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WHO Approves 2 New COVID-19 Treatments

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WHO Approves 2 New COVID-19 Treatments

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved two new COVID-19 treatments, which are added to the growing arsenal of tools along with vaccines to stave off severe illness and death from the infectious disease.

In their recommendation in British Medical Journal (BMJ), WHO experts said arthritis drug baricitinib used with corticosteroids to treat severe or critical COVID-19 patients led to better survival rates and reduced need for ventilators.

Experts also recommended synthetic antibody treatment Sotrovimab for people with non-serious COVID-19 at the highest risk of hospitalisation, such as the elderly, people with immunodeficiencies, or chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Sotrovimab’s benefits for people not at risk of hospitalisation were deemed insignificant and the WHO said its effectiveness against new variants like Omicron was “still uncertain”.

The news comes as Omicron cases fill hospitals around the world with the WHO predicting half of Europe will be infected by March.

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World News

Nigerian-Born Canadian Justice Minister Suspended From Office. Here’s Why

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Nigerian-Born Canadian Justice Minister Suspended From Office

Nigerian-born Canadian Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu’, has been suspended from office pending the finalization of his ongoing investigation.

The Nigerian has been accused of asking for revocation from Edmonton’s police chief of his ticket fine for a driving violation.

Jason Kenney, the18th Premier of Alberta, revealed the suspension via a tweet, adding that Sonya Savage will act as the Justice Minister in his place.

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“In the interim period, I have asked Minister Madu to step back from his ministerial duties,” Kennedy tweeted on Tuesday.

“Minister Sonya Savage will act as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General during Minister Madu’s leave of absence,” he said.

According to the official reports, Madu was fined on March 10, 2021, $300 for being on his cell phone while driving in a school zone.

The reports said he allegedly called Edmonton police, Chief Dale McFee to discuss the ticket.

Madu said he was pulled over by an Edmonton police officer, who alleged he was driving while on his phone. But disagrees with the offense, saying his phone was in his pocket.

Court records showed that Madu was issued a ticket for operating a vehicle while using a cell phone for which he paid the $300 fine two days later.

Madu insists that he did not commit the offense and suggested that the issue could be linked to matters of racial profiling happening at that time.

“To be abundantly clear, at no point did I request that the ticket be rescinded. I would never do that. However, in that particular call, I regret raising the issue at all with Chief McFee,” Madu said.

“Due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the controversy surrounding the Lethbridge Police Service. I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that were in the media at the time,” he added.

But Alberta opposition party NDP justice critic Irfan Sabir said Madu’s actions were “wholly unacceptable” and called for his resignation.

Sabir accused Madu of using “his position as minister to initiate this conversation, and regardless of whether he asked the chief to cancel the ticket, it is political interference for him to have discussed it all.”

Kennedy said he “will appoint a respected independent investigator to review the relevant facts and to determine whether there was interference in the administration of justice in this case.”

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National News

Wife Of Former Senate President Bags WHO Top Job

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Wife Of Former Senate President Bags WHO Top Job

World Health Organisation (WHO) Foundation has appointed the wife of former Senate President, Toyin Saraki as Inaugural Global Health Ambassador.

Speaking on the appointment, Saraki disclosed this via tweet, as she vows to work hard in keeping the world safe and advection for the protection of vulnerable persons.

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“I am delighted to announce that the World Health Organization Foundation has named me their Inaugural Global Health Ambassador. This is a natural progression of the blossoming collaboration between my advocacy, philanthropy, and our intrinsic synergies in relation to fighting the many challenges faced in global health.

“Global health needs us all, from every country, to work as one. We must all dedicate ourselves to keeping the world safe, and advocate for the protection of the most vulnerable. By working together, we can change the lives of future generations.

“I look forward to propelling one of the world’s most influential global health initiatives forward through the joint force and work we have initiated.

“We have set out to protect the health and well-being of everyone, in every part of the world, and I am honored as the Inaugural Ambassador to reiterate my commitment to the development, growth, and mission of the WHO Foundation, and to support the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global health community.

WHO praised the newly appointed ambassador, expressing her hard work and dedication in improving lives in sub-Saharan Africa.

