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South Africa risks becoming one of the mutation factories of the world – medical expert – BusinessTech

The world’s biggest number of HIV cases is complicating South Africa’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, raising the risk of more mutated versions emerging and spreading across the globe.
Many of the country’s 8.2 million HIV-infected people are immuno-compromised and scientists say they can harbor the coronavirus for longer, allowing it to mutate as it reproduces. A study of an HIV positive 36-year-old woman showed that Covid-19 stayed in her body for 216 days and mutated rapidly.
“There is good evidence that prolonged infection in immune-compromised individuals is one of the mechanisms for the emergence of SARS Covid-2 variants,” Tulio de Oliveira, a bioinformatics professor who runs gene-sequencing institutions at two South African universities, said at an Aug. 30 immunology conference.
“You have this massive virus evolution, really the virus accumulating over 30 mutations.”
As the world struggles to stay ahead of rapidly emerging variants, getting South Africa’s HIV-infected people vaccinated has become critical. The recent discovery of another mutation in the country after the virulent beta variant late last year shows the risk to everyone of not urgently pushing vaccinations through.
The trouble is most of South Africa’s HIV-infected people are poor and marginalized. Many live in remote areas and have been largely left out of vaccination drives. Awash in vaccines — with more than enough doses to inoculate the country’s 40 million adults – South Africa’s problem now is getting them into the arms of people who desperately need them.
“Speed and coverage is important to make sure that people who are HIV positive are getting vaccinated,” said Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council and co-lead of the South African arm of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine trial.
The country’s vaccination drive has been patchy, at best. In affluent northern Johannesburg, vaccine stations can be found at every mile or two, and popstars and talk-show hosts extol the virtue of getting shots on radio stations targeted at the rich and the urban. In the rural and impoverished Northern Cape, it’s a very different story.
A 250-mile drive over two days from the provincial capital of Kimberley across an arid semi-desert to the town of Upington found vaccines available only at one location. That’s because clinics in most towns can only administer shots on certain days and for limited hours.
It’s little different in the impoverished townships that sit on the periphery of the biggest cities.
The health system is up against not just the difficulty of getting vaccines to remote areas, but also a lack of information and awareness.
“The young people are scared; they hear rumors that people die after getting the vaccine,” said Lee-Ann Montse, an HIV counselor, as she sat outside the refurbished shipping containers that serve as a clinic in Schmidtsdrift, a village 50 miles west of Kimberley.
It doesn’t help that some people live as far as nine miles from the clinic, and in an area with rampant unemployment, transport is a challenge, the 33-year-old said. Some days, only two or three people arrive to register for shots, she said.
The extent of the disinformation and its impact are demonstrated by the experience of Schalk van der Merwe, who grows raisins and nuts and rears livestock near the town of Groblershoop in the Northern Cape.
When he encouraged his workers to register for vaccination, only three were willing. After bringing a nurse from the town clinic to his farm to answer questions, ranging from whether people can get vaccinated if they are HIV positive to if it will affect fertility, 93 people came forward.
“We’ve had a strategy of taking the people to the vaccine, but given the demographic breakup of our country, with 25 to 26 million people who are largely sitting in townships or remote areas of the country,” vaccines need to be taken to them, said Stavros Nicolaou, head of the health-work unit at Business for South Africa, an industry group that’s working with the government.
“They don’t have all the information or digital access.”
South Africa has been hit the hardest in Africa by the coronavirus, with about 2.9 million confirmed cases. Excess death numbers show that more than 250,000 people who wouldn’t normally have died have perished during the pandemic – or one in 240 South Africans.
Even in the face of such numbers, people like Themba Maseko say their main preoccupation is unemployment – at 34.4%, South Africa has the highest rate of joblessness among the 82 countries tracked by Bloomberg.
“I don’t see how getting vaccinated will help me solve some of the immediate problems facing me and my family,” said the 43-year-old father of two in Mabopane, a township about 15 miles northwest of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.
Like other impoverished townships, Mabopane counts a sizable number of people who are HIV positive, making it a high-risk area.
South Africa has struggled with HIV and the disease it causes, AIDS, for more than three decades. Last year, 13.7% of South Africans were estimated to be infected with HIV, according to the National Statistics Agency.
While deaths have been capped thanks to the world’s biggest antiretroviral treatment program, Covid-19 has added a new wrinkle to their plight.
The beta variant, which cut the efficacy of the AstraZeneca Plc shot and led to dozens of countries banning travel from South Africa, emerged after a surge of cases in Nelson Mandela Bay.
That region has the lowest uptake of antiretrovirals used to treat HIV, meaning that many people there may be immuno-compromised, according to de Oliveira.
And while the newer South African mutation is being studied by the World Health Organization to determine if it’s a variant of interest, its emergence shows the risks of large swaths of unvaccinated people.
Only about 7.4 million people, or about 18.5% of the adult population in the country, are fully vaccinated.
“South Africa really risks becoming one of the mutation factories of the world,” de Oliveira said.

Read: No deaths attributed to Covid vaccines in South Africa – while the latest data shows they work

The world’s biggest number of HIV cases is complicating South Africa’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, raising the risk of more mutated versions emerging and spreading across the globe.

Many of the country’s 8.2 million HIV-infected people are immuno-compromised and scientists say they can harbor the coronavirus for longer, allowing it to mutate as it reproduces. A study of an HIV positive 36-year-old woman showed that Covid-19 stayed in her body for 216 days and mutated rapidly.

