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EAA launches two integrated education and immunisation projects in Africa. Photo Gulf Times


Education Above All Foundation (EAA) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have extended their partnership to launch integrated immunisation projects in Ethiopia and Kenya, supported by Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD).
In conjunction with EAA’s Educate A Child (EAC) programme and its ongoing education project with Save the Children Korea (SCK), the initiative in Ethiopia aims to support the country’s overarching target of 90% immunisation coverage at the national level and at least 80% in each of the 11 targeted districts in the host community and three refugee camps in the Gambella Regional State of Ethiopia. It aims to increase uptake of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination amongst girls aged 14 and child vaccination amongst children under one-year-old, reaching 108,183 children with immunisations and 995 adults, who will receive related training over a period of 12 months.

Meanwhile, the immunisation project in Kenya, which intersects with EAA’s ongoing education project with UNICEF, will be implemented in 16 arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) counties in three zonal areas of Garissa, Kisumu and Lodwar as well as urban informal settlements in Nairobi with high numbers of out of school children. Over the next two years, the project aims to reach 257,400 girls who are both in school and out of school in Kenya.

UNICEF’s immunisation and education projects will work closely together to ensure that communities are mobilised to increase school enrolment and that girls receive the HPV vaccine when they reach 10 years of age. The education project will benefit from the network of community health volunteers and facility-based health workers to advocate for school enrolment, while the immunisation programme in the targeted counties will benefit from the network of schools and teachers to reach communities with messages on cervical cancer and HPV vaccine.
Both projects come as an extension of EAA and Gavi’s partnership aimed at supporting health, development and education access in some of the world’s most marginalised communities.

Khalifa Jassim Alal-Kuwari, director general QFFD, said,.“ We are pleased that the recent contribution by Qatar Fund to GAVI has paved the way for a new strategic partnership between our long-lasting strategic partners Education Above All and GAVI. Through this strategic partnership, an integrated immunisation programme will be launched in Nigeria targeting more than 100,000 children and women. Furthermore, we are looking forward to the upcoming signing of projects in both, Ethiopia and Kenya.”

Fahad al-Sulaiti, CEO EAA, said,“We recognise that children are more likely to enrol and remain in education if they are healthy. EAA is committed to working with local communities to advocate for school enrolment and ensure access to quality primary education for the most marginalised. Together, through our existing education project, we will engage local and regional stakeholders to generate a marked improvement in health practices and mobilise resources at a time when they are most needed.”

“When education and health come together, sustainable change happens. We entered into our partnership with EAA last year in order to enhance awareness around health challenges and shape health-seeking behaviours", said Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. "Today, with the support of the Qatar Fund For Development, we are launching two integrated education and immunisation projects in Ethiopia and Kenya that will aim to reach over half a million of the most marginalised people over the next two years."

“Children in Ethiopia face a high risk of exposure to polio and cervical cancer, and lack access to essential vaccination support due to Covid-19. Through this immunisation initiative, the project has enormous scope to reach hundreds of thousands of children with life-saving vaccines that will protect them from preventable diseases and thereby improve their chances of regular school attendance and healthy cognitive development,” said Gabriel Taeyoung Jung, CEO of Save the Children Korea.

“Girls in the ASAL counties of Kenya were already among the most disadvantaged children in the country, and they have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, including school closures and reduced uptake of vaccination,” UNICEF representative to Kenya, Maniza Zaman, said. “Every child has the right to an education and to health care. In Kenya, this new partnership will improve learning and immunisation for an additional quarter of a million girls.

The immunisation project will identify children living in the areas where EAC and Save the Children’s education project is being implemented and engage teachers and Parent-Teacher Association members of supported schools. It will address some of the key barriers to vaccination in the region, including lack of immunisation service availability and cold chain equipment; lack of service providers and training; data inconsistency and shortage of reporting; low community awareness; and inadequate support. - Gulf Times

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni. Photo: Carl Court/AP


July 31, 2021 (KAMPALA) - President Yoweri Museveni on Friday announced the lifting of the lockdown in which public transport has been allowed to operate and arcades allowed to reopen but under strict adherence to Standard Operating Procedures.

On June 18, the president announced an immediate 42-day lockdown imposed on the country in a move aimed at mitigating the surging cases of Covid-19 as the country entered into a second wave of the pandemic.

In a televised address on Friday, however, Museveni said the lockdown was of great help leading to a reduction in daily confirmed cases from 1735 to an average of 71 per day now whereas the positivity rate has also gone down from 22% to only 8%.

“Therefore, when this crisis started I had to intervene to protect health workers from being overwhelmed and to save the population from massive deaths. There has since been a reduction in daily deaths and admission of critical patients,” he said.

