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Pfizer, IDA Foundation Partner to Provide Cancer Treatment for African Countries

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U.S. drug firm, Pfizer, has announced a partnership with IDA Foundation to provide equitable access to quality cancer treatments.

IDA Foundation is an independent social enterprise providing essential medicines to low-and middle-income countries,

The partnership is effective immediately and supply of medicines under the agreement is expected to commence in February 2021. The agreement covers the delivery of the cancer treatments in about 70 developing countries across Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Western Pacific region.

At least 45 African countries are covered by the supply agreement.

“The supply agreement means that millions more patients will now have the potential to access innovative chemotherapy medicines for multiple types of cancer,” the drug maker said in a statement.

Developing countries currently bear over 60% of the global cancer burden and account for 70% of cancer deaths, according to the firm.

Michelle Akande, Vice President, Global Health Partnerships at Pfizer, announced the landmark partnership, saying it brought the company a step closer to its objective of ensuring cancer patients everywhere have sustainable access to the quality treatments they need.

The partnership with IDA Foundation builds on Pfizer’s long-standing collaboration with the American Cancer Society and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which has provided access to Pfizer’s portfolio of quality oncology treatments in 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Countries that access products through the agreements save an average of 56 per cent on the cost of the medicines.

The supply agreement covers 18 essential cancer treatments and 30 formulations, including options for the treatment of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, which are among the most frequent types of cancer in developing countries and are often highly treatable.

“With approximately 70 per cent of deaths from cancer occurring in low- and middle-income countries, it is an urgent health burden which needs to be addressed. We believe this collaboration with Pfizer can help to bridge a gap and make quality essential medicines affordable and accessible in countries where they are needed most,” said Wendy Eggen, CEO of IDA Foundation.

The new partnership gives access to Pfizer’s portfolio of sterile injectable treatments to an additional 62 countries not previously served by existing market access agreements. This includes 11 low- and middle-income markets in the Western Pacific area, which has the highest cancer mortality rate in the world.

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12 Die of COVID-19 Complications in Nigeria

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Twelve people died of complications related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in Nigeria, the country’s health agency has said.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) 571 new cases of COVID-19 were also recorded, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 153, 187.

The country’s daily COVID-19 infection rate has dropped below 1,000 for the seventh consecutive days.

It also recorded 12 COVID-19 related deaths, raising the total fatality in the country to 1,874.

The agency noted that the new infections were reported in 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Nigeria’s public health agency stated that Lagos state reported 170 cases, Ogun, FCT and Kwara reported 65, 45 and 34 cases respectively, Abia 32 cases, Enugu 32, Kano 25, Oyo 22 and Ondo 21.

Rivers and Kaduna reported 19 cases each, Benue 18, Bayelsa and Kebbi 12 cases each, Nasarawa 11, Akwa Ibom 9, Delta 8, Ekiti 6, Niger 5, Bauchi and Imo 3 cases each.

The NCDC said that 643 infected people recovered, adding that total recuperated and discharge stands at 129,943 now.

The health agency stated that the discharged include 214 community recoveries in Lagos State, 61 in FCT and 11 in Benue.

It said the number of active cases, had continue to dropped drastically.

The current active cases stood at 21,279 down from 21,567 in the past 24 hours in the country.

The country recorded a slight reduction in the number of infections, recoveries and deaths last week.
From Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, 5,849 new cases were reported in the country, the lowest in seven weeks.

The last time the country reported such a low figure was in the Dec. 27, 2020 to Jan. 2 with 5,681 cases.

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Ghana Receives COVID-19 Vaccines

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The West African nation of Ghana on Wednesday became the first country to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the humanitarian vaccine distribution mechanism Covax.

The arrival represents the start of a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign encompassing 20 African countries.

“This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end,’’ World Health Organisation (WHO) Ghana representative Francis Kasolo and UNICEF Ghana representative Anne-Claire Dufay said in a joint statement.

The 600,000 Covax-sponsored vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine coming from the Serum Institute of India, according to the statement.

The Covax initiative aims to deliver almost 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.

“The shipments also represent the beginning of what should be the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history,’’ Kasolo and Dufay said.

“As health workers and other front-line staff are vaccinated, we will be able to gradually see a return to normalcy,’’ the two representatives added.

Ghana is planning to begin its vaccination campaign on March 2, said information minister designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.

Health workers, people older than 60 years, people with underlying health conditions as well as essential workers and teachers will be first to be immunised, according to Nkrumah.

So far, less than two dozen African countries have started COVID-19 vaccination, according to the WHO.

Africa has recorded more than 3.8 million COVID-19 cases, 3.5 per cent of all reported cases worldwide, and more than 102,000 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control.

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Turkey Repatriates 3 Turks Infected with Coronavirus from Tanzania

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The Turkish government has airlifted three of its citizen from Tanzania after they were infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the East African country.

Turkey’s Ministry of Health said the citizens, identified as Halil A., Eyyüp K. and Oğuzhan A., were taken to Istanbul by an air ambulance where they will be treated.

The had applied to Turkish authorities for treatment in Turkey earlier.

Turkey, which offers free-of-charge air ambulance services for its citizens, occasionally brings COVID-19 patients from pandemic hot spots around the world for treatment.

Tanzania had stopped giving updates on the virus since April after President John Magufuli had declared the country coronavirus-free.

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; the United States; and the local Catholic church had previously called on Tanzania to acknowledge COVID-19 for the good of its citizens, neighbouring countries, and the world, especially after a number of countries reported that visitors arriving from Tanzania tested positive for the virus.

However, on Sunday, Magufuli acknowledge there is “a coronavirus problem” in his country after the virus had claimed the lives of several high-profile figures, including vice president of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar region and the president’s chief secretary.

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