Tag Archives: WHO

BREAKING NEWS: US terminates all relationship with WHO

President of the United States, Mr Donald Trump on Friday (local time) announced that his country is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“China has total control over WHO despite only paying USD40 million a year compared to what US has been paying which is approx USD 450 million a year,” Trump said.

“Because they have failed to make requested and needed reforms today we will be terminating our relationship with WHO,” Trump said addressing reporters.

He further said US will be redirecting funds intended for WHO to other organisations working on public health needs.

NAFDAC disagrees with WHO on Chloroquine clinical trials

Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says that it will continue the clinical trials of Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine in Nigeria, despite the advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) against such trials.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said on a Lagos-based private broadcast station, TVC, programme on Tuesday that there were proven records that Hydroxychloroquine had been effective in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, especially those at the “mild stage” of the virus.

The WHO had on Monday announced the temporary suspension of the clinical trials of Hydroxychloroquine as a potential drug for the treatment of COVID-19. It said the decision followed a study that using the drug on patients could increase their chance of dying.

“The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the Hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board,” Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, had said.

He stressed that Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine “are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria,” noting that the suspension was a temporary measure.

Local media reports on Wednesday said that Prof. Adeyeye disagreed with the WHO’s position, saying: “There is data to prove that Hydroxychloroquine worked for many COVID-19 patients. Therefore, we would continue our own clinical trials in Nigeria. Hydroxychloroquine has been proved to work at a mild stage.

“So the potency depends on the severity of the disease in the patient’s bady.”

According to Prof. Adeyeye, Lagos State has already begun Hydroxychloroquine clinical trials and depending on the speed of work, the clinical trials should be concluded within four months.

“If medical doctors, research scientists, pharmacists, herbal experts work together, we should conclude the clinical trial in three to four months. The narrative might change afterwards, but for now, we believe in Hydroxychloroquine,” she said.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria recorded 276 infected cases on Tuesday, bringing the total infections to 8,344 with 2,385 persons discharged and 249 deaths.

African Press Agency

BREAKING: Trump gives a 30-day ultimatum to WHO chief, says improve or will pull out

US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accusing the global health body of taking China’s side during the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter was tweeted by Trump on Tuesday morning. In the letter, Trump said that the WHO consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier. “The WHO failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts, even those that came from sources within Wuhan itself,” he said in the letter.

He further said that the WHO knew about a major public health concern in Wuhan by December 30, 2019, which was also communicated by Taiwanese authorities. “But the WHO chose not to share any of this critical information with the rest of the world, probably for political reasons.”

Trump also said that even after declaring Covid-19 outbreak, the WHO failed to press China for the timely admittance of a team of international medical experts.

He then attacked the WHO chief in the letter. “Just a few year ago, under the direction of a different Director-General, the WHO showed the world how much it has to offer.”

“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organisation in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world,” Trump said in the concluding para of the letter. “The only way forward for the WHO is if it can can actually demonstrate independence from China.”

Trump has also threatened to permanently stop funding of the WHO and reconsider membership of the United States in the body. “If the WHO does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the WHO permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization,” Trump told WHO chief Tedros in the letter.

Speaking to the reporters at the White House earlier, Trump called the UN health body a ‘puppet’ of China.

“They (WHO) are a puppet of China. They’re China-centric, to put it nicer. But they’re a puppet of China,” Trump said.

“I think they have done a very sad job. The United States pays them US $450 million a year. China pays them US $38 million a year,” Trump said in response to a question.

Trump claimed that more people would have died from coronavirus in the country had he not imposed a ban on travel from China, which was ‘opposed’ by the health agency.

Washington is locked in an increasingly bitter spat with Beijing over the new coronavirus pandemic and has also taken aim at the WHO, which on Monday kicked off its first ever virtual assembly.

A resolution tabled by the European Union called for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the pandemic, which has so far infected nearly 4.8 million people and killed more than 3,17,000.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged there had been shortcomings and told the virtual assembly he welcomed calls for a review.

Group queries WHO’s proposed Covid-19 vaccine trial in Kano

A Kano-based group, Kungiyar Matasan Kano Advocacy Organisation, has kicked against the proposal to try the COVID-19 vaccine in the State.

In a statement signed by Comrade Alhassan Haruna Dambatta Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Kungiyar Matasan Kano, the group wondered why the people of the State should be used as Guinea pigs.

