Month: November 2022

Month: November 2022

WHO Begins Clinical Trials for Ebola Vaccine

As global concerns mount over the threat of a new Ebola epidemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it has commenced clinical trial against the Sudan ebolavirus—one of the six species of the Ebolavirus genus.
In a statement issued by its Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO said the first doses of candidate vaccines against the Sudan ebolavirus were expected to arrive in Uganda in the coming days,

Moeti, who addressed a press conference in Uganda accompanied by the Incident Commander, Ebola outbreak, Ministry of Health, Uganda.Lt. Col. Henry Kyobe Bossa, said WHO was boosting efforts to support the government-led response against the outbreak which has now affected nine districts, including three complex urban environments.

The statement noted that WHO’s committee of external experts had evaluated three candidate vaccines and agreed that they all be deployed to Uganda for a clinical trial against the Sudan ebolavirus—one of the six species of the Ebolavirus genus.
It explained that unlike the Zaire ebolavirus which had sparked most of the recent outbreaks, there are no approved vaccines or therapeutics for the Sudan ebolavirus.

“The aim of the randomised trial is to evaluate potentially efficacious candidate vaccines, and to possibly contribute to ending the ongoing outbreak and protect populations at risk in the future.
“The trial is the result of a collaborative effort, coordinated by WHO with developers, academic institutions, countries’ sponsoring the production of the vaccine doses, regulatory authorities, other experts and the government of Uganda,” it said.

According to WHO, supplies of one of the three candidate vaccines were expected to arrive Uganda next week and the other two soon after.
It said trial protocol had been conditionally approved by WHO and Uganda and the final approvals are expected soon.
It added that import permits for the vaccines were expected to be issued by the National Regulatory Authority soon.

While the trial start date was not certain yet, WHO said it was working with the Ministry of Health and Makerere University, which is leading the trial to make sure everything was ready and the trial would begin once one vaccine has arrived and all the trial preparations are in place.
“The two other candidates will be added, as they become available. The start of vaccine trials will mark a pivotal moment towards the development of an effective tool against the virus behind the current Ebola outbreak in Uganda,” Moeti said.

She expressed hope that the vaccines would be effective in stopping Ebola spread in the same way it helped to check previous outbreaks, Moeti however said it would take time to get trial results, adding that for now the outbreak can be controlled without vaccines.
Uganda declared an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus on 20 September. As of 14 November 2022, there had been 141 confirmed and 22 probable cases (total of 163 cases) and 55 confirmed and 22 probable deaths (77 total deaths) reported.

Nineteen health workers have been infected with the virus and seven have died.
On 11 November, the eastern Jinja district, which hosts Jinja city, became the third urban area—after the capital of Kampala and Masaka city—to detect the virus. Jinja, located on the shores of Lake Victoria, is home to some 300 000 people. While Jinja is now impacted by Ebola, the outbreak is slowing down in six districts, with two dropping from the follow-up list as they have reported no cases in over 42 days.


Source: thisdaylive

Nigeria’s poverty exceeds World Bank projection, five states lead

The United Nations’ 27th edition of the world population prospects indicator passed 8 billion on Tuesday — 11 years after it passed 7 billion.

The United Nations Population Fund, also known as UNFPA, marked the milestone at a conference in Abuja alongside development partners, including women’s groups and nonprofits.

Officials said the population growth, despite generally declining global fertility rates, is a result of improvements in medicine and public health leading to reduced mortality rates.

The U.N. said about 70 percent of the growth is in low and lower middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

The U.N. estimates that countries in sub-Saharan Africa will continue to grow and contribute more than half of the global population by 2050.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and currently occupies the sixth position globally. By 2050, the country is expected to become the third most-populated nation in the world.

‘An opportunity for the global community’

Population growth must correspond with economic growth and development, said Erika Goldson, the deputy country representative for Nigeria at the UNFPA.

“One of the things that concerns us as the U.N. is that this progress is not received equally across the board,” said Goldson. “There are some citizens within countries who are denied access to basic healthcare, and education, the whole overall quality of life is affected negatively. We see this as an opportunity for the global community to come together to see that 8 billion of us have a quality life.”

The U.N. predicts it will take another 15 years to reach the 9 billion global population mark, and that low and lower-middle-income countries such as Nigeria will account for 90 percent of the increase.

Demand grows for natural resources

Aminu Zakari, founder of the Center for Climate Change and one of the conference speakers, said authorities need to monitor how population growth impacts climate change.

“As this population increases, the quest for natural resources increases,” said Zakari. “I think we also need to start looking at our carbon footprint.”

Fertility rates have been declining steadily in Nigeria from 5.84 births per woman in 2010 to 5.25 in 2020, according to Statista. But that’s still high compared to the global average.

Nigeria is struggling to meet modern needs for contraception. Experts say the government needs $35 million annually to address family planning needs.

Earlier this year, President Muhammadu Buhari launched legislation targeting high fertility rates by expanding access to birth control.

The U.N. said government action to reduce fertility would do little to slow the pace of growth over the next fifty years but might cause an overall reduction in population in the coming half century.

In 2020, the global growth rate fell to under 1 percent per year for the first time since 1950.

U.N. officials and experts say unless fertility and rapid population growth rates are accompanied by sustainable economic growth and development, many people will continue to face challenges.


Source: voanews