Ghana approves Moderna, Pfizer as Zimbabwe approves Johnson&johnson COVID-19 vaccine

GHANA – Ghana’s Foods and Drugs Authority (FDA) has approved the importation and use of Moderna Spikevax and Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccines in the country. The approval of these two now brings the number of approved vaccines in Ghana to five, all in a bid to protect citizens from the pandemic. “The FDA continues to use the emergency authorization pathway, which is the accepted procedure for all national regulatory authorities globally, to ensure timely access to quality and safe medical products including vaccines during this pandemic,” said the release by FDA.…

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Zimbabwe makes COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for government workers

ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe has ordered all government workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, or lose pay if they refuse. However, one of the largest government worker groups is resisting compulsory vaccinations, while another is calling for compliance with the directive. After a cabinet meeting late Tuesday, Monica Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe’s information minister, told reporters that the government was concerned about a continued increase in COVID-19 cases in the country. “In light of the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, cabinet approved the following: the decongesting of both public and private sector…

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Zimbabwe registers over 3,000 new COVID-19 cases as more people rush to be immunized

ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe has registered 3,110 new COVID-19 cases today, its highest daily figure since the onset of the pandemic last year. According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the record number of new cases has accelerated the country’s cumulative COVID-19 cases to 76,381, as the nation battles a third wave of the pandemic. The ministry said 58 new deaths were recorded, raising the nation’s death toll to 2,332. The number of people who have recovered stands at 49,053 after 951 people were reported to have recovered from…

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Tunisian healthcare system at the verge of collapsing as infections swarm the country

TUNISIA – Tunisia has recorded 9,823 new coronavirus cases and 134 deaths, a new record since the start of the pandemic, the health ministry has said, as concerns grow that the country will not be able to control the pandemic. The total number of cases has climbed to around 465,000 and more than 15,700 deaths. Tunisia’s health care system is collapsing due to the coronavirus, with intensive care departments full and doctors overburdened by a rapid outbreak of cases and deaths, the health ministry has reported. “We are in a…

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First ever HIV generic drug for babies distributed in Africa, says UNITAID

AFRICA – UNITAID and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) funding has enabled procurement of 100,000 packs of the dolutegravir formulation, a strawberry-flavored tablet for children living with HIV in six African countries. These aid agencies have distributed the first generic pediatric version of a key anti-retroviral, global across Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Benin, UNITAD’s spokesman Herve Verhoosel said in statement. UNITAID and CHAI had reached a pricing agreement with the generic drug makers Viatris and Macleods for the dispersible pediatric formulation of dolutegravir. The first-line HIV treatment is…

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Africa’s COVID-19 cases near 5.67 million as AU fights back EU’s Green Pass policy

AFRICA – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa reached 5,669,873 as of Monday noon, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said. The Africa CDC, the specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union, said the death toll from the pandemic stands at 146,401 while 4,924,099 patients across the continent have recovered from the disease. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Egypt are the countries with the most cases in the continent, according to the Africa CDC. South Africa has recorded the highest COVID-19 cases…

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Rwanda tightens restriction measures, including school closure, as Uganda approves Covidex

RWANDA – Rwanda has announced a review of COVID-19 restriction measures due to a surge in cases and the emergence of new variants globally. Schools and higher education institutions in the country will be closed. Provisions for students sitting national exams in July 2021 will be communicated by the ministry of education. Movements in some parts of the country has also prohibited between 6 pm-4 am and businesses conditioned to close by 5 pm. Social gatherings including gatherings held in homes and family visits are prohibited. All meetings have The…

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Zimbabwean entities get SADC funding to produce protective equipment

ZIMBABWE – Two local institutions in Zimbabwe have received funding from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to manufacture COVID-19 protective equipment for the benefit of the wider regional market. The Covid-19 situation was topical at the Extraordinary SADC Council of Ministers Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique on Tuesday, where it emerged that several countries in the bloc were recording a surge in new infections. The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Professor Amon Murwira, presented Zimbabwe at the conference, which preceded yesterday’s Extra-Ordinary SADC Heads of States and…

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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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Zimbabwe sizes up local pharmaceutical manufacture amid rising poverty levels

ZIMBAMBWE – Zimbabwe’s pharmaceutical industry continues to import critical medicines such as anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) as the sector faces low levels of production despite the country having ability to produce these drugs, a factor towards recessive poverty waning. Giving oral evidence to the Thematic Portfolio Committee on HIV/Aids Monday, Industry Ministry secretary Mavis Sibanda revealed local manufacturers’ production of drugs was only US$31.5 million while US$213 million worth of medicines were imported annually. “The pharmaceutical market size of Zimbabwe is estimated at US$244.5 million while local manufacturers produce only US$31.5…

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