Ethiopia has commenced plans to inoculate 20% of the Ethiopian population against the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of 2021, the country’s top health experts have said.
While speaking to reporters, Muluken Yohannes, a senior adviser to the Health Ministry, said in order to achieve the require vaccination process, a national coordinating committee and a task force have been set up by the government.
He said the country is also actively involved in a unique global alliance representing more than two-thirds of the world, to ensure that vaccines equitably get to developing nations and at reasonable cost.
The alliance includes organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO), Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Gates Foundation, and 191 countries to raise financial support for accelerated research and development, production, and globally-equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The East African country is also a member of COVAX AMC, a coalition of 92 low- and middle-income countries, seeking financial assistance for the production COVID-19 vaccines, accessories and help in delivery.
“Ethiopia has already requested the aid of 16 billion birrs ($ 405 million) from the World Bank. This amount may not be enough because the COVID-19 inoculation plan involved several works to be carried out,” the adviser said.
A provision of $2 billion has already been made by Africa Exim Bank as a pre-order guarantee to its members to purchase the vaccine.
Muluken said, on e of the major issues they have as regards procurement is the issue of logistics.
“We also need an adequate supply of all the accessories and auxiliaries necessary to conduct the vaccination successfully, such as syringes, gloves, sanitizers, and many other inputs,” he added.
He said deliberating on the logistical aspect as well as putting together other key components such as creating awareness about the vaccine, crisis management, and framing regulations, are currently ongoing between the national committee and the task force.
Ethiopia has made plans to import 42 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine soon, and intends to commence inoculation from March or April.
Health officials in the country have said inoculation of just 20% of the Ethiopian population will not lead to herd immunity and total insulation from the virus.
They say only after the vaccination of 60-70% of the country’s population can total insulation be achieved.
According to The African Union Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, the plan for the continent was to achieve herd immunity by the end of 2021.
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The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has confirmed that three Rothschild’s giraffes have died after being electrocuted by low-hanging power powerlines at a Soysambu conservancy in Nakuru.
News Central reports that Rothschild’s giraffe are one of the most endangered species of the animal with estimate putting their population at less than 1,600 in the wild.
Kenya has about 600 Rothschild’s.
KWS said officials from the state-owned power distributing company, Kenya Power, would replace the poles.
“Preliminary reports indicate that the height of the electricity poles crossing Soysambu Conservancy are low, below giraffe’s height,” a statement read in part.
Dr Paula Kahumbu, the Producer and Host of Wildlife Warriors CEO WildlifeDirect, alleged in a tweet that the deaths could have been prevented if experts’ advise was heeded.
In another tweet, Kahumbu added that these deaths were not the first, and that they could have been prevented if expert advice had been followed.
“These power lines have been killing giraffes, vultures and flamingos. Advice from experts was ignored. RIAs [Risk Impact Assessments] are notoriously poor on many development projects. Sad that it takes these kinds of deaths to wake some people up!” she tweeted.
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The Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) on Monday began an indefinite strike action that coincided with school resumption and the new academic year.
The teachers, who are demanding an increase in wages as well as COVID-19 risk allowance, on Monday boycotted classrooms saying they feel unsafe in school environments.
TUM is also demanding that teachers be given personal protective equipment (PPE), training on how to deal with Covid-19 cases within their schools and a plan for social distancing in classrooms.
President Lazarus Chakwera ordered schools to be closed five weeks ago following a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections and deaths.
Schools were to reopen on Monday after a drop in the number of cases of coronavirus.
Local media is reporting that most students returned home after reporting to school in the morning.
In the town of Mponela, 65km north of the Capital, Lilongwe, learners closed roads with huge stones and tree branches to express solidarity with their teachers.
Police have since dispersed the protest.
Ministry of education spokesman, Chikondi Chimala, said the government was holding meetings with teachers’ representatives to resolve the issue.
Ethiopia: Six Students Feared Dead in Tigray’s Bus Attack
No fewer than six students are feared dead after gunmen attacked a bus in Tigray, northern Ethiopia.
According to reports, there was a shootout between the attackers and soldiers escorting the bus, which was carrying students returning from a graduation ceremony in the Tigray’s capital, Mekelle.
The bus was reportedly stopped many times at road blocks as it made its way from Mekelle.
It is not clear who carried out the attack but this shows Tigray is still volatile months after the federal government said the conflict with the regional authorities was over.
Meanwhile, the United Nations says civilians in Tigray are facing “extremely alarming” hunger as fighting between federal government forces and the regional Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TFPL) remained an obstacle to reaching millions of people with aid.
The Ethiopia/Tigray conflict, now in its fourth month, has killed thousands of people. But little is known about the situation for most of Tigray’s six million people, as journalists are blocked from entering, communications are patchy and many aid workers struggle to obtain permission to enter.
Civilians have suffered and reports from aid workers on the ground indicate a rising in acute malnutrition across the region. According to the UN, starvation has become a major concern.
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