Nigeria Receives Medical Equipment’s From ECOWAS

Government of Nigeria received essential medical equipment from ECOWAS Commission, through the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) as part of the regional response strategy. The event, which took place in Nigeria, Abuja, flags off the series of hand overs which will cover the entire region and boost the collective effort aimed at managing and curtailing the spread of the deadly virus.

With the active support of the German government through its Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ, the development agency-Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ, and well as bank- Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau, KfW, the collaborative effort delivered 12,800 goggles, 294,000 small, medium and large gloves, 23,220 small, medium and large gowns, 8,190 coverall and 1,600 face shields. Other items were 12, 000 masks, 10,000 surgical masks, 5,000 sanitizers, 40,512 diagnostic test kits and two each of ventilators and ventilator trolleys.

A statement by the ECOWAS Commission said that the President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou expressed the appreciation of ECOWAS to all the partners in the fight against COVID-19, which has enabled a measure of progress. President Brou particularly thanked the president of Nigeria and regional champion on COVID-19, Muhammadu Buhari, for the leadership and support provided including logistics back up to aid the distribution of the items to other ECOWAS Member States.

He alsop stated that the materials donated will go a long way in the fight against COVID-19 bearing in mind the sustenance of the collective and coordinated regional efforts in ensuring the health and wellbeing of West African citizens are guaranteed.

The Director-General of WAHO, Professor Stanley Okolo, said that the handover of the critical medical equipment is part of the larger efforts at flattening the COVID-19 curve. He noted that as the collaboration of partners for a common goal is yielding desired fruits, it has become even more imperative for the populations to get into the habit of behavioural change adjustments.

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that the public health institution of the Nigerian Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, as well as the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 were set up to lead the whole of government response strategy and determine non-pharmaceutical measures to ensure the safety of citizens. He said that the country’s health workers who are toiling assiduously to treat COVID-19 patients, provide emergency care, while not losing sight of routine and essential health services needed the support and encouragement of all.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Sani Aliyu, as well as the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the Government of Nigeria, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the coordinator of the Presidential Task Force for Nigeria, Olusegun Adekunle all corroborated Minister Ehanire in calling for concerted efforts in the fight against COVID-19. Besides the funders the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is also collaborating with WAHO in the area of procurement.

Ethiopia donates $300,000 worth Medical Equipment to Djibouti

Ethiopia donated more than $300,000 worth medical equipment to neighboring Djibouti to help smallest horn African nation fight COVID-19 pandemic. Djibouti has so far reported more than 5000 cases of coronavirus as the worst hit horn African nation

Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Redwan Hussein handed over the medical supplies to Djibouti’s Minister of Health in a ceremony held at Djibouti Ambouli International Airport. During the handing over ceremony, Redwan said the donation is a testimony to the strategic partnership between the two countries that stands the taste of time.

Noting that the coronavirus pandemic can not be overcome by a single country alone, Redwan stressed that it is indispensable to jointly work with all neighboring countries to effectively mitigate and contain the scourge.

As neighboring countries, Ethiopia and Djibouti need to reinforce strong solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and shore up their collaboration in health sectors, Redwan added.

Mohammad Ali Yesuf extended his gratitude for Ethiopia on behalf of the Government and people of Djibouti.

Ethiopia extended the same to neighboring Somalia amid complaints by its health professionals over shortage of protective equipment COVID-19 locally.

Vihiga Receives Sh36m Medical Equipment From Kenya

Health services are set to improve after the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) under the Universal Health Care (UHC) programme delivered to Vihiga County a consignment of drugs and non-pharmaceuticals worth Sh.36 million.

An elated Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo, accompanied county government officials including his Deputy Dr. Patrick Saisi and County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health Dr. Amos Kutwa, flagged off the drugs to various health facilities at the County headquarters in Mbale town.

The brief flagging off ceremony was also graced by Mr. Charles Ouma, KEMSA representative. Speaking at the event, Governor Ottichilo expressed gratitude to the National Government through the Ministry of Health for what he described as continued support toward enhancement of the county health sector.

“Since I took over power in 2017 we have developed a better working partnership with the Ministry of Health,” observed Ottichilo. The governor noted it was due to the good relationship that Vihiga was now among top counties to receive supplies from KEMSA this year, unlike in the past. He exuded confidence the partnership would grow even stronger.

“This time we are on number two after Lamu County to receive drugs and accompanying non-pharmaceuticals from KEMSA under the Universal Health Care programme,” said Ottichilo who thanked the county health technical team for closely working with KEMSA for realization.

