The United Kingdom has formally approved the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country to do so.
This indicates a a huge symbolic milestone in the fight against the pandemic which has claimed over 1.5 million lives since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.
It is still unclear when the COVID-19 vaccines will be imported and put to use in Nigeria. The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire has already inaugurated an 18-member national COVID-19 task team to ensure “vaccine security”, when it finally gets to the country.
In the midst of this, the World AIDS Day was marked on December 1 to honour the many lives lost from the disease as well as the people living with HIV.
The theme for the 2020 World AIDS Day was ‘Global solidarity, shared responsibility’. Nigeria, however, joined the commemoration with a localised theme ‘United to End AIDS in the midst of COVID-19’.
Here are some of the health stories which made headlines last week:
This World AIDS Day: Why Nigeria missed 2020 HIV/AIDS target
COVID-19 has been largely blamed for disrupting several global health targets including the HIV/AIDS goal set for 2020 by UNAIDS, a United Nations agency dedicated to tackling the virus.
But Nigeria, among several other countries, was not even on track to reach the target before the COVID-19 pandemic hit due to a mix of factors, such as the high prevalence of mother-to-child transmission and isolation of key populations such as sex workers and gay communities.
Coronavirus: Nigeria records three consecutive days of high number of new cases
Nigeria’s coronavirus daily infections have been relatively high in the past three days with 310 new cases recorded on Saturday taking the total to 997 in the last 72 hours, according to health authorities.
The 343 and 324 cases reported earlier on Thursday and Friday were the highest figures since late August.
Nigeria witnessed daily figures below 300 for most of the days between September and November.
HIV funding gap may widen due to COVID-19 pandemic – Group
The current funding gap in HIV response could widen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an international non-governmental organisation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), has said.
The organisation said the global AIDS response has consistently fallen short each year by up to $6 billion of what is needed to fund efforts around the world.
Kebbi challenges typify why Nigeria has failed to meet malaria eradication target
With less than one month left until the end of 2020, Nigeria is yet to meet its six-year targets for malaria control, which focused on creating a malaria-free Nigeria.
The 2014-2020 National Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) had ambitious goals, including reaching pre-elimination status for the disease (less five per cent which can be interpreted as less than 5,000 cases per 100,000 people) and zero mortality from the disease.
But these targets are far from being met, with COVID-19 taking them more off-track.
New Africa alliance aims to tackle deadly COVID ‘infodemic’
A new network in Africa aims to combat the “infodemic” of misinformation online surrounding COVID-19 and other health emergencies on the continent, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Thursday.
The Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA), brings together 13 international and regional organisations together with fact-checking groups, which have expertise in data and behavioural science, epidemiology, research, digital health, and communications.
U.S. pledges more support to end HIV/AIDS in Nigeria
The United States government has said it will continue to support Nigeria in its efforts to end the HIV/AIDS in the country.
The U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, made this known at a workshop on ‘Data Repository as a Resource for Achieving HIV-Epidemic Control’, in Abuja on Thursday.
Global malaria caseloads fall by nine million in 20 years – WHO
Malaria cases decreased by about nine million in 87 malaria-endemic countries within the last 20 years, the 2020 Malaria Report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated.
According to the report released by the WHO on Monday, malaria cases fell from 238 million in 2000 to 229 million in 2019.
Despite having highest maternal mortality in Africa, Nigeria’s situation still underreported – Report
Despite having one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, many cases of women dying during childbirth in Nigeria are still unreported, a report has shown.
The report also shows some of the causes of such maternal deaths in six states across Nigeria.
Released on Monday, ‘Giving Birth In Nigeria’, a survey conducted in six states across Nigeria within the space of 18 months, provided some insights into maternal health outcomes in some Nigerian communities.
VIDEO: WAD: How we plan to sustain HIV response in Nigeria – NACA DG
World’s AIDS Day is marked on December 1 annually to honour the many lives lost from the disease as well as the people living with HIV.
The day is also celebrated to raise awareness about the disease and the need to know one’s status through HIV testing.
In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Gambo Aliyu, and the representative of AIDS HealthCare Foundation (AHF), Steve Aborisade, spoke on sustaining the HIV response in the country.
Scientists optimistic about COVID-19 vaccines for all
Scientists developing COVID-19 vaccines are optimistic that by the end of next year, all people everywhere will have access to safe and effective treatments against a disease which has disrupted the entire planet.
Principals from BioNTech and Oxford University – both pioneers in the COVID vaccine rollout – participated in an online dialogue on Friday, held under the special session of the UN General Assembly devoted to the pandemic.
UK becomes first country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
The United Kingdom has become the first country to formally approve the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, indicating a huge symbolic milestone in the fight against the pandemic.
The vaccine, which has been authorised for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), offers 95 percent protection against the virus.
It isn’t over: WHO concerned at ‘growing perception’ COVID pandemic is passing
The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) sounded the alarm on Friday over the “growing perception” that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, despite exploding infection rates in some countries and enormous pressure growing on health services.
WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told journalists at the regular Geneva briefing that progress on vaccines, in recent days, “gives us all a lift, and we can now start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
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