India AstraZeneca shot delay could be ‘catastrophic’ for Africa: health official

India’s temporary hold on major exports of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot will undermine Africa’s vaccination plans, and could have a “catastrophic” impact if extended, the head of the continent’s disease control body said on Thursday. India decided to delay big exports of the shots made in its territory by the Serum Institute of India (SII) to make sure it could meet local demand, two sources told Reuters last week. The hold “will definitely impact our ability to continuously vaccinate people,”…

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Addressing vaccine hesitancy, a potential problem in the fight against coronavirus

The COVID 19 pandemic has wreaked enormous havoc on the health, economic and social fabric of nations around the world. Ghana is certainly no exception. As at the time of writing (February 26th, 2021) the number of SARS COVID 19 recorded infections in Ghana stood at 81673 with 588 deaths (Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center). Whilst the number of deaths may seem minuscule relative to the number of recorded cases, to the families, friends and loved ones of each…

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Ghana receives first historic shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations from international COVAX facility

Six hundred thousand doses of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine from the UN-partnered COVAX initiative have arrived in Ghana: a historic first for the international partnership to provide equitable innoculations for all. Confirming the news on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that further supplies of the AstraZeneca/Oxford jab will reach Côte d’Ivoire later this week. These are the first coronavirus shots from the COVAX scheme to be distributed outside India, where the vaccine is being produced under licence. They…

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Coronavirus: Seven Zimbabwe babies stillborn in one night at hospital

Seven babies were born Stillborn at Harare Central Hospital in Zimbabwe on Monday night after urgent treatment was delayed because of staffing issues, two doctors have confirmed to the BBC. Nurses are on strike nationwide because of a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other concerns, and the maternity wards were overwhelmed. One doctor said Monday’s deaths were “the tip of the iceberg”. The health sector has recently been hit by a Covid-19 procurement scandal. It is alleged…

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Growing fears of COVID-19 associated stigma and discrimination in Africa

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread rapidly across the continent, social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against persons perceived to have been in contact with the virus is also on an alarming rise. I recently watched a comic viral video showing people running out of a public bus for dear life as if a bomb had gone off. However, it was not a physical explosion but a loud sneeze from one of the passengers that had sent alarm bells…

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Coronavirus: How fast is it spreading in Africa?

Africa is seeing coronavirus cases rapidly increasing and deaths rising, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). We’ve looked at the situation across the continent, and examined which countries are of most concern. How fast is coronavirus spreading? In terms of overall numbers, Africa currently accounts for only a small proportion of total global cases, but the acceleration in rates of infection in some countries is of increasing concern to health authorities in the region. While it took nearly 100…

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Black medical student creates handbook to show how symptoms of disease appear on darker skin

A black medical student has created a handbook for future doctors to help them recognise conditions on darker skin after only being taught how to diagnose white patients. Malone Mukwende, a second year student at St George’s, University of London, wrote Mind the Gap, to help other medics recognise potentially life-threatening diseases on BAME people.                      The book contains side-by-side images showing how illnesses appear on light and dark skin, as…

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Covid-19 imperils packed Egypt prison

Families of prisoners at notorious Tora complex concerned publicised efforts to contain virus are purely cosmetic Fears are mounting over the safety of prisoners in Egypt’s notorious Tora prison, as rights groups say parts of the complex have been cordoned off to quarantine those diagnosed with coronavirus. Families of those held inside the huge compound south of Cairo, which houses at least eight individual prisons, including two maximum security wings, say the authorities’ attempts to combat the spread of Covid-19…

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Queen Elizabeth honors 95-year-old Ghanaian veteran

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has honored a Ghanaian war veteran, Pvt. Joseph Hammond, who walked 14 miles to raise money for frontline workers and veterans in Africa. The 95-year-old veteran said he was “overwhelmed with joy” after being honored with a Point of Light award, presented by the Queen to volunteers from the Commonwealth who positively impact their communities. “This will linger in my memory forever. I wish to thank the mother of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and all those…

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High number of respiratory deaths in South Sudan camp – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is an increase in respiratory-related deaths amongst displaced people living in Bentiu camp in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity State. The camp is managed by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and currently hosts 111,766 people who fled their homes because of fighting between government and rebel troops in 2013. WHO official Joseph Wamala told reporters in the capital, Juba, that the risk of infection is higher at the camps because…

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