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UNICEF, WHO Issue Alert On Low Polio, Measles Vaccinations

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The United Nations Children Agency, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization, W.H.O., have raised an alarm that millions of children are at risk of not being vaccinated against polio and measles because of the coronavirus, especially in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

The agencies issued a joint statement on Wednesday in Abuja, saying it is essential to address the global COVID-19 pandemic, but other deadly diseases, such as polio and measles, also threaten the lives of millions of children in some of the poorest parts of the world.

The two organizations say there has been “a global resurgence of measles with epidemics under way in all regions of the world in recent years.”

Gaps in immunization coverage have been further exacerbated in 2020 by COVID-19. The world agencies have called for “urgent action” by global donors and policymakers.

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Eritrea Accuses Rights Watchdog Of Defamation

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Eritrean government has accused human rights watch of engaging in a “defamation campaign.

Information minister Yemane Gebremeskel says the watchdog was giving false information to the united nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR). He said in a tweet that HRW was “in cahoots with the defunct Tigray people’s liberation front regime.”

Last month, the Eritrean government made a similar accusation against UNHCR that it engaged in an irresponsible smear campaign.”

Multiple reports say Eritrean forces have been fighting alongside Ethiopia’s federal troops against Tigray people’s liberation front, the party that governed the northern Tigray region before prime minister Abiy Hamed dissolved it.

Both countries have denied the reports.

 

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Activists Campaign To End Sexual Violence In Sierra Leone

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Two male activists are out in Sierra Leone campaigning against sexual violence in the country.

On Wednesday, a Sierra Leonean man and his American friend completed their long street or walk campaign against sexual violence.

The two have trekked more than 300 miles in 20 days from the farthest end of the country in Kailahun district to the capital Freetown.  They arrived in the city centre on Wednesday. They say they want to raise funds to buy a mobile forensic lab which will help gather evidence to prosecute rape offenders.

On their journey, they symbolically washed the feet of dozens of women in many towns and villages as an “atonement” for the sexual violence men have committed against women and girls in the country.

 

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South Africa Expects First Vaccine Doses Next Week

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South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said the country is expected to receive one million COVID-19 vaccine doses from India on Monday

Mkhize said the AstraZeneca doses would undergo technical processes on arrival, including quality assurance, adding that “these processes will take a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 14 days to complete, upon which we will be ready to distribute the vaccines to all provinces.”

The country which remains the most infected with COVID-19 in Africa is also expecting an additional 500,000 doses in February and a further 20 million doses procured for June as it continues to battle a highly infectious new mutation of the virus that has led to a surge in new infections.

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