A report by the World Health Organisation(WHO) says it has vaccinated over 1.4 billion persons across the globe for COVID-19.
It also said it has given the world’s first malaria vaccine (RTS,S) to over 1 million children, as it hinted of plans to save 40, 000 to 80, 000 lives a year, when used with other malaria control interventions.
The report forms part of its 2020-2021 Results Report tracks of achievements across the globe.
Released ahead of the World Health Assembly next week, the report details accomplishments that include the delivery of more than 1.4 billion vaccine doses via the COVAX facility, the recommendation for broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine and WHO’s response to some 87 health emergencies, including COVID-19.
Between 2020-2021, WHO led the largest-ever global response to a health crisis, working with 1600 technical and operational partners, and helped galvanise the biggest, fastest and most complex vaccination drive in history.
The Organisation spent US$1.7 billion on essential supplies to the COVID-19 response, noting that, “even as WHO has responded to the most severe global health crisis in a century, we have continued to support our member states in addressing many other threats to health, despite squeezed budgets and disrupted services.”
Said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “As the world continues to respond to and recover from the pandemic in the years ahead, WHO’s priority is to invest even more resources for our work in countries, where it matters most.”
He continued, “Ensuring WHO has sustainable, predictable and flexible financing is essential for fulfilling our mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.”
The global apex body for health said the global rollout of crucial health materials included nearly US$500 million worth of personal protective equipment; US$ 187 million in oxygen supplies, US$4.8 million in treatments and 110 million diagnostic tests.
However, it pointed out that much remains to be done for the world to get on track for WHO’s target of each country vaccinating 70percent of its population by July 2022. The Results Report reveals noteworthy achievements beyond the pandemic that struck the world in 2020 and 2021.
Among these include the mandatory policies prohibiting the use of trans -fatty acids (a hazardous food compound linked to cardiovascular disease), are in effect for 3.2 billion people in 58 countries. Among these countries, 40 have best practice policies, including Brazil, Peru, Singapore, Turkey and the United Kingdom. WHO’s REPLACE initiative aims for a world free of trans-fats by the end of 2023. This success was attributed to implementation of measures mandated by WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, tobacco use is decreasing in 150 countries, saving lives and livelihoods.
Consequently, due to efforts to scale up life-saving interventions guided by WHO guidelines, 15 countries have achieved elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and or syphilis.
By: Kevin Nengia
Expert Tasks FG On Health Emergency Preparedness
A public health expert, Dr Gabriel Adakole, has said that as the country recovers from COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government should strengthen health emergency preparedness based on one-health approach.
Adakole told Tide’s source on Monday in Abuja, that the country could rebuild resilient health systems and equitable society that would ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and social protection mechanisms for all.
Reports say that One-Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimise the health of people, animals, and ecosystems.
It recognises the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and interdependent.
The approach mobilises multiple sectors, discipline and communities at varying levels of society to work together to foster well-being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems, while addressing the collective need for healthy food, water, energy, and air.
The expert said the country has had some experiences in implementing One Health approach.
“The National Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on Avian Influenza and the National Technical Committee on Avian Influenza set up in Nigeria in 2005, involved multidisciplinary staff from multiple ministries, (including agriculture and health), communicators and industry players.
“The One-Health approach gave rise to a successful multi-sectoral emergency action plan that led to the elimination of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 in the country in 2006,” he said.
According to him, in spite of all progress with One Health in the country, the 2020 review by the International Livestock Research Institute identified gaps in implementation.
This included lack of awareness among policymakers and the public of One Health issues such as hygiene, biosecurity and antimicrobial resistance.
“Other gaps included the inadequate contribution of financial, human and material resources by the governments and lack of One Health policies, guidelines and strategic plans in the country.
“The review also identified weak linkages and unhealthy rivalry between various sectors, poor data sharing and communication among relevant sectors and a paucity of data about zoonoses to guide One Health policymaking,” he said.
Adakole said that the one health approach was a key ingredient in the fight against present and future pandemics in the country.
“If we can be consistent with this approach, we will make a lot of progress,” he said.
He said there was need for connectivity among all stakeholders to bring about efficiency, cost-effectiveness and optimal result in public health.
“The areas of work in which a One-Health approach is particularly relevant include food safety, the control of zoonoses and combatting antibiotic resistance.
“One Health can be achieved through joint efforts in clinical care through the assessment, treatment and prevention of cross-species disease transmission.
“Until we stop to politicise the one health concept in Nigeria, our approach to emergency preparedness for emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases will continue to be distorted and it will yield little or no result,” he said.
Adakole called on stakeholders to propose a framework to guide the embedding of One-Health practices across the country.
“Raising awareness and increasing understanding of One Health at all levels of society is critical.
“Advocacy, communication and social-mobilisation strategies should be intensified to ensure buy-in by policy makers, the public and thus catalyse collaborative and proactive One Health action.