“There is good evidence that prolonged infection in immune-compromised individuals is one of the mechanisms for the emergence of SARS Covid-2 variants,” Tulio de Oliveira, a bioinformatics professor who runs gene-sequencing institutions at two South African universities, said at an Aug. 30 immunology conference.

“You have this massive virus evolution, really the virus accumulating over 30 mutations.”

As the world struggles to stay ahead of rapidly emerging variants, getting South Africa’s HIV-infected people vaccinated has become critical. The recent discovery of another mutation in the country after the virulent beta variant late last year shows the risk to everyone of not urgently pushing vaccinations through.

The trouble is most of South Africa’s HIV-infected people are poor and marginalized. Many live in remote areas and have been largely left out of vaccination drives. Awash in vaccines — with more than enough doses to inoculate the country’s 40 million adults – South Africa’s problem now is getting them into the arms of people who desperately need them.

“Speed and coverage is important to make sure that people who are HIV positive are getting vaccinated,” said Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council and co-lead of the South African arm of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine trial.

The country’s vaccination drive has been patchy, at best. In affluent northern Johannesburg, vaccine stations can be found at every mile or two, and popstars and talk-show hosts extol the virtue of getting shots on radio stations targeted at the rich and the urban. In the rural and impoverished Northern Cape, it’s a very different story.

A 250-mile drive over two days from the provincial capital of Kimberley across an arid semi-desert to the town of Upington found vaccines available only at one location. That’s because clinics in most towns can only administer shots on certain days and for limited hours.

It’s little different in the impoverished townships that sit on the periphery of the biggest cities.

The health system is up against not just the difficulty of getting vaccines to remote areas, but also a lack of information and awareness.

“The young people are scared; they hear rumors that people die after getting the vaccine,” said Lee-Ann Montse, an HIV counselor, as she sat outside the refurbished shipping containers that serve as a clinic in Schmidtsdrift, a village 50 miles west of Kimberley.

It doesn’t help that some people live as far as nine miles from the clinic, and in an area with rampant unemployment, transport is a challenge, the 33-year-old said. Some days, only two or three people arrive to register for shots, she said.

The extent of the disinformation and its impact are demonstrated by the experience of Schalk van der Merwe, who grows raisins and nuts and rears livestock near the town of Groblershoop in the Northern Cape.

When he encouraged his workers to register for vaccination, only three were willing. After bringing a nurse from the town clinic to his farm to answer questions, ranging from whether people can get vaccinated if they are HIV positive to if it will affect fertility, 93 people came forward.

“We’ve had a strategy of taking the people to the vaccine, but given the demographic breakup of our country, with 25 to 26 million people who are largely sitting in townships or remote areas of the country,” vaccines need to be taken to them, said Stavros Nicolaou, head of the health-work unit at Business for South Africa, an industry group that’s working with the government.

“They don’t have all the information or digital access.”

South Africa has been hit the hardest in Africa by the coronavirus, with about 2.9 million confirmed cases. Excess death numbers show that more than 250,000 people who wouldn’t normally have died have perished during the pandemic – or one in 240 South Africans.

Even in the face of such numbers, people like Themba Maseko say their main preoccupation is unemployment – at 34.4%, South Africa has the highest rate of joblessness among the 82 countries tracked by Bloomberg.

“I don’t see how getting vaccinated will help me solve some of the immediate problems facing me and my family,” said the 43-year-old father of two in Mabopane, a township about 15 miles northwest of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria.

Like other impoverished townships, Mabopane counts a sizable number of people who are HIV positive, making it a high-risk area.

South Africa has struggled with HIV and the disease it causes, AIDS, for more than three decades. Last year, 13.7% of South Africans were estimated to be infected with HIV, according to the National Statistics Agency.

While deaths have been capped thanks to the world’s biggest antiretroviral treatment program, Covid-19 has added a new wrinkle to their plight.

The beta variant, which cut the efficacy of the AstraZeneca Plc shot and led to dozens of countries banning travel from South Africa, emerged after a surge of cases in Nelson Mandela Bay.

That region has the lowest uptake of antiretrovirals used to treat HIV, meaning that many people there may be immuno-compromised, according to de Oliveira.

And while the newer South African mutation is being studied by the World Health Organization to determine if it’s a variant of interest, its emergence shows the risks of large swaths of unvaccinated people.

Only about 7.4 million people, or about 18.5% of the adult population in the country, are fully vaccinated.

“South Africa really risks becoming one of the mutation factories of the world,” de Oliveira said.


Read: No deaths attributed to Covid vaccines in South Africa – while the latest data shows they work

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Guinea declares end of Marburg virus outbreak – Reuters

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, attends a briefing for World Health Assembly (WHA) delegates on the Ebola outbreak response in Democratic Republic of the Congo at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Denis BalibouseCONAKRY, Sept 16 (Reuters) – An outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus in Guinea is officially over, health authorities said on Thursday, less than six weeks since West Africa’s first ever case of the disease was detected.No further cases were confirmed by health workers monitoring the 170 high-risk contacts of the first patient, who was diagnosed after succumbing to the highly infectious hemorrhagic fever. read more The outbreak came just two months after the country was declared free of Ebola following a brief flare-up earlier this year that killed 12 people.”Today we can point to the growing expertise in outbreak response in Guinea and the region that has saved lives, contained and averted a spill-over of the Marburