Egypt Secures US$500m From Development Partners To Improve Health Sector Capacity

The Government of Egypt has secured around US$500 million from several development partners and multilateral institutions to enhance the capacity of the country’s health sector, Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al Mashat has revealed.

Al Mashat noted that the ministry has been keen on strengthening international collaboration to support the country’s national efforts and fight the pandemic, both in short term for crisis response and in long-term to ensure an inclusive and sustainable recovery.

Al-Mashat further revealed that the funds were dedicated towards the provision of protective equipment, supplies for medical teams and isolation hospitals, and also for strengthening the capacity of the Egyptian Red Crescent.

Some of the funds would also be used in training medical personnel as well as improving public awareness of the crisis, Al-Mashat revealed.

Al Mashat stated that the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a fund of $400 million to be implemented in six Egyptian governorates.

The funds will be used to strengthen UHIS-related governance and institutions and provide temporary financial protection against high out of pocket health expenditures for vulnerable populations.

She also signed an agreement with the World Bank Group worth $50 million as part of the Emergency Response Project to combat the Covid-19 Pandemic for the Ministry of Health and Population.
The Ministry also succeeded in reallocating $7.9 million to combat the COVID-19 within the framework of a major agreement signed with the World Bank worth 530 million euros to develop the health sector in Egypt.

On the same note, Al-Mashat amended an agreement with the French Development Agency for the primary health care project with an amount of $17 million, to purchase medical and protective equipment.

According to Al-Mashat, Egypt also received a number of medical supplies donation from the United States, China, and India.

The Country also received a number of grants from various development partners including Korea (US$400,000), Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, (US$3.2 million), Canada (US$500,000), AfDB (US$500,00) and UNICEF (7.74 million).

The Ministry of International Cooperation also launched the “Kamama” initiative, which was a successful model for cooperation among different stakeholders in society.
It aimed to both empower and protect women in Upper Egypt through providing them with job opportunities in the production of masks.

Al Mashat revealed that currently, the ministry is working to finalize the procedures for obtaining a grant from the Japanese government, amounting $9.3 million.

SA tech company secures major contract with Britain’s National Health Services

South African e-health startup Healthcent, which is behind the Signapps messaging platform, has won a contract with the United Kingdom’s National Health Services (NHS) to provide its software as a service (SaaS) communication platform for the management of clinical communication to NHS Trusts.

NHS Trusts will be able to procure Signapps’ services through a framework agreement which has a list value of GBP3 million (US$4 million) and will run for a period of two years with a potential extension for 12 months.

“The contract with the NHS is a major coup for us, as a South African company, proving that our product engineering teams can create products to compete with the very best internationally,” said Andrew Davies, chief executive officer (CEO) of Signapps.

He said because most of the developments involved in fulfilling the NHS contract will be done in South Africa, the contract will provide work opportunities for those with software engineering and development skills.

A tender published on June 19 by the UK government said the COVID-19 pandemic had “accelerated the need to urgently deliver on Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s long-standing plan to phase out pagers by the end of 2021”.

The target date has been brought forward significantly because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, with the tender awarded to Signapps six weeks after being published.

Since its launch in 2017, the messaging platform has built a strong local track record, having been established in numerous areas, including the Chris Hani Baragwanath Paediatric Burns Unit, stroke units within the Life Hospital group, and sub-acute care.

Having recently, on a pro-bono basis, worked within state hospitals to keep healthcare workers safe, it has now secured a significant international deal with the NHS.

“There was an excellent fit between the requirements of the NHS tender and the Signapps messaging platform, including GDPR compliant platform features and points of integration to NHS active directory and Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. Said features and integrations enable staff to share clinical information quickly and securely with the minimum of friction,” Davies said.

“The award shows that our platform, already proven to be effective in South Africa, can stand up to international scrutiny and be selected for use in one of the world’s biggest national health systems. I am proud of everyone, both inside and outside our company, who has played a role in developing Signapps to this point.”

Healthcare providers use Signapps to confidentially communicate and share clinical updates on patients, enabling appropriate responses by practitioners in real-time as well as facilitating more generalised communication relating to logistical and administrative matters between teams.

The advantage of Signapps, particularly in the treatment of patients with COVID-19, is that only essential workers need to be physically present with the patient, allowing other members of the care team to collaborate in real time remotely.

