Fresh Look At Traditional Medicine as economic hardship hits health sector in Zimbabwe
November 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
Zimbabwe looks forward to new Health Research. This is meant to match with modern latest technology in the Medical field. The move from old days to today’s World has come at a time the country is struggling to procure drugs from outside using foreign currents.
A one day workshop held in Harare on 23 November by the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe under the theme , Health Research in Zimbabwe today .. Opportunities in a changing Environment emphasises a New Zimbabwe open for Business.
Giving a speech, the Minister of Health and Child Care, DR Obediah Moyo said the need for future focus lies in building a Health Nation tomorrow. He further pointed out that Zimbabwe which is open for Business must come up with a drive to come with new ideas in the field of medicines. The new ideas, he added must also focus on Traditional Medicines and more also on the growth of Pharmaceutical Industries for Allopathic Medicines.
‘’We now want to look Green as well in New Health research methods. The deep understanding is that Medical Research is life focused. Let us not forget that the World is changing. At the same time, let us move with the times to grapple with Technology, Research, methods and medicines moving with the times. To make the Drug Industry grow, there is need to utilise medicinal herbs. Further, this creates the growth as well of Allopathic drugs, those ones common to us ‘’.
‘’Promoting Sustainable Drug development in the wake of drug shortage retains foreign currents, leads to economic growth and Human Development. If we reach a stage where we export drugs, then we can make affordability and accessibility in the country’’.
‘’Let us not forget, we are in the modern times. Old days are gone with their times. Let us not be archaic. If we do so, we are not developing the medical field. However we need to discuss issues relating to the ethical conduct of Health research.
‘’Our main goal is therefore to ensure protection of human subjects. Since we are moving towards becoming a middle Income country. Vision then must be quality research that speaks our needs. Standardisation and co-ordination of clinical trials and Health Research requires review to align with the Health Act of 1966 and the Constitution.’’
A leading Researcher, Lynda Stranix of the University of Zimbabwe School of Medicine said Medical Health Research is vital in today’s World. The need to work towards International standards and ethics are important in bringing professionalism in medicines control. Health Infrastructure is developed in view of fighting HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis, malaria and cholera.
‘’The World is fast changing but we are moving slowly. Thus why we are now more affected by blood borne diseases, water bourn, vector bourn, Cancers and non-communicable ones. We need to move on with the times, develop best practices, qualitative research and standardise at International level as changes occur ‘’.
‘’More evidence based medicine demand research, more education on Health and to move with the times in hard times hitting us back. Useful interventions and controversies about best practices call for more justified research in communities.
The research is also more to get into Traditional medicine. Professor Charles Nhachi said the country is ready to accept and regulate more research on any new drugs. He said the need to have new trials will lead the country to successful outcome and impact of latest drugs which are efficacious.
‘’As a country we have to promote efficacy through new research studies in traditional medicines. We only come to conquer by looking wisely with fresh knowledge of Scientific Research. The country must take off traditional medicine as well as new focus in the treatment of communicable and non-ones.
Zimbabwe is going under transformation. Numerous challenges stand in the way of a prosperous and healthy society. One of the challenge is provision of quality medicines to communities. Most of the drugs for various ailments need to be imported from outside our boarders.
However, foreign current may not – be adequate to cover all essential medicines .Taking a step further he said demand , supply and adequate supply comes with research and construction of Drug Manufacturing Industry .
‘’It is therefore important to come with innovative research studies which address local needs. Eventually we need to manufacture and supply most of our drugs to satisfy human needs and wants. Government will continue to strive and source funds for research, He concluded.
Recommendations have been laid on the ground to source foreign currents to procure drugs from outside countries at the moment. This is done for the sake of improving drug supply. Also the Government will strive to source funds for research in relevant areas. The revamp of the Drug Manufacturing Industry is promoted to reduce imports and save scarce foreign currency.
Sierra Leone:141 Students withdrawn from COMAHS
November 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Acting Deputy Registrar in the College of Medicine, Brima Bah, has said about one hundred and fourteen (114) students at College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) have been withdrawn from pre-med one and two in the medical course.
