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COVID – 19 Response: IMF Approves Over US$47 million Credit For Gambia
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Gambian Health Minister Dr. Amadou Lamin Samateh

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a thirty-nine-month Extended Credit Facility arrangement for the Gambia in the amount of SDR35 million (about US$47.1 million, or 56.3 percent of the Gambia’s quota in the Fund) today.

The ECF-supported program aims to anchor macroeconomic stability and progress on structural reforms achieved under the 2019 Staff Monitored Program (SMP) and would provide a framework to assist the authorities in developing and implementing effective policy responses to address the COVID-19 challenges.

The program will also help catalyze much needed donor financing, particularly in the form of grants for budget support, maintain the momentum in reducing debt vulnerabilities, and deliver on key commitments in the National Development Plan 2018–2021, with the focus on inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

The IMF Executive Board decision enables an immediate disbursement of SDR5 million, about US$6.7 million. Disbursements of the remaining amount will be phased over the duration of the program, subject to six half-yearly reviews.

Following the Executive Board discussion on The Gambia, Mr Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, issued the following statement:

“The Gambian authorities’ commitment to prudent policies and institutional improvements has supported robust economic growth, while voluntary debt service deferrals from their main external creditors have helped attain debt sustainability. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will challenge the authorities’ efforts to further strengthen economic performance and resilience.

The 39-month ECF arrangement, focused on advancing reforms in revenue mobilization, public financial management, and economic governance to support inclusive growth, will help anchor macroeconomic stability and meet balance-of-payments needs. Grant financing and technical assistance from development partners will be needed to support the authorities’ reform efforts.

“The authorities should remain committed to fiscal consolidation in the medium-term to ensure debt sustainability. Major projects should be financed through grants or highly concessional financing and public procurement and project selection should be strengthened.

The governance and financial management of state-owned enterprises need to be improved to help reduce fiscal risks and enhance efficiency in public service delivery.

Further strengthening of tax administration and public financial management is also needed to boost resources for priority investment and social spending.

“The monetary policy framework needs to be enhanced, including by gradually adjusting the interest rate corridor, and enabling the SDF rate to effectively anchor the functioning of the interbank market, and the central bank’s balance sheet should be strengthened.

“The vulnerabilities identified in the 2019 Financial Sector Stability Assessment should be addressed to ensure soundness of the financial sector and improve legal and supervisory framework for banking supervision.

The authorities should leverage the financial inclusion strategy, including through mobile banking, while strengthening the oversight of non-banking institutions and monitoring of risks involved in mobile banking.

“The authorities’ support for social programs and commitment to structural reforms and improvement in governance, as outlined in the authorities’ National Development plan, will be necessary to help address social needs, combat corruption and promote private-sector-led inclusive growth.”

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There Is No Peace Without Justice, and No Justice Without the Truth
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Rebecca Tinsley*

More than 3,000 lives have been lost, 656,000 people have fled their homes, and 800,000 children are unable to attend school for nearly four years running in the English speaking regions of Cameroon

Twenty years after her family was murdered in the Rwandan genocide, Claudine (not her real name) faced the killer of her husband and three children in court. She did not expect him to apologize, but she did hope he would reveal where he had buried their bodies. Standing in the dock, his eyes flashing with anger, he exercised his only power: to withhold the truth forever, ensuring Claudine would never get closure.

This week, the United Nations marks the international day for the right to truth concerning gross human rights violations, and the dignity of victims (March 24th). Despite its inelegant name, its purpose is central to the UN’s mandate to promote global peace. History teaches us that conflict is unlikely to end without the acknowledgement that atrocities took place, coupled with the airing of long-lasting grievances. Diplomats might be keen to press on with photo opportunities of handshakes and ceasefire deal signings, but unless the experience of the victims is respected, there is much less chance that peace will last. There is a direct parallel with survivors of sexual abuse: there must be a public recognition that what they were subjected to was wrong.

In January, one of the conditions for restarting the devolved government at Stormont in Northern Ireland, after three years of deadlock, was including a mechanism for truth-telling about crimes that happened during the Troubles, decades ago.

In February, one of the main Sudanese rebel groups refused to support the transitional government of Sudan until the country’s new leaders promised that former president Omar al-Bashir, indicted for genocide, would appear before the International Criminal Court. The rebels maintain that there can be no viable or sustainable peace process without justice, and there can be no justice without the acknowledgement of the atrocities perpetrated against Sudan’s non-Arab ethnic minorities.