Tanzania launched new online platform to fight against fake Medicine

The problem of fake drugs is the big around the world including Tanzania. While the government has introduced regulations on medical business, there are still loopholes that allow people to sell fake drugs both online and in brick and mortar shops, this is due to a lack of verification before drugs enter the market.

Now, this online platform called PharmLinks, founded in Tanzania, wants to stop the crisis of fake drugs. This platform links pharmaceutical suppliers and wholesalers with retailers in Tanzania, to buy quality products from registered pharmacies and also monitor the market.

Frank Arabi, one of a medical student at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, co-founded PharmLinks after he observed a number of challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry in Tanzania, including the problem of procurement, which creates the perfect conditions for the fake drug business. Arabi and his team designed an online system to simplify pharmaceutical procurement and fight fake drugs by closely monitoring companies along the supply chain.

The website provides a list of various pharmacies, products and prices. It provides business analytics and inventory management also provides a chance for end-users to verify the drugs. So it’s a complex system with a range of solutions, said Arabi in an interview with Global Voices. 35 pharmacists can now freely log onto the website and search medical products they want in their shops. The system directs them to wholesaler’s suppliers and stores vetted for safety and lists their prices for each product. The buyer can then choose the products and pay for them online, and soon after, products are delivered.

The World Health Organization says around 100,000 deaths in Africa yearly are linked to fake and substandard drugs and the number is increasing.

Arabi believes that the problem of fake drugs is a big business and needs various approaches to fight it. The global counterfeit drug market is worth around $200 billion annually, according to WHO, as reported by Reuters.

I think this problem of counterfeit medicines is very complex and wide, and it requires a multi-dimensional approach and tackling from every angle of the supply chain is just one of them. we believe in the power of digital health toward improving the health of our people, Arabi told.

In June 2019, the government with Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) issued a warning about the presence of fake medicine in Tanzania that resembled Gentrisone, a medicinal cream used for bacterial infections. Local media outlet the Daily News revealed that 4,118 tubes were found in six different regions of Tanzania.

Pharmlinks has so far linked with tens of pharmacies in Dar es salaam, Tanzania’s business hub, and hopes to connect to hundreds more in the coming year.

The Tanzanian pharmaceutical market faces several challenges, including a black market which allows people to buy medicines on the streets without a required prescription from the physician.

On Tandale Street, 3 kilometers from Dar’s city center, Hawa Alex Dagaa, who owns a pharmacy, admits that some people buy pharmaceutical products from people who have no license to sell drugs, just because they sell the products at a lower price.

Some people are buying pharmaceutical products from people who are trading it around because it’s cheap, but sometimes it’s difficult to guarantee its authenticity.

Dagaa believes that the new online system will not only save time otherwise used to find shops that sell medicine at affordable prices, but it will also help track the pharmaceutical products distributed in the market, reducing the chances of purchasing fake drugs.

Because of traffic jams, it takes a long time to go to find medical products for my pharmacy in town, but with this system, you can log in, you place your order, you pay and they deliver it, she told.

Pharmlinks is not the only digital platform that focuses on fighting fake drugs in Africa. In 2018, a Nigeria based platform, medsaf was launched to prevent fake drugs from circulating in the West African country, while in Ghana, FarmaTrus was also launched.

Pharmlinks works closely with the Tanzania Pharmacy Council, which is responsible for registering pharmacies and pharmacists, along with TMDA, to ensure this system is viable.

Ethiopia and Japan Sign $13.6 Mn Grant Agreement to Help Ethiopia fight COVID

Ethiopia and Japan government signed a grant agreement of $13.6 million to help Ethiopia combat COVID-19. The grant will be used for the procurement of health and medical equipment, it was learned.

The grant will help provide radiography systems, portable ultrasound scanners, and other medical equipment to hospitals and medical universities throughout Ethiopia.

Signing the agreement were Ahmed Shide, Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance, and Matsunaga Daisuke, Ambassador of Japan to Ethiopia. On the occasion, Ambassador Daisuke remarked the grant will contribute to enhancing measures being taken on the fight against COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases in Ethiopia.

The health sector is one of Japan’s priorities in terms of support for Ethiopia, and as a friend of this great country, it is a pleasure to be able to contribute to the health and well-being of the Ethiopian people, he said.

