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Covid-19 Kenya: Is it fear or obedience?
March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

A worker walks outside the coronavirus isolation facility at the Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi .Photo credit [Njeri Mwangi/Reuters]
A worker walks outside the coronavirus isolation facility at the Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi .Photo credit [Njeri Mwangi/Reuters]

Kenya is one of the countries grappling to contain the spread of coronavirus, a dreaded disease that is wreaking havoc on the entire world.

Fifty coronavirus cases and one death have been confirmed in the East African country since the first case was reported on March 13. In order to curb the spread of the virus, the government of Kenya has put in place safety measures the latest being dusk to dawn curfew.

The local authority had banned public gatherings; schools, pubs, churches  and large markets had been closed, sports events and political rallies halted and international flights in and out the country suspended.

Kenyans have also been urged to work from home while keeping social distance, minimizing movements and practising high level of hygiene by washing their hands regularly using alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water.

Cashless transaction has been encouraged after the mobile operators and local banks lowered the online transaction fees. Sending amount less than Ksh.1, 000 ($10) using M-PESA, a service provided by the dominant Telco in the country, Safaricom is absolutely free for the next two months among many others.

Number of passengers using a single vehicle at a time has been limited. A 14-seater vehicle is required to carry 8 passengers, 25-seaters to carry 15 and buses whose seating capacity is 30 and above is allowed to have 60-per cent sitting capacity.

While issuing updates on the virus on Monday, the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe also asked those dwelling in Urban particularly Nairobi to halt all their travel plans to rural areas. He said urban to rural movements will expose the elders to the contagious disease.

In addition, those from the upcountry were told not to visit the capital until the situation is contained. Thirty four out of 50 cases are in Nairobi as per the report released by the minister.

“Those who stay in Nairobi should not travel up country during this period, statistics indicate that the elderly Kenyan population lives in the rural areas, we would like to urge those who stay in Nairobi to stay in Nairobi,” He said.

Something mysterious caught the attention of our team, which is in Nairobi. Our reporter on Tuesday toured the streets of the capital and the revelations will leave you in shock.

The ever busy streets were devoid of people and many shops were closed. The hooting of vehicles and loud voices of touts filled the air as the available people try to keep a distance from each other. All banks located in the city were opened, but the customers’ seats were half empty.

The next stop was at Gikomba market, Kenya’s largest hub for second hand clothes. The situation was more less the same. Many stalls were empty and the young guys who stand along the corridors hawking clothes were countable.

These are some of the responses from the business men and women from the market.

“Demands for our products are low, we hope the solution for this problem will be found and everything will be back to normal,” said kids’ attires seller.

His colleague added, “People have stayed away because of fear of attracting the virus. We have decided to take risk in order to feed our families and pay our bills.”

“This coronavirus is horrifying, the cases are creasing everyday and we don’t know who is next,” noted a fishmonger.

There were numerous spots for hand washing instituted by the entrepreneurs.

Kenyan neighbours Uganda yesterday declared a total lockdown for 14 days to control the spread of covid-19 which has been reported in 199 nations causing thousands deaths.

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Africa CDC Joins Forces with Co-Creation Hub to Use Smart Ways to Educate and Sensitize the Continent on COVID-19
March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 31, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is collaborating with the Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), the leading technology innovation centre in Africa, to launch a call, for innovative communication projects on COVID-19 based on indigenous African languages targeted at the semi-urban and rural population across Africa. The communication projects are expected to help counter disbelief and misinformation, catalyse citizens actions and solidarity as well as combat stigmatization.

The collaboration will focus on projects delivering vetted critical information from Africa CDC to Africans in remote areas using innovative and culturally sensitive messaging.

This involves educating the public and ensuring fact-based information reaches even remote locations through such approaches like comics, animation, illustrations, infographics, interactive SMS, Mobile apps etc.

The selected teams will be supported with grant funding of up to $5000 for research and design support. Proposed projects can be focused on one African country or multiple countries across the continent. Africa CDC Joins Forces with Co-Creation Hub to use Smart Ways to Educate and Sensitize the Continent on COVID-19

Dr. Benjamin Djoudalbaye, Head of Policy, Health Diplomacy, and Communication at the Africa CDC stated that the collaboration is to “enhance efforts of the Africa CDC towards educating the public and ensuring that the right information reaches evenremote locations across the continent to avoid unnecessary panic and misinformation.”