Brima Bah made this statement today on SLBC’s Morning Coffee Program where he disclosed that the withdrawn students in the college of Medicine will not be able to continue their Programme at the college.
‘’Those that have c4 and better in all the science subjects in physics, science, math, English and Biology they will go to pre- med two . That means they are able to go straight to year 1 medicine,’’ he said, adding that for those in Pre-med 1if they pass they will be going over to pre- med 2.
The Acting Registrar said the criteria to pass from pre-, med 1 to pre –med 2 is that the student should pass all four his or her subjects including math’s, physics, Biology and chemistry adding that the students should passed all the subjects with not less than fifty percent in each of the subjects and at the end of the day the University is looking for an average of 55%minimum to be promoted.
He further said if the student doesn’t meet the requirement of 55% but have 50% he or she will have the opportunity to repeat in pre-med 1 adding that if the students do not meet of the 50 % in any of the four subjects , the students will be not be able to repeat again .
‘’For pre-med 2, it’s little bit different, the four core subjects which are Biology, Chemistry, math’s and physics .First of all the very first criterion is the students should pass them with not less than 50%, that means you have cleared, but if you failed one of them with 40% or better you will have the opportunity to sit a reference provided the student making 170% average on the three other subjects’’
Mr. Bah further explained that if the student in pre – med 2 failed two subjects of the four the subjects but has an average of 120% of the two other subjects would have an opportunity again to sit to a re-sit exams adding that if at all the students does not fall in these two situations then the students will not be able to re-sit any exams in the pre-med 2 stating that its part of the regulation at the College of Medicine.
When asked whether it is the highest number of withdrawn students at COMAHS, the acting deputy Registrar replied ’’well I didn’t want to say yes, but I think the number is very high really ‘’.
The deputy Registrar said they at college of medicine were there to train doctors and medical people adding that they want to have people that are fit to go through the course and at the end of the day they will be able to live to the job market.
He said all the students affected can meet the authorities in the college and they will have the opportunity for an explanation on their status and grades for their pre –med in the medical course.
The over one hundred withdrawn students from COMAHS have brewed up serious debate about the means through which senior secondary School students acquired their results as most of them cannot defend their colourful results when they are admitted into the university system with some civil society activists advocating for a blanket entrance exams on all faculties into the University Of Sierra Leone.
US Commits $150 Million In Support To Curb HIV/AIDS By 2030
November 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
PEPFAR, USA AIDS Organization on 16 November celebrated its 15th Anniversary in Harare. This marked its overall success in HIV and AIDS reduction. PEPFAR came up with many vitiated interventions, HIV and AIDS programs, and supported projects. International symposiums which reduced the spread of the virus are annually held in various countries world-wide.
In its country operational plan, the organisation came up with comprehensive HIV and AIDS programs country-wide. Apart from, it strengthened laboratories in hospitals so as to scale up infection control.
The Co-Ordinator of the Program in Zimbabwe, Mark Troger said, PEPFAR since 2006 has donated about US 150 million for HIV and AIDS programs country-wide. This, he added were put in place to bring an end to the scourge.
‘’Since 2006, USA through PEPFAR has supported Zimbabwe to end the epidemic. We however are glad to an extent to celebrate achievements in ending the scourge which killed millions of people world-wide.
‘’Millions of people were affected. In other words, no family has not yet been affected. This reduces family in-come, lastly leading to extreme poverty and hunger. Even up now, millions are living HIV positive with, some without access to ARVs, life sustaining drugs.
‘’We shall continue to work with Zimbabwe and our partners to bring an end to opportunistic infections. One of these is Tuberculosis which is closely related to HIV and AIDS. In other words, we want to move from the targets we set before the 90%, 90 %,90% targets.
‘’Let us move towards 95%, 95%, 95% targets in eliminating HIV completely. Let us strive to have a shared vision to bury HIV and AIDS. As a country, Zimbabwe has done well on Millennium Development Goals like on Goal 6 .
Also it has succeeded in Paediatric HIV care, Prevention of mother to child transmission, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights in young people .The chain achievement is in HIV testing, counselling prevention, treatment, care and support. However, PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION is always first’’, he said.
The target is meant to bring an end to HIV and AIDS in the world. This means then that 90% of people get tested and know their status. Secondly, 90% get on treatment and 90% have the virus suppressed in their bodies.
Giving the key note Address, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obediah Moyo said the work done by partners in the fight against HIV and AIDS is relentless work put effort on. Many successes remain vital. However, he added that the need for stronger research and development in Medicines is one area still to focus on.
‘’As we move on, we look at the 100%, 100% , 100% elimination of the virus . We are moving into the future of vision with the mission to reach the destination of an HIV FREE GENERATION. This generation is possible through our consented effort scaling up activities related to the epidemic. Also let us not drop down the effort to work together as on nation,’’ he noted.
The 15th Anniversary launched a media award in HIV and AIDS. The award’s stories will run from this year October 2018 to October 2019.
Novel approach brings African scientists closer to a malaria vaccine
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Malaria is still a major problem in Africa. There are over 200 million clinical cases each year and approximately half a million deaths.
There are different ways in which malaria can be controlled. Preventive measures include use of insecticides in bed nets or indoor spraying programmes. Medicines can also be used to prevent or treat malaria, but resistance often develops and drugs lose their effectiveness.
The World Health Organisation reported that progress in controlling malaria has stalled.
As an immunologist, I dream that one day we will have an effective vaccine that will help eliminate malaria. I think this is possible because for over a century, we have known that humans do become immune to malaria. In places where there is lots of malaria adults don’t succumb to the disease, but their young children do.
In experiments conducted over 50 years ago, researchers showed that blood could be taken from adults who had become immune and used to treat children admitted to hospital with malaria.
Antibodies in the blood were responsible for this effect; in other words, antibodies could treat malaria. Researchers have been trying to isolate the exact antibodies that do this. The challenge is that our bodies make millions of antibodies, so pulling out those with the antimalarial activity has been difficult.
One way to identify these “good” antibodies is to compare the blood samples of people who get malaria with those who don’t with the aim of identifying the differences. This type of research has been going on for about 30 years, but the results have been inconclusive.
Part of the reason is that in almost every study, the investigators do things differently.
It’s like cooking your favourite dish. You may have a particular recipe but if you check in with friends and ask how they prepare the very same dish, you will find that each of them does something slightly differently. In the same way, differences in the way scientists have conducted their experiments have contributed to a lack of clarity in the results.
We’ve embarked on a project that breaks this cycle.
In experiments conducted over 50 years ago, researchers showed that blood could be taken from adults who had become immune and used to treat children admitted to hospital with malaria.
We used the latest technology to analyse our samples. We designed a small glass slide on which we stuck over 100 carefully selected proteins from the malaria parasite. With less than a drop of blood, we were able to simultaneously measure antibodies to all these proteins.
This was a major step-change. When I started this research 14 years ago, I used to measure antibodies to one parasite protein at a time, using a lot more blood, and in samples from one area in Kenya.
Developments in technology now mean that it’s possible to do this much more efficiently. And we’re really excited that we have been able to exploit these new innovations in Africa.
My team analysed antibodies in over 10,000 samples in three months. We are now working through the statistical analysis of this data to understand how people who are immune to malaria do it.
My team is also working on understanding how antibodies kill malariaparasites. It’s still unclear if the antibodies attack the parasite from different angles or whether different antibodies are synergistic in their actions.
We also don’t know how much antibody is necessary.
What we know
So far, our studies suggest that having a bit of one antibody is not good enough, and we may need high concentrations of antibodies against combinations of parasite proteins.
We are also learning that antibodies kill parasites in many ways, and that studying any one of these in isolation may not adequately reflect reality.
I believe the key to making a better malaria vaccine is right here with us. With patience, perseverance and continued hard work, we will find the recipe required to make a really good malaria vaccine.
