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Kenya’s Covid-19 Vaccine Team Finalise Roll-out Plan

The country’s Ministry of Health (MoH) said it is ensuring that as many voices are heard and considered as the team plans for rollout.

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Kenya is currently putting final touches to its Covid-19 vaccine roadmap.

The country’s vaccine team which consists of 11 members, says that its recommendation will officially be submitted to President Uhuru Kenyatta over the weekend, after which they could possibly be made public next week.

The task force is chaired by a senior advisor to President Kenyatta on Malaria, Dr Willis Akhwale, who has promised a solid deployment process of vaccination within the country after deliberations that began in December last year.

“It should be ready by Monday because after this meeting, we will embark on putting everything that we have deliberated and agreed on together to come up with one solid plan which we will submit to President Kenyatta, ” he said while speaking to the press.

The country’s Ministry of Health (MoH) said it is ensuring that as many voices are heard and considered as the team plans for rollout.

“The president and the Health cabinet secretary will be briefed once it’s complete, possibly by the weekend. But those present at this meeting include the WHO, Development partners, groups such as Red cross, Amref and others. MoH team includes the PS, DG and all heads of directorates. The Pharmacy and Poisons Board is also present, ” a source at MoH said.

Dr Akwale last week said the county governments will not be left out in the vaccine distribution plan as the vaccines will trickle down to their level. “We will engage counties, look at all the financial options and availability,” he said.

The taskforce has been saddled with the responsibility of dissecting issues like vaccine hesitancy, vaccine depots, county engagement, cold chain storage and logistics and immunisation records as well donor interests among other issues surrounding Kenya’s preparedness.

This arrangement comes after it was reported that Kenya is expected to receive 11 million additional doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from the African Union (AU), which has secured a deal to procure 270 million of the vaccine for all member countries.

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Conservation News

Three Endangered Rothschild’s Giraffes Die of Electrocution in Kenya

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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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East Africa News

Teachers Strike in Malawi

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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.

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East Africa News

Ethiopia: Six Students Feared Dead in Tigray’s Bus Attack

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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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