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43 Million At Risk Of Food Insecurity In West Africa – WFP

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The World Food Programme (WFP) has said on Tuesday more than 40 million persons across west Africa face risks of food insecurity in the coming months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

WFP worry these number of people- twice as many as before the pandemic -could face desperate food shortages.

WFP spokesperson, Elisabeth Byrs said during a press conference from Geneva Switzerland, that more than 21 million persons across west Africa will struggle to feed themselves between June and August in the absence of sustained assistance due to the socio-economic impact of covid19 in the next six months, doubling the number of food-insecure to 43 million in this region.

Byrs reiterated the need for WFP and partners to “sustain assistance to these people across the region. Especially in places such as central Sahel, Central African Republic, northern Nigeria and Cameroon.

The United Nations high commission for refugees figures show,  west and central Africa is one of largest displacement situations in Africa, which also estimates that the region plays host to about five and a half million internally displaced people, more than 1.3 million refugees and 1.6 million stateless.

In its 2020 global hotspots report released on December 31, 2019, WFP projected that millions of people in Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the central Sahel region will require life-saving food assistance in the coming months, “the sheer scale and complexity of which will stretch the un food relief agency’s capacity to the limit and require generous donor support for a ramped-up humanitarian response.”

The World Food Programme said it remains alert to growing global food needs, provoked by civil unrest and macro-economic crisis.

It estimates that more than $10 billion will be required to fully fund all its operations in more than 80 countries around the world in the coming year.

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Flavoured HIV Drug For Children To Be Rolled Out In Africa

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Aid agencies say flavoured tablet for children living with HIV will be rolled out in Africa next year. The un estimates more than one and a half million children around the world live with HIV with only half receiving any treatment.

The UN explains one thing that has made it difficult for young children to take their anti-retroviral medication has been its bitter taste. Another problem has been the cost – despite some significant progress in recent years.

Health experts say the low cost strawberry-flavoured tablet will be given in doses that are suitable for children living with HIV. That means no more crushing up of adult-sized tablets.

It is to be the first generic paediatric version of a key anti-retroviral therapy which will even be available for babies. Reports say, in a few months, children in Benin Republic, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Zimbabwe will receive the new tablets.

The new treatment will cost 120 dollars a year instead of its previous nearly 500 dollars a year cost.

A landmark agreement between UNITAID and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) will see HIV treatment among children reduce by 75% in low and middle-income countries with access to more appropriate treatment.

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Mali: COVID-19 And Conflict Lead To Rise In Child Trafficking

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The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR says child trafficking is on the rise in Mali, with more under-aged children being recruited by armed groups and forced to work in gold mines. It says the children were exposed to “the worst forms of child labour, economic exploitation, and physical, sexual and psychological abuse

UNHCR, says, the situation is worsened by conflict, covid-19 and deteriorating economic conditions. Particularly in Gao and Kidal where many areas are controlled by armed groups.

As schools remain closed because of conflict, insecurity, covid-19 or teachers’ strikes, children are reported pushed towards informal gold mines.

UNHCR says a network of humanitarian agencies has documented 230 cases of child recruitment in the first half of the year, compared with 215 cases all of last year.

It also found an estimated 6,000 children, disproportionately boys, working across eight mining sites in Mali.

The U.S State Department report says, Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for transnational trafficking, and that internal trafficking is more prevalent.

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Okonjo-Iweala Named Forbes Africa Person Of The Year

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Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has on Tuesday been named Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2020.

Forbes Africa disclosed this in a tweet saying Okonjo-Iweala who is a candidate for the office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been named “The 2020 African person of the Year.”

Reacting to the news, Okonjo-Iweala said she is “thrilled to be named Forbes Africa-CNBC ‘2020 African of the Year’ following in the footsteps of my great brothers Paul Kagame and Akin Adesina.”

She added “This award is for Africans suffering the health and economic impact of COVID-19. The energy and resilience of Africans inspires me”.

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