*Culled from The Conversation
Zimbabwe Prophet Claims US Companies Out To Pay Him Millions For HIV Drug Government Does Not Want
October 31, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
Harare,A Zimbabwean prophet Walter Magaya of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance claims that the Aguma drug he discovered will go a long way in the treatment of HIV. The challenge he faces is that the Ministry of Health and Child Care is resisting the ‘’dark-sided Innovation. HIV progresses to AIDS if not managed well. Magaya claims that his drug will suppress the virus in the body of an infected person.
‘’The drug is suitable for those who are HIV positive. Especially those with low CD4 Count may witness how effective the drug is . The drug raises the falling CD4 to high levels, . This leads to virus suppression in the body.
‘’Once you take it, in 14 days you will be done and thus all. It will go a long way in the treatment of HIV. My team is working on it as well. I have partners with Indians who own Aretha Medical. The company will be established in the country.
‘’To those who will use the drug, the CD4 count will have gone up by 200%, suppressing the virulent virus that affects the body . The moment you use it it vanishes forever ‘’, he claimed as he reiterated to Journalists in Harare on Sunday 27 October.
Magaya also said a USA company was ready to offer him US 56 Million. He said he refused the offer because he wants to work on related programs.
‘’A USA company offered me US 56 million but I refused. They still want me to show them the plant from which I got the drug. Already the drug is ours because we have Intellectual Rights. In addition, I have planned to build a big plant in Africa.
‘’The plant will be a Pharmaceutical company to serve Zimbabwe, Africa and the World. This will serve millions who have this ailment, HIV and AIDS’’, Magaya boasts .
According to echoes at Parliament this week, Magaya faced the challenge. Wellington Chikomo Glenora MDC T Legislator asked Dr Gwinji Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care if the Ministry was happy about the discovery.
In response , Dr Gwinji appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Health chaired by Entumbane Member of Parliament , he said it was good to have innovation but with follow up on medical procedures in terms of registration ,
‘’We can’t say we do not want innovations, The problem is , no processes were legally followed by Magaya . We want the right procedures and protocols to be followed right straight from the start of the whole deal .Secondly the drug must sound efficacy and safe for use,’’
Polio: WHO Warns Nigeria not to Relent Effort until the Virus is totally eradicated
October 29, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Clara Obi
Polio is a virus that is liable to cause paralysis of the limb which is mainly common among children. According to the WHO this endemic virus is likely to cause more than 20,000 death cases each year. However, following the detection of this virus in the northern part of Nigeria, multiple vaccination campaign has been set to raise population against the widespread of the poliovirus. Nigeria and other neighbouring countries are teaming up to tackle this impending disease.
As Nigeria join the rest of the world in celebrating the world polio day, the WHO commended the effort of Nigeria to help curb this disease and also advises the country not to relent in their effort to eradicate this virus. Although the WHO regional director of Africa Dr Matshiso Moet further stated that all countries will continue to remain at risk of this outbreak until polio is totally eradicated. She made it known that Africa is likely to be a polio free region by 2020 if there are no further cases of the virus alongide strong surveillance to curb this poliomyelities.
A range of innovative strategies are being put together to reach out to children, mostly those who stay in areas where this disease can be easily spread. Nigeria and other countries are working endlessly to ensure that polio is a thing of the past. More effort is being seen by the government In support of this eradication with the funding of some programmes to help increase the awareness of the virus.
Polio in Nigeria
Although the number of polio cases has decreased in some region in Africa, but according to study, Nigeria still has half of the world’s cases of polio, which eventually need a quick and immediate response from the ministry of health. During this year’s polio day organized by WHO, the minister of health Isaac Adewole who was in attendance said over 120,000 children are yet to be immunised in the north eastern part of the country. He however said that the insurgency in that part of the country has made the rapid spread of this disease through ingesting food or water containing fecal matter.
Mr Adewole still applauded the effort of Nigeria and Africa at large in eradicating this virus saying although there is no cure but some countries has improvised safety measures and vaccines to prevent its spread.
How have we tackled the spread of Polio
As earlier stated, the polio virus so far has not been cured but there have been vaccines that prevent its spread in the community and recently it has been a good one for Africans in tackling this disease with some great improvement seen in the region.
