Africa’s polio-free status, COVID-19 cases dominate health stories last week

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Nigeria on Tuesday received its wild polio virus-free certificate from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As the last country in Africa to achieve this milestone, this means the continent is now polio-free.

Meanwhile, the world is still battling the coronavirus pandemic which has infected over 25 million people and caused at least 847,391 deaths.

Nigeria has recorded 53,727 cases and over 1,000 deaths.

Here is a round-up of some of the health stories which made headlines.

COVID-19: NCDC announces 250 new cases, total now 53,727

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 250 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the nation’s confirmed cases to 53,727.

The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Saturday.

The health agency said that as of August 29, a total of 250 new confirmed cases and zero deaths were recorded in the country.

How Africa gained polio free status — WHO

The WHO certified Nigeria and the Africa region free of the wild polio virus following approval from the Independent Africa Regional Certification Commission.

The international health agency said the decision was reached after a decade-long process of documentation and analysis of progress made.

“African Region is officially declared free of wild polio! Congratulations to all countries, partners & health workers,” WHO tweeted on Tuesday.

Nigeria is the last country in Africa to achieve this milestone. This means the continent is now polio-free.

COVID-19 could worsen TB cases by 2021 – Foundation

One of Nigeria’s major partners in the fight against tuberculosis, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, has expressed fears over worsening cases of tuberculosis (TB) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The executive director of the foundation, Gidado Mustapha, said there is an urgent need to strengthen TB case finding in the country.

Mr Mustapha, who spoke at a virtual media briefing on Monday, noted that with the impact of COVID-19 on health services, over 6.5 million TB cases could be recorded in the near future.

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The long road to Africa’s polio-free status

The WHO certified the Africa region free of the wild polio virus on Tuesday.

Nigeria was the last nation on the continent harbouring the virus until it was given a clean bill by the health agency.

A PREMIUM TIMES analysis takes us through the journey of polio eradication that began 25 years ago.

Pharmaceutical firms can’t access CBN’s N100bn intervention fund – PSN

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) says many pharmaceutical companies have not been able to access the Central Bank of Nigeria’s N100bn credit facility.

According to the PSN, pharmaceutical firms have been facing all sorts of difficulties in their attempts to access the CBN’s intervention fund.

The CBN had announced on March 25, 2020 that it has earmarked N100bn credit support for the health sector to ameliorate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

India reports 75,760 highest single-day spike in COVID-19 infections

India’s COVID-19 infections on Thursday surged by a record 75,760 over 24 hours, taking the total to past 3.3 million, Health Ministry data showed.

India still trails the US and Brazil in the total number of cases but has reported more infections daily than either of these countries for most of August.

The death toll now stands at 60,472, with 1,023 fatalities since Tuesday, but the ministry says the mortality rate remains lower than many countries at 1.8 per cent and the recovery rate has reached over 76 per cent.

NAFDAC warns public against apple, blackcurrant juice

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised Nigerians to stop the consumption of an organic apple and blackcurrant juice drink originating from Australia.

Moji Adeyeye, NAFDAC Director-General, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the products have been certified harmful for human consumption.

Togo overcomes ‘sleeping sickness’ as a public health problem

The West African nation of Togo has eliminated human African trypanosomiasis or ‘sleeping sickness’ as a public health problem, becoming the first in the continent to achieve the milestone, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

“Togo is a pathfinder in eliminating sleeping sickness, a disease which has threatened millions of Africans,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said on Thursday.

25 Ondo health workers lament non-payment of 15 months salaries

Some health workers in Ondo State have accused the state government of not paying them salaries for the past 15 months.

The 25 health workers, who took to social media to call out the governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said life has been miserable for them despite their active participation in fighting the coronavirus in the state.

The health workers include doctors, nurses, scientific officers, pharmacists, medical lab technicians, and record officers who currently work at government hospitals in Owo, Ore, Ikare Akoko, Irele and many other parts of the state.

COVID-19: FG to support NAFDAC on vaccine research

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says the federal government will support the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), to meet international standards in research into the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Ehanire said this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 joint briefing in Abuja.

He said the government would support NAFDAC to reach international maturity level and encourage researchers to work towards the development of vaccines for the virus.

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

About 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.


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