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Don says new vaccine another bullet against malaria



Don says new vaccine another bullet against malaria

A professor of virology, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, has described the new malaria vaccine for children in sub-Saharan Africa and other malaria-endemic regions as another bullet in the armoury against malaria.

Tomori, a former Vice-Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Ede in Osun made the assertion while speaking with a correspondent of the newsmen in Abuja on Friday on the new malaria vaccine announced by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He described the vaccine as a big addition to malaria prevention and control interventions, noting however, that the breakthrough was not yet the “magic bullet’’.

The product is the first malaria vaccine put out by experts after years of testing in African countries. The vaccine is expected to save the lives of thousands of children in Africa every year.

The Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, described the endorsement of the vaccine by two advisory groups of the UN health agency as “a historic moment.”

He stressed that malaria killed 270,000 children in Africa in 2019, noting that the new vaccine with 70 per cent success rate had kept many African out of hospitals.

Also read: FG inaugurate 2021 malaria indicator survey to generate appropriate data

“If African leaders had issues of feeding their current population, wait until this vaccine saves 400,000 humans annually.”

Tomori noted that WHO’s recommendation was based on results from clinical trials conducted  in Burkina Faso, Gabon,  Ghana, Kenya,  Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania and that the trials involved more than 800,000 children since 2019.

“This long-awaited malaria vaccine is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control. Using this vaccine in addition to existing tools to prevent malaria could save lives in the continent.”

According to Tomori, the vaccine, called Mosquirix, is not just a first vaccine against malaria, it is the first vaccine developed for any parasitic disease.

He said that that parasites were much more complex than viruses and that the quest for a malaria vaccine had been in the process of development for a long time.

The don described the achievement as a big success.

“Malaria is caused by the plasmodium parasite. Humans get infected by the parasite through the bite of infected mosquitoes.

“Symptoms of malaria include abdominal or muscle pain, chills, fatigue, fever, night sweats, shivering or sweating, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting are also common.

“Along with this, there is headache, mental confusion or pallor,” he added.

Tomori said that malaria elimination required more than the inputs of governments and international donors, noting that it would take the involvement of citizens and an aggressive vector control to eliminate the disease.

He proposed three major approaches for malaria control, including vaccine research, environmental sanitation and the use of fumigation to get rid of mosquitoes, the primary vectors malaria.

Tomori added that a malaria vaccine would only complement other measures in the effort to eliminate malarial completely from Nigeria.

“We do not address malaria by buying mosquito nets or sprays. We address the roots by fixing sanitation, cleaning canals, gutters and drainages, to remove pools of stagnant and dirty water.

“When the channels get clogged in our neighbourhoods, we end up with poor environmental sanitation, leading to the endemic diseases such as malaria, cholera, dysentery and others.

“While we wait for the malaria vaccine to be put into use, we can do more in the fight against malaria when we improve sanitation.

“Indiscriminate disposal of waste in drains and stagnation of water in pools provide breeding space for mosquitoes.”

According to him, we must continue with known and new drug therapies. However, the most important, is the use of preventive interventions -impregnated nets, vector control, environmental sanitation.

Newsmen report that the long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control and that using the vaccine with existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives every year.

The vaccine was first made by the pharmaceutical company, GSK in 1987.


Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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Health and Safety

African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown



African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown

African Migrants in Tunisia have urged their government to evacuate them, saying the country is no longer safe as racism still persists.

Outside the United Nations refugee agency in Tunis, dozens of African migrants stood protesting this week in the temporary camp where they have lived, including with children, since authorities urged landlords to force them from their homes.

Weeks after a violent crackdown on migrants in Tunisia that triggered a perilous rush to leave by smuggler boats for Italy, many African nationals are still homeless and jobless and some say they still face racist attacks.

“We need evacuation. Tunisia is not safe. No one has a future here when you have this colour. It is a crime to have this colour,” said Josephus Thomas, pointing to the skin on his forearm.

In announcing the crackdown on Feb. 21, President Kais Saied said illegal immigration was a criminal conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demography, language the African Union described as “racialised hate speech”.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf told Reuters on Thursday that Saied’s comments had unleashed “attacks and a tidal wave of racist rhetoric”, with rights groups saying hundreds of migrants reported being attacked or insulted.

Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister have rejected accusations that he or the government is racist and they announced steps to ease visa regulations for Africans and reminded police of anti-racism laws.

While the official crackdown appeared to end weeks ago, migrants say they still face abuse.

“People told me ‘since you are in our country after the president’s speech, don’t you have any dignity?’ I kept silent and they told me I am dirt,” said Awadhya Hasan Amine, a Sudanese refugee outside the UNHCR headquarters in Tunis.

Amine has lived in Tunis for five years after fleeing Sudan and then Libya with her husband. Now 30, she has been living on the street outside the UNHCR headquarters since local people pelted her house in the capital’s Road district with rocks.

“We want to live in a place of safety, stability and peace. We don’t want problems in Tunisia,” she said.

Although some West African countries evacuated hundreds of their citizens earlier this month, many remain stuck in Tunisia, unable to support themselves let alone afford passage home or pay smugglers hundreds of dollars to ferry them to Europe.

“Tunisia is an African country. Why do they do racist things to us?” said Moumin Sou, from Mali, who was sacked from his job working behind a bar after the president’s speech and was beaten up the next day by a man in the street who stole his money.

Sou wants to return home, he said, but many others are determined to travel on to Europe.

In the wake of the crackdown, in which police detained hundreds of undocumented migrants and authorities urged employers to lay them off and landlords to evict them, smuggler crossings to Italy have surged.

Tunisian National Guard official Houssem Jbeli said on Wednesday that the coast guard had stopped 30 boats carrying more than 2,000 people. On the same day and the following day four boats sank, with five people drowned. 

– Reuters

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Health and Safety

NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 



NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 

 The National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists to collaborate with the agency in the fight against the circulation and use of bleaching creams in the country.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General (D-G), NAFDAC, made the call while sensitising journalists in the North Central States on the dangers of bleaching creams.

She made the call at a North Central Zonal Media Sensitisation Workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls which was organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists on Friday in Jos.

Adeyeye said the workshop was aimed at educating and challenging health journalists in Nigeria to play frontline role in the agency’s effort to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams.

The D-G was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of the Agency.

 “Bleaching creams damage vital organs in the body, cause skin irritation, allergy, skin burn, rashes, wrinkles and prolong the healing of wounds.

“Black is beautiful, we don’t need to change our color.

“NAFDAC will constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass root levels positive impact of our regulatory activities,” she said.

On his part, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director,  Public Affairs of the Agency, said: “The workshop was meant to educate the mass media with the right information and campaign against the use of bleaching creams in Nigeria.

“Public ignorance is not an excuse before the law. The role of the mass media in the promotion of public health is very important not only for cosmetics and all other NAFDAC regulatory products”. 

In a remark, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, said: “Skin bleaching cream is a serious concern among the citizens in the country.

“Why would somebody use his hard-earned money to buy a cream that will endanger his skin?.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to educate people on the dangers and as well shape the opinion of the people,” Zaggi said.

He appealed to the journalists to pay attention to the workshop for onward circulation of learning outcomes to members of the public. 

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