Global news outlet
Jul. 1, 2021
Rife COVID-19 variants fuel Africa's surging wave
Rife COVID-19 variants fuel Africa's surging wave
Brazzaville, 1 July 2021 – As COVID-19 case numbers in Africa climb faster than all earlier peaks, new and faster spreading variants are fuelling the continent’s surging third wave.
Cases have increased in Africa for six weeks running and rose by 25% week-on-week to almost 202 000 in the week ending on June 27th, reaching nine tenths of the continent’s previous record of 224 000 new cases. Deaths rose by 15% across 38 African countries to nearly 3000 in the same period.
With case numbers doubling in Africa every three weeks, the Delta variant is spreading to a growing number of countries. It has been reported in 16 countries, including nine with surging cases. It is the most contagious variant yet, an estimated 30%–60% more transmissible than other variants. It is in three of the five countries reporting the highest caseloads for the week ending 27 June. And it is dominant in South Africa, which accounted for more than half of Africa’s cases in the same period. According to the latest country reports, the Delta variant was detected in 97% of samples sequenced in Uganda and 79% of samples sequenced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before. The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to Africa up to a whole new level. More transmission means more serious illness and more deaths, so everyone must act now and boost prevention measures to stop an emergency becoming a tragedy,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.
In Uganda, 66% of severe illness in people younger than 45 years is attributed to the Delta variant. With rising case numbers and hospitalizations across the continent, WHO estimates that oxygen demand in Africa is now 50% greater than for the first wave peak one year ago.
The Alpha and Beta variants have been reported in 32 and 27 countries respectively. The Alpha variant has been detected in most countries in north, west and central Africa. The Beta variant is more widespread in southern Africa. Both of these variants are more transmissible than the original virus.
With WHO support, genomic surveillance to track the spread of variants in Africa is increasing, with the aim of boosting sampling for sequencing by eight to ten times during the next six months at five laboratories covering 14 southern African countries. A better understanding of the molecular evolution of the variants will also aid countries in making quick decisions around which vaccines to use.
Although eight vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective and have received WHO emergency use listing, shipments to Africa have dried up. Only 15 million people – just 1.2% of the African population – are fully vaccinated. WHO has set up the African COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Network to document the effectiveness of the available vaccines when used in the African context. These studies assess the effectiveness of each vaccine against the variants circulating in the region.
“While supply challenges grind on, dose sharing can help plug the gap. We are grateful for the pledges made by our international partners, but we need urgent action on allocations. Africa must not be left languishing in the throes of its worst wave yet,” said Dr Moeti.
African Immunization experts met to tackle a range of pressing issues, including COVID-19 vaccines, the status of the malaria vaccine implementation programme, polio eradication and routine immunization progress, at the biannual Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) that was held virtually from 30 June to 1 July. Participants also addressed the implementation of the regional framework for Immunization Agenda 2030, a roadmap to achieve crucial immunization goals. RITAG members offered recommendations to African governments to address key challenges and strengthen immunization systems.
Dr Moeti spoke during a virtual press conference today facilitated by APO Group. She was joined by Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Director-General, National Institute for Biomedical Research, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Technical Secretary of the Multisectoral Committee for the Response to COVID-19 in DRC and Professor Pontiano Kaleebu, Director MRC/Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit.
Also on hand to answer questions were Dr Richard Mihigo, Coordinator, Immunization and Vaccines Development Programme, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Thierno Balde, Team Leader, Operational Partnerships, WHO Regional Office for Africa, and Dr Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, Regional Virologist, WHO Regional Office for Africa.
The African Energy Chamber wishes to congratulate His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique, on his acceptance of Africa Oil & Power’s ‘Person of the Year’ award for 2020, to be presented on March 8 in Maputo. The Chamber stands behind the President and his administration as they work to effect real change in Mozambique through building an inclusive and sustainable energy sector, that generates benefits for all.
Africa Oil & Power on 8-9 March will hold a Presidential Award Ceremony and Technical Workshops in Maputo and with global online participation, in order to celebrate the work of the President and the Mozambican government, and to support capacity building and knowledge transfer in the energy industry in Mozambique. The African Energy Chamber – along with the entire private sector in the country – is firmly in support of these initiatives, and endorses Africa Oil & Power in its work in Mozambique.
The nation’s energy sector – including exploration and production, LNG processing, gas networks, power infrastructure and services – is at a critical point in its development. Many African countries have walked this road, providing valuable experience that can be used to shape the Mozambican sector. But the Chamber recognizes that it is the drive, leadership and insight of those in charge that will determine Mozambique’s path and future success. President Nyusi has demonstrated admirable long-term thinking, dedication to local content, and political will to empower the private sector and the Mozambican people to create prosperity through energy. It is for this reason that he is a worthy recipient of Africa Oil & Power’s important award.
H.E. President Nyusi
The African Energy Chamber encourages all businesses and individuals interested in participating in, and contributing to Mozambique’s success to take part in the online award ceremony and workshops on March 8-9. Registration is free at www.mzgasandpower.com.
“Such initiatives represent what the Chamber believes to be the future of events in Africa. This is not about just building a stage and setting up a talking shop. This is about driving a movement that genuinely creates opportunities for Mozambicans and Africans. It’s about focusing on attracting investment into the country, building a narrative about the country, giving a voice to companies that invest that they must be respected, supporting local companies that need contracts, and communities that need jobs and want to contribute to the growth of the country. That is what Africa Oil & Power is doing and we will support their unique and results-driven approach,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.
“We see Mozambique as a global natural gas development center, with generations of people and the whole region set to benefit. Thanks to the work of President Nyusi and his government in encouraging the growth of the sector, Mozambique is now very well placed to engage with more foreign investors, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum and OPEC, but most importantly to use its gas to develop its economy, create jobs, business opportunities and bring people out of poverty. This President is on the right path and we must support him,” concluded Ayuk.
President Nyusi has now joined an exclusive club with regard to African energy leadership. Previous recipients of this award include H.E. President of Senegal Macky Sall in 2019 and H.E. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, in 2018.
The Chamber pledges to work with the Mozambican government, Africa Oil & Power, and local associations such as the CTA and the Mozambican Oil and Gas Chamber, to advance the cause of natural gas as a sustainable fuel for development and a critical part of the energy transition in Africa. This resource will provide for positive change, including reduction of energy poverty and greater inclusion of women in energy and the workforce.
Find out more about the African Energy Chamber and its work at www.energychamber.org. Register for the online awards and workshops at www.mzgasandpower.com and read more about Mozambique’s growing energy sector at www.africaoilandpower.com.
Following the members of the UN ,African Union, European Union , and Americas advice for Kamerunians to be given free hand to run their local Kingdoms in their states or regions like Canada of French and English, the constitutional changes adapted from Canada with the advice of the Swiss and American governments are being put in place.
The electorates of the states elections are about to be called and summoned to send the anglophone leaders to the former governors residences and offices.
The beautiful anglophone regional legislature is open to north west residents in the SW and so on.
Anglophones will sign cooperation papers following their special regions statuses.
Dr Ntuba Thompson Akwo
Push for stronger health systems as Africa battles COVID-19
Aug. 26, 2020
Push for stronger health systems as Africa battles COVID-19
Brazzaville, 26 August 2020 – Health Ministers and representatives from African countries gathered this week for the annual World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa voiced concern over the impact of COVID-19 and stressed that the pandemic was a poignant reminder for countries to bolster health systems.
The Seventieth session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa – the Organization’s decision-making body – which was held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19 also celebrated Africa’s historic milestone in eradicating wild poliovirus. More than 500 participants, including Ministers of Health and officials from 47 Member States as well as representatives from United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, academia and development partners attended the meeting.
Since Africa confirmed its first COVID-19 cases in February the continent has recorded more than 1.1 million cases. African governments have reinforced response measures, building on the early steps such as enhanced surveillance, detection and movement restrictions taken even before the virus hit the continent.
“This virus has not only affected our health, but also tested our way of living, societal norms and economies at large. In Africa we quickly felt the impact of the pandemic due to our weak health systems coupled with the highest disease burden in the world,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali said.
To minimize the impact of the pandemic, Prime Minister Abiy called for improved COVID-19 response coordination, a common voice to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatment, and stronger health systems and public health emergency preparedness and response.