The county boss further hailed the UHC for enabling the recruitment of 167 health workers, among them nurses, who are set to join the county health department. “We really appreciate all these efforts, which are geared toward boosting provision of health services to Vihiga County residents,” stated Ottichilo.

Ottichilo reaffirmed his administration’s full support to health workers who are on the frontline as the world fights the novel Covid-19 pandemic that continues to claim live. “I am happy to announce the finance department is processing our health workers risk allowances to the tune of Sh. 28 milion,” he disclosed.

The governor urged the locals to continue adhering to health protocols currently in force in order to curb spread of the contagious coronavirus in the county. Deputy Governor appealed to the county health staff to put the medical supplies to prudent use for the benefit of Vihiga residents. On his part, Health CEC Dr. Kutwa appreciated the role played in developing the county health system. He revealed the department was in the process of recruiting about 440 Community Health Workers (CHWs) through the Universal Health Care. Ouma urged the people of Vihiga to continue supporting the governor and his team for better service delivery across all sectors.

Pharmaceutical Supplier Shelf Life Raises US$3.6 Million Equity In Africa

Shelf Life is a revolutionary pharmaceutical inventory management subscription service launched in Abuja in 2017 and has expanded to Kenya. Within that time, through their business model of supplying pharmaceutical products to community-based outlets, it has received widespread acceptance.

The service, provided by social enterprise Field Intelligence, is active in 50 retail locations in Kenya, with over 500 life-saving medicines and essential products being supplied on a pay-as-you-sell basis. In Kenya, there are about 5,840 privately-owned community pharmacies licensed by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, compared to approximately 4,700 government health facilities.

With the concept gaining popularity, Field Intelligence has been seeking to raise funds to expand to more shops both in Kenya and Nigeria. To this front, the company has announced the successful closing of its Series a funding of US$3.6 million equity.

The US$3.6 million equity raise will fund the scale-up of Shelf Life, the technology-enabled supply chain finance platform for pharmacies in Africa. The Series A funding round was led by Blue Haven Initiative-early-stage private equity firm with a focus on energy, fintech, logistics and human capital ventures in Sub Saharan Africa, with a portfolio that includes CrossBoundary Energy, M-KOPA, Paystack, Shortlist and Twiga Foods.

Other investors including Newtown Partners via the Imperial Venture Fund and Accion Venture Lab.

Michael Moreland, Co-Founder, and CEO, Field Intelligence, says, “We’re delighted to welcome new investors into the business. They share our vision for catalyzing change in a huge and vitally-important sector. They bring deep fintech and logistics experience, which will be vital in helping us build a new generation of healthcare supply chains in Africa and beyond.”

Shelf Life’s pharmacy clients can subscribe to over a thousand quality-assured and price-stabilized drugs from 50 medical, health and wellness categories. Using Field Intelligence’s technology platform, Shelf Life forecasts, procures, delivers, manages, and finances each product the pharmacy has subscribed to.

Over 280 community pharmacies in Nigeria and Kenya have now subscribed to Shelf Life, making it one of the largest networks of pharmacies on the continent. It is making the business of community pharmacy less risky and lower-cost while improving access to an expanded selecion of higher-quality medicines.

Since inception, Shelf Life has maintained 96% stock availability for its clients, up from a pre-Shelf Life baseline of 60%. As an alternative to traditional inventory finance, Shelf Life costs pharmacies between 60 and 82% less than traditional loans freeing these small retailers from prohibitively expensive capital.

Advisory support to this transaction was provided by CrossBoundary through USAID’s invest program funded by the USAID Southern and East Africa Regional Missions in support of the US Government’s Prosper Africa initiative.

The annual pharmaceuticals market in Africa is valued at over $60 billion. For 80% of people in Africa, their community pharmacy is the frontline of the health system and yet they routinely stock out of essential medicines, incur significant losses to expiry and struggle with substandard and falsified drugs. These inefficiencies cost the health system millions of dollars each year and limit access to quality care.

According to the company’s research, 60% of community pharmacies frequently stock out of essential medicines and 55% are without access to stable supply and finance.

Lauren Cochran, Managing Director, Blue Haven Initiative says, “Shelf Life is a proven platform to transform access to medicines through Africa’s private community pharmacy market. The design and development have been done on the ground in Nigeria and Kenya and there’s a real experience in the team of what it takes to deliver at scale in African health systems.”

Kenya – Ministry Of Health To Host A First Of Its Kind Healthcare Convention

In efforts to promote Kenya as a regional healthcare hub and healthcare investment destination, Amref Health Africa has partnered with Express Communications Limited, publishers of the Kenya Medical Directory, and the Ministry of Health to host a first of its kind healthcare convention.

