Thousands of children in Tigray at risk of death from malnutrition

ETHIOPIA – More than 100,000 children in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray could suffer from life-threatening malnutrition in the next 12 months, a 10-fold jump over average annual levels, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado, speaking after returning from Tigray, said that one in two pregnant and breastfeeding women screened in the region were acutely malnourished, leaving them and their babies prone to sickness. “Our worst fears about the health and wellbeing of children in that conflicted region of northern Ethiopia are being confirmed,” she…

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UNICEF adds Sinovac to assortment of contracted COVID-19 vaccine suppliers

AFRICA – UNICEF has inked a long-term agreement with Sinovac for the supply of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine, the CoronaVac inactivated virus vaccine against coronavirus, on behalf of COVAX. This is the 8th supply agreement UNICEF has signed for COVID-19 vaccines. Previous agreements have been announced with the Serum Institute of India, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Human Vaccine, Moderna, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and Sinopharm. Through the supply agreement, UNICEF will have access to up to 200 million doses of the vaccine in 2021 to supply participating countries and territories in the COVAX Facility’s Advance Market…

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Cases of malnutrition among Madagascan children expected to increase fourfold

MADAGASCAR – The number of acutely malnourished children in Madagascar is likely to increase fourfold since the previous assessment conducted in October 2020, warn UNICEF and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). At least half a million children under the age of five are expected to be acutely malnourished including 110,000 in severe condition, in drought-affected southern Madagascar, suffering irreversible damage to their growth and development. ‘’We need to double our efforts to curb this catastrophic rise in hunger but we cannot do it without significant funding resources and buy…

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UNICEF inks deal with Janssen Pharmaceutica to supply Covid-19 vaccine to AU

AFRICA – UNICEF has signed an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica to supply up to 220 million doses of the J&J single-dose vaccine for all 55 Member States of the African Union (AU) by the end of 2022. The agreement between UNICEF and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV will help implement the Advance Purchase Commitment (APC) signed between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and Janssen in March of this year. This agreement secured an option to order another 180 million doses, bringing the maximum access up to a total of 400 million doses by the end of…

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Rwandese government to rollout mass basic childhood vaccination

RWANDA – The Ministry of Health, through Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), will carry out an extensive catch-up immunization campaign targeting children who have missed out on basic childhood vaccinations during lockdown. Due to Covid-19 related restrictions that affected mobility, the number of children vaccinated for BCG, Penta3 and Polio3 was lower than expected in 2020 according to a report by World Group Bank on Rwanda economic update of January 2021. According to figures from RBC, uptake of Penta3 and Polio3 vaccines experienced a decline of 10 per cent in May,…

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Global economic recovery dependent on COVID-19 vaccine equity says key global organizations

WOLRD – The global economic recovery is at risk if vaccines are not equitably manufactured, scaled up and distributed, this is according to new data released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Oxford. Revealed in the findings on COVID-19 vaccine equity, low-income states would add to their Gross domestic product (GDP) an estimate of US$38B for the forecasted year 2021 if they had the same vaccination rate as that of high-income countries. At a time when richer countries have…

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Childhood diseases on rise as COVID-19 fuels major backslide on routine childhood vaccinations

AFRICA – UN agencies have reported that nearly 23 million children missed out on routine vaccinations last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the highest number in more than a decade, fueling outbreaks of measles, polio and other preventable diseases. Measles, one of the world’s most contagious diseases, can be fatal to children under the age of five, especially in African and Asian countries with weak health systems, according to the World Health Organization. Polio can cripple a child for life. The gap in global vaccination coverage has set up…

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New data reveals a backlog in childhood vaccinations resulting from COVID-19 pandemic

SWITZERLAND – Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) shows that 23 million children missed out on basic vaccines in 2020, a number that was 3.7 million more than data previously recorded in 2019. Concerningly, most of these – up to 17 million children – likely did not receive a single vaccine during the year as a result of community conflict, poor accessibility and limited access to basic healthcare services, hence widening the already immense inequities in vaccine access. The disruptions in immunization…

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Kenya receives over 182,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses from France

KENYA – Over 182,000 vaccine doses donated by France to the COVAX facility have arrived in Kenya through UNICEF. The AstraZeneca vaccine shots will help provide second doses for health workers, teachers and other essential workers. “We have recently embarked on vaccinating our people for the second dose, so this comes at a critical time. It will ensure our health workers, teachers and other essential workers are protected, and that our health centers countrywide can continue providing vital care to people affected by COVID-19,” Dr Willis Akhwale, the Ministry of…

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UK responds to Uganda’s Oxygen appeal with over US$708,000, to benefit 1.8 million people

UGANDA – The UK has announced a commitment of £500,000 (over $708,000) to UNICEF Uganda’s COVID-19 appeal, vital support that will benefit over 1.8 million people across Uganda. This funding for oxygen and essential supplies will help improve covid-19 response in the East Africa country that is immensely affected by the third wave. So far, Uganda has recorded 79,434 cases, 989 deaths and 52,382 recoveries. WHO reported that 97% of samples sequenced in Uganda came back positive of the highly contagious Delta variant. Oxygen demand in Africa has gone up…

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