Africa on track to control pandemic this year but vigilance is key: WHO

Since the first case on the continent was identified nearly two years ago, Africa has faced four waves of COVID-19, each with higher peaks or more total cases than the previous one. These surges were mainly driven by new variants which, though highly transmissible, were not necessarily more fatal. Against the oddsOn average, each wave was roughly 23 percent shorter than the one before, with the first lasting 29 weeks, while the fourth ended in six weeks. Dr. Matshidiso…

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West Africa: Extreme poverty rises nearly 3 percent due to COVID-19

Extreme poverty in West Africa rose by nearly three percent in 2020, another fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, a UN-backed report launched on Thursday that looks at the socio-impact of the crisis has revealed. The proportion of people living on less than $1.90 a day jumped from 2.3 percent last year to 2.9 percent in 2021, while the debt burden of countries increased amid slow economic recovery, shrinking fiscal space, and weak resource mobilization. More than 25 million across…

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Poor states refuse to accept 100M near expiry COVID-19 jabs

Poorer nations last month rejected more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed by the global program COVAX, mainly because of a rapidly approaching expiry date, a UNICEF official said on Thursday. The big figure shows the difficulties of vaccinating the world’s population, despite growing supplies of shots, with COVAX getting closer to delivering 1 billion doses to nearly 150 countries. “More than a 100 million have been rejected just in December alone,” Etleva Kadilli, director of the…

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It is time for Africa to focus on getting vaccines in arms

Rates of vaccination against COVID-19 are still disappointingly low in Africa, with just around 8 percent of the continent’s population fully vaccinated against the disease. And this average masks large differences between countries. Mauritius and Morocco, for example, already fully vaccinated 72 and 62 percent of their populations respectively, but in countries like Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, vaccination rates remain well under one percent. Since the emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant, the number of…

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Sustainable packaging for African Tea

People may not always think about where their food comes from, but Asami Tea founder Ola Atilola wants to change that. Asami, which means “my culture” in the Yoruba language, is a Northwest Arkansas-based company created in 2016 with the desire to promote African products and support African farmers. “We want to invest in those farmers and tell their origin story,” Atilola says.  A native of Nigeria, Atilola has developed relationships with farmers across the African continent, sourcing ingredients from countries…

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Africa’s fourth COVID wave flattens out after six-week surge

After a six-week surge, Africa’s fourth pandemic wave, which has been mainly driven by the Omicron variant, is flattening, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. WHO said that this marked the shortest surge since the pandemic began on the continent, where total cases have exceeded 10.2 million. Recorded cases of infection show that the weekly number plateaued in the seven days leading up to 9 January, from the previous week. “Early indications suggest that Africa’s fourth wave…

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Ghanaian pharmacy venture mPharma raises $35 million to expand drug access in Africa

Ghana-based health tech startup mPharma has raised $35 million to build a chain of community pharmacies across Africa as it races to be the primary healthcare service provider for millions, TechCrunch reported Wednesday (Jan. 5). Co-founder and CEO Gregory Rockson told the news organization that the new funding will be used to construct the startup’s data infrastructure, triple its staff by 2025 and support expansion. He also said the cash will be used to launch an eCommerce platform for…

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Ghana to fine airlines $3,500 per unvaccinated passenger

Ghana has announced plans to fine airlines $3,500 for each passenger who arrives in the West African country without being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A joint statement by the Ghana Health Service and Ghana Civil Aviation Authority on Monday stated that the new measure is part of plans to prevent the West African country from the spread of omicron, a highly transmissible virus strain. “The current increase in cases together with the detection of the omicron variant among international…

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Gambia’s tourism struggles with impact of Covid-19 as it seeks to diversify

This is not the usual scene here at this beach here in Gambia. Ideally, as the yuletide approaches the beach would be full of tourist but the story changed since the emergence of Covid 19. In Banjul and elsewhere in the Gambia, the tourist season has been on since October but there is little or no signs of tourists here. At Tamala, a four-star resort near Banjul, the restaurant is virtually empty an unusual scene during a tourist season….

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Fighting cancer with mobile mammography van in Uganda

Many Ugandans now have a chance of survival from the early detection of breast cancer through free screening offered by a mobile mammography van. The van arrives at the doorstep of Ugandans fully equipped to freely test breast cancer in both men and women. This is an initiative of the comprehensive cancer community programme of the Uganda cancer institute. Since the project was introduced a decade ago, more than 500 breast cancer cases have been diagnosed and successfully treated….

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