“Our attention has been drawn to a news item in the Media suggesting a proposed vaccine trial in Nigeria by WHO,” the group’s statement said.

“The vaccine trials is one of the efforts to discover a vaccine for the deadly Coronavirus and the trials are being supervised by the WHO which selected Nigeria as a ground to conduct these trials on some unlucky individuals whose lives are to be used as a laboratory specimen.

“We wouldn’t have become outraged, but the appearance of Kano State amongst states selected for the clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria got our attention the most and raised the need to set the record straight.

“Kano has suffered on various occasions in the past and equally has been neglected in the past, especially at the period of the devastation of the aftermath of these vaccine trials.

“In the recent past, people of Kano are yet to forget Pfizer’s clandestine drug trials which led to our people suffering from various ailments and medical conditions.

“The trials were made without proper vetting and approvals were never issued but Pfizer went ahead clandestinely and crippled our children and killed many innocent ones.

“But today, our dear state is once again being taunted as a possible ground for another medical jamboree and subjugation of the good people of Kano State to another round of trials of vaccines that are yet to be sufficiently proven as an effective means for the cure of the Coronavirus.

“What this simply means is that we the people of Kano state are still being regarded as guinea pigs that every Dick and Harry will turn to at the time of clinical trials of vaccines and drugs.

“Those whose families were crippled or killed because of Pfizer trials are yet to receive compensation a decade after but today the people of Kano state are selected for another round of vaccine trials only that this one is referred to as COVID-19 which remains the deadliest of the viruses discovered in recent past.

“We are astonished as to why this vaccine missed the road and found its way to Nigeria and unfortunately Kano State when Kano is not the origin of the virus neither was Kano recording mass death that will warrant a vaccine trial.

“We outrightly reject this WHO activity in our state and demand a withdrawal of our state’s name from the list of the states chosen to participate in this Coronavirus vaccine trials.

“The law has mandated us to ask proper questions when in need of answers especially those that are made on behalf of the voiceless, in view of this, therefore, various questions have been developed but the one needing an answer is whether the 15billion allocated to Kano state to fight COVID-19 was attached with conditions of vaccine trials, why Kano state?

“Why not China, the US or Europe where the devastation of the virus is enormous and are the index countries where the virus originated from and spread to Africa.

“Whilst we presently pay attention to the situation in our state, it remains not our business if these vaccine trials are conducted elsewhere, but in a situation where some individuals are ready to serve as willing tools for this vaccine trials, we would like to suggest it to be conducted on a well-set agreement between the willing tool and the authorities, proper compensations should be maintained and these should include an insurance cover for the willing individuals.

“The condition in Kano State caused by the spread of the Coronavirus seems under control and well managed, this can be verified from low death and low daily infection recorded and there is no doubt that Kano state will come out of this COVID-19 issue strong but what remains unacceptable is choosing the state as a colony for COVID-19 vaccine trials. This should be reversed.”

WHO: COVID-19 may not spread widely in Africa as it has elsewhere

Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Africa, says COVID-19 may not spread widely on the continent like it has elsewhere.

As of May 8, Africa had recorded 54, 434 cases, 2,080 deaths, and 18,857 recoveries.

But citing a new study by the regional office for Africa, Moeti said 83, 000 to 190 000 people could die of the virus in Africa within the first year if measures to contain it fails.

Shee added that about 29 to 44 million people in Africa could get infected with COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic.

Moeti said the research, which is based on prediction modelling, looked at 47 countries in the WHO African region with a total population of 1 billion.

Algeria, South Africa and Cameroon were listed as countries that were at a high risk if containment measures are not prioritised.

“While COVID-19 likely won’t spread as exponentially in Africa as it has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smoulder in transmission hotspots,” she said.

“COVID-19 could become a fixture in our lives for the next several years unless a proactive approach is taken by many governments in the region. We need to test, trace, isolate and treat.

“The importance of promoting effective containment measures is ever more crucial, as sustained and widespread transmission of the virus could severely overwhelm our health systems.

“Curbing a large scale outbreak is far costlier than the ongoing preventive measures governments are undertaking to contain the spread of the virus.”

She said the predicted number of cases that would require hospitalisation would overwhelm the available medical capacity in much of Africa.

Moeti said the report estimated 3.6 million to 5.5 million COVID-19 hospitalisation, of which 82 000 to 167, 000 would be severe cases requiring oxygen, and 52,000 to 107, 000 would be critical cases requiring breathing support.