In 2012, a hundred and twenty eight cases of the polio spread were reported in Africa but interestingly 76 cases were later reported in 2013, 16 cases in 2014 and none in 2015 . Obviously that’s a great record although some research lately confirmed two new cases in borno state, Nigeria. The government in the north eastern part of the country has declared emergency on the outbreak followed by the implementation of large supplementary immunization activities in the affected state.
The regional boss said that since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there has been a drastic reduction in the cases of the virus by more than 99.9 percent.
Polio in Africa
According to research, Kenya has the highest risk of this outbreak which occur as a result of the inability to vaccinate at least 20 per cent of its 1.5 million children. In a recent news update, the ministry of health, Kenya paediatric association partnering with other health association are launching a nation wide campaign to prevent the continuous spread of this disease with a target of curbing this disease among those under the age of 5. It is a house to house campaign to help eradicate this disease by immunising every child. Although, Ethiopia celebrated a polio free status, other regions in Africa are still advised to remain committed to its polio eradication effort in order to put an end to polio. The government of Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria as well as other countries in the region are working together to end this outbreak as soon as possible.
Nigeria may be polio free by 2019
Lately, some interesting solution has been made to curb the disease and soon Nigeria will be declared a polio free region. Mr Kola Sodipo said this in the just concluded house to house campaign to eradicate the virus. The district governor of the rotary club Mr Sodipo said the club had spent some billions of dollars in campaign erdication. While speaking with journalists, Sodipo posited that for the past 26 months there has not been any single case of the virus in the country. In the recent research study it was recorded that the cases of polio has been reduced from 388 to zero assuring that Nigeria will be removed from the polio endemic nations by next year.
The polio infrastructure in Nigeria is a developed system that governments and other partners can rely on to achieve this nationwide health coverage, the country’s WHO representative Dr Wondimagegnehu said they will continue to ensure its adequate support to the federal and state government.
However, the WHO said they won’t stop until every child is vaccinated against the virus. Urging the health workers not to relent in its effort until the polio is totally eradicated since other countries are still at risk of the outbreak. The Africa region can only be a certified polio free region if three years have passed and there is no case of the virus.
Therefore, WHO advises that all partners needs to work together to stop the outbreak and also, increase community awareness among us. Parents and communities need to work together to ensure their children are protected from this virus. It is important that health facilities and parents work together to make polio a history in the region.
Nigeria: NDLEA clamour for community support in curbing drug abuse
October 27, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Teslim Olawore
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Friday said that the support of communities would be needed in order to succeed in its bid to get rid of drug abuse in the Federal Capital territory (FCT). Represented by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the NDLEA FCT Command, Mr Peter Adegbe, in a meeting with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, yesterday said that stronger collaboration between NDLEA and the community would bring the desired result in the fight.
In his words, “I want to urge the community to help in the campaign against drug abuse by giving information that will help our operations at various black spots.” “The community needs to understand that without their support, the NDLEA will not only fail to deliver but also the society will be in danger.’’ Adegbe said that drug abuse leads to all forms of social vices and must be tackled collectively. According to him, the NDLEA has embarked on occasional sensitisation programmes on the dangers of drug abuse in the communities. “A lot of people ran away and we saw most of them entering shops around the place.”
“The community must come forward with information; they must not keep quiet and withhold tangible information.” According to him, without strong partnership with the community, the efforts of the NDLEA will be fruitless. “I appeal to residents of the FCT to join hands with the NDLEA in ensuring a responsible society devoid of social vices.”
“The public needs to understand that they should also support the NDLEA in tackling this drug menace.” The spokesman said the command would not relent in its efforts to clean the FCT of hard drugs, adding that continuous campaign would be conducted. He urged Nigerians, most especially parents and guardians, to pay adequate attention to their wards and youths, describing them as vulnerable groups.
Health: Spectacular diabetes treatment could end daily insulin injections
October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Teslim Olawore
A potential medical breakthrough that could put an end to the daily insulin injections endured by people living with diabetes has been unveiled by Dutch scientists. This process is is caused by destroying the mucous membrane in the small intestine and causing a new one to develop, scientists stabilised the blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes.