In addition to deepening the friendship of the people of Ethiopia and Japan, the grant will also strengthen the health care system in the country through the provision of health and medical equipment to hospitals and medical universities, Ambassador Daisuke pointed out, while reiterating Japan’s efforts to support Ethiopia in the face of the coronavirus.

The agreement signed is a continuation of the August 2019 Yokohama TICAD-7 commitment to expand universal health coverage, and the African health and well-being initiatives, the Embassy of Japan in Addis Ababa indicated.

Aga Khan Launches 345m Polyclinic Health Facility in Kibaha Tanzania

Resicdents of Kibaha District and its environs are expected to get better healthcare services, after the Aga Khan Health Services (Tanzania), opened a 345m/-facility.

It is the first Aga Khan Polyclinic Health Centre in the town which will enable citizens to access quality, safe and affordable services.

The Head of Primary Medical Center in Dar es Salaam, Coast and Eastern Zone, Mr Shakir Bandari said the Aga Khan has invested $ 150,000 (about 345m/-), to build a modern system of providing Radiology services (PACS) and access to specialists through electronic/network–tele consultation.

“It is encouraging to see the full participation of this Institute in the growth of the health sector in Tanzania, and especially in the Coast Region”.

“We are pleased to come here with the leadership of Aga Khan Health Institute in Tanzania as well as stakeholders and community representatives at the ward and local level, to officially open this first Aga Khan Polyclinic Health Center in Kibaha”.

Aga Khan Polyclinic at Kibaha is the 23rd facility to be opened in a period of six years in the Coast Region, they plan to add several other mini-clinics in the near future.

This centre will help to solve the challenges faced by the district, arguing that the availability of several services like Digital X- Ray, Ultrasound, laboratory, pharmacy, Pediatrics specialists, surgery and maternity as well as maternal and child health clinics, will be provided right there.

This Aga Khan Polyclinic Health Center in Kibaha is the institution’s commitment to provide and promote quality, affordable services by building facilities that reach district level and facilitating medical services for those in need through National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and other insurance service providers.

The centre will provide modern clinics with 24 hour services to enable residents access unlimited healthcare from qualified professionals.

The Aga Khan Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Sisawo Konteh told the Institution will continue to partner with the government through the Ministry of Health in implementing major $ 12million (about 27bn/-) maternal and child health projects signed in 2017-2021.

He also told that the projects have been implemented in eight districts of Mwanza region, with the aim of reducing maternal mortality, building the capacity of health care providers and improving delivery rooms and its infrastructure.

“With great collaboration from other institutions and the government, they will support the growth of quality health care in the workplace, capacity building as well as the use of medical equipment to help Tanzanians”.

Aga Khan Health Services (Tanzania) is celebrating 91 years since its inception in Tanzania and has continued to move quality health services to almost all Tanzanians through the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) guidelines

Rwandan Air Force to receive Caravan aircraft for medical evacuation

The Rwandan Air Force will take delivery of two Cessna Caravan aircraft, which will be used for medical evacuation and other tasks.

In September 2019 the United States issued a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the acquisition of medical evacuation (medevac) aircraft for Rwanda and on 24 June this year the Department of Defence announced that ATI Engineering Services of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, had been awarded a $10 million contract for Rwanda’s Grand Caravan EX acquisition.

“This contract provides the procurement of two Textron C-208 EX aircraft, associated spare parts and ground support equipment, the necessary modifications for the Rwandan Air Force, flight training device, technical drawings and interim logistic support for both aircraft and the training device,” the Department of Defence said.

Work will be performed in Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Rockford, Illinois; and Kigali Air Force Base, Rwanda, and is expected to be completed by 31 July 2022. “This contract involves Foreign Military Sales to Rwanda and is the result of a competitive acquisition with two offers received. Fiscal 2016 Peacekeeping Operations Overseas Contingency Operations funds in the amount of $9 030 923 is being obligated at the time of award.”

In its September 2019 RFP, the Department of Defence called for delivery of the first aircraft no later than June 2021, with the contract terminating in July 2022.

The US Air Force first announced that Rwanda was to receive two new aircraft for medical evacuation and light transport, primarily during United Nations international peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan. Rwanda’s first peacekeeping contribution was to Sudan (Unamid). According to the United Nations, Rwanda contributes more than 6 500 military and police officers to UN peacekeeping missions, including Unmiss (South Sudan), Minusca (Central African Republic), Unamid, Minujusth (United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti) and Unisfa (United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei).