We are thrilled to announce Her Excellency Toyin Saraki as WHO Foundation Ambassador for Global Health.

She is a highly esteemed global advocate with decades of work dedicated to women’s and children’s health and empowerment, ending gender-based violence, and improving lives in sub-Saharan Africa with The Wellbeing Foundation.

We are applauding Mrs. Saraki’s tireless commitment to improving global health and are delighted to welcome her as an Ambassador for Global Health.

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Health & Wellness

WHO Confirms Omicron Spreading Faster Than Delta Variant

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WHO Confirms Omicron Spreading Faster Than Delta Variant

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is now “consistent evidence” that the Omicron variant was outpacing Delta, as COVID-19 continues to account for around 50,000 deaths worldwide every week.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus told journalists at the agency’s Headquarters in Geneva that it was also more likely that people who had been vaccinated or recovered from the virus, could be infected, or re-infected.

“There can be no doubt that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases, overwhelm health systems and more deaths.

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“All of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with friends and family. All of us want to get back to normal.

“The fastest way to do that is for all of us – leaders and individuals – to make the difficult decisions that must be made to protect ourselves and others,” he said.

He said delaying or cancelling events, was the responsible thing to do: “An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled. It’s better to cancel now and celebrate later than to celebrate now and grieve later.”

More than 3.3 million people have lost their lives to COVID-19 this year – more deaths than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020, and Africa was now facing a steep wave of infections, driven largely by the Omicron variant.

Just a month ago, Africa was reporting its lowest number of cases in 18 months, Ghebreyesus reminded reporters on Monday, whereas last week, it reported the fourth-highest number of cases in a single week so far.

“None of us wants to be here again in 12 months’ time, talking about missed opportunities, continued inequity, or new variants,” he said.

The director-general emphasised that for the pandemic to end in 2022, “we must end inequity, by ensuring 70 per cent of the population of every country is vaccinated by the middle of next year.”

Around the world, the WHO was working with countries to restore and sustain essential health services disrupted by the pandemic.

According to new data released this year, 23 million children missed out on routine vaccines in 2020, the largest number in over a decade, increasing risks from preventable diseases like measles and polio, the UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

Progress is, however, still being made in many other areas of healthcare and medicine.

Five countries were able to introduce the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) to prevent cervical cancer, and a further nine are planning to introduce it over the next six months, and in September, WHO launched a global road map to defeat meningitis by 2030.

The pandemic has also caused setbacks in the agency’s efforts to defeat the world’s leading infectious diseases, with an estimated 14 million more malaria cases and 47 thousand more malaria deaths in 2020, compared to 2019.

“However, WHO certified two countries – China and El Salvador – as malaria-free this year, and a further 25 are on track to end malaria transmission by 2025,” Ghebreyesus said.

He said the WHO also made a historic recommendation for the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine.

Services for non-communicable diseases have also been hit, with more than half of countries surveyed between June and October, reporting disruptions to services for diabetes, cancer screening and treatment, and management of hypertension.

Summing up a tumultuous year, he also noted that several important steps had been taken to strengthen the global health architecture, and WHO itself.

“We launched the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin; We broke ground on the WHO Academy in Lyon; We established the WHO BioHub System,” he said.

In early December, Member States agreed to negotiate the world’s first new agreement on pandemic preparedness and response.

“We have also taken decisive steps to address instances of sexual exploitation and abuse and to make sure that our people meet the high standards that we, and our Member States, expect of them.

“We took decisive steps to address sexual exploitation, following shocking revelations of alleged abuse committed by some WHO staff during the deadly tenth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,’’ he said.

“2022 must be the year we end the pandemic,” said the director-general, but to prevent a future disaster on the same scale, all countries must invest in resilient health systems, build on primary care, with universal health coverage as the goal.

“When people can’t access the services they need, or can’t afford them, individuals, families, communities and entire societies are put at risk.

“In the year ahead, WHO is committed to doing everything in our power to end the pandemic, and to beginning a new era in global health – an era in which health is at the centre of every country’s development plans,” he said. 

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