“COVID-19 has taught as that strong health systems are a matter of national security and survival,” he said.
Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth pointed out that timely and decisive response were critical to his country’s success in bringing down COVID-19 infections in five weeks after the first case was confirmed.
“It is crucial to have an efficient health system at a time when we are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Prime Minister Jugnauth. “The government continues to invest significantly in the health sector for both present and future generations.”
A WHO progress assessment on the performance of health systems as part of efforts to attain universal health coverage found that Member States in the region have gaps in different capacities, with the most acute seen in poor physical and financial access to services, and low resilience of health systems. The COVID-19 outbreak has underscored the high risk countries face if their populations are unable to access available services, and if the systems are not resilient enough to absorb stress and sustain service provision during a shock event.
“The coronavirus pandemic has proven once again the importance of investing in health systems, enhancing equitable access to care and improving readiness to prevent and control outbreaks,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Recovering from this pandemic will be incomplete without strong measures to bolster health systems. We must seize the opportunity and make the leap for a better tomorrow.”
The WHO assessment recommends that Members States find ways to increase public funding to develop health systems, explore initiative to boost access to services, review and identify the needed health system investments, set up measures to monitor the performance of health systems at the subnational level and enhance the efficiency of available funding, particularly donor, private and out-of-pocket funds.
Dr Moeti also presented a report on the work of WHO in the African Region covering areas such as universal health coverage, accelerating gains in preventing and controlling diseases, protecting people from health emergencies, promoting health and wellbeing.
“It is not only about what we do, but how we do it, that is important. We remain focused on delivering in ways that are more effective, results-driven and accountable,” said Dr Moeti.
The Regional Committee is the highest decision-making body on health in the region, involving ministers of health from the Member States of the WHO African Region. It meets once a year to review critical health issues affecting the continent and to advise on appropriate strategies to improve health outcomes.
African Health Ministers to meet virtually on critical health issues
Seventieth session of WHO Regional Committee for Africa
Brazzaville, 24 August 2020 – Health Ministers and representatives from African countries will meet virtually for the Seventieth session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa. The Regional Committee is the WHO decision-making body in the region, convening once a year to discuss and endorse policies, activities and financial plans to improve people’s health. Due to COVID-19, this annual meeting is being held online for the first time with an abridged agenda. Among the key issues to be discussed are the COVID-19 pandemic and the certification of Africa as free of wild poliovirus.
WHAT: Virtual Seventieth session of WHO Regional Committee for Africa
WHEN: 25 August 2020 starting at 08:30 GMT
WHERE: www.facebook.com/WHOAFRO & www.youtube.com/WHOAfricanRegion
WHO: The more than 500 participants include WHO Director-General Tedros Gebreyesus; WHO Regional Director for Africa: Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Ministers of Health and officials from 47 Member States, as well as representatives from United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, academia and other development partners.
25 August 11:30 -14:30 GMT: Special event on the COVID-19 response in the WHO African Region
A little more than six months since the first COVID-19 cases in Africa, the continent has recorded more than 1.1 million cases. Early action by countries helped to slow down the spread of the virus. Although the contintent has not experienced the exponential rise in cases seen in other parts of the world, the pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in health systems in the region, including infrastructure, inadequate staffing and access to medical supplies and equipment. This session will provide a comprehensive overview of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the African Region and discuss ways of building resilient health systems.
H.E Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of Ethiopia
H.E Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius
Dr Pierre Somse, Hon Minister of Health, Central African Republic
Ms Jacqueline Lydia Mikolo, Hon Minister of Health & Population, Republic of the Congo
Mr Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, Hon. Minister of Health, Senegal
Dr Zweli Mkhize, Hon Minister of Health, South Africa
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa
Professor Helen Rees, Executive Director, Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute
Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Deputy Director, Africa CDC
Professor Faustina Oware-Gyekye, President, West African College of Nursing
Moderator: Ms Julie Gichuru.
25 August 15:00–17:00 GMT: Celebrating the certification of wild poliovirus eradication in the African Region.
The independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication will officially certify the WHO African Region as free of wild poliovirus. The WHO African Region recorded its last case of wild poliovirus in August 2016. Two decades earlier, African leaders committed to eradicating polio from the continent. Thanks to the relentless efforts by governments, donors, frontline health workers and communities up to 1.8 million children have been saved from the crippling life-long paralysis.
Speakers in speaking order:
Professor Rose Leke, Chairperson, Africa Regional Certification Commission
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa
Dr Tedros Gebreyesus, WHO Director-General
H.E Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria
Mr Holger Knaack, President, Rotary International
Dr Tunji Funsho, Chairman, Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee
Ms Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
Hon Alex Azar, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Dr Robert Redfield, Director, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr Christopher Elias, President of the Global Development Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Dr Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance
Mr Aliko Dangote, Dangote Foundation
Mr Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Senator Harold K Kipchumba, Polio Survivor
Chair: Hon Jacqueline Lydia Mikolo, Minister of Health, Republic of the Congo
Any African government, institution or official organisation that wishes to distribute news releases about coronavirus for free can email APO Group at email@example.com.
More information: https://bit.ly/3bjnLvV
Ensuring COVID-19 vaccine preparedness through community engagement: Lesson from adult female vaccination programmes in Africa
Date: Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Time: 12:00 – 13:30 East Africa Time
Organiser: Africa CDC
Language: English, French
Democratic Republic of the Congo Ebola cases rise, surpass previous outbreak
Brazzaville, 16 July 2020 – The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Equateur Province continues to grow, causing major concern as the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners face critical funding gaps. Confirmed cases have now surpassed the total number recorded during the province’s last outbreak in 2018.
The latest outbreak, DRC’s 11th, was declared on 1 June 2020 after a cluster of cases was detected in Mbandaka area of Equateur Province. The outbreak has since spread to six health zones, with 56 cases recorded. The city of Mbandaka and its surroundings were also the site of the country’s 9th Ebola outbreak which lasted from May to July 2018 and in which 54 cases were confirmed.
Of the 56 cases reported so far, 53 are confirmed and three are probable. In the last three weeks alone, 28 cases have been confirmed.
“Responding to Ebola in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is complex, but we must not let COVID-19 distract us from tackling other pressing health threats,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The current Ebola outbreak is running into headwinds because cases are scattered across remote areas in dense rain forests. This makes for a costly response as ensuring that responders and supplies reach affected populations is extremely challenging.”
The ongoing Ebola response is also facing funding shortfalls. So far WHO has mobilized US$ 1.75 million, which will last only a few more weeks. Additional support is needed to rapidly scale up the efforts by WHO, the DRC health authorities and partners to ensure all the affected communities receive key services including health education and community engagement, vaccination, testing, contact tracing and treatment.
Significant achievements have been made since the outbreak began. In six weeks, more than 12 000 people have been vaccinated. During the 2018 outbreak in Equateur, it took two weeks to start vaccinations. This time around vaccinations started within four days of the outbreak being declared.
The current response builds on lessons learned from the country’s previous Ebola outbreaks, which underscored the importance of working closely with communities. Around 90% of the vaccinators in the ongoing outbreak are from the local communities. The response has also been able to tap into the expertise of laboratory technicians trained during the 2018 outbreak, with 26 laboratory technicians currently supporting diagnostics. Working with local responders is inspiring trust between communities and health workers and making the emergency response more effective.
WHO, along with the Ministry of Health and partners, has been engaging with communities to increase understanding of the virus and local support for response activities. More than 40 000 households have been visited by community health workers and more than 273 000 people have been provided with health and safety information.
Jul. 3, 2020
Africa postpones CHAN 2020 and AFCON 2021 ,the major soccer large gatherings because of COVID-19.
The two major soccer competitions in Africa that bring together large gatherings of global fans from all Fifa continents to watch African national teams compete in their continent has been postponed because of COVID19.
CHAN and AFCON were to be played in the African nation of Cameroon, in 2020 and 2021 respectively though now postponed with the CHAN for January 2021 and AFCON, for January 2022 in the same country.
The decision was announced on the 30th of June 2020 after the executive committee of the African football federation CAF, decided in concert with the host of both games.
Cameroon is ready with some of the best soccer infrastructures now available in the continent of Africa to host it,s neighbors and counterparts from other African countries.
CAF had sent it,s medical team to Cameroon to assess the Coronavirus pandemic situation to make sure that things were in keeping with the world health organization COVID-19 requirements, the global health body headed for the first time by an African from Ethiopia, De Tedros.
The decisions also allow the host nation to improve on other infrastructures like hotels and roads.
Africa is a host of 54 countries, some of which have the fastest growing economies in the world today.
Many Africans have made it great in the world soccer stage with names like Roger Miller whose burst is in Wax in Madam Taussaurd in England.
Sports hold great opportunities for African youths and a great future in team sports.
Dr. Akwo Thompson Ntuba
The Ministry of Health and the United Nations condemn attack on health worker supporting the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Goma, 3 November 2019 – The interministerial technical secretariat of the response to the Ebola outbreak, the Ministry of Health and their partners from the United Nations (the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Operations (UNEERO)) condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence that took place last night in Lwemba in Ituri Province, in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The violence caused the death of an Ebola response community health worker and left his spouse critically injured with multiple wounds.
The victim was also a reporter for a community radio station in Lwemba and was involved in raising the awareness of his community regarding the country’s tenth Ebola outbreak, which began over a year ago and is impacting the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu.
The motive behind the attack is still unclear.
Authorities have begun an investigation of the murder and are looking into whether it is connected to the ongoing Ebola response. Two suspects have been apprehended.
Any act of violence against individuals involved with the response is unacceptable and compromises the ability of health workers to provide assistance to communities impacted by the devastating effects of Ebola.
All relevant authorities, including the Congolese National Police, the National Intelligence Agency and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are working to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to justice as swiftly as possible.
The interministerial technical secretariat of the response to the Ebola outbreak, the Ministry of Health and its United Nations partners (WHO, UNICEF and UNEERO) offer their deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of those affected by this tragedy and to the broader community where this violence took place.
Since 1 January 2019, WHO has documented more than 300 attacks on health care that have caused 6 deaths and 70 injuries of health care workers and patients in the country.
Every attack sets back the Ebola response, which cannot function without an environment conducive for response teams to access and help the population.
Photo: Sean Hawkey/WCC
09 August 2019
* By Fredrick Nzwili
An unfolding drought in Africa is threatening hunger for tens of millions of people in the horn, eastern and southern parts of the continent. The drought – linked to climate change - has become persistent in recent times - weighing down on churches, as hunger strikes at the core of their congregations. Already, some priests and pastors say they are noticing a decrease in church attendance, as people stay away to tackle the challenge.
Tithes and offertory have declined, according to the clerics. The rains have failed or have been too little for two consecutive seasons in these regions, leaving behind a serious food shortage, water scarcity and diminished pasture for livestock. Kenya is one of the affected countries. The largely rural Christian communities are coping with the shortages.
“We are telling our congregations to conserve the little food in their granaries and use water sustainably. It is a long way before the next harvest. Already, some people have nothing to eat and soon they may need some kind of aid,” Rev. Jonathan Kivuva, the pastor in charge of Kivi Deanery of the African Brotherhood Church in Machakos County, Kenya told WCC News on 8 August. “The rains have failed for two seasons. That’s about a year without a proper harvest.”
About two weeks ago, political leaders from the north and northeastern region appealed for food and water aid for the drought-stricken communities. They urged the government to declare the drought a national disaster. The call came as the country’s National Drought Management Authority reported that the people suffering food shortages had increased to 2 million in July from 1.6 in May.
In South Sudan, UN agencies estimate that nearly 7 million people are facing critical food shortages. According to Fr James Oyet Latansio, a Roman Catholic priest who heads South Sudan Council of Churches, there have been some rains, but they been too short to sustain farming. “The people have tried to take advantage of the peace agreement to plant, but the rains have been too erratic, going on for a week and disappearing for a month or more. By the time it returns the crops have already withered,” said Latansio.
South Sudan’s situation has been exacerbated by insecurity, just like Somalia. Africa’s newest nation descended into a civil war in 2013 following a dispute among top leaders. Agency reports indicate that other countries - including Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, are also affected.
* Fredrick Nzwili is an independent journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya
Aug. 8, 2019