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Bill Gates Tells Nigeria to Sustain Polio Immunisation Despite Free Status2 minutes read

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The Co-chairman Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates, has urged the Nigerian government to continue its immunisation campaign despite the country being declared Polio Free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ameen Yassar, the Director-General, Media and Public Relations, Kano Government House, in a statement on Saturday in Kano, said Gates made the call during the virtual meeting of the Kano State Health System Strengthening Programme.

It disclosed that the meeting was attended by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje; the Chairman, Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote; Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and other key public health officials.

Gates was quoted as calling on the Kano State Government on the need to reinforce routine immunisation with the active participation of community leaders, to sustain the feat achieved in the polio eradication campaign.

“Our polio work is not done, we still have the vaccine for Wild Polio Virus (WPV), and we need to maintain immunisation in case polio escapes from the two countries in Asia where it still exists.

“I am pleased to hear that the Kano State Task Force on immunisation also includes Primary Health Care (PHC) as its focus.

“PHC programme areas in the state should be strengthened as part of efforts to ensure community wellbeing,” Gates was quoted as saying in the statement.

It said Gates noted that since 2012, Kano State Government demonstrated commitment in contributions to the Health Basket Fund, and expressed the hope that the trend would be sustained for successful partnership.

The statement also quoted Dangote as expressing happiness over the manner the Ganduje administration handled the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

“Kano State has shown to the world what it can do to respond to emergencies, the same way you and your team kept your energy going with polio. I urge you to keep it going with your COVID-19 response,” Dangote was quoted as saying.

Dangote pledged continuing support to the state government towards making its immunisation programme and PHC system more resilient.
Also, Ganduje said his administration accorded priority to strengthening of the healthcare delivery system in the state.

“Kano State will also strive to scale up the strengthening of 2 – way referral linkages between primary and secondary health care facilities,” the governor said in the statement.

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COVID-19 Trial Vaccine: Egypt’s Health Minister Gets a Shot

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The Minister of Health in Egypt, Hala Zayed, has been injected with Chinese version of the coronavirus (COVID-19) trial vaccine.

The phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccines are currently taking place in Egypt and 100 other countries.

A statement by the ministry’s spokesman Khaled Megahed, said the minister had the vaccine injected in the deltoid muscle in her upper arm at the Egyptian Holding Company for Biopharmaceuticals and Vaccines (Vacsera).

The vaccine trial is being carried out in Egypt in cooperation with the Chinese government and the UAE’s G42 Healthcare.

In July, Egypt was selected by China to serve as a future African hub for manufacturing a coronavirus vaccine if one is developed by Beijing.

The trial vaccine has been administered to 40,000 volunteers around the world, none of whom have displayed adverse side effects. Some 45,000 more volunteers are set to take the vaccine.

Some 6,000 people in Egypt are among the participants in phase 3, which is deemed the final stage in the trial to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccine before it is licensed, the statement said.

Zayed has called on Egyptians to take part in the trials “for the sake of humanity.”

According to a previous statement by the health ministry, volunteers receive two injections, 21 days apart, and will be monitored over the year.

They also will take a PCR test to make sure they have not previously been infected with the virus.

As of Sunday, Egypt has reported a total of 103,000 coronavirus cases, including 5,883 deaths

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Kenya Extends COVID-19 Curfew By 60 Days

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President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has extended a curfew imposed on the East African country due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by another 60 days.

Kenyatta, who announced the extension on Monday, however, relaxed the starting time from 9:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m.

The president also lifted a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars which will operate until 10:00 p.m from Tuesday.

Kenyatta also announced that church services, weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 200 people, up from 100.

According to the President, the finance minister would extend tax relief measures unveiled in April until January 2021.

Schools will not yet reopen until it is established that it’s safe to do so, Kenyatta said.

Kenya has had 38,115 cases of the virus and 691 deaths since its first case on March 13.

The government quickly put measures into place to curb the spread of the disease, including shutting schools, closing borders, mandatory mask-wearing in public, and a curfew that lasts until 5:00 a.m.

Fears that the creaky public healthcare system might be overwhelmed have not materialized and the East African nation is slowly reopening.

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Nigeria Records 126 New COVID-19 Infections, Two Deaths

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced two deaths and 126 new cases of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Sunday.

More than 502, 545 samples have been tested by the agency since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in February.

It also said that the 126 new cases were recorded in 12 states, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 58,324.

The NCDC stated that 72 patients had recovered and had been discharged in the last 24 hours, while the country recorded two coronavirus-related deaths.

According to NCDC, FCT tops the chart with 30 new cases of the infections followed by Lagos, Rivers and Ogun with 24, 23 and 13 cases respectively.

Other states with new infections, it said, included Katsina-9, Plateau-9, Ondo-6, Kaduna-4, Kwara-4, Imo-2, Bauchi-1 and Edo-1.

“Till date, 58,324 cases have been confirmed, 49,794 cases have been discharged and 1,108 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” it said.

It said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre, activated at Level 3, have continued to coordinate the national response activities across the country.

Meanwhile, the NCDC has said it is working hard to ensure travel into and out of the country is seamless while prioritising public health and safety.

The agency also said two new laboratories had been activated for inclusion in the NCDC Molecular Lab Network.

They are the Osun State University Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory, Osogbo, and Nasarawa State Diagnostic Laboratory, Lafia.

According to NCDC, testing at any laboratory in the NCDC network is free.

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