Zambia works in close collaboration with WHO to ensure successful rollout of cholera vaccines

ZAMBIA – Although Cholera is a preventable disease, it remains a significant public health problem globally. Each year, there are 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera, and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths worldwide. Zambia has experienced cholera outbreaks since 1977 and the country’s last major outbreak lasted from October 2017 to June 2018 with a total of 5,935 reported cases and 114 deaths. The risk factors mainly include inadequate access to clean and safe water, poor sanitation facilities, poor solid waste management and consumption of contaminated food. In 2019 the…

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A Tata memorial centre led study concludes that 50% oral cancer patients die within a year of diagnosis

INDIA – The first-of-its-kind study on the ‘cost of illness analysis of oral cancer’, conducted by Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai, reveals that half of oral cancer patients in India die within a year of diagnosis and are aged between 30-50 years. The study was conducted on 100 consecutive oral cancer patients who sought treatment at the facility between October 2019 and March 2020 and pointed out that most of the patients who receive some form of treatment are left unemployed hence they become an economic burden to their families.…

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BioNTech’s BNT111 phase 2 clinical trial makes progress as patient with advanced Melanoma treated

GERMANY – BioNTech, a German pharmaceutical company, has announced that the first patient has been treated in its BNT111 phase 2 cancer medication trial. Currently, the study is evaluating the Company’s therapeutic cancer vaccine candidate BNT111 in combination with Libtayo (cemiplimab), an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, in patients with anti-PD1-refractory/relapsed unresectable Stage III or IV melanoma. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when melanocytes (the cells that give the skin its tan or brown color) start to grow out of control or can be refereed to hyperpigmentation. BNT111…

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COVID-19 crisis in Indonesia worsens as the country reports a 2m milestone of reported cases

INDONESIA – The Southeast Asian nation Indonesia, hit the 2 million mark as its hospital occupancy rates soars to over 75percent in Jakarta and other hard-hit areas with increased COVID-19 related deaths being reported. Official figures as of Monday showed Indonesia had recorded a daily record high of 14,536 cases, taking the total to just over two million with nearly 55,000 deaths, among a population of nearly 270 million. The infamous milestone comes after the daily recorded rate double in recent weeks with the country’s authority identifying the presence of…

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Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa approved by the FDA for oral pediatric use

USA – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa as the first oral blood thinning medication suitable for children 12 years and below in the USA. The medication Pradaxa will be available for use for children with venous thromboembolism immediately after treatment with a blood thinner given by injection for at least five days. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a disorder that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurring when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the…

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Efforts to reduce tobacco harm in Africa up appear futile due to inadequate policies

AFRICA – Lack of support, inadequate policies and misinformation have been identified as some of the obstacles standing in the way of the reduction of tobacco harm in Africa as discussed during the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) held in Liverpool, England last week. During the summit, it was established that the continent has about 77 million smokers with at least 250, 000 of them dying from smoking-related diseases every year Joseph Magero, chairman of, Campaign for Safer Alternatives Africa, a regional organization that advocates for the adoption of tobacco…

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African countries feature prominently in WHO’s new global lists of high-burden countries for TB

AFRICA – African countries have been cited in the new WHO lists of high burden countries for tuberculosis (TB), HIV-associated TB and multidrug/rifampicin-resistant TB. Zimbabwe transitioned out of the list of the 30 high TB burden countries while Gabon and Uganda joined the list. Angola, Chad, Ghana and Papua New Guinea have transitioned out of the 30 high TB/HIV burden countries whilst Gabon and Guinea have joined the list. The 30 high MDR/RR-TB burden countries list saw Ethiopia and Kenya transition out while Zambia joined. WHO officially communicated with the…

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WHO declares Guinea Ebola free months after a second outbreak was reported

GUINEA – The Ebola outbreak that emerged in Guinea in mid-February has been declared over. This was the first time the disease resurfaced in the country since the deadly outbreak in West Africa that ended in 2016. Guinean health authorities declared the outbreak on 14 February 2021 after three cases were detected in a rural community in the southern prefecture, the same region where the 2014–2016 outbreak first emerged before spreading into neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone and beyond. A total of 16 confirmed and seven probable cases were reported…

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Over 56, 000 individuals vaccinated against Yellow Fever in South Sudan

SOUTH SUDAN – The Ministry of Health with support from Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) partners including WHO, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and other health implementing partners have completed a pre-emptive yellow fever vaccination campaign. The campaign targeting 57,443 individuals, aged 9 months to 60 years, was conducted in Morobo, Lainya and Yei River Counties in Central Equatoria State where Yellow Fever was confirmed in 2020. At the end of the campaign, 56,640 (98.6%) of individuals aged 9 months to 60 years received the yellow fever vaccine in Morobo,…

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Chemoprevention applied in South Sudan to avert an imminent malaria outbreak

SOUTH SUDAN – Medical charity Doctors Without Borders, officially known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has been conducting malaria chemoprevention in the country to avert a looming outbreak due to the rainy season. Seasonal malaria chemoprevention(MSC), is a public health intervention that can reduce the incidence of malaria among young children during the rainy season. It has been recommended by the World Health Organization since 2012 in countries with high seasonal malaria transmission. In a situational report, MSF says it has treated 22,400 people for malaria in the first three…

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