The results have been described as “spectacular” by the chief researchers involved. In the hourlong procedure, trialled on 50 patients in Amsterdam, a tube with a small balloon in its end is inserted through the mouth of the patient down to the small intestine. The balloon is filled with hot water and the mucous membrane burned away by the heat. Within two weeks a new membrane develops, leading to an improvement in the patient’s health.
Even after a year the treatment, the disease was found to be stable in 90% of those treated. It is believed there is a link between nutrient absorption by the mucus membrane in the small intestine and the development of insulin resistance among people with type 2 diabetes. Jacques Bergman, a professor of gastroenterology at Amsterdam UMC, said: “Because of this treatment the use of insulin can be postponed or perhaps prevented. That is promising.”
Bergman added of the procedure that it was “amazing that people suffer very little from this”. He told the Dutch broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting: “With those people we see a spectacular improvement in blood sugar levels one day after the operation, before they even lose one kilo, which has put us on the track. “Because the question now is whether this is a permanent treatment, or whether it is something that you have to keep repeating, something that in theory should be possible.
We looked at whether we could stop their insulin, which is still ongoing, but the first results are truly spectacular, with the lion’s share of patients no longer using insulin after this treatment.” The new discovery initially seems most suitable for borderline patients who already take pills but whose blood sugar level is high enough for doctors to advise that they inject insulin in the short term.
Apart from dispensing with insulin injections, researchers claim that those treated could benefit from a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness and numbness in the hands and feet.
Desmond Tutu award for HIV prevention research and human rights to be presented to Linda-Gail Bekker at hiv research for prevention (hivr4p 2018)
October 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Co-chairs of HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P 2018), the world’s only scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to biomedical HIV prevention, have announced that the 2018 Desmond Tutu Award for HIV Prevention Research and Human Rights will be presented to HIV researcher, physician and community advocate Linda-Gail Bekker of Cape Town, South Africa. The presentation will take place at the Opening Plenary of this year’s HIVR4P conference, Monday 22 October in Madrid, Spain.
Named in honor of South African cleric Desmond Tutu, one of the leading global advocates for HIV prevention and the dignity of all people, the award is presented every two years to an individual or organization that has worked in an outstanding manner to advance both HIV prevention research and the human rights of people affected by HIV.
“Linda-Gail Bekker is a tireless and innovative leader of efforts to ensure effective HIV prevention for all,” said HIVR4P Co-chair Z Mike Chirenje of the University of Zimbabwe. “From her clinics in the impoverished Masiphumelele and New Crossroads townships of Cape Town, to her role as chief operating officer of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and in her capacity as immediate past president of the International AIDS Society, Linda-Gail’s fearless advocacy and personalized models of care have saved lives and helped to break down barriers of stigma and discrimination in HIV prevention.”
Bekker’s famously user-friendly clinics offer models of services that engage and welcome all, including young people, especially young women and girls, men who have sex with men and others traditionally overlooked by healthcare systems. The mobile “Tutu Testers” she has championed bring voluntary HIV testing, counseling and information to communities throughout South Africa. Her clinics have been known to provide services such as babysitting and clothes washing to individuals who could not otherwise keep their appointments, and sports and computer literacy services for young people using their services.
At the same time Bekker, who is also professor of medicine at the University of Cape Town, has advanced efforts to integrate the diagnosis, treatment and care of HIV and tuberculosis, the leading global killer of people living with HIV. She has also co-led international research studies to develop innovative new HIV prevention methods including HIV vaccines, vaginal rings for HIV prevention and oral and injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Recently, Bekker used her position as international scientific chair of the AIDS 2018 conference to speak on a global stage in support of increased financial and political support for HIV prevention research.
“Linda-Gail Bekker reminds us every day that the goals of stopping HIV and protecting the rights of everyone affected by the epidemic are inextricably linked,” said HIVR4P Co-chair Susan Buchbinder of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “Her belief in the dignity of all people is the key to her effectiveness – whether she is holding political leaders to account in international policy-making forums or working one-on-one with patients in the clinic.”
