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CORONA VIRUS

Gaps Remain In Countries’ Readiness to Deploy COVID-19 Vaccines- World Bank

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As countries undertake the largest vaccination campaign in history, the World Bank has worked with governments, WHO, UNICEF, the Global Fund and GAVI on assessing countries’ readiness to safely deploy COVID-19 vaccines in 128 low- and middle-income countries.

The results indicate that income level and other economic indicators correlate weakly with vaccine preparedness.

The report focuses on ten key indicators, including cold chain & logistics, population prioritization, budgeting, training of healthcare personnel, and safety surveillance, among others.

Initial findings show that 85% of countries that participated in the assessments have developed national vaccination plans and 68% have safety measures in place, including systems for reporting adverse reactions.

However, only 30% have developed plans to train the large number of vaccinators who will be needed and only 27% have created social mobilization and public engagement strategies to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Given worrying  vaccine hesitancy, strategies to generate confidence, acceptance and demand for vaccines are urgently needed.

Countries affected by conflict and fragility (37 out of 128) scored lower than other countries on almost all indicators.

“Many developing countries are in the midst of preparing aggressive COVID19 vaccine delivery plans,” said Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank.

“While most countries are well enough prepared to begin inoculating their populations, there are still important gaps that must urgently be addressed for wide, large scale vaccination rollouts to succeed.”
The World Bank is providing US$12 billion for developing countries to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments and strengthen health and vaccination systems to ensure that vaccines get to those who need them.

Murthi added that, “Our vaccination programs will reach over 40 countries in the near-term, amounting to $3 billion out of the $12 billion available.”

The readiness assessments will inform our projects and help governments and healthcare professionals better understand and manage the complex task of vaccinating large adult populations in a very short timeframe.
The assessments also show that:
*         Although countries have gaps in readiness, most have prepared well enough across most essential areas to begin their immunization drives as soon as they receive vaccines.
*         Existence of well-functioning child immunization national delivery systems is not a strong predictor of country readiness to deliver vaccines for adults, such as COVID-19 vaccines.
*         A weak correlation between GDP and readiness indicates that countries with more developed economies are not necessarily better prepared for massive vaccination programs.
*         The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is an opportunity to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly cold chain that could be of use well beyond the current crisis.
Fair, broad, and fast access to effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, especially in poor countries, is vital to save lives and strengthen global economic recovery. Only once the pandemic is contained in all countries will each country be safe from a resurgence and able to focus all efforts on overcoming the deepest global recession in eight decades.
Full Report : https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/health/publication/assessing-country-readiness-for-covid19-vaccines-first-insights-from-the-assessment-rollout?cid=hnp_tt_health_en_ext

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CORONA VIRUS

WHO Supports Tanzania’s About-turn On Covid-19

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Tanzanian leadership’s about-turn on the coronavirus received support from the World Health Organization and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which could help the country obtain vaccines and start to catch-up with other nations on the continent.

The east African country’s new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, announced plans earlier this week to appoint a panel of experts to advise her on how best to curb the spread of the virus.

The move is a complete shift from her predecessor’s stance, which was to initially deny the existence of the disease and stop the publication of Covid-19 infection data just months after the pandemic broke out.

The response to the virus by President John Magufuli, who died last month, raised concerns that not only was the local severity of the disease being downplayed, but that there was increased risk of the spread of significant variants that could affect vaccine efficacy across the continent.

“We welcome very sincerely this initiative by the new president of Tanzania, as well as the statements she’s made to the population to ensure people accept the virus is circulating in Tanzania and that she is seeking to understand better the situation,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said in a briefing Thursday.

The WHO has been in talks with Tanzania and offered expertise and discussed ways to access Covid-19 vaccines, she said.

In a separate online briefing, Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong said he’s “extremely encouraged with the signals” from Tanzania and that the body has offered clinical assistance.

“They have not officially requested anything from us, but we look forward to engaging with them further as they move forward with this task force,” he said.

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CORONA VIRUS

Professor Niyongabo Warns of Covid-19 Second Wave in Burundi

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For most part of 2020, Burundi government had chosen to ignore existence of covid-19 pandemic and only confided in God as the only shield against the fast spreading virus across the world.

As of Friday, Burundi has officially reported 3,027Total cases, 773 Recovered, and 6 Deaths.

In an exclusive interview with  Burundian Professor Théodore Niyongabo, he opens up slightly on Covid-19 situation in East Africa’s most isolated country and hints that “The vaccine is the only way to control Covid-19”.

Professor Théodore Niyongabo is a specialist in internal medicine and infectious diseases. He looks back on all the current questions related to the pandemic. Here are some excerpts as adapted from local outlet Iwacu.

Faced with the surge of positive cases, can we speak of a second wave in Burundi?

Given the number of cases tested positive for covid-19 on a daily basis, those hospitalized. It is obvious that this is a second wave of contamination.

What do you think is the cause?

Hard to say ! Because the determinants of a wave vary from country to country. Are we in the presence of a new variant, has there been a relaxation somewhere in the population with regard to barrier gestures … The hypotheses are legion.

Once cured, can we be recontaminated? Can we be recontaminated a week after healing?

No, I do not think so. From experience, recontamination is often late. In this regard, the figures are clear.

So far, during the month of February, we have recorded less than 10 cases. Usually, recontamination will take place a year or more later. Granted, this is not yet fully verified, but the facts are there.

If not, can a mother continue to breastfeed her child once she has Covid-19?

Absolutely. In fact, this is what we recommend to them. She should continue to breastfeed. Because breast milk does not transmit Covid-19. But, if the mom has tested positive for the disease, she should wear a mask.

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CORONA VIRUS

Mozambique Announces 21-day Lockdown

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President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique has announced a 21-day lockdown effective Tuesday April,6 as part of measures aimed at preventing the further spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

“As of 00:00 am tomorrow, all provincial capitals will be in curfew, between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am,” President Nyusi said on Monday.

The President said he is hopeful that in the next communication he will announce relief related to preventive measures. His Government hopes to prevent the dramatic situation faced in January and February from repeating itself in the country.

According to President Nyusi, Mozambique continues to have an epidemiological picture of risk.

So far as of Tuesday Mozambique has Total cases 68,227, Recovered 57,234,and Deaths 782. Mozambique completed, on March 22, one year since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Due to restrictions, Mozambique has seen a reduction in the number of cases and deaths. The reduction, said the President, has been progressive, but at a slow pace. The gains that are being made are the result of the collective effort and sacrifice of Mozambicans.

According to Filipe Nyusi, the second wave of the pandemic was more intense than the first, with five times more cases, six times more hospitalizations and seven times more deaths.

The causes are attributed to the new variant. In other words, although the number of cases is decreasing, the current situation is more serious than the second wave.

To give you an idea, Mozambique has 10 times more cases than in the last week of December. The number of deaths doubled in relation to the end of December.

Nyusi recalled that the interruption of classes has a negative impact on children and adolescents.

For this reason, the Government decided to restart classes on March 22, considering that children and adolescents are at lower risk of infection, according to scientific studies.

Even so, Nyusi called for increased attention from supervisors, staff and all school stakeholders.

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