AU: UNICEF To Supply 220m Doses Of Covid-19 Vaccine
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said, as the African continent faces steepest surge in Covid-19 and shortage of vaccine, it has signed an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutical NV to supply 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.
According to a press statement made available through its media representative in Africa, about 35 million doses are to be delivered by the end of this year, as the 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 next year.
The statement noted that the agreement between UNICEF and Janssen Pharmaceutical NV would help implement the Advance Purchase Commitment (APC) signed between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and Janssen in March of this year.
It further noted that UNICEF will procure and deliver Covid-19 vaccines on behalf of AVAT, an African Union initiative.
Other partners include the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the World Bank. While multiple vaccines are anticipated to be part of the initiative’s portfolio, Janssen’s single-dose vaccine is the first to be included.
“African countries must have affordable and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines as soon as possible. Vaccine access has been unequal and unfair, with less than 1 per cent of the population of the African continent currently vaccinated against Covid-19. This cannot continue,” UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, stressed.
“UNICEF, with its long history of delivering vaccines all around the world, is supporting global Covid-19 vaccinations efforts through AVAT, COVAX, and other channels to maximise supply and access to vaccines.
Drawing upon decades of experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, as it does annually for routine immunisation, UNICEF said, it is acting as a procurement and logistics agency on behalf of the AVAT partnership.
UNICEF however, stated that it stood ready to facilitate the procurement, transport and delivery of vaccines as soon as they became available and AU Member States were ready to receive them.
With its extensive capacity and decades of expertise in managing freight, insurance and transport of vaccines, which require strict adherence to cold chain requirements, UNICEF will work with the vaccine industry, freight forwarders and transport companies to get the doses to the communities that need them.
Janssen’s Covid-19 vaccine received a WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) on 12 March and is relying on a global supply network to produce the vaccine. The latest site for production, Aspen Pharmacare in Gqeberha, South Africa, was approved by the WHO on 29 June. Deliveries of the vaccine are expected to begin later in the 3rd quarter of 2021, with allocations to be determined by the Africa CDC.
In addition to its role in this partnership, UNICEF is also a key implementing partner for the COVAX Facility led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and CEPI. Under this initiative, UNICEF has contributed to the delivery of more than 100 million doses to 135 countries. UNICEF’s role procuring and delivering Covid-19 vaccines on behalf of AVAT will complement and supplement the shared COVAX goal of ensuring equitable access to quality-assured Covid-19 vaccines.
“Vaccinating the world against Covid-19, as the virus continues to spread and mutate, is one of the largest and most complex collective health undertakings the world has ever seen, and we need all hands on deck,” said Fore.
“In the race to defeat this virus, equity is not a ‘nice to have’- it’s an absolute necessity. This pandemic has cost everyone something, and some people everything. Only together can we bring the suffering to an end,” the statement stressed.
Bayelsa To Undertake Quick-Win Projects
Bayelsa State Government is to undertake some quick-win projects across the various constituencies of the State, alongside the ongoing big ticket projects to fast-track development in the state.
The State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this at a meeting with key stakeholders in Brass Constituencies 1, 2 and 3, in Government House, Yenagoa.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, the Deputy Governor explained that the essence of the interaction was to assess the areas of their needs to enable government address such challenges.
He said while the Prosperity Administration was handling the construction of key projects such as the three senatorial roads, it has become imperative to also provide immediate interventions in projects that would impact directly on the people across communities.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who charged Chairmen of Community Development Committees (CDC) in the constituencies to work closely with other community leaders, charged them to take responsibility of ensuring peace and stability in their domains.
Reacting to issues of lack of teachers in schools in the communities, the Deputy Governor called on the CDC chairmen to work with other stakeholders to monitor schools and submit a monthly report to his office and the Ministry of Education about teachers who fail to report at their duty posts.
He stressed that henceforth, teachers posted to community schools who abandon their duty posts would face disciplinary measures.
On ocean surge and erosion affecting most communities, Senator Ewhrudjakpo said the problem was beyond the State Government and would require the collaborative efforts of the Federal Government to tackle the situation.
He also directed that a delegation led by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Pabara Igwele, should visit Ewoama Community within the week to ascertain the status of the health facility there and come up with a report.
Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Abraham Ingobere, lauded the State Government’s decision to get first hand information from the people about their challenges, saying it was the first of its kind.
Rt. Hon Ingobere, who acknowledged that the present administration had worked hard particularly in infrastructure development, however, noted that communities needed a fair spread of government projects.
The speaker also identified lack of security, internal roads, town halls, pipe borne water, electricity supply and health centres as major problems bedeviling the people.
In her remarks, Chairman, Bayelsa State Science and Technology Board, Prof. Ayibaemi Spiff, traced the lack of teachers, particularly science-based ones, to the absence of accommodation and incentives.
She, therefore, urged the State Government to make concerted efforts to enhance teachers’ welfare.
In their separate remarks, the various stakeholders, including the political class and CDC chairmen from the three constituencies, lamented absenteeism on the part of teachers and health workers in most of their communities.