Previous recipients of the Desmond Tutu Award for HIV Prevention and Human Rights include Archbishop Tutu himself, who received the award in 2014, and Ambassador Deborah Birx, Coordinator of the U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and Director of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, who was honored in 2016.
“I am both delighted and hugely honored to accept this award,” said Linda-Gail Bekker, “especially following in the footsteps of wonderful people like the Arch and Ambassador Birx. This award reminds us that, ultimately, all the work we do is to improve the lives and wellbeing of men, women and young people – fellow human beings everywhere – and that’s what really matters.”
HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) is the world’s only scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to biomedical HIV prevention, including vaccines, antibodies, microbicides, treatment as prevention, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and new forms of HIV prevention. Founded in 2014 and emerging from the previous AIDS vaccine and microbicide conferences, the biennial HIVR4P meeting responds to a growing consensus that effective HIV prevention requires a combination of approaches and close collaboration between fields of HIV prevention research. Conference funders include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. National Institutes of Health, Gilead, ViiV Healthcare, anRs (French Agency for Research on AIDS & Viral Hepatitis), Janssen, GSK, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Gobierno de Espana, Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovacion y Universidades, International Partnership for Microbicides, MSD, and the South African Medical Research Council.
The conference secretariat is the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. In 2020, the International AIDS Society will assume the secretariat role for the conference.
Congolese expelled from Angola returning to ‘desperate situation’: UN refugee agency
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
Congolese nationals forced back across the border to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after being expelled from neighbouring Angola, “are returning to a desperate situation,” a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson said on Tuesday
GENEVA, Switzerland, October 17, 2018/ —
Speaking at a media briefing in Geneva, the spokesperson said that the agency is concerned by a “fast-developing humanitarian situation in the Kasai region” of the DRC, where the situation is already fragile: around 200,000 people have arrived over the last two weeks.
The mass population movement follows the Angolan Government’s decision to expel Congolese migrants, many of whom were working in the informal mining sector in the northeast of the country.
The deadline for expulsion expired Monday and, within some areas of Angola, there have been reports of violent clashes between migrants and law enforcement agents. Thousands have been arriving at the border, where complaints have included sexual violence and harassment, bodily frisking and theft of belongings – at the hands of security forces on both sides of the border.
The prospects for the returnees are bleak: they have limited means to travel to their home regions, in an area hit by recent conflict and destruction, and where ethnic tensions are still high.
The UNHCR spokesperson reported over-crowding in the town of Kamako in Kasai Province, on the Angola border, with people staying overnight outdoors, in host families, church compounds, and on the streets.
The spokesperson pointed out that mass expulsions are contrary to country obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and that the Agency is asking Angola and DRC to work together to ensure a safe and orderly population movement, and to respect the human rights of those affected.
European Union And International Red Cross Federations Join Zimbabwe in fight against Cholera
October 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu.
EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION in Zimbabwe has entered a 3 million EURO Humanitarian Delegation Agreement with the FEDERATION OF THE RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT INTERNATIONAL. This funding is in support of the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund. It was established to support vulnerable people affected by natural and anthropogenic induced disasters.
On its own, adding to Humanitarian Aid capacity to salvage the impact of cholera in Zimbabwe, European Union has donated 90 000 Euro. About 45 people up to date have died from cholera. On the other side 6,400 people are infected and a number of them were diagnosed and discharged at Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare.
The outbreak of cholera was declared on 6 September this year. On 11 September it was declared a State of Emergency. EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Phillip Vandem said the 3 million Euros in Aid Humanitarian Delegation Agreement between EU and Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent International is meant to bring the health problem to an end. Apart from this, EU has donated 90,000 Euro to save the lives of 6,400 cases of cholera .These are serious victims in need of Humanitarian Aid in the country.
‘’The Agreement EU Delegation to Zimbabwe entered with the Red Cross and Red Crescent is meant to alleviate vulnerability to cholera. Cholera has killed over 45 people. It is also pathetic to note that 6,400 are infected’’.