With a track record of collaborating with key players to explore the application of technology to solve Africa’s systemic problems in Public Health, Education, Governance in the continent, CcHUB through its internal research and development unit, CcHUB Design Lab, based in Kigali, Rwanda, will collaborate with innovators to provide technical support using innovative digital and non-digital methodologies to ensure the mass messaging on Coronavirus reaches the semi-urban and rural population across Africa.

Bosun Tijani, CcHUB’s Co-founder and CEO, said “This is a critical time where techin Africa should be used in smart ways to ensure broader citizen awareness and understanding of COVID-19 response strategies and precautions”. 

This collaboration is supported by the Joint African Union – German Cooperation on Citizens Engagement and Innovative Data Use for Africa’s Development programme implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

A Call for Projects- Solve for Coronavirus (COVID-19) for creative teams working on a project or have an idea, with the capability to build out the solution could be accessed through the link:

About Partners
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union established to support public health initiatives of Member States and strengthen the capacity of their public health institutions to detect, prevent, control and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats. Africa CDC supports African Union Member States in providing coordinated and integrated solutions to the inadequacies in their public health infrastructure, human resource capacity, disease surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, and preparedness and response to health emergencies and disasters.

The African Union (AU, is a pan-African organization whose goal is to propel a united continent towards peace and prosperity. The AU supports political and economic integration among its 55-member nations. It aims to boost development, eradicate poverty and bring Africa into the global economy

Co-creation Hub (CcHUB)
CcHub through its Design Lab based in Kigali, Rwanda is a research and development lab innovating for social impact. We collaborate with global stakeholders to explore the application of technology to solve Africa’s systemic problems in Public Health, Education, Governance and the Private Sector. CcHub also collaborates with over 150 innovation hubs and co-creation centres across Africa on various collaborative projects across many themes.

For further information please contact:
Dr. Benjamin Djoudalbaye, Head of Policy, Health Diplomacy, and Communication, Africa CDC | |
Mrs. Wynne Musabayana, Head of Communication,Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission | | E-mail:
Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@africa– I Website: I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia Follow Us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus necessitates global increase in protective equipment, medical supplies: UN health chief
March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for stepped-up production of medical equipment and supplies as health facilities and health workers in many countries struggle with increasing and urgent demands brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NEW YORK, USA, March 31, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists in Geneva on Monday that he had spoken to trade ministers from the world’s leading economic forum, the G-20, about ways to address the chronic shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential medical supplies.

“We call on countries to work with companies to increase production; to ensure the free movement of essential health products; and to ensure equitable distribution of those products, based on need”, Tedros said, placing specific emphasis on low and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The UN health agency also is “working intensively” with several partners to massively increase access to diagnostics, PPE, medical oxygen, ventilators and other life-saving products, he added.

Health care: A balancing act

Cases of the new coronavirus disease continue to mount globally, reaching nearly 700,000 on Monday, and more than 33,000 deaths.

The rapidly increasing demands of the pandemic are threatening health systems, Tedros said, because “even though we’re in the midst of a crisis, essential health services must continue”.

WHO has published guidelines to help countries balance the demands of pandemic response while maintaining essential health services which include routine vaccination, pre-natal care, and treating infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Tedros also welcomed the news that 20,000 healthcare workers in the United Kingdom have offered to return to work, while medical students and trainees in Russia are taking part in the emergency response there.

Countries coping with the COVID-19 surge can also consult a new WHO manual on setting up and managing treatment centres, including in repurposed buildings or tents.

“This is a life-saving instruction manual to deal with the surge of cases that some countries are facing right now”, the agency’s chief said.

“These facilities will also have longer-term benefits for health systems once the current crisis is over”.

Pandemic exposes inequalities

The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the world’s inequalities and threatening to deepen them, the International Labour Organization (ILO), warned on Monday.

The UN agency finds that migrant workers and people working in the informal economy are particularly affected by the economic consequences of the disease, and women are especially exposed.

