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Health Workers Begin Indefinite Strike In Liberia

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The National Health Workers’ Union of Liberia (NAHWUL) has begun an indefinite stay at home action after a two-week notice they gave the government expired.

NAHWUL in a news conference accused the George Weah-led Liberian government of failing to listen to listen to its plights.

The Group’s Assistant Secretary General, Deemi T. Dearzrua, said the strike action starts at midnight, September 16, 2020 and will not cease until the Government implements its demand.

The health workers’ demand includes the issuance of a certificate of recognition to the union, increment of health workers’ salaries in fiscal year 2020/2021, the reclassification of health workers and payment of hazard allowance to all health workers.

They are also asking the government to give COVID-19 benefits for infected health workers and deceased families and the immediate cancellation of a policy on redeployment and transfer of health workers.

It also called for the over 1,000 pensioners over the last six months to be given their just benefits and the gap created on the workflow by their retirement be filled with immediate effect.

Their leader, Joseph Tamba, called a talk radio show on OK FM on Wednesday morning saying he had gone into hiding because of he was receiving threats.

But Information Minister Eugene Nagbe disputed Mr Tamba’s statement.

He said the government had made “some overtures” to address the healthcare workers’ concerns.

He, however, warned that the names of those who will continue with the strike “will be removed from the payroll and replaced” in accordance with, he said, the civil service law.

Local reporters calling the radio programme from different parts of the country said the strike was ongoing at many health facilities.

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Zimbabwe Warns Citizens Against Patronising Rogue COVID-19 Doctor

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The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ), on Friday, warned against the illegal practice of one Jacqueline Carey Stone, who was allegedly treating COVID-19 patients using unregistered medicines.

In a statement, the MDPCZ said the public should be wary of Stone’s practice, as she does not have a valid license to practice as a medical professional in the country.

“The premises at which she is treating COVID-19 patients have not been registered for purposes of medical practice and thus posing a health risk to the public.

“She is putting the lives of the public at risk by treating the patients with unregistered medicines, including medicines for animal use,’’ the MDPCZ said.

It added that Stone is conducting clinical trials without the full approval of the Research Council of Zimbabwe, and is also working with unregistered persons to dispense and counsel patients.

“MDPCZ will not allow any registered medical practitioner to offer unsafe treatment to the public of Zimbabwe,’’ said the body, that regulates the practice of medicine and dentistry in the country.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a resurging COVID-19 pandemic.

The death toll has risen phenomenally since the beginning of this month and now stands at 917 out of the 30,047 COVID-19 infections recorded in the country since last March.

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East Africa News

15-Day COVID-19 Lockdown: Rwanda Distributes Food to Vulnerable Families

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Following its decision to lockdown Kigali, its capital, the Rwanda authorities have begun the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives to vulnerable families in affected by the restriction.

News Central reports that the Rwandan government had, on Monday, imposed a 15-day lockdown on Kigali to curb the spread coronavirus after a surge in cases in the capital.

All movements outside homes require an approved permit from the police, except for essential service providers.

However, to help some 3,000 families – identified as the most vulnerable – cope with the lockdown the government is distributing food rations to households.

Local and international reports said that as of Thursday evening households have started receiving sacks of rice, maize flour and beans.

Some 3,000 families have been identified as the most vulnerable. The city has a population of about one million people.

There have been concerns that hundreds of thousands of residents who live hand to mouth would face hunger during the lockdown.

The authorities have assured that food will reach the most vulnerable, as well as poor Covid-19 patients being treated at home.

The rations were being delivered by volunteers who had tested negative before the programme started, city officials said.

A free phone line is available for requests from “those who want and merit the food aid to be delivered at their doorsteps”.

On Thursday Rwanda reported nine Covid-19 deaths, the highest daily fatalities so far, and 310 new cases.

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COVID-19: Mali Plans to Start Vaccination in April

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The Malian government plans to buy over 8.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, the country’s council of ministers has said.

The council said it expects to roll out a vaccination campaign in April.

The vaccine is expected to cost Mali – which has a population of about 18.5 million and has so far recorded 7,911 Covid-19 cases and over 320 deaths – $58m.

The government remarks that the cost would be covered with financial assistance from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) and the World Bank.

GAVI and WHO co-run the COVAX scheme which helps developing countries to secure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It did not specify which vaccines it planned to buy.

Mali like other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa is battling a second wave of coronavirus infections, although its infection rate has decreased from a peak in early January.

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