Gabon partners PACT in digital solutions to combat HIV, Covid-19

GABON – Gabon has been selected as one of the partnering countries involved in the Partnerships to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) initiative in Africa. The project, developed under a partnership between UNAIDS and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, aims at fostering collective action to respond to the colliding HIV and COVID-19 pandemics through strengthened community engagement, including the deployment of community health workers. The UNAIDS Country Office for Gabon, in collaboration with other stakeholders, has chosen, as a starting point, to involve community actors to support the…

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South Africa gets major investment to treat Covid-19, TB, cancer, HIV

SOUTH AFRICA – United States-based multinational conglomerate NantWorks has entered into an agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) for the transfer of manufacturing technology for Covid-19 and cancer vaccines and next-generation cell-based immunotherapies. This is a major boost to the country’s healthcare system in its efforts to treat infectious diseases such as cancer, HIV, tuberculosis and, more recently, Covid-19. As of 2019, South Africa had 7.5 million people living with HIV, 200,000 new HIV infections and 72,000 AIDS-related…

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John Nkengasong, Africa C.D.C chair, appointed to lead global AIDS fund PEPFAR

USA – The USA administration is expected to nominate John Nkengasong, a virologist and director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to lead the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR is a US$7 billion operation that funds and sets goals for AIDS care in many nations, most of them in Africa. Dr. Nkengasong, who was born in Cameroon, is the first person of African origin to head the program, which is housed in the Department of State. “This is a huge leap forward for the…

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Covid-19 pandemic sets back fight against HIV, TB, Malaria globally

SWITZERLAND – The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the fight against HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in 2020, according to a new report released by the Global Fund. Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC said a key lesson from the report is the urgent need for more COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries to alleviate pressure on their health systems. “The big issue is that these diseases – pandemics of the past for us – are linked to struggling health systems in countries very close to…

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Johnson & Johnson’s HIV vaccine fails mid-stage study in Africa

AFRICA – Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) has said its experimental vaccine failed to provide enough protection against HIV in sub-Saharan Africa to young women who are at high risk of being infected. The mid-stage trial failure highlights the challenges of vaccine development, especially for HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, which has no approved vaccines. “HIV is a unique and complex virus that has long posed unprecedented challenges for vaccine development because of its ability to attack, hijack and evade the human immune system,” Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, said…

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Global Fund and Tanzania sign new US$112 million grant to support COVID-19 response

TANZANIA – Tanzania’s partnership with Global Fund has yielded a US$112 million deal to fight the COVID-19 crisis and accelerate the end of the epidemics of HIV, TB and malaria while building resilient and sustainable systems for health. The funds, channeled through the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism, will help Tanzania procure medical oxygen, increase access to COVID-19 diagnostics, protect health workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) This money will also help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV, TB and malaria services, strengthen health systems, particularly laboratory and surveillance…

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Sudan commences use of Dolutegravir as new treatment for HIV patients

SUDAN – The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have commenced the roll-out of a new HIV treatment in Sudan, supported by the Global Fund. On the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, antiretroviral (ARV) drug ‘Dolutegravir’ is recommended as the preferred treatment for all populations, based on its effectiveness and fewer side effects compared to alternative drug currently in use. The WHO made Dolutegravir a preferred HIV treatment option for all populations in 2019. DTG also has…

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Africa CDC raises alarm over continent’s infectious diseases outbreaks

AFRICA – Africa is facing a syndemics, a combination of emerging infectious diseases, which are increasing the continents disease burden, the Africa Centers for Disease Control has announced. Dr john Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC, said that despite dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the continent is at risk due to these infectious diseases. “The African continent as a whole is facing what we call a syndemics; a combination of emerging infectious diseases. We are dealing with this pandemic, but there will be another pandemic. “Syndemics are exacerbating the disease burden across…

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Access to HIV prevention and treatment services marred by numerous inequalities according to newly released data

WORLD – Following a newly released report from the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free initiative, the total number of children on treatment declined for the first time, despite the fact that nearly 800 000 children living with HIV are not currently on treatment. The report further showed that opportunities to identify infants and young children living with HIV early are being missed since more than one third of children born to mothers living with HIV were not tested. Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free is a five-year framework that…

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UNDP grants US$103 million to help Angola fight Malaria, HIV, Tuberculosis

ANGOLA – The United Nations injected a sum of US$103.2 million into Angola’s health system for the period 2021-2024, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Angolan Health Ministry said in a joint statement. According to the statement, the new global fund will pay to combat malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, especially in the southern provinces of Benguela and Cuanza Sul. With regard to malaria, the fund aims to reduce the number of deaths from 26 to 19 per 100 inhabitants, ensure at least 90 percent of the population in…

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