Posted by : Posted on : 08-Jun-2020

Health matters in local and international news.

In the Solomon Islands it is expected the container with 300 crutches for the NRH will arrive this week and the walking aids will then be quickly delivered to the hospital and distributed to the many in-patients and former patients awaiting crutches.

Following an appeal the Solomon Islands Forest Association procured and arranged for the delivery of the crutches but shipment was held up for more than two months due to quarantine measures put in place at the port where the container was to be loaded for shipment

In separate news, andaccording to an AHC media release sighted today, during a recent virtual Global Vaccine Summit hosted by the United Kingdom, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced Australia’s pledge of AUD 300 million from 2021 to 2025 to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. This is a 20 percent increase from Australia’s previous contribution to Gavi.

The good news from this pledge is Solomon Islands children will now have greater access to vaccines through Australia’s new pledge of AUD 300 million to the Vaccine Alliance.

Australia and Solomon Islands are partners in the Gavi Alliance. Australia’s support will help immunise 140 million children in the Indo-Pacific region by 2025, including in Solomon Islands.

Gavi is a public-private partnership that provides access to vaccines for low-income countries. Over the past two decades, Gavi has supported 16 countries in the IndoPacific with more than USD 3 billion in vaccine and health system support, and has directly contributed to the health of over 318 million children in our region through immunisation.

Australia’s commitment, which draws on its existing development budget, will help to ensure that Gavi maintains a strong focus on our region.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, welcomed the partnership, saying that Australia is stepping up work alongside its neighbours as they respond to the COVID-19 challenge while continuing to manage other preventable diseases.

“Immunisation saves lives,” Minister Payne said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has served as yet another reminder that investing in vaccine access is critical to regional health security.”

Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke said Australia was pleased to renew its commitment to Gavi.

Our mission is to see that all children, regardless of where they live, have access to life saving vaccines. I am particularly pleased that for our Pacific family and TimorLeste, the Alliance has enabled more than 1.5 million children to be vaccinated,” Minister Hawke said.

Source: AHC Media Release

Medical clinics in Vanuatu's cyclone-affected communities are reporting an increase in sicknesses, as the slow recovery process continues.

It has been two months since the category five Cyclone Harold tore through the country, destroying 90 percent of buildings in the worst-hit areas and impacting as many as 160,000 people.

Relief work had been slow, hampered by Covid-19 restrictions and missing the usually overwhelming international humanitarian response - with most countries struggling to deal with the pandemic in their own backyards.

A Disaster Management Officer on one of the worst hit islands, Pentecost, said distributing food and supplies had been a huge challenge with downed trees and debris blocking access into remote communities.

Phillip Meto said clean water, food and shelter were still very much the main needs.

But he said recent heavy rains muddied streams and rivers, further complicating matters, and clinics had recorded an increase in illnesses.

"At the South Pentecost health centre they recorded their first case of malaria and there is a lot of sickness in terms of red eye and diarrhoea," he said.

"There have already been plenty of referrals to transfer patients to Vila [for] treatment at hospitals in Vila."

Source:  Radio New Zealand.

In the UK today, Star News, has reported British scientists are thought to be leading the global race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and close to a major breakthrough on a life-saving antibody treatment.

The Oxford University team has been confident about their work on a vaccine for coronavirus, with millions of doses already being manufactured by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca in the expectation that it will work.

And there is now similar confidence that a separate project to create an antibody treatment for those especially vulnerable to COVID-19 will also prove successful, with testing now said to be moving at "full speed".

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, has described the treatment as a "combination of two antibodies" in an injected dose, reducing the chance that someone would develop resistance to one of them.

He told The Sunday Telegraph that the treatment could be vital for the elderly and vulnerable, "who may not be able to develop a good response to the vaccine".

Healthy people can develop antibodies to a disease to fight off the infection and protect them from it in future, and coronavirus antibody testing has become a key priority for governments around the world.

AstraZeneca has signed deals ensuring millions of doses of the Oxford vaccine can be manufactured if it works.

One is with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, to supply doses to low and middle-income countries; the other is with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Around 30 million could be made available in the UK as early as September, Downing Street has said.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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