Their requests ranged from provision of landing jetties, electricity, construction of link roads, health and school infrastructure, police stations, lodges for teachers and youth corps members to the construction of shoreline protection in Odioma and other coastal communities in the area against ocean encroachment.
Some government officials who made submissions at the meeting included, the Member representing Brass Constituency 1 at the State House of Assembly, Hon Charles Daniel: Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Dr Ebieri Jones: Special Duties (East), Hon. Preye Broderick: and their Lands and Survey counterpart, Hon. Andrew Esau.
Others were the Governor’s Special Representative in Brass LGA, Hon Bemoye Pogonyo: a member, Local Government Service Commission, Hon Uroh Kian: and the Acting Caucus Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Brass, His Royal Highness Moses Kenibara.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
A’Ibom Govt Hospitals Perform Eight Successful Cardiac Peacemaker Implantation
The Chief Physician to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has said Government-owned hospitals performed eight successful cardiac peacemaker implantation at the General Hospital in the state.
Ignatius disclosed this during an interaction he had with medical experts at Uruan LGA.
He said three cardiac peacemaker implantation was performed on Thursday, at the General Hospital, Awa in Onna LGA.
“The first peacemaker implantation carried out at the General Hospital Awa, took place on Wednesday till Thursday.
“Akwa Ibom has eight successful cardiac peacemaker implantations in the state since the facilities were procured by Governor Emmanuel’s administration”, Ignatius said.
Ignatius described the feat as unprecedented in the history of general hospitals in Nigeria.
He said Emmanuel’s administration had received more accolades for eight years of sterling interventions in the health sector across the state.
According to him, the party was organised to appreciate the team of medical professionals, which painstakingly contributed to the health sector achievements of the administration.
Ignatius thanked the Governor for training the cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthetist, intersivits, radiologist, radiographers, cardiac unit and theater nurses and the procurement of ultra modern theatre that made the implantation possible.
He also thanked the medical personnel for supporting the administration professionally to register the successes it in the last 8 years.
In his remarks, the cardiothoracic consultant at LUTH, Dr. Ezekiel Ogunleye, who led the surgery team for the pacemaker implant, appreciated Governor Emmanuel and his Chief Physician for the tenacity of making the pacemaker implant a reality in a general hospital in Akwa Ibom.
Ogunleye said they started the pacemaker insertion in 1999 and since then they had not done the implant in any general hospital in Nigeria.
“We started the pacemaker insertion in 1999; we have never done the surgery in any general hospital in Nigeria”, he said.
He stated further that when the idea of the implant was nursed, there were conflicting thoughts on whether the surgery would be successful or not.
Another surgeon, who has also been partaking in the pacemaker surgery, Prof. Eyo Ekpe, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery, commended Gov. Emmanuel for putting the facilities on ground to aid in major surgeries in the state like the pacemaker insertion.
Explaining the procedure, Ekpe said that for the implant to be successful, several machines had to be put in place in a theater.
He mentioned that the C-Arm machine was one of the machines that had to be in a theater for such procedure to be carried out and that the machine was not common even in teaching hospitals in the country.
The Tide’s source reports that cardiac peacemaker is a life saving procedure that helps to control heartbeat.
FG Begins Relief Materials Distribution To A’Ibom Flood Victims
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, has flagged off the distribution of presidential palliatives to victims of the 2022 flood in Akwa Ibom State.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana, while handing over the relief materials to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for onward distribution to the victims in Uyo, the state capital, expressed concern that the Niger Delta region was worse hit by the flood because of its topography and location.
Umana, who was represented by a member of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for Akwa Ibom State, Dr Emem Wills, said the relief materials cannot replace the losses associated with the flood, but they would help to alleviate the burden faced by the people.
He said the gesture was not just a physical distribution of the materials, but also the compassion and empathy of the government towards the affected people.
“We are aware that no amount of relief provided by the government can replace the losses as a result of the flood. However, it is our candid belief that the relief items will help alleviate the burden currently faced by our people.
“This gesture is not just a physical distribution of materials, rather it represents the compassion and empathy of the government towards its people”, the Minister said.
He disclosed that the communities highly affected by the flood have already been identified by the NEMA through the Needs Assessment conducted after the flood, adding that the identified communities have been listed to benefit from the relief materials.
Speaking after the handover ceremony, the Director-General of NEMA, Alh. Ahmed Habib, while appreciating the Federal Government for the gesture, assured that the items would be distributed only to those who were truly affected by the 2022 flood.
The DG, who was represented by Demien Egwu, lamented that the Niger Delta has been a collection centre of water-related activities from the North down to the South.
“The Niger Delta is always exposed to flooding and other attendant effects of flooding because it is the collection centre of all water-related activities from the North down to the South and anytime this happens, there is a need for a recovery process.
He thanked the President, Muhammadu Buhari, for his magnanimity and support of the people of the Niger Delta.
“I want to assure the minister that these items will be distributed to those who were truly affected by the 2022 flood. We will do this in conjunction with the Akwa Ibom State Management Agency and other relevant stakeholders”, the DG said.
The materials approved for distribution include mattresses, pillows, blankets, cartons of noodles, bags of rice and beans, grinding machines, cement, roofing sheets, ceiling boards, and others.
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