He explained that strong governance and leadership were required across all One Health sectors in the country, with inter-ministerial, multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration, as coordinating mechanisms to improve data sharing and limit territoriality.
Adakole said that economic interventions, political agreements and social-justice policies that targeted addressing socioeconomic inequities driving conflicts across the country would support SDG 10 – reduced inequalities.
“Only by fully implementing One Health approaches will the country, and indeed humanity, effectively and sustainably prevent and respond to epidemics and achieve global health and food security,” he said.
US Agency Wants Makers Of COVID-19 Vaccines To Target Omicron
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United State has advised vaccine makers to update their COVID-19 vaccines to also target Omicron.
The FDA said it has advised vaccine makers to update their COVID-19 vaccines to include a component that targets the spike proteins of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
These subvariants currently comprise over half of the coronavirus cases circulating in the U.S.
After one-and-a-half years and many coronavirus variants, the COVID-19 vaccines are finally getting an update, the FDA announced last month.
This change is to provide broader immunity against fast-spreading Omicron subvariants while still ensuring the same “base of protection” against severe illness and death offered by the original vaccines.
To support these goals, the Food and Drugm Administration (FDA) said it has advised vaccine makers to update their COVID-19 vaccines to include a component that targets the spike proteins of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
As of last month, these two subvariants account for over half of coronavirus cases in the United States,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. William Moss said the FDA’s decision is a good one.
“We have seen over time the phenomenon of both waning immunity and immune escape from a new variant,” he said. “So I certainly think that it is time for an updated vaccine.”
He cautioned that there is no guarantee that BA.4/5 will still be circulating by the time the reformulated boosters are rolled out.
However, “I think it’s a reasonable bet that the dominant variant in circulation is going to be some version of Omicron,” he said.
Health Benefits Of Moringa
Moringa tree is also known as the ‘miracle tree’ and there is a good reason why. The leaves, fruit, sap, oil, roots, bark, seeds, pod and flowers of the tree have medicinal properties. The products from the tree have many uses. It is also known as the ‘drumstick tree’. It is found mostly in Asia, Africa, and South America.
Moringa Leaves – High in Nutrients
The moringa leaves are nutritionally very rich, leaving behind carrots, oranges and even milk in terms of nutrition value . The leaves find many uses in Indian cuisine as they are versatile and can be incorporated into the diet in many ways. Adding them to juices and using them as stir-fry vegetables are the most common ways in which they are eaten. When consumed in their natural form, the moringa leaves have no side effects.
The health benefits of moringa leaves . Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Moringa leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 and Folate. They are also rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.
One cup of moringa leaves will contain 2 grams of protein, magnesium (8 per cent of the RDA), Vitamin B6 (19 per cent of the RDA), Iron (11 per cent of the RDA), Riboflavin (11 per cent of the RDA) and Vitamin A (9 per cent of the RDA).
Rich in Amino Acids, Moringa leaves are rich in amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. 18 types of amino acids are found in them and each of them makes an important contribution to our wellbeing.
Inflammation is how a body naturally responds to pain and injury. Moringa leaves are anti-inflammatory in nature due to the presence of isothiocyanates. They have niazimicin that is known to reign in the development of cancer cells. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases like cancer, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many autoimmune diseases. When we suffer an injury or infection, the body suffers increased inflammation.
Basically, it is a protective mechanism against trauma but because of a wrong lifestyle and an unhealthy diet, inflammation can increase in the body. Long-term inflammation leads to chronic health issues. Eating moringa leaves helps to reduce inflammation.
Rich in Antioxidants
Moringa leaves have anti-oxidative properties and protect against the damaging effects of free radicals present in the environment. The damage caused by free radicals is responsible for many chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart problems and Alzheimer’s.
Moringa leaves are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene that act against free radicals.
They also have Quercetin which is an antioxidant that helps to lower blood pressure. Another antioxidant that is present in moringa leaves is Chlorogenic acid which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels post meals.
A study in women showed that taking 1.5 teaspoons of moringa leaf powder regularly for three months had shown a significant increase in blood antioxidant levels.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Sustained high blood sugar levels lead to the development of diabetes in individuals.
Diabetes, in turn, can cause heart problems and organ damage in the body. To avoid this, it is good to keep the blood sugar levels in check. Moringa leaves are a perfect resource for that as they stabilise the blood sugar levels due to the presence of isothiocyanates.
Apart from oats, flaxseeds, and almonds, moringa leaves are a dependable remedy against high cholesterol. Cholesterol is the major reason why people suffer from heart diseases and eating moringa leaves is known to show considerable improvement against high cholesterol levels. Moringa oleifera can lower those levels and protect against the risk of heart disease. Pregnant women usually experience higher levels of cholesterol, which can in turn increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes during their term. What is gestational diabetes? It is a type of diabetes that is first detected in pregnant women who did not have diabetes before they were pregnant. Moringa leaves can certainly be included in the diet for gestational diabetes.
By Kevin Nengia
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