‘’We will support the EU and Red Cross Life Saving Actions. This is meant to detect cases of cholera which continue to increase in the country. This detection and the lifesaving action strategy is the only one meant to monitor and evaluate the Health challenge’’, said the Ambassador.
According to the European Union, the Humanitarian Aid will benefit 15, 000 people in Budiriro , Glen-View , Glenora , Chitungwiza and Mbare high density suburbs . Red Cross working in collaboration with the EU has set Oral Rehydration points in these high density suburbs.
Speaking in line with this an Official in the program Amos Chitanda said there are almost 120 Red Cross Volunteers, 20 supervisors and 60 Community leaders who have been trained.
‘’We have trained 120 volunteers, 20 supervisors and community leaders .This has been done to contain this disease in the country. The support by EU and Red Cross has gone long in alleviating many challenges related to cholera vulnerability.’’, he said.
A Community leader Hildar Chivero said there are door to door campaigns and monitoring programs in the communities. There is also the activity/ program of soap distribution, water purification, water distribution, tabs, jerry cans and buckets for the simple exercise to go well.
‘’A lot of activities are being funded by donors, civil society, community groups and even the Government. But above all, we thank Red Cross and European Union. They have done a lot to help the affected communities.’’
The named communities victimized by cholera have 100 Hand Washing Stations at Health Centers, Oral Rehydration points and other public places .The support has come from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund by the Red-Cross and Red-Crescent Societies.
The bigger support as well came from the European Union through the Civil Protection and Humanitarian AID Operations Department [ECHO] . This is meant for millions of people in the World who are victims in Humanitarian Need
Zimbabwe to vaccinate 1.4 million people against cholera in Harare
October 4, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The Government of Zimbabwe with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners is launching today an oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaign to protect 1.4 million people at high risk
of cholera in Harare.
The immunization drive is part of efforts to control a cholera outbreak, which was declared by the health authorities on 6 September 2018.The vaccines were sourced from the global stockpile, which is
funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi is also funding operational costs for the campaign.
The government, with the support of WHO and partners, has moved quickly to implement key control efforts, including enhanced surveillance, the provision of clean water and hygiene promotion,
cleaning of blocked drains and setting up dedicated treatment centres. The cholera vaccination campaign will complement these ongoing efforts.
“The current cholera outbreak is geographically concentrated in the densely populated suburbs of Harare,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa. “We have a window of opportunity to strike back with the oral cholera vaccine now, which along with other efforts will help keep the current outbreak in check and may prevent it from spreading further into the country and becoming more difficult to control.”
The campaign will be rolled out in two rounds, focusing on the most heavily affected suburbs in Harare and Chitungwiza, which is 30 km southeast of the capital city. To ensure longer-term immunity to the
population, a second dose of the vaccine will be provided in all areas during a second round to be implemented at a later stage.
“Cholera is a disease that can be prevented with clean water and sanitation: there is no reason why people should still be dying from this horrific disease,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine
Alliance. “Gavi has worked hard to ensure the global cholera vaccine stockpile remains fully stocked and ready to help stop outbreaks such as this. The government of Zimbabwe have done a great job in fighting
this outbreak; we must now hope that these lifesaving vaccines can help to prevent any more needless deaths.”
WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care on a strategy for rolling out the vaccination campaign, as well as implementing the campaign and sensitizing the public about the vaccine. More than 600 health workers have been trained to carry out the campaign.The vaccination drive will take place at fixed and mobile sites including health facilities, schools and shopping centres.
WHO experts in collaboration with partners are supporting the national authorities to intensify surveillance activities, improve diagnostics, and strengthen infection and prevention control in communities and health facilities. They have also provided cholera supplies of oral rehydration salts, intravenous fluids and antibiotics sufficient to treat 6000 people.
The health sector alone cannot prevent and control cholera outbreaks. This requires strong partnerships and a response across multiple sectors, especially in the investment and maintenance of community-wide water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Zimbabwe has experienced frequent outbreaks of cholera, with the largest outbreak occurring from August 2008 to May 2009 and claiming more than 4000 lives.