Such a huge number of patients in hospitals, he said, would severely strain the health capacities of countries.

The study recommended that countries across Africa need to expand the capacity particularly of primary hospitals and ensure that basic emergency care is included in primary health systems.

WHO: Discussions ongoing for approval of herbal medicine for COVID-19

Mary Ugbodaga

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is investigating traditional medical products for the treatment of COVID-19.

In a statement issued on Monday, the organisation said it “recognises that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits and Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations”.

In recent times, there have been treatment options offered on traditional medicine, including one by a group of researchers in Edo state, who say they have produced a herbal drug “specifically for the treatment of COVID-19”, although NAFDAC insists it has not approved any herbal cure for COVID-19.

Citing medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua which are being considered as possible treatments for COVID-19, WHO said such plants have to be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects.

“Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world. Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical,” it read.

The organisation noted that it is working with research institutions to “select traditional medicine products which can be investigated for clinical efficacy and safety for COVID-19 treatment”.

It also said it would continue to support countries “as they explore the role of traditional health practitioners in prevention, control, and early detection of the virus as well as case referral to health facilities”.

“As efforts are underway to find treatment for COVID-19, caution must be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies. Many plants and substances are being proposed without the minimum requirements and evidence of quality, safety and efficacy,” it added.

“The use of products to treat COVID-19, which have not been robustly investigated can put people in danger, giving a false sense of security and distracting them from hand washing and physical distancing which are cardinal in COVID-19 prevention, and may also increase self-medication and the risk to patient safety.

“WHO welcomes every opportunity to collaborate with countries and researchers to develop new therapies and encourages such collaboration for the development of effective and safe therapies for Africa and the world.”

Culled from The Cable

Breaking: WHO swallows pride, considers Madagascar’s herbal drink as possible treatment for COVID-19

Dede Ifayemi

Madagascar’s much touted herbal COVID-19 cure may have received some support from the World Health Organization (WHO) after the global health body stated that it welcomes innovations around the world including repurposing drugs, traditional medicines and developing new therapies in the search for potential treatments for COVID-19.

This was contained in a press release issued by the WHO on Monday evening.

“WHO recognizes that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits and Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations. Medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua are being considered as possible treatments for COVID-19 and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects.

“Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world. Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical,” WHO stated in the release.

Today’s Echo understands that Madagascar is building a factory to mass-produce a drink from the extracts of the artimisia annua plant, which is used to treat malaria. The factory will be operational within a month, according to President Andry Rajoelina.

“Our researchers and scientists are doing the necessary to make our coronavirus remedy a drug that meets the standards,” he said on state TV.

Madagascar’s herbal drink has also received a boost from other African countries. The president of Tanzania, John Magufuli, has said he’s sending a plane to Madagascar to fetch the tonic, and Rajoelina said on Twitter that Equatorial Guinea’s vice minister for health had arrived in the country to procure an unknown quantity. Other countries that have shown interest are Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Comoros, Rajoelina said.

African governments through their Ministers of Health adopted a resolution urging Member States to produce evidence on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine at the Fiftieth Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa in 2000.

Countries also agreed to undertake relevant research and require national medicines regulatory agencies to approve medicines in line with international standards, which include the product following a strict research protocol and undergoing tests and clinical trials. These studies normally involve hundreds of people under the monitoring of the national regulatory authorities and may take quite a few months in an expedited process.

WHO is working with research institutions to select traditional medicine products which can be investigated for clinical efficacy and safety for COVID-19 treatment. In addition, the Organization will continue to support countries as they explore the role of traditional health practitioners in prevention, control, and early detection of the virus as well as case referral to health facilities.

Over the past two decades, WHO has been working with countries to ensure safe and effective traditional medicine development in Africa by providing financial resources and technical support. WHO has supported clinical trials, leading 14 countries to issue marketing authorization for 89 traditional medicine products which have met international and national requirements for registration. Of these, 43 have been included in national essential medicines lists. These products are now part of the arsenal to treat patients with a wide range of diseases including malaria, opportunistic infections related to HIV, diabetes, sickle cell disease and hypertension. Almost all countries in the WHO African region have national traditional medicine policies, following support from WHO.

“As efforts are under way to find treatment for COVID-19, caution must be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies. Many plants and substances are being proposed without the minimum requirements and evidence of quality, safety and efficacy. The use of products to treat COVID-19, which have not been robustly investigated can put people in danger, giving a false sense of security and distracting them from hand washing and physical distancing which are cardinal in COVID-19 prevention, and may also increase self-medication and the risk to patient safety.