As the conflict in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon spirals out of control, its victims are bewildered that the world will not recognize their suffering beyond offering platitudes, or apply concerted pressure on the actors behind the slaughter. More than 3,000 lives have been lost, 656,000 people have fled their homes, and 800,000 children are unable to attend school for nearly four years running. Both the Cameroonian armed forces and the non-state armed separatist groups behave with impunity, posting evidence of their atrocities on social media. In other words, representatives of the international community cannot deny that they know about the disaster unfolding in Cameroon, as they disingenuously claimed during and after the Rwandan genocide.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres receives a gift from President Paul Biya in 2017, the UN has been conspicuously missing in action when it comes to resolving the crisis in Cameroon

Both the armed separatist groups and the government vow to keep fighting in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions until they achieve military victory. Anglophone civil society members and moderates, such as the Catholic church, are urging inclusive negotiations to find a sustainable constitutional settlement between the Anglophone minority and the ruling Francophone authorities. Their calls are unheeded, and there is no justice for the villagers whose homes have been destroyed or for the small businesses that have been forced to close.

In five years, will the nations who now stand by as atrocities occur be the ones lecturing Cameroon’s survivors on the need to heal and forgive, as they do in Rwanda? Will they send humanitarian aid, assuming everything can be fixed with food and medical supplies, technology and “trainings”? Will the international community again settle for political stability in the form of a ceasefire, rather than insisting on a genuine and durable peace?

If we wish to avoid the human and financial cost of helping to rebuild another African country suffering from wretched circumstances, then those with influence – the UN, the African Union, the Commonwealth, la Francophonie, and former colonial powers Britain and France – must apply sustained pressure on the Cameroon government to join the separatists at the inclusive talks being hosted by the Swiss-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Those talks must involve truth-telling about the human rights abuses on all sides to the conflict, and the establishment of justice mechanisms. To move forward and heal the deepening wounds in Cameroonian society, Cameroonians must be able to air and share the pain of this conflict and publicly acknowledge their suffering, and are already discussing the possibility of a future truth, justice and reconciliation commission. To ignore the needs of the victims is to ensure that no peace deal would be worth the paper on which it is printed.

*Rebecca Tinsley is a journalist and the author of When the Stars Fall to Earth: A Novel of Africa.

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We will come for you, DCI warns Kenyans defying directives on prevention of covid-19
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kilifi County Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who has tested positive for covid-19, disregarded mandatory self-quarantine after he jetted into the country from Germany.

Kenyans who fail to adhere to directives issued by the government to avert the spread of coronavirus will be arrested and charged in the court of law.

Issuing the statement via its Twitter page, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) revealed that those found guilty will be charge with flouting Public Health Act CAP 242. The Act talks about the protection of public health in the country.

“A person who while suffering from any infectious disease, wilfully exposes himself without proper cautions against spreading the said disease in any street, public place, shop, inn or public conveyance or enters any public conveyance without previously notifying the owner, conductor or driver thereof that he is so suffering, shall be guilty of an offense and a liable fine not exceeding Ksh.30, 000 ($300) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both,” stated the statement.

Such a person will also be ordered by the court to pay the owner, conductor or driver the amount of any loss or expenses incur during the period of sickness.

The same charges will apply to anybody in charge of a person suffering from such a disease or any individual, who sells, buys, transmits, gives or exposes, without previous disinfection any bedding, clothes, rags or anything which has been exposed to infection of any such disease.

This comes a day after Kilifi County Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who has tested positive for covid-19, disregarded mandatory self-quarantine after he jetted into the country from Germany.

Saburu defied the safety precaution and went ahead to attend funerals and weddings. He also reportedly interacted with the county officials before he was arrested and placed on forced self-quarantine.

Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe hinted that the deputy Governor will be arraigned in court upon the completion the 14-day quarantine period.

Fear has gripped Kilifi residents as the local leaders plead with the government to speed up the precautionary measures to curtail the spread of the contagious disease.

“It is therefore my humble request that the National Emergency Response Committee on coronavirus declare Kilifi a priority county in the counter COVID-19 war and roll out urgent measures for extensive screening of county residents beyond the list of contact persons picked from the Deputy Governor’s case,” said Malindi legislator Aisha Jumwa.

“I am particularly worried about the capacity of the Kilifi health department to solely contain further spread of the virus within the county and the larger Coastal Region, at the moment given that this case was confirmed a week into the patient’s stay in the county after his return from the virus-stricken Germany,” she added.

