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Private Health Providers in Nigeria, Four Other Countries to Access Over $30m Loan Facility

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Mosquirix vaccine is helping Ghana 'jab' back against malaria's devastation

Private and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) health providers in five African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – can now access a new emergency loan facility of over $30m.

The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative loans targets the five high malaria burden African countries. It aims to help healthcare providers in the countries to continue offering essential health services, including malaria treatments, to more than five million Africans, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The facility was created by the Health Finance Coalition, a group of leading philanthropists, investors, donors and technical partners focused on mobilising significant private investment to achieve transformative healthcare impact in Africa.

“Private sector healthcare providers deliver nearly 50 per cent of all healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa, including life-saving interventions such as early malaria diagnosis and treatment, ante-natal care and routine vaccinations.

“If left unaddressed, these vital health needs could overwhelm already overburdened health systems and add to the loss of lives during the pandemic.

“Projections in 2020, for example, estimated that moderate disruptions in treatment seeking could lead to as many as 100,000 additional malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.

“As countries have shut down sectors of their economies and asked citizens to remain at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, all health providers have seen a decrease in demand for services.

“For private healthcare providers, this also means decreased revenues, putting them at risk of closing during a time when access to care is already a challenge,’’a statement by the Global Health Strategies said on Monday.

According to the statement, of the five million patients that the loan facility can impact, almost three million are low-income patients, and approximately 2.4 million are women and 1.4 million are children, who are disproportionately at risk of malaria and other infectious diseases.

“The loan facility will be managed by Malaria No More and loans will be administered through the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), a non-profit health investment fund.

“Loans are expected to average $17,000 per provider to help stabilise operations, buy essential medical equipment, including personal protective equipment, and finance small-scale construction to protect patients from COVID-19 infection.

“MCF’s partner organisation, SafeCare, in collaboration with PMI, will provide training materials to facilities on how to continue providing routine services safely during the pandemic,’’it said.

Martin Edlund, CEO, Malaria No More, said “… this facility is one of the first solutions of its kind to address the twin health and economic crises facing the private health sector in Africa due to COVID-19.

“We hope it will spark a broader response using creative finance solutions to save lives from malaria and address Africa’s most urgent health needs,’’he is quoted as saying.

Ray Chambers, WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy and Health Financing and Chair, the MCJ Amelior Foundation said “… with COVID-19 putting tremendous financial pressure on health budgets across Africa.”

The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative is one of the first initiatives to address the economic crunch that the private health sector in Africa is facing due to COVID-19.

A $700,000 investment by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) enables a $17.7 million loan guarantee from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and $1.5 million in philanthropic funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Skoll Foundation, and the MCJ Amelior Foundation.

Together, this effort unlocks more than $30 million in loans to SME health providers. Additional support comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Center for Innovation and Impact (CII).

Information on or how to apply for a loan is available on: www.medicalcreditfund.org

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COVID-19: Nigeria Records 3 Deaths, 1,430 Infections in 24 Hours

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No fewer than three people died from complications related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said.

The health agency, in a statement on its website, said it recorded 1,430 cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 122,996.

The NCDC disclosed this on its website on Monday.

The country has so far tested 1,270,523 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded on Feb. 27, 2020 in the country.

The Nigeria’s public health institute sadly registered three additional coronavirus related deaths in the last 24 hours in the country.

The NCDC stated that the new infections were reported from 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The agency, in its breakdown of the newly recorded infections, shows that Lagos state reported the highest number of confirmed infections with 744 cases.

This brought the total number of infections in the state to 45,684 and 292 deaths recorded.

Plateau reported 100 infections, Oyo had 77 and the FCT, the second most affected by the disease in the country registered 75 new infections.

Amongst other states were; Nasarawa-74, Katsina-48, Edo-42, Kano-41, Enugu-37, Rivers-34, Ogun-33, Kwara-32, Niger-28, Ebonyi-27, Kaduna-26, Borno-12, Yobe-10, Ekiti-five and Gombe-one.

The health agency also announced the discharge of 1,131 patients from isolation centers across the country.

According to it, the discharges today include 435 community recoveries in Lagos State and 184 community recoveries in Kaduna State managed in line with guidelines.

It noted that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) activated at Level 3, is coordinating response activities nationwide.

The country’s COVID-19 infections have witnessed a significant increase since Nov. 29 till date.

During the period, from November 29 to December 3, a total of 1,607 cases were recorded and since then, the country’s weekly infections have recorded a massive increase.

In the previous week, the country recorded 9,880 new infections Jan. 10 to Jan. 16, an increase when compared to the 9,833 cases recorded in the penultimate week January 3 -9 and the 5,681 cases recorded from Dec. 27 to January 2.

However, from Jan. 17 to Jan. 23, the country recorded 11,659 new infections out of the 87,092 samples tested.

Also, the 2,314 cases reported on Friday, January 22 is the highest daily figure of confirmed cases since the pandemic broke out in February 27, 2020.

Data from the NCDC show that a total of 87,092 samples were collected for testing as of November 20 as against the 136,077 tested the previous week.

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COVID-19: Schools Not Reopening Yet – Ugandan Government

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Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports has dismissed reports schools are being re-opened. It says no decision has been taken yet on resumption dates.

On Monday, Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Sports, tweeted that only candidate classes and finalists in institutions of higher learning were open.

He said the rest will wait until the government reaches a decision on when to re-open.

“Contrary to media reports, government has not yet agreed upon the re-opening of schools and higher institutions of learning for non-candidate classes,’’ Kakooza said.

In October 2020 , Uganda re-opened candidate classes, seven months after the government closed all schools, colleges and universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As at Saturday, the country had a cumulative total of 39,149 COVID-19 cases, 13,861 recoveries and 317 deaths.

Uganda reported its first COVID-19 case on March 21, 2020.

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Ethiopia Announces 469 New COVID-19 cases

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Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health has announced 469 new Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 133,767.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the country reached 2,066 by Sunday evening, after three new deaths were reported, the ministry said.

It said 686 more recoveries were logged during the past 24 hours, taking the national count to 119,416.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, is one of the countries the hardest hit by COVID-19 in Africa, after South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt.

The Ethiopian government has been urging the public to implement COVID-19 precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

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