The first Kenya Healthcare Convention taking place from March 9 and March 10 in Nairobi is set to bring together more than 350 industry providers to showcase their quality health service approaches, products and technologies to potential customers. This forum offers investors an opportunity to advance medical service delivery through Kenya to the East African region.

East Africa boasts a population of over 132 million people, with a projected 5.7% growth in GDP (the highest in the African region), making it a promising investment destination. Kenya is strategically positioned and regarded as a business hub within the East African Community. The country’s growing middle class (about 45% of the total population) has brought about a rise in demand for quality health care.

Drawing on Kenya’s years of experience in developing a robust private sector in health care and other industries, coupled with a clear strategic framework within the public sector aligned to economic growth and advancing social protection through the Big Four Agenda, the Kenya Healthcare Convention will foster important partnerships for the country and the region and stimulating discussions around promoting Kenya for medical tourism.

The two-day convention seeks to highlight achievements from the counties since the devolution of health services and showcase leading companies, institutions and organisations successfully providing services in this industry, drive engagement on the milestones, achievements and challenges in health service delivery and showcase collaborative achievements between government and private sector and how this has helped position Kenya as the health care hub in the region.

“We cannot speak of the right to health without quality care. Quality is a critical dimension of social justice and human rights principles and one of the essential pillars of universal health coverage. The overall quality of care by private and public providers in our health system is what will set Kenya apart as a regional health care destination,” said Dr Meshack Ndirangu, Country Director, Amref Health Africa in Kenya.

“Among other outcomes, the Kenya Healthcare Convention is expected to set in motion the formation of a multi-agency, government-industry partnership to promote Kenya for medical tourism, as well as kick off the process of developing a Medical and Wellness Tourism Policy for Kenya,” said Sammy Masara, CEO Express Communications Limited.

The Ministry of Health will launch two key documents at this inaugural event – the Quality of Care Certification Manual and Quality of Care Certification Framework for the Kenyan Health Sector, marking a key milestone in the nation’s quality improvement efforts.

The inaugural Kenya Healthcare Convention is also expected to catalyse the identification of a range of national government agencies and policy initiatives to stimulate and promote medical tourism in Kenya.

Tanzania Govt To Improve Healthcare In EACOP Corridor

The team visited the health facilities in Gomba, Ssembabule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera districts while the health facilities in Nwoya, Buliisa, Kikuube, Hoima, Kakumiro and Mubende districts were previously assessed in May 2019. As part of wider reforms tailored to improving health service delivery in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) corridor, the government is planning a raft of major reforms in the health centres in the districts surrounding the oil region.

According to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine, this will be part of the government’s efforts to revamp the districts health sector and improve efficiency to meet the required standards to benefit all the relevant stakeholders who are going to work in EACOP.

Most of the health facilities will be enhanced with standby ambulances, emergency units, fridges for blood storage as well as re-modeling and refurbishment of some facilities, said Dr Diana.

“Additional equipment will also be provided especially in the operating theatres as well as recruitment of supplementary staff,” Dr Diana continued.

Dr. Joseph Kobusheshe, the Director Environment, Health, Safety and Security Management at PAU said a lot of attention has been given to the development and application of environmental and health management systems as an integral parts of the oil and gas business frameworks.

Dr. Elly Muhumuza, the Chairperson LCV Sembabule district; expressed happiness that the health facilities will be upgraded to international standards, which will be a direct benefit to the local communities.

Anti-Cervical Cancer Awareness Mission in Tanzania

Prof. Faustin Kamuzora, The Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) has appointed for intensive efforts to ensure that no woman or girl dies from cervical cancer.

He emphasized the importance of screening for early detection of cervical cancer which can be treated and urged parents and guardians not to miss out on the great opportunity of having their children immunized.

He reassured the public that the vaccine was safe and approved by the government and WHO and would be provided free of charge at all health facilities.

Prof Kamuzora, however, noted that to date, the regional vaccination average against cervical cancer was far below the national average set at 80% with the regional average ranging between 53 -64%.

Five screening centers were set up in Bukoba Municipal Council- Buhembe, Kashai, Rwamishenye, Bukoba Referral Regional hospital, and Zamzam.

At the regional level, 64 centers would provide the service. Tanzania achieved a historical milestone to roll out a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine against cancer of the cervix.

A safe and effective Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine when provided to young girls between 9 and 14 years old, protects them against HPV and cervical cancer.

The Vice-President, Ms. Samia Suluhu Hassan, launched the programme last year and emphasized the importance of screening for early detection of cervical cancer which can be treated.