Two billion people worldwide work in in informal employment, while ILO also stressed that the policy response by government should ensure that support reaches low-wage workers, the self-employed and other vulnerable people.

An appeal for children in conflict

The UN expert on the plight of children caught in conflict has joined the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire amid the pandemic.

Virginia Gamba said COVID-19 is compounding the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable people, especially those living in conflict zones.

“As borders are closing down and hostilities continue relentlessly, it is important to stand with those who are counting on us and to amplify our call for the protection of children affected by conflict; only together can we defeat this invisible threat”, she said.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres last Monday called on combatants everywhere to “end the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world”.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the United Nations.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus – South Africa: Member of the Executive Council (MEC) Albert Fritz on honouring Essential Services Employees working during Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown
March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

Download logoThe Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, is calling on all residents in the Western Cape to acknowledge those in law enforcement, healthcare, food related services and other essential services by hanging the South African flag, as recommended by President Ramaphosa, from your doors and/or windows during the lockdown period.

If you don’t have a flag, you can hang a piece of cloth of a colour of your choosing to show your gratitude during the lockdown period.

Many cou

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus – Ivory Coast: Coronavirus preparations in full swing
March 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

Download logoIvory Coast has now registered 140 cases of COVID-19 (as of March 29 according to WHO) and recently entered the stage of local transmission. In response, the Ivorian authorities, like those in most neighboring countries, have quickly taken measures to restrict movement, according to the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has been supporting preparation measures in the country for over two weeks.

For severa

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Opinion: Young Jamaican’s invention could help tackle spread of viruses like COVID-19
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Patricia Scotland*

Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General

Five years ago more than 40 babies born in Jamaican hospitals became infected with lethal bacteria – half of them died.

The bacteria Klebsiella, like the coronavirus, is spread from person-to-person or via contaminated surfaces. It can be killed by hand-washing with warm soapy water.

The situation caught the attention of technology student Rayvon Stewart based in Jamaica who set about finding a way to curb the spread of harmful germs.

“I made a determined decision that I was going to find a solution to limit the transfer of pathogens to multiple surfaces, thereby saving lives,” says Rayvon.

Young innovators in health

I met Rayvon at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) in Geneva last year. He was among the finalists shortlisted for last year’s Commonwealth Health Innovation Awards. He took part in an exhibition on the theme ‘Universal Health Coverage: Reaching the unreached, ensuring that no-one is left behind’ which highlighted how young people are tackling age-old challenges with modern technology and disruptive thinking.

The event underlined Commonwealth commitment to empowering young people as outlined in our charter and also our contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

I spoke to five extraordinary innovators who made it as finalists of the Commonwealth Health Innovation Awards which recognise outstanding young people whose groundbreaking projects have made a real impact in helping their countries achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’.

William Wasswa was working on a digital pathology platform for automated diagnosis and classification of cervical cancer from pap-smear images. Then there was Midia Hassan using 3D printing technology to provide prosthetics to amputees living in refugee camps and poverty zones.

Another timely invention is that of Nitash Jangir who was one of 15 finalists at our SDG innovation awards. Nitash invented a neonatal breathing support device for low resource settings, with multiple powering options. It maintains respiration and oxygenation in premature neonates with Respiratory Distress Syndrome by providing constant airflow and pressure to keep the lungs open during transport to a tertiary care setting.

I was struck by the ability of young minds to find solutions to real problems in their communities, and their persistence in finding support to scale-up their projects.

In Rayvon’s case, he focused on the most common places where bacteria and viruses could easily be left by one person and picked up directly by another. He came up with what he calls ‘Xermosol’- a simple-to-install device that automatically disinfects door knobs and handles after each use.

The innovation uses ultraviolet light to target and specifically kill harmful microorganisms, while being harmless to human beings.

The potential to save lives

The potential impact of Rayvon’s invention could now be even more important than when he first conceived it, as the world battles the frightening COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus lives up to two or three days on stainless steel and metal, and several hours on fabric depending on factors such as temperature and humidity.