The president said there were three options including fully reopening, partial reopening or continuing with the total lockdown but noted government had to strike a balance between controlling the spread of the virus on one hand and the mitigating effect of the lockdown on the economy and the general wellbeing of Ugandans on the other hand.

Museveni said the task force decided that the country goes with the partial lockdown but under strict Standard Operating Procedures to be followed by the population.

“Partial opening up will see an increased number of infections in the first week since everyone will be coming out after the lockdown but this would later reduce. It is therefore good to ensure observance of SOPs in the partial lockdown. Based on scientists’ advice, I now revise my directives,” Museveni said.

“Therefore, curfew is maintained at 7 pm and all persons except security and those cleared to move at night should be in their homes. Public transport will reopen at 50% capacity beginning Monday.”

According to the president, public transport associations should regulate themselves and failure to comply with the decision to reopen will be reversed whereas boda bodas are allowed to carry one passenger but stop at 6 pm.

The president noted that private vehicles are now allowed to move across district borders but carrying a maximum of three persons including the driver whereas shopping malls and arcades are reopened.

“Bars remain closed and security should arrest and charge owners who breach this directive. Performing artists and their concerts are still closed but they can perform virtually,” Museveni said.

The president said outdoor sports events are now opened but under strict observance of Standard Operating Procedures.

The Uganda leader, however, said churches, mosques and other places of worship are still closed for another 60 days but urged them to use virtual prayers.

On schools, the president said these are too still closed until learners are vaccinated.

“If you don’t observe that and you think you are clever you may get problems and also cause us problems. If these measures are taken, we may avoid the third wave. Maybe we will have vaccinated and got the cure that we are testing,” Museveni said.

According to the Ministry of Health, results for tests done on July, 28, Uganda registered 393 new Covid cases to take the number to 93675 cumulative cases whereas 23 new deaths put the cumulative number at 2661.

A total of 81992 Covid patients have fully recovered since March 2020 when Uganda registered its first Covid case. - Sudan Tribune


Photo via Anadolu Agency


Deep-rooted cultural beliefs that breast milk makes the child lazy or feel thirsty have made Tanzania hold the infamous distinction of having the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

According to 2016 statistics available from the National Bureau of Statistics, the East African country was reporting 556 deaths per 100,000 expecting mothers annually. The Demographic Health Survey has recorded that only 59% of infants in the country are being breastfed exclusively in their first six months of life.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mariana Sanga, 31, mother of four children living at Lunyanywi village in Tanzania’s southern Njombe region, said when she gave birth to her first child, her aunt advised her not to breastfeed the baby.

Instead of her milk, she was feeding the baby with water mixed with sugar and soft porridge. The advice of her aunt has left her children dangerously malnourished.

“My firstborn is stunted because I did not breastfeed her. I made a terrible mistake which I will live to regret,” she said.

Sanga is among many women in the impoverished region who mistakenly believed in wrong cultural beliefs and compromised the health of her children.

At Lunyanywi village these beliefs and taboos are deeply rooted that many women neglect health advice.

Lydia Semwaiko, 31, who lives in Ludewa district in Njombe with her family, said she stopped breastfeeding after a few months because she could not enjoy intercourse with her husband.

“I did not want him to sleep with other women that is why I stopped breastfeeding my child,” she said.

Some communities in Njombe still believe mother’s milk becomes unclean if she is involved in extramarital relationships. They also believe that a baby can gain weight faster when fed with porridge during the first few days after birth.

While most women in the impoverished region have realized the power of colostrum –thick milk produced by mothers soon after delivery, the cultural beliefs are still keeping many mothers away from newborn babies, who consider this nutritious liquid dirty, because of its yellow color.
Requires sustained awareness

Local health experts say to express the need for a sustained awareness campaign to remove these incorrect beliefs.

Antimony Massawe, a leading pediatric specialist based in Dar es Salaam, is trying hard to remove these beliefs and create awareness about breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding is the baby’s first vaccine. It provides protection against life-threatening conditions and promotes healthy growth,” he said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also recommended exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for at least two years with a supplementary diet.

Health workers say, besides cultural beliefs, the lack of support from the spouse also prevents women from breastfeeding their babies.

To dispel these myths, the government has identified and trained over 6,000 community health workers to create awareness about nutrition and to educate mothers about the importance of breastfeeding.

“We are aiming to reach both mothers and fathers so that they can work together to improve their family’ nutrition,” said Yusta Tarimo, a district community health worker in Njombe.

According to Tarimo sometimes babies want to breastfeed just for comfort or put themselves to sleep.

At Lupembe village some women say when babies start putting hands into their mouths and chew them it is a sign that they are ready for solid foods.

Asha Mwita, 22, said when she eats and her baby looks at her admiringly, she feeds her with solid food.

“I want her to get used to solid food as I am tired of breastfeeding,” she said. - Kizito Makoye, Anadolu Agency

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