“The first beneficiaries of this vaccine would be girls aged 14 as we prepare to extend the vaccination to the rest of the girls. In order to get the girls to return for their second dose requires new routine delivery services and a good social deployment strategy,” she said.

The government’s assurance to reach the vaccination target of 616,734 girls, she acknowledged.

She commended the government’s decision to introduce the HPV vaccine in the country aimed at reducing mortality and morbidity caused by cervical cancer.

She congratulated the government for making a high-level decision and commitment towards the reduction of preventable childhood illnesses and deaths.

“This is an important milestone in the history of Tanzania, to join the fight along with other countries in the world to prevent mortality and morbidity due to cervical cancer. To achieve the full benefit of the HPV vaccine, it must be given to all targeted children regardless of where they live or how hard they are to reach.

EITE 2020


The 3rd edition of Ethiopia International Trade Exhibition is back at Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa, the one place to source new products, services and technology from around the world. The 3 day multi country international trade event brings to Ethiopia exhibitors from 30 countries. The main attractions this time around are the European and Asian Pavilions showcasing the latest products and innovations which are now being made available to the Ethiopian industries.

Ethiopia in 2020 and beyond – Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest untapped markets and is the fastest growing economy in Africa today. With a population of over 100 million and an annual economic growth rate of 10% over the past 15 years, it presents a unique opportunity. In addition to its strategic positioning as a long-haul transfer hub, Ethiopia is increasingly becoming an important destination for manufacturing. With the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) also in force, companies are looking at another opportunity at increasing exports to Africa.

Highlighting key sectors to promote and introduce new products equipment and services to the upcoming Ethiopian market is the primary goal for the trade exhibition. Held concurrently with the Ethiopia International Trade Exhibition, sectors include building and construction, lighting, heavy equipment, tools and hardware, woodworking and sawmill machinery, large automotive and spare parts, power and energy, consumer products, food and agriculture, materials printing, packaging and more. The event promises to introduce the Ethiopian market to world class industry leading products and services under one roof.

The much awaited 2020 edition will be open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM for the public till 26th of February 2020. Ambassadors, trade delegations and representatives from various countries and ministries are confirmed to be present to meet and support the companies representing their countries at the event.

The 2020 edition is expected to see special pavilion participation by companies from China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, India, Qatar, Malaysia, Russia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Companies from the African continent especially from Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia are also participating among the worlds’ leading global brands.

“Ethiopia is no longer a country that can be ignored. The interest shown by the business community towards the event shows that the industry leaders fully understand the importance and opportunities that are presented by the fair as well as the long term business relations it will create.” said Emily Parkson, Event Director from the organizers, Expogroup.

As the biggest business and trade event in Ethiopia, this event presents and opportunity for all industry leaders, innovators, business owners, importers, entrepreneurs and upcoming traders from various industries and backgrounds to source their needs and interact with international brands under one roof.

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IAEA Assisting Ethiopia To Control Cancer With New Radiotherapy Machine

Ethiopia has only one radiotherapy machine, but the country’s new government commenced office 16 months ago and has determined plans to change that with the support of the IAEA and other development partners.

The government is acquiring new equipment, constructing a new, 8-floor oncology center in the capital Addis Ababa, and is assigning doctors trained through IAEA fellowships to regional hospitals, where some of the radiotherapy machines will go.

“Excessively time had been spent with little progress and we are working to change that,” said Wendmagegn Gezahegn, Head of the St Paul’s Hospital in Addis Ababa, which looks as much as a construction site in a boomtown as a functioning hospital. Founded by Emperor Haile Selassie in the 1960s to cater to the poor, it is the country’s second-largest hospital and once the current expansion project is completed in the coming years, it will be the largest, with close to 5000 beds, fit to treat half a million patients per year.

The new wing will include an oncology center with 350 beds and 5 linear accelerators (Linac) machines and brachytherapy units for cancer treatment, as well as a new cyclotron facility to produce radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The construction of the bunkers that will house the radiotherapy machines for the safe operation will begin in the coming months, while the room to hold the cyclotron is already being built.

Wendmagegn Gezahegn, Head of the St Paul’s Hospital in Addis Abeba, and his colleagues reviewing the plans for a new cyclotron facility to be installed in a hospital wing currently under construction.

“The key to planning is to make sure that every machine has a maintenance plan, we need to budget more than just the purchase cost,” Gezahegn said. And indeed, one of the country’s two Cobalt-60 radiotherapy machines has been out of service since 2015 in Addis Abeba’s Black Lion Hospital due to lack of funding to repair it.