WHO welcomes every opportunity to collaborate with countries and researchers to develop new therapies and encourages such collaboration for the development of effective and safe therapies for Africa and the world.

Today’s Echo

COVID-19: WHO to commence vaccine trials in Nigeria

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed Nigeria has indicated interest to be part of the solidarity trial of vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19) and that efforts are underway to start the process in the country.

The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Fiona Braka made this disclosure at the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 of which she is a member.

According to her, there are rigorous processes involved in approving a vaccine for any disease adding that 89 vaccines are currently in development globally.

Braka said: “on the subject of vaccines and clinical trials for COVID-19, I will like to say that research and development is an important aspect of the response and researchers around the world are working hard on accelerating the development of vaccines and therapeutics for Covid-19.

“WHO has launched various working groups to accelerate various aspects of vaccine development.

“Together with global health actors and partners, over the past week, WHO launched the Access to Covid-19 Tools ACT Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate development for equitable access to new Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

“We have a total of 89 vaccines that are in development globally, including seven in clinical evaluation and several therapeutics are in clinical trials.

“WHO is committed to ensuring that as medicines and vaccines are developed, they are shared equitably with all countries and people.

“We do have the solidarity trial which is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for Covid-19, launched by the WHO and partners.

“More than 100 countries have joined the solidarity trial and to date, over 1, 200 patients have been randomized from the first five countries to evaluate the safety and efficacy of full drug and drug combinations.

“Nigeria has also expressed interest to be part of this solidarity trial and efforts are underway to start the process in Nigeria”, she added.

Meanwhile the Director General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has urged citizens to learn to live with the COVID-19 until there is a vaccine to halt its spread.

He said “we really encourage all Nigerians, because we are at the beginning of a journey and the most likely scenario is that until we have a vaccine, we would have to learn to live with COVID-19 in our country.

“We have to tell ourselves the truth about this and encourage one another because there is no point doing that. All of us here are just as vulnerable as catching the virus as are many other people. We will do our best, but we will always have to remember that it is a virus, you cannot build a wall and anything can still happen in spite of our best efforts”, he added.

United States says it won’t be part of WHO global drugs, vaccine launch

United States will not take part in the launching of a global initiative on Friday to speed the development, production and distribution of drugs and vaccines against COVID-19, a spokesman for the U.S. mission in Geneva told Reuters.

“There will be no U.S. official participation”, he said in an email reply to a query. “We look forward to learning more about this initiative in support of international cooperation to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 as soon as possible.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has announced a suspension of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), where it is the largest donor. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will help launch the global initiative on Friday, the U.N. agency said ahead of the 1300 GMT event.

Covid-19 could kill 300,000 Africans, WHO warns leaders

WHO has warned that Africa could be the next epicentre of the deadly Covid-19.

They also said it’s likely that at least 300,000 people would die in Africa and 30 million will be pushed to poverty.

So far this continent has seen 1,000 deaths and almost 19,000 infections, much better than other regions like Europe and Asia. But it has seen a sharp rise in infection cases last week, reports BBC.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa – which warned 300,000 could die – called for a $100bn (£80bn) safety net for the continent, including halting external debt payments.

The WHO says the virus appears to be spreading away from African capitals. It has also highlighted that the continent lacks ventilators to deal with a pandemic.

More than a third of Africa’s population lacks access to adequate water supplies and nearly 60% of urban dwellers live in overcrowded slums – conditions where the virus could thrive.

North Africa is the worst affected region. Algeria, Egypt and Morocco have all had more than 2,000 cases and at least 100 deaths. Algeria has had the most deaths, with 348.

Elsewhere, South Africa has also had more than 2,000 cases, with 48 deaths, while the continent’s most populous nation, Nigeria, has had 442 cases and 13 confirmed deaths out of a population of some 200 million.

There has been lot of talks around, “inadequate testing” throughout Africa.

WHO Africa director Dr Matshidiso Moeti said, “If you look at the proportion of people who travel, Africa has fewer people who are travelling internationally,” she said.

But now that the virus is in within Africa, she says that her organisation is acting under the assumption that it will spread just as quickly as elsewhere.

There are around 15 African countries where the virus has not spread far so, if these countries adopt strong social distancing measures, they could contain the virus, she added.