The Rwandan Air Force has acquired few new aircraft in the last decade, having only upgraded some of its Mi-17s. Its most numerous type is the Mi-17, with more than 20 in service – some of these have been deployed with the United Nations in South Sudan (one crashed there in March 2019). Other types in service include several SA 342 Gazelles and half a dozen Mi-24 helicopters. The Rwandan government flies a single A109 and AW139 helicopter and a G550 business jet.

A Nigerian Medical Expert Invents Equipment To Detect COVID-19 Infected Lungs

US based Nigerian medical expert Dr. Samson Arigbamu has invented a stethoscope which is capable of immediately identifying adventitious lung such as COVID-19 infected lungs that would immediately announce its findings.
Dr. Samson Arigbamu in a mail to Vanguard Ibadan stated that this stethoscope is in production at prototype and optimisation stage, which the final product would commence by December. He said that the process could be expedited with resources from individuals, organisations or even the Nigerian government.

Dr. Arigbamu has been living in the USA for about 22 years and currently the Director of Nursing at Future Care Lochearn, a 200-bed capacity health rehabilitation centre in Baltimore Maryland. He has been on the employment of the company for 10 years, prior to that, he was a director of nursing at Manor Care Woodbridge in Baltimore Maryland currently he owns and operate a private clinic called Upsurge Health Associate in Freeland, Maryland.

Dr. Arigbamu said that the eventual production of the stethoscope would be a great achievement of pride to Nigeria government for the fact that a citizen of the country invented a critical medical equipment worthy of a USA patent, hence, soliciting support from Nigeria government. Arigbamu even said that having worked in the healthcare field for over 20 years, he had seen healthcare providers including nurses, mid-level providers and physicians struggle with identifying lung and heart sounds. As a result, chest x-rays, EKGs and other cardiac interrogative tests are often ordered to identify adventitious lung and heart conditions.

He also said that clinical issue with these expensive tests and devices is they are incapable of identify adventitious sounds and providing immediate and accurate feedback, consequently and utilization of such devices often result in significant clinical and health issues for the patients and even a waste of valuable resource.

“Due to such challenges, he started working on inventing a digital stethoscope that could identify lung and heart sounds, interpret the sounds and immediately announce its findings to the users.” The stethoscope is also capable of integrating its data into the electronic medical record. With this capabilities, it will enhance physical assessment vital to health care providers and novice users. It will also ensure opportunities for timely intervention and prevention of further health decline in patients.

“This stethoscope is also equipped with an electronic medical record (EMR), integration capabilities (essential to telemedicine) to improve care coordination and patient information portability.” The project received a USA patent and is currently in the prototype phase of production in the USA and Ukraine. The invention of the stethoscope would be a great achievement of pride to Nigeria as a citizen of the country invented such critical medical equipment worthy of a USA patent.

Ghana to Construct New Health Facilities in Ashanti and Eastern regions

The government of the Republic of Ghana is all set to construct new health facilities in Ashanti and Eastern regions following the approval of a €56,153,500 loan by the West African country legislative body for the implementation of the project.

Provided by the Deutsche Bank AG, world’s one of the leading financial service providers, the loan will partly cater for the construction of trauma hospitals in Obuasi and Ayinam. The Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, said that the scope of work for the trauma hospitals include the construction works of features such as accident and emergency department, a male theatre, public health department, out-patient department, amongst others.

The loan will also facilitate the construction of an accident and emergency center at the Enyiresi Hospital, and a rehabilitation center at the Obuasi Health Centre as well as finance the provision of medical equipment and ancillary services to ensure that the facilities are fully operational and serving their purpose.

The projects are planned to be undertaken in a course of three years by local companies under engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractual basis.

According to Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, the Anyinam region does not have a single major hospital and the existing Obuasi Health Centre is both ill-equipped and inadequate to meet the health needs of the growing population of the catchment area.

Upon completion, the new health facilities he said will bring quality healthcare to the doorstep of residents of beneficiary communities and boost the healthcare sector of the entire country.

The project is a part of the government’s commitment to the provision of universal health in line with the Sustainable Development Goal.

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.