In parallel with the construction and procurement of the machines, the country also needs well-trained oncologists, medical physicists and radiology technicians and has turned to the IAEA for support.

Radiotherapy machines in two of these centers, Jimma and Harar, have been purchased and are being set up, while another three centers are under preparation.

The Government of Ethiopia plans to decrease waiting times for radiotherapy treatment by acquiring more equipment and train its staff with IAEA support.

Oncologists and public health officials are well aware that Ethiopia has a lot of catching up to do: the IAEA recommends four radiotherapy machines per one million people, a ratio that will take many expansion projects and several decades to reach. As of now, authorities hope the country will soon have nine functioning machines.

Gezahegn said that “Ethiopia is evolving rapidly and it is important that the economic growth means an improved standard of living nationwide.” “Providing access to cancer services, including radiotherapy, is a key component of that.”

A challenge that remains is the training of radiotherapy technicians. A curriculum for local training has been under approval for years, so in the meantime, technicians need to be sent abroad to be trained to operate radiotherapy machines, said Wolemariam.

“Development of local training schemes is key to the implementation of the services,” explained Kirsten Hopkins, Radiation Oncologist at the IAEA. “It is not feasible to provide expatriate training for the numbers of staff required for all the planned facilities.”

The IAEA has provided Ethiopia with training and expert advice on the new course curriculum and will continue to provide support through its technical co-operation program, she added.

The country’s radiation protection authorities are gearing up for the licensing of the new equipment, said Solomon Mekonnen, Director General of the Ethiopian Radiation Protection Authority. “We have been involved since the early stages of the radiotherapy expansion process and will do our best to authorize the equipment quickly, assuming all safety conditions are met,” he said.

Almost all of the Authority’s 40 technical staff, including those in the licensing department, have received training via IAEA fellowships and courses, Mekonnen said.

Having all stakeholders, ministries, authorities, health experts work together is key to making a difference, said Sandokan Debebe, Director General of the Technology and Innovation Institute of Ethiopia, which coordinates the IAEA’s projects in the country. “We have a holistic view to make sure that all angles are covered, and no future machine will sit idle due to lack of funds for repair or expertise to operate or license them,” he said.

Africa Cut Down TB Antibiotic Medicine Price By 66%

The price of TB antibiotic medicine – rifapentine, was cut down by 66% by its manufacturer Sanofi. When combined with another antibiotic (isoniazid), rifapentine can prevent tuberculosis (TB) disease. This good news was broadcast at the Union World Conference on Lung Health.

Talks to lower the price from US$45 to US$15 for a three-month course took more than a year to complete and involved Sanofi, Unitaid and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, in collaboration with the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility and the United States PEPFAR initiative.

Advocates have been insisting on price lower the price of rifapentine medicine since the scientific effect of this medicine was proven in peer-reviewed journals. Three months of treatment with rifapentine plus isoniazid was shown to be just as effective as and less toxic than one year of therapy with isoniazid alone (the previous standard). The reduction in treatment time alone provides an obvious improvement.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reviewed its guidelines for preventing TB disease. The guidelines now include three months of rifapentine and isoniazid taken weekly for people living in countries with a high TB burden. This routine is known as 3HP.

The WHO recommends that anyone living with HIV and those living in the same household as a person with TB disease should receive TB preventive therapy. The theme of 2019’s World AIDS Day was “Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic: Communities make the difference”. Reaching this goal requires that preventive treatment programs engage with communities to develop, refine and bring to scale interventions designed to meet the needs of people with and vulnerable to HIV and TB.

Importantly, the 3HP regimen can be administered along with dolutegravir, a better antiretroviral drug that is now being provided in South Africa and globally. A combination is an effective tool for keeping vulnerable people as healthy as possible.

All prevention programmes must begin by finding people who need TB preventive therapy. People living with HIV can be identified through HIV clinics. Contacts of people with TB disease can be identified by investigating affected households. People must always be screened for TB before starting TB preventive therapy.

In 2018, the member states of the United Nations committed to expanding the number of people receiving preventive treatment to at least 30 million by 2022. But the world is nowhere close to meeting that goal. It will take a lot of work to achieve these targets.

As the price of Sanofi’s rifapentine product Priftin cut down, now it can be more accessible to the public. If Priftin has not been approved for use in a country that needs this treatment, national TB programmes can work with the WHO and local regulatory authorities to process waivers.

Treatment for latent TB infection has been available since the 1950s, yet very few people who could benefit from TB preventive therapy are taking it. This price break making a shorter and equally effective treatment more affordable and perfect opportunity to make a dent in these numbers.