Single Dose Oral Cholera Vaccine Strategy Bears Fruit On the African Continent

By Michael Gwarisa Following indications of Global Shortages of the Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV), the International Coordinating Group (ICG), the body which manages emergency supplies of vaccines announced a temporary suspension of the standard two-dose vaccination regimen in cholera outbreak response campaigns, using instead a single-dose approach. Despite fears from countries currently battling Cholera, the one-dose strategy has proven to be effective in responding to outbreaks, even though evidence on the exact duration of protection is limited, and protection appears to be much lower in children.  With a two-dose regimen,…

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Helmsley pledge $2.19 million to help end blinding disease in Zambia

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has joined Sightsavers in the global fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with a grant of US$2.19 million to help eliminate the blinding disease in Zambia. The funding was announced at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Dubai where a total of $777m US dollars were pledged to help fight the 21 conditions classed as NTDs. Trachoma begins as a bacterial infection, with symptoms similar to conjunctivitis. But repeated infections cause scarring that makes people’s eyelashes turn inwards and scrape…

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Malawi Records Viral Conjunctivitis Outbreak

By Staff Reporter Kalonga District in the northern parts of Malawi has recorded several cases of Viral Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye, a common, self-limiting condition that typically is caused by adenovirus. According  to Medscape, other viruses that can be responsible for conjunctival infection include herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), picornavirus (enterovirus 70, Coxsackie A24), poxvirus (molluscum contagiosum, vaccinia), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). David Sibale, Director of Health Services Kalonga District Council said a total 109 cases have already been recorded in the district since February 1, 2024.…

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Eye Health A Neglected Public Health Issue In Africa

By Michael Gwarisa Sightsavers have warned that the continued neglect of Eye Care as a public health issue on the African continent was derailing efforts to respond eye-related diseases, resulting in more people developing blindness and irreversible eye complications. This comes amidst indications that globally, a billion people have a visual impairment that could have been prevented or could still be treated. Speaking in an interview with HeathTimes in Zambia recently, Francis Kalusa,  Sightasavers Program Manager Zambia said Eye Care was lagging behind other diseases in terms of attention. So…

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Scientists Test Travel Vaccine Against Malaria

Following the successful rollout of a Malaria Vaccine, scientists are now testing the efficacy of a vaccine that protects travelers against malaria in other groups first. This also comes in the wake of field trials in older age groups – including people who are thinking of becoming pregnant – are in the works, while vaccines against other types of malaria are also under development. Although the focus is still on people who live in malaria-endemic countries for now, a travel vaccine could become available in the coming years, researchers say.…

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U.S. Government Delivers First Shipment of Injectable PrEP to Zambia

LUSAKA – Today, February 9, the United States government delivered to Zambia the first shipment of injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medicine for HIV prevention, making Zambia the second country in the world (after the United States) to offer injectable PrEP outside of a study setting. Injectable PrEP is a safe and effective HIV prevention tool that provides clients with two months of HIV protection between injections. This donation of 14,850 vials of injectable PrEP – called Cabotegravir Long Acting (CAB-LA) – to Zambia’s Ministry of Health will protect 2,000 Zambians…

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Madagascar approves new law to remove testicles of paedophiles

Madagascar’s parliament recently passed a new law authorising the surgical castration of paedophiles convicted of their crimes. This move mirrors a similar law recently enacted in Kazakhstan, where the most egregious child sex offenders will undergo surgical genital removal. On February 2, the National Assembly of Madagascar approved the legislation, which permits the castration of individuals convicted of raping minors. However, the new law specifies that those found guilty of raping a child under the age of ten will undergo surgical castration and receive a life sentence, according to Mail…

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AVAC Facilitates Translation of Health and Scientific Terms Into 10 African Languages

By Michael Gwarisa In a bid to bridge information gaps between scientific research and community understanding, AVAC has launched the Translation Index, a translation of health and scientific terms into vernacular languages for Six African countries. The Translation Index offers health journalists accurate translations of commonly used and essential medical terms in their native languages in six African countries namely Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. At this time the Translation Index supports the following languages: Bemba, Cichewa, Dholuo, Kiswahili, Luganda, Ndebele, Runyankore, Shona, Tonga, and Tumbuka. We welcome…

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Cameroon Introduces Malaria Vaccine Into Routine Vaccination

By Michael Gwarisa Cameroon has become the first of many countries to introduce the RTS,S malaria vaccine into its routine immunisation programme. Cameroon’s move comes hot on the heels of a malaria vaccine pilot programme that was carried out in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The introduction comes as efforts gather pace to scale up vaccination against the disease in high risk areas in Africa. The vaccine is being rolled out across 42 health districts in the country’s 10 regions in public and private health facilities. The launch comes after Cameroon…

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WHO certifies Cabo Verde as malaria-free, marking a historic milestone in the fight against malaria

A total of 43 countries and 1 territory have now been certified as malaria-free The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified Cabo Verde as a malaria-free country, marking a significant achievement in global health. With this announcement, Cabo Verde joins the ranks of 43 countries and 1 territory that WHO has awarded this certification. Cabo Verde is the third country to be certified in the WHO African region, joining Mauritius and Algeria which were certified in 1973 and 2019 respectively. Malaria burden is the highest on the African continent, which…

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