On Sunday the Health Minister confirmed 8 more cases bringing the total number of those affected to 15.  Following the unfold of events, the government ordered the closure of bars and cancellation of international flights.

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COVID-19:Already 56 confirmed cases in Cameroon……
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

–This is where the United States was just three weeks ago.

At least 5 percent of COVID-19 cases will require intensive care managementThe Cameroon health system, like most in Africa, has considerable difficulty to cope with a challenge of this magnitude. The country has less than 500 critical beds in total with limited human or fiscal capacity for expansion to deal with the observed 5% of COVID-19 patients who will present with severe manifestations of the disease. Health care settings maybe become overcrowded with cases of COVID-19 associated with high levels of hospitalizations and deaths. It is why the only hope for the country is an aggressive prevention strategy.
Still few cases of local transmission… this is expected to rise rapidly in the coming weeksReports from the Ministry of Public Health shows that most of the cases of COVID-19 are imported cases. On the 17th of March 2020, the Prime Minister made a communique instructing the government to implement measures to curb the spread of the virus. His accent was on prevention. There is hope that if these measures are effectively implemented the chain of transmission will be broken. See www.nkafu.org.coronavirus. Among the prevention measures were social distancing, avoid large gatherings, closure of all Cameroonian borders, regular washing of hands, etc. Unfortunately, social distancing is not being observed and lack of basis infrastructure limit ability to practice regular hand washing.
Testing CapabilitiesThere is only ONE (1) testing center in all of the country – the Centre Pasteur in Yaounde. This remains a major problem as major cities such as Douala, Bamenda, Bafoussam do not have testing capability.

Chinese billionaire and founder of Alibaba, Mr. Jack Ma has donated 20,000 testing kits to each African country which have been delivered to the African CDC in Ethiopia. These testing kits are urgently needed in the country.

Government strategies so far

The government has taken some steps, but they are largely insufficient. Quarantine needs to be MANDATORY and enforced. Non-essential travel between major cities should be restricted and enforced. Churches and other religious establishments must stop having public services. It is also important for the government of Cameroon to involve artists, society leader, churches, and traditional rulers in their sensitization efforts and should taking into account the social and cultural dynamics of the communities to adapt content for best results. The most appropriate language should be used to design content and community health workers should work with alongside local administrative and traditional authorities. The government should use community-based approaches to communicate and sensitize the population about the virus and resources should be deployed into efforts aimed at limiting the spread.

Steps we must take right now

Enforce a 2-week ban on all public gatherings.

-Using the available 20,000+ test kit, conduct massive testing of all individuals who have been in contact with known cases, airline crew, airport employees etc to rapidly identify cases and quarantine appropriately

-Quarantine should be enforced and away from home. Facilities can be requisitioned and converted into quarantine centers

-Community leaders and Quarter Heads should to engaged to help identify cases in their areas. This will help with easy case identification and subsequent quarantine

-Decongest prisons. Release those in prison who are “Awaiting Trial” or convicted for petty crimes

Dispel the Myths
Some of these myths include:

-That COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates – THAT’S A LIE

-That the virus cannot affect the black race – TOTALLY FALSE (many Cameroonians are infected)

-That spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kills the coronavirus – BIG LIE

-That eating garlic helps to prevent infection – NOT TRUE AT ALL

-That coronavirus affects older people and not younger people – the virus DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE. It affects even new-born babies. etc

How you can help
You can join the Corona Virus Taskforce in Cameroon. Use this link

Signup for the Weekly Webinar on the pandemic in Cameroon. Register here

Share this information with family, friends and colleagues
Stay at home as much as possible and call the hotline if you or a family member develops symptoms (fever, cough, running nose, etc)



About the Corona Virus Taskforce Cameroon

The Taskforce was established to mobilize health experts, clinicians, policymakers, students and community leaders to quickly address the growing challenges the country faces in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and to advice on strategies to mitigate its effects on the most vulnerable populations such as those internally displaced from ongoing conflicts. Its overall goal is to minimize the total mortality as a result of this pandemic.

*Courtesy of Nkafu Policy Institute

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Ghana Resorts To Mass Spraying As Covid 19 Cases Jump to 27 with Two dead
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Markets were closed for exercise to take place

Over 135 markets and commercial hubs in Accra was fumigated as part of plans to contain the covid -19 virus in Ghana. The exercise saw 1,300 spraying officers dispatched to the various markets across the capital Accra.

