Development Health Advice 

Struggling economies, widening inequality and millions vulnerable: the urgent need for vaccine equity

Developed countries are far more likely to vaccinate their citizens, which risks prolonging the pandemic, and widening global inequality. Ahead of a dialogue at the UN on Monday between senior United Nations officials UN News explains the importance of vaccine equity. What is vaccine equity? © UNICEF/Francis Kokoroko A 76-year-old man shows his vaccination card after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in Kasoa, Ghana. Quite simply, it means that all people, wherever they are in the world, should have equal access to a vaccine which offers protection against the COVID-19 infection.…

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Development Health Advice 

WHO asks for commitments on maternal and newborn health 

Highlighting those numbers, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on healthcare facility managers, leaders and health workers around to adopt a set of 5 World Patient Safety Day Goals 2021 to improve maternal and newborn safety.  The goals were launched at a virtual global conference on World Patient Safety Day, marked this Friday, on the theme: safe maternal and newborn care.  Most deaths ‘avoidable’  For WHO, with all the risks compounded by the disruption of services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign is even more important this year.  Most stillbirths, maternal and newborn deaths, are avoidable; as long as safe, respectful and quality care is received during pregnancy,…

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Development Health Advice 

Refugees face dire consequences from COVID-19 underfunding, UNHCR warns 

The emergency tops their list of the 10 most underfunded situations in 2021. Only one-third of the budgeted requirements of $924 million has been received, according to UNHCR‘s Chief of Public Health Section, Ann Burton, who called for more global attention and funding support.  Host States hit hardest  Ms. Burton emphasized that “vaccine inequity continues to hit the hardest in many refugee-hosting states”.  86 per cent of refugees are hosted in developing countries, however, some 80 per cent of all vaccine doses have been given in high- and upper-middle-income countries, she noted.  Low-income countries…

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Development Health Advice 

Africa faces 470 million COVID-19 vaccine shortfall this year 

The international COVAX initiative aimed at guaranteeing global access to the vaccines, recently announced that it was being forced to slash planned deliveries to Africa, by around 150 million doses this year.   The scheme is now expected to deliver 470 million doses through the end of December. These will be enough to protect just 17 per cent of the continent, far below the 40 per cent target.  To reach the end-year target, that 470 million figure needs to double, even if all planned shipments via COVAX and the African Union are delivered.  Export bans, vaccine hoarding  WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said that “export bans and vaccine hoarding have a chokehold on vaccine supplies to Africa.”  “As long as…

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Development Health Advice 

Only 2% of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in Africa 

The UN agency is urging every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population by the end of this year, and hopes to help ensure that 70% of the world’s population is by the middle of next year.   At a press conference on COVID-19 and vaccine equity in Africa, which is home to more than 1.2 billion people, Mr. Ghebreyesus informed that, so far, just two countries in Africa have reached the 40% target, the lowest of any region.  “That’s not because African countries don’t have the capacity or experience to roll out COVID-19 vaccines. It’s because they’ve been left behind by the rest…

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Development Health Advice 

First Person: A refuge from COVID misinformation

Hadeel Al-Zoubi is a Senior Camp Assistant working in two camps (Za’atari and Azraq) that accommodate Syrians who have fled their war-torn country. She told UN News how she has fought COVID-19 misinformation which helped her to overcome her own and others’ vaccine hesitancy. “When the coronavirus first hit, everyone feared this unknown pandemic. We did not know what to expect, especially during the lockdown period when many people started working remotely. As a frontline worker in the refugee camps, I supported more than 300 vulnerable women on a weekly…

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Development Health Advice 

Pandemic increasing risk factors for suicide, UN health agency warns

Studies show that the global crisis has exacerbated risk factors associated with suicidal behaviours, such as job loss, trauma or abuse, mental health disorders and barriers to accessing health care.  ‘Urgent public health problem’  “Suicide is an urgent public health problem and its prevention must be a national priority,” said Renato Oliveira e Souza, head of the Mental Health Unit at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).   “We need concrete action from all elements of society to put an end to these deaths, and for governments to create and invest in a comprehensive national strategy…

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Development Health Advice 

COVID-19: ‘Unacceptable’ deals and delays, hampering lifesaving COVAX deliveries 

It’s a year since the innovative scheme was born, in a bid to guarantee timely access to everyone, regardless of their income, status or location, to life-saving jabs, as the pandemic gripped the world.  “Yet, the global picture of access to COVID-19 vaccines is unacceptable”, said the statement released on Wednesday.  “In the critical months during which COVAX was created, signed on participants, pooled demand, and raised enough money to make advance purchases of vaccines, much of the early global supply had already been bought by wealthy nations.”  Roadblocks  But today, the…

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Development Health Advice 

Make mental health a priority across the board, UN chief urges 

António Guterres was speaking at a high-level event on Mental Health Interventions for Peacebuilding in Conflict and Humanitarian settings.  “Vulnerability and mental health problems are part of our collective human experience and should be treated as seriously as physical health issues, including during a global pandemic”, he said.  Connections  For Mr. Guterres, peacebuilding, mental health and psychosocial support are deeply interconnected. He reminded that “people who have suffered losses, attacks, family separations and gender-based violence, carry grievances and wounds that can perpetuate repetition and cycles of violence.”  The goal of the high-level event was to discuss successes in the…

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Development Health Advice 

COVID-19 Delta variant still ‘most concerning’, say WHO experts

“I think the Delta variant for me is the one that’s most concerning because of the increased transmissibility,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the agency’s Technical Lead for COVID-19, speaking during an online question and answer session. “It’s doubly transmissible compared to the ancestral strain, which means that it can spread to more people.” Virus evolving Dr. Van Kerkhove said that Delta continues to evolve and scientists are studying to see how the virus might be changing, with new variants continuing to emerge. Last week, WHO announced it was closely…

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