Field and laboratory testing has validated Xermosol’s efficiency in killing more than 99.9% of deadly pathogens. In addition to health facilities, Rayvon hopes it could help reduce transmission of germs in other public spaces such as schools and businesses.

Tests carried out in conjunction with University of Technology, Jamaica and University of the West Indies show Xermosol destroys organisms such as MRSA and E-coli and destroys viral cells such as influenza virus H1N1.

This is a huge step in the fight against microorganisms and offers new ways of thinking around combatting viral cells such as Coronavirus.

Supporting young people to innovate

Rayvon says the recognition he received from the Commonwealth Health Innovation Awards was a key moment in Xermosol’s progress, generating immense interest in the project.

But now the production of Xermosol faces a number of considerable challenges – from development funding to finding a manufacturer to mass produce.

Financing options are mostly focused on large-scale innovation, but the Commonwealth is exploring and proposing that all 54 member-countries go into partnership with the Global Innovation Fund to help young innovators like Rayvon.

Over the past two years, the Commonwealth Youth Health Network has worked closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat and member states to leverage the unique capabilities of young people and drive forward progress toward SDG3 (which includes a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases) and health-related development goals.

Citizens aged under 30 comprise 60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s population – a proportion that is 10 per cent higher than the global average. In the course of my interaction in and with our member countries I am continually impressed by the drive of these 1.4 billion young people. They have the ideas, energy and talent to make a huge difference in their communities – and they are doing so.

* Patricia Scotland is the Commonwealth Secretary-General

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Coronavirus – Rwanda: Update on COVID-19 Coronavirus — 29 March 2020
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 30, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Ten (10) new coronavirus cases were identified today, bringing the total to seventy (70).

  • Six (6) travellers who had arrived from Dubai and who have been isolated
  • Two (2) travellers who had arrived from South Africa and who have been isolated
  • One (1) traveller who had arrived from Nigeria and who has been isolated
  • One (1) traveller who had frequent travel in the East African region and who has been isolated

All patients are under treatment in stable condition in an isolated health facility. The majority are asymptomatic, and no patient is in critical condition. The tracing of all contacts has been conducted for further management.

Heightened vigilance continues to be required. The enhanced prevention measures announced by the Government of Rwanda must be rigorously observed: non-essential businesses are closed, travel between cities and districts is suspended, and non-essential movements outside the home are not permitted. Any Rwandans or legal residents returning to the country will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated locations.

Continue to observe the instructions of health authorities, particularly washing hands regularly and maintaining physical distance from other people (at least 1 metre).

The key symptoms of coronavirus are dry cough, shortness of breath, and fever. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should call the toll-free number 114, or dial .1140 for automated screening, or email calIcenter@rbc.govaw, or send a WhatsApp message to +250 788 20 20 80, or contact a medical professional.

Let’s continue to work together to defeat this pandemic.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Ministry of Health, Republic of Rwanda.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus – Africa: 46 African Union Member States reporting COVID-19 cases (4,760), deaths (146), and recoveries (335)
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 30, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- African Union Member States (46) reporting COVID-19 cases (4,760), deaths (146), and recoveries (335) by region:

Central (257 cases, 11 deaths, 9 recoveries): Cameroon (125, 2, 3), Central African Republic (6, 0, 3), Chad (5, 0, 0), Congo (19, 0, 2), DRC (81, 8, 1), Equatorial Guinea (14, 0, 0), Gabon (7, 1, 0).

Eastern (374, 6, 6): Djibouti (19, 0, 0), Eritrea (6, 0, 0), Ethiopia (21, 0, 4), Kenya (42, 1, 1), Madagascar (43, 0, 0), Mauritius (110, 3, 0), Rwanda (70, 0, 0), Seychelles (8, 0, 0), Somalia (3, 0, 0), Sudan (6, 2, 0), Tanzania (13, 0, 1), Uganda (33, 0, 0).

Northern (1,922, 105, 223): Algeria (511, 31, 77), Egypt (609, 40, 132), Libya (8, 0, 0), Mauritania (3, 0, 0), Morocco (479, 26, 13), Tunisia (312, 8, 1).

