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Equatorial Guinea accuses WHO of inflating Covid-19 tally, sacks country representative1 minute read

“We don’t have a problem with the WHO, we have a problem with the WHO’s representative in Malabo,” Prime Minister Pascual Obama Asue said in remarks broadcast on state television.

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World Health Organization signpost.

Equatorial Guinea has joined its Burundian counterpart in sacking the representative of the World Health Organization, accusing her of “falsifying” the country’s tally of coronavirus cases, a government statement said.

In a document dated May 26, the foreign ministry asked the World Health Organization’s regional office in Africa “to end the duties” of its representative in Equatorial Guinea, Dr. Triphonie Nkurunziza, “and immediately oversee her departure from Malabo.”

Prime Minister Pascual Obama Asue while appearing at the Senate last week had accused Nkurunziza of “falsifying the data of people contaminated” by COVID-19, AN AFP report said.

“We don’t have a problem with the WHO, we have a problem with the WHO’s representative in Malabo,” he said in remarks broadcast on state television.

A source at the UN office in Malabo, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the government’s request but declined to go into details.

“The government has asked her to go, we have received a document — she is accused of falsifying COVID-19 figures,” the source said.

However, Dr. Nkurunziza is still in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea’s island capital, as there are no flights enabling her to leave, the source said.

The authorities say that as of June 1, there were 1,306 recorded cases of coronavirus, 12 of them fatalities, in a population of 1.3 million

Meanwhile, Burundi in mid-May 2020 sacked the World Health Organization’s top official in the country just days before the May 22 presidential election and after the WHO raised concerns about crowded political rallies. 

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COVID-19 Death Toll In Nigeria Hits 1,103

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The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has killed no fewer than 1,103 people in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.

The West African country’s health agency, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), announced this on Friday via its Twitter handle.

The agency reports that there was an increase of 88 cases from the 125 reported on Sept. 24 .

According to the agency, 213 new infection were confirmed around the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 58,062.

The health agency sadly reported two new deaths which raised the overall death toll in the country to 1,103.

It stated that 508 COVID-19 patients have been treated and recovered from the infection.

The NCDC said that it erroneously reported one death in Bayelsa on Sept. 23, 2020.

The health agency added that the cumulative discharged cases included 364 recovered patients in Katsina State who were managed in the community.

The agency added that the new infection were reported from 17 states of the federation.

According to it, Lagos and Plateau States recorded most of the new cases with 51 each followed by FCT with 29 new cases.

Amongst others were Rivers (18), Ondo (12), Oyo (9), Osun (8), Gombe (7), Ogun (7), Kaduna (5), Enugu (4), Edo (3), Jigawa (3), Kano (3), Benue (1), Delta (1), and Sokoto (1).

The NCDC said that the country had now recorded, in total, 58,062 new cases of the novel coronavirus, with 49,606 cases discharged and 1,103 deaths reported across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

It said that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, have continued to coordinate the national response activities across the country.

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First Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre Opens in Zimbabwe

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The Vice President of Zimbabwe, Constantino Chiwenga, on Friday, announced the inauguration of the Zimbabwe-China Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture Centre in the South African country.

The Centre is the first of its kind in the country, Chiwenga who doubles as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Health and Child Care said while speaking through a video conference platform at the official opening of the centre at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare.

Chiwenga said that the new centre would complement Zimbabwe’s health care system.

“Experience has shown that the medicine in a health care protocol improves outcome for patients.

“The medicine can provide good support to patients, who suffer from some conditions, particularly those that are chronic and degenerative; for example, low back pain,’’ he said.

“I am, therefore, confident that the new facilities at the hospital will improve the quality of service and infrastructure for patients and staff both in the immediate future and in the years to come.’’

Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Guo Shaochun, said the opening of the centre marks a new chapter of cooperation in the health sector between China and Zimbabwe.

Shaochun said cooperation between the two countries in the field of public health demonstrates the mutual desire to promote the China-Africa community with a shared future between the two sides.

“Under the framework of building a community of common health for both China and Africa, China and Zimbabwe will be campaigning to strengthen cooperation on health and give full play to the unique advantages of TCM,’’ he said through a video conference platform.

Shaochun said in spite of the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides managed to complete construction of the centre successfully.

“This is another outcome of our joint efforts to promote the health of Zimbabwean people and has shown the determination of Chinese and Zimbabwean people to enhance health cooperation and to fight against COVID-19 together,’’ he said.

Shaochun said in the future, the centre will become a TCM medical institution with full diagnosis and treatment capacities.

Speaking to the media, Director of Pathological Services in the Ministry of Health, Maxwell Hove said the opening of the clinic was a very important development for Zimbabwe’s healthcare system.

“This is a very important development for us, that we have a place where our patients can have their pain relieved without being operated and without going into invasive procedures.

“Even if we have a shortage of medicine and a shortage of analgesic pharmaceuticals, then we know there is an alternative place where we can go and have the pain relieved,’’ Hove said.

Director for Traditional Complementary and Integrative Medicine in the ministry, Onias Ndoro, said China’s traditional health care system provides valuable lessons to Zimbabwe.

“We are already in the process of trying to standardise our traditional medicine practices and products.

“So, this is an opportunity for us to learn and improve our practices,’’ Ndoro said.

The establishment of the new TCM centre follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and Zimbabwe on cooperation in the field of TCM and acupuncture.

Zimbabwe and China share a long history of cooperation in the health sector since 1985 through which China has dispatched 17 medical teams to Zimbabwe.

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U.S Seeks to Conduct and Fund Survey on Extent of COVID-19 Infections in Nigeria

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The United States and Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control – NCDC – are to conduct a household survey to determine the extent of coronavirus infections in Nigeria.

People in three states – Gombe, Enugu, and Nasarawa – will be asked to voluntarily volunteer in the research which will include antibody blood tests to find out who has had the virus.

The exercise aims to help health professionals understand the transmission patterns and to find out how many people with the virus are asymptomatic.

The survey is supported by the United States, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S is the sole sponsor of this survey, estimated at $2.1m. It will provide technical assistance as well.

The survey will increase the current understanding of COVID-19 transmission and burden in these three states and inform COVID-19 response efforts of the Government of Nigeria and its partners.

A statement on the US Nigeria embassy website, discloses that, “the survey will estimate the proportion of the population in these states who have ever been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 disease. This will be done by measuring the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the blood of volunteers. These antibodies, specialized proteins produced by the immune system to fight infections, are generated as part of the body’s response to COVID-19 and are an indication of previous infections.

“The survey will also endeavour to estimate the proportion of people who have the disease but are not showing any symptoms, determine risk factors for infection, and measure the intra-household transmission of COVID-19. The survey will also estimate the prevalence of malaria and its potential relationship to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“All members of selected households will be offered the opportunity to participate in the survey. If they agree, participants will answer a brief questionnaire, have their blood drawn and tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, and receive a nasal and oropharyngeal swab to test for acute COVID-19. They will also have a rapid malaria test and receive malaria treatment if the test is positive.

The tests will be carried out at the National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja.

“The U.S. CDC is working with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), one of its implementing partners in Nigeria, to provide technical assistance and oversee field implementation of the survey. The survey will be conducted between September and November with preliminary results expected to be released in December 2020.”

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