir Madhi, University of Witwatersrand, Principal Investigator of Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine Trial in South Africa; and Professor Pontiano Kaleebu, Director of the MCR/UVRI and LSHTM Ugandan Research Unit. The briefing was streamed on more than 300 African news sites as well as the WHO Regional Office for Africa’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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