Southern (1,346, 2, 31): Angola (3, 0, 0 ), Eswatini (8, 0, 0), Mozambique (8, 0, 0), Namibia (11, 0, 0), South Africa (1,280, 1, 31), Zambia (29, 0, 0), Zimbabwe (7, 1, 0).

Western (861, 22, 66): Benin (6, 0, 0), Burkina Faso (222, 12, 23), Cape Verde (5, 1, 0), Côte d’Ivoire (140, 0, 3), Gambia (4, 1, 0), Ghana (152, 5, 2), Guinea (16, 0, 1), Guinea-Bissau (2, 0, 0), Liberia (3, 0, 0), Mali (18, 0, 0), Niger (10, 1, 0), Nigeria (111, 1, 3), Senegal (142, 0, 27), Togo (30, 1, 7).

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Coronavirus – Tanzania: 1bn/- War Chest for COVID-19
March 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa received contributions in cash and equipment worth 1.185bn/- from entities and individuals to support government efforts in the fight against COVID-19, asking each individual to take precautionary measures.

“We are now in a state of war. We must jointly fight it by doing whatever is within our ability to prevent the spread of the virus in our country. We must stick to the advice provided by President John Magufuli, that requires every Tanzanian to take part in t

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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COVID-19 Gambia: Jack Ma Donates Test Kits, Face Masks, and Protective Gears
March 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Chinese billionaire has donated The Gambia  20, 000 test kids, 100, 000 face masks and protective gears to effectively fight the Coronavirus pandemic.

The medical consignment is flown into the country by Ethiopian airline flight on Saturday, donated by Jack Ma through his Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations in China.

The supplies are part of the continent-wide donation in support of actions towards the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union through the Africa Centre for Disease Control.

Authorities were gathered at the Banjul International Airport to receive the consignment. The Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia, Ma Jianchun said China decided to provide emergency medical assistance to Africa considering the challenges confronting the continent at the difficult time of intensifying spread of the virus.

“China and Gambia are friends and reliable partners. At the moment, the coronavirus has already hit The Gambia and I would express our sympathy and support and solidarity with the Gambia government and Gambian people,” he said at the handing over ceremony.

“Today we are here to receive more medical supplies donated to The Gambia by two Foundations in China; Jack Ma Foundation and Ali Baba Foundation. These supplies include 100, 000 face masks, 20, 000 testing kits, 1000 protective clothes. These supplies represent sincere friendship from the Chinese people to The Gambian people.”

Dr. Amadou Samateh, Health Minister of The Gambia,  hailed the Foundations for the timely support.

“With the donations of the equipment, these protective gears, the test kits, etc. we are going to deal with the cases we currently have in a better way. We pray against it but if we do have more cases, we will be in a better position to deal with it,” he said.

Modou Njie, Director of Health Promotion and Education,  assures that the equipment will be put into good use in combating the virus

Wanja Kaaria, World Food Programme Country representative,  said the cooperation in fighting to end the virus is key and challenged Gambians and those living in the country to take precautions to contain the spread of the virus.

“To date Gambia has recorded a very few cases and among those we have seen only one unfortunate death, several people continued to be under isolation and several more in self-quarantine. Indeed today, we are pleased to receive a sizable consignment as donation for the African continent and the Gambia from Jack Ma Foundation, the founder of Alibaba,” she said.

Dr. Desta Tiruneh, Country Representative for the World Health Organization (WHO),  said the donation to The Gambia is part of the response to COVID-19 pandemic which was shared among all the 54 states in Africa.

“This support was directed to the African Union, African Centre for Disease  `Control and Prevention has brought several partners together to save and expedite the delivery to The Gambia. The WHO globally and the Gambia will continue to respond to the response of COVID 19 pandemic,” he said.

“The test kits and other materials received will go a long way in the fight against COVID 19 locally against the pandemic. The fight against the COVID-19 is a global fight. We are all together and this is why we are here today. Multiple stakeholders are putting together their resources and everything for the same cause of global threat to humanity. The donation is an excellent demonstration of solidarity.”

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Coronavirus – Africa: Communique of the Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Teleconference on COVID-19, Held on 26 March 2020
March 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

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Coronavirus – Uganda: 7 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Uganda today, Saturday 28 March 2020
March 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

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