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EIB Launches €50m Africa Pharmaceutical Scheme

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€50m Africa Pharmaceutical

By Ahmed Rahma

The long-term lending institution, the European Investment Bank (EIB), has launched a €50 million scheme that involves strengthening local production of active pharmaceutical ingredients in Africa.

The first-ever scheme, which will help in reducing dependency on drug imports and address medical supply chain weaknesses linked to COVID-19, is also expected to improve the availability of specialist drugs and tackle supply chain challenges that currently damage public health across Africa.

Commenting on the initiative, the World Health Organisation (WHO) assistant director-general, Dr Mariângela Simão, said, “COVID-19 has highlighted how public health in Africa is vulnerable to global supply chains and dependent on international production.

“Increasing local specialist manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients will help to improve the public health of millions of Africans.

“This new initiative demonstrates how specialist pharmaceutical and financing expertise can create jobs and a better future for Africa.”

Also speaking on the scheme, European Investment Bank Vice President, Thomas Östros, said, “This scheme has been designed with African and global experts and builds on the EIB’s unique global technical experience and financing expertise supporting health and innovation investment.”

The initiative is aligned with the global health body’s goals and the recently announced cooperation between the EIB and WHO to combat COVID-19 and strengthen health system resilience to better face future pandemics.

It is expected to enable Africa to benefit from a predicted doubling in local pharmaceutical sales over the next decade, improve access to healthcare and create specialist jobs on the continent.

In addition, the initiative is also expected to provide long-term financing for pharmaceutical production across sub-Saharan Africa and specifically target the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients that constitute 45% of final drug costs.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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COVID-19: Nigeria to Start Vaccination of Children

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vaccination of children

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

In a few months’ time, Nigeria will commence administering vaccines to children under 12 years to protect them against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This vaccination of children against the virus would be done in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The UNICEF Health Specialist and Officer in charge of Enugu Field Office, Mr Olusoji Akinleye, said during a recent media executive meeting in the state that it had taken so long for this to be implemented because of the cluttered processes involved before any drug would be administered to children.

Speaking at the event, which was in collaboration with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), Umuahia, on Child Rights-influenced Reporting on COVID-19, the specialist said that a lot of children had died due to the COVID-19, adding that, “In the next few months, Nigeria will start administering the vaccine on children under 12 years of age.”

He said, “We recognize the partnership in promoting and highlighting the right of every child to life. The very first right that every human being is supposed to have is the right to life; we recognise that the media have always supported the effort of government and partners, including UNICEF, in promoting the right to health.”

Noting the challenges faced by the health sector regarding public hesitancy, unwillingness, and misconceptions against the COVID-19 vaccines, Mr Akinleye encouraged parents to ensure that their children were protected by obeying the safety protocols that have been put in place.

In addition to this, he said, “UNICEF looks forward to more robust collaboration with the media and an expected upward trend in the promotion of health and hygiene practices by the media in Nigeria by daily communication to the public of protocols enforced by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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Lagos to Host Conference on Biosecurity, One Health

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Biosecurity

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

The Lagos State Government has announced the plan to hold the seventh Annual African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity as part of efforts to ensure that the Africa continent braces up for the challenges posed by emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity threats.

The conference is in partnership with Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET) and is scheduled to hold both virtually and physically at the Civic Centre at Lagos from Wednesday, October 27 to Friday, October 29, 2021, with the theme Universal Approach to Addressing Biosecurity Threats – Genomic Intelligence and Vaccines.

Interested participants have been advised to visit the GET website to register and attend the hybrid conference.

According to the state Commissioner for Health, Mr Akin Abayomi, the conference is seventh in the series of conferences organised by GET, in partnership with governments around West Africa and the African continent, to help develop a biosecurity road map and to increase resilience in dealing with pathogens of high consequence.

Mr Abayomi expressed the need to continually focus on the key importance of the African response in combating emerging infectious diseases.

He stated that the need for various treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats necessitated the need for the conference.

“Lagos has teamed up once again this year with GET to organise the seventh African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity. We have a very important thematic initiative this year to address the universal approach to biosecurity threats using genomic intelligence and vaccine,” the commissioner noted.

He further explained that genomic intelligence is the ability to sequence a pathogen that is causing an outbreak, adding that COVID-19 is the focus of attention for the conference.

As stated by him, genomic intelligence should be vigorous, with significant measures taken to mitigate the potency of current and future epidemics as well as keeping up with effective vaccine production.

Mr Abayomi further explained that the conference’s thematic areas cover Vaccine Strategy, Genome Research, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Biosecurity and Bio-threat, Biobanking Infrastructure, Climate change and Cultural Anthropological Social and Economic Impact of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

He also advocated various treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats as he stated the key importance of the African response in combating Emerging Infectious Diseases,

He stated that Lagos is prepared to welcome participants, policymakers, researchers, scientists and other interested persons to the conference, adding that the concept of One Health is necessary for ensuring biosecurity and all-around health.

In his remarks, the Chief Operating Officer of GET Consortium, Mr Ayodotun Bobadoye, noted that participants at the conference will include policymakers, scientists, researchers, healthcare professionals, experts in infectious disease management, professionals from one health field, development partners, community and opinion leaders amongst others from within and outside the continent.

Mr Bobadoye further noted that resolutions at the conference will help chart a positive course for strategic response against Biosecurity threats in Africa and by extension the world.

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NCS Honours LASUTH for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care

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LASUTH Excellence in Cardiovascular Care

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) has been announced as the winner of the Excellence in Cardiovascular Care Award.

This award was given to LAUSTH on the premises the hospital is renowned for its contribution to the growth and development of cardiovascular medicine and surgery in the country.

The respected health institution grabbed this award at the 50th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference of the Nigeria Cardiac Society (NCS) held in Lagos recently.

LASUTH is one of the two tertiary hospitals carrying out open-heart surgery in Nigeria. It has continued to make giant strides in improving the lives of the citizens of Lagos State and its environs.

The soon to be quaternary hospital has over the years provided high-quality healthcare to Lagosians using state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology to solve common and emerging health problems.

LASUTH heart surgeons have performed some of the most advanced procedures in the medical field. The hospital has experienced professionals who specialize in open-heart surgeries that effectively treat heart conditions while minimizing patients’ recovery time and maximizing the best possible outcomes.

This made the NCS during the recently concluded Scientific Conference honour the hospital for her feats and outstanding achievement in tackling cardiovascular diseases through a consistent open-heart surgery with great success.

It was learned that these surgical feats would not have been possible without the expertise of the medical professionals at the LASUTH Cardio-Thoracic Surgery Unit (CTSU) led by Dr Bode Falase, a cardiac surgeon and ably supported by the management of the hospital, under the leadership of the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo.

In a few weeks, LASUTH will be the only government-owned hospital with a cardiac catheterization laboratory (Cathlab). This is a laboratory with special imaging equipment used for the visualization of the arteries and checking blood flow to and from the heart.

LASUTH said one of the advantages of using its facility for cardiovascular issues is that patients would be exceptionally cared for at a reduced cost while also reducing medical tourism.

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