The Accra metropolitan Assembly AMA maintained a day’s ban for the exercise is enough hence commercial activities will return to normalcy on Tuesday 24th March 2020.

Mayor of Acca,  Mohammed Adjei Sowah says the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service and spearheaded by the local government ministry who ensure public compliance with the exercise by the public .

Meanwhile, the Ghana Health Service says in  its latest update reveals  it has confirmed 3 more cases making the total number 27with 2 recorded deaths. 

In a statement on the Ghana Health Service website showing  that “As of 23rd March 2020, [14:00 GMT] 521 suspected cases have tested for COVID-19 by Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR).

“Among the confirmed cases, twenty are of Ghanaian nationality, most whom returned home from affected countries. Seven are of other nationals namely: Norway, Lebanon, China, France, UK.” 

Accra Mayor, Mohammed Adjei Sowah

All the 25 remaining confirmed cases are receiving treatment in isolation. In respect of contact tracing, a total of 598 contacts have been identified and are being tracked. While Nineteen people have completed the 14 days of mandatory follow up 


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Merck Foundation Calls for Applications for Merck Africa Research Summit – MARS Awards
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

(L-R): Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Mineral Development (Former Health Minister), Republic of Uganda, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, Co-Chairperson of Merck Africa Asia Luminary, Hon. Dr. Obadiah Moyo, Minister of Health and Child Care, Republic of Zimbabwe during a High level Ministerial Panel at 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary 2019 in Accra, Ghana
LUSAKA, Zambia, March 23, 2020/ — Merck Foundation (https://www.Merck-Foundation.com/), the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany plans to conduct the New Edition of their “UNESCO – Merck Africa Research Summit (MARS) 2020” with the aim to Empower Women & Youth in Research on the 13th of October in Lusaka, Zambia on the side of their annual conference Merck Africa Asia Luminary.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chairperson of UNESCO-MARS explained “The summit aims to contribute to building research capacity in the African research community, with special focus on ‘The Role of Scientific Research in responding to Cancer and Vaccines Development – Two emerging challenges in Africa’. The end objective is to empower African young researchers & women researchers, advancing their research capacity and promote their contribution to STEM”.

UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit – MARS 2020 will have scientific support from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), African Union Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (AU-STRC), Infectious Diseases Institute, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Graduate School, Tata Memorial Centre, India and Merck Foundation.

“We will present the ‘Best Young African Researcher Award’ and the ‘Best African Woman Researcher Award’ to recognize the outstanding contribution of African Female Scientists with the aim to promote women in research and advance their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

The summit will be a unique opportunity for the winners of a MARS Research Awards to share their research output and findings. It is also an opportunity for networking and career development. The Summit will provide a platform where they will be able to discuss and enable a conducive environment for better research.

Abstracts are invited from final year African PhD students and young investigators involved in research related to either of the following topics: 1) Cancer (specially in women) & 2) Vaccines Development. The applicants should be primarily based at African Research Institutes and Universities, although collaboration within Africa as well as outside is encouraged.

Last Date of Submission:
Applications can be submitted till 30th of August 2020

How to apply:
Applications can be submitted via email to mars@merck-foundation.com along with your CV (including Name, Gender, Country, University/Hospital Name, Email address, Mobile Number) and the abstract document as an attachment

Other Details: All Abstracts will be peer reviewed and 15 winners will be eligible for a sponsorship to attend UNESCO MARS Summit. Best three Abstracts will be eligible for Research Awards. Research Awards will be also dedicated for Best African Women Researchers.  

The Merck Foundation (https://www.Merck-Foundation.com/), established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth.

Hon. Dr. Thadée NDIKUMANA Minister of Public Health and Fighting against AIDS, Republic of Burundi, Hon. Jappie Chancy Mtuwa Mhango Minister of Health and Population, Republic of Malawi, Hon. Prof. Mahamoud Youssouf KHAYAL Minister of Public Health, Republic of Chad, , Hon. Dr. Hon. Dr. Ahmadou Samateh Minister of Health, Republic of The Gambia, Hon. Sarah Opendi Minister of State for Mineral Development (Former Health Minister), Republic of Uganda, Dr. Rasha Kelej CEO of Merck Foundation Co-Chairperson of Merck Africa Asia Luminary, Hon. Dr. Obadiah Moyo Minister of Health and Child Care, Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. Dr. Wilhemina S. Jallah Minister of Health, Republic of Liberia, Dr. Rasha Kamal Head of the Central Administration for International Students Affairs, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Arab Republic of Egypt, Hon. Dr. Chitalu Chilufya Minister of Health, Republic of Zambia during a High level Ministerial Panel at 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary 2019 in Accra, Ghana

Merck (https://www.Merck.com/) is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 52,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma.

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Equatorial Guinea Grants Relief to Oil & Gas Services Companies
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons
Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

The country takes action to support its services industry and engages on an industry-wide dialogue to study other measures for upstream operators and ongoing midstream projects.

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, March 23, 2020/ — The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea decided on the waiving of its fees for services companies in the country. This is the first action to be taken to support oil & gas services companies in Equatorial Guinea in the wake of the oil price drop caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Oil prices currently remain at around $20 a barrel, their lowest level since 1991.

“The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons took the unanimous decision to waive its fees for services companies for a duration of three months,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “We recognize that the oil sector continues to be the largest private sector employer in the country and want to give our local services companies the means to weather the storm and avoid any jobs being lost. While it is important to let market forces determine the future, the government does have a role to play in stimulating the market and creating an environment for these companies to stay strong, continue investing and create opportunities for our citizens,” he added.

Jobs security and the safety of Equatorial Guinea’s citizens have been put at the top of priorities for the MMH, which has further pledged to keep engaging with local and international companies to create the right kind of enabling environment for the sector to operate and grow despite current circumstances.

International operators will need to keep complying with local content requirements in Equatorial Guinea throughout the downturn, and make sure to work with the local services industry to adapt to new market dynamics. This is the first such measure to be taken in Equatorial Guinea, which will consider additional action to bring relief to its oil & gas sector.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought the world economy to a halt and critically affected oil demand. As a result, prices have been brought to their lowest levels since 1991, which brings considerable instability to African oil producers in the Gulf of Guinea.

Yesterday, a team from the Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Project (BIMEP) and the Baney Lab Research Center briefed Minister Obiang Lima on the progress of the malaria vaccine trial and current coronavirus tests being conducted in the facility. The Minister advised the team that the lab will be upgraded with new equipment to meet the current needs of 1,200,000 residents, and pledged to purchase 1,200,000 Coronavirus lab kits so that the Ministry of Health can deal efficiently with any potential future cases and be ready for any possible scenario.

*Africa Energy Chamber

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Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations donate COVID-19 Medical Equipment to African Union Member States
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Government of Ethiopia received a consignment of medical equipment

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 23, 2020/ — Africa’s response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak received a boost today as the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Government of Ethiopia received a consignment of medical equipment from the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations.

The shipment included over 1.5 million laboratory diagnostic test kits and over 100 tons of infection prevention and control commodities.

This relief initiative was launched by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed, the Jack Ma Foundation, and Alibaba Foundation as part of actions towards implementation of the Africa joint continental strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union through Africa CDC.

“On behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa, we thank the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations for this generous hospitality and contribution to the continent. We thank His Excellency the Prime Minister, and the Government of Ethiopia, for facilitating the donation,” said H.E. Mr Edward Xolisa Makaya, South Africa’s Permanent Representative to Ethiopia and the African Union. 

“This is a great honour and initiative and a great sign of solidarity that the world needs at this critical time. The test kits and other materials will support African countries in their fight against this outbreak. We are facing a humanitarian situation, an economic situation and a security situation in the continent and Africa CDC clearly applauds the initiative of the prime minister and the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC. 

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread rapidly across the continents of the world claiming thousands of lives and huge resources. In just about three months it has caused over 12,000 deaths worldwide and impacted socioeconomic activities, particularly tourism and transport. 

Ethiopian Airlines will help distribute the equipment, consisting 20,000 laboratory diagnostic test kits, 100,000 medical masks, and 1000 protective suits and face shields, to each of the Member States as part of their contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in Africa. 

“We appeal to our ministries of health to ensure that these materials are distributed and used where they are mostly needed,” said H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Idriss Farah, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti, Dean of African Diplomatic Corps, and Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council.
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Mozambican city under extremist attack
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos*

A group of armed men invaded today Mocimboa da Praia, in the gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado, being part of the village under the command of the attackers who even raised their flag, announced on Monday the spokesman of the general command of the mozambican Police, Orlando Mudumane.

The attackers also invaded and took over the local Defence and Security Forces barracks, he added at a press conference where journalists had no space for questions.

Mudumane said the attackers created barricades at the main entrances to the town, with the Defence and Security Forces fighting them in crossfire and it is believed that at any moment order will be restored.

A source living in Mocimboa da Praia told Pan African Visions that it is an unprecedented attack and everyone was taken by surprise.

“Some have managed to escape into the bush but in general we are all hiding in our homes” he said. “From here we hear very strong shots and there’s no prediction of the end”

Another source said the flags the attackers raised are black with Arabic script.

Cabo Delgado has been under armed attack since October 2017. The authors are unknown, although the Islamic state has claimed some of them. More than 900 people have already lost their lives victims of the faceless mystery.

*jorgedossantosmz@gmail.com

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Gambia Registers its first COVID-19 Death
March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Gambian Health Minister Dr. Amadou Lamin Samateh

Dr. Amadou Lamin Samateh, Gambia’s minister of Health has revealed that 70-year-old Bangladeshi man on preaching mission in The Gambia has died after contracting coronavirus.

Reports abounded earlier on Sunday that a man had died after contracting the deadly bug, making him the country’s second coronavirus case.

The health minister said late Sunday: “Since the diagnosis of the first case, nine suspected cases have undergone testing and one has tested positive today. This is the second confirm case in The Gambia.

“This case, a 70-year-old Bangladeshi man who came to The Gambia from Senegal on the 13th March 2020 as a preacher. He was resident at the Markass Centre in Bundung where he engaged in preaching and interacted with a number of people.

“He was in six other countries where he was carrying out similar preaching. He was a known diabetic who presented at a health facility… He was later referred to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital and he unfortunately passed away in the ambulance before arrival on the 20th March 2020.

“A sample was taken from him and the results were delivered today and we confirmed the positive test.”

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Mozambique registers first case of coronavirus
March 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos*

Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago.

Mozambique registered the first case of the new coronavirus, announced on Sunday afternoon the Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago. He is a Mozambican citizen, 75, who was recently in the United Kingdom, the minister said.

“He returned from his trip in mid-March,” Tiago said at a press conference adding that the victim is currently in “home isolation” where he is “accompanied by the country’s health authorities.

The patient, Tiago said, has mild symptoms and is currently undergoing contact screening for monitoring and evaluation of virus transmission.

The case, which the Tiago referred to being imported, is announced days after the strengthening of preventive measures against COVID-19.

On Wednesday the Mozambican government has decided to suspend the issuance of entry visas to the country and to cancel all those already issued, as well as to prohibit events with more than 50 people, to stop the spread of coronavirus. Other measures include closing all schools, private and public, from pre-school through to higher education; mandatory 14-day quarantine of all citizens from any country and all social gatherings of over 50 people are suspended, including celebrations, sporting or cultural events, and religious ceremonies.

“Due the first case there may be reinforcement of preventive measures” Tiago said. “That will depend on the council of ministers” he added.

Many countries in the region with registered cases have closed their borders and declared a state of emergency.

Mozambique is the 3rd lusophone country affected by the virus in Africa, after Angola and Cape Verde.

*Jorgedossantosmz@gmail.com

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Fight against COVID 19: Gambia Closes Boarders and Airspace
March 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Gambia has taken strict measures in curbing the spread of Coronavirus by announcing that it will shut its land borders and airspace midnight Monday.

The Gambia has so far confirmed only one case of the virus involving a 28-year-old lady who recently flew from the United Kingdom. This has created fear in the public and many people have been asking the government to shut down the airport and land borders to prevent new arrivals who may bring the disease.

On Saturday during  a press conference convened by health authorities, they informed that tests were conducted on several people who flew in the same flight with the infected person and the results were negative. However, 14 people escaped from the quarantine hotel but the health workers said some of those people have been coming back to them to be quarantined.     

“Following consultations and an update from the Ministerial Committee on the Coronavirus, His Excellency, President Adama Barrow has approved the closure of the border between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal, effective midnight, on Monday, 23rd March 2020,” the statement from the presidency stated on Saturday night.

“The decision of the closure of the border was taken considering the rapid spread of COVID -19 in the world and in our region, and the continuous movement of people posing high risk of contracting the disease. The Government of the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal have mutually agreed to close their border for a period of 21 days in the bid to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The public is hereby informed that the closure will not affect essential services, such as movement of security personnel, foodstuff, medical services, related items and equipment between the two countries,” it added.

In the same statement, the government has also declared the closure of the airspace to all flights except for medical cargo flights, and it will take effect the same day for the period of 21 days as well.

The President further urges all to take responsibility to prevent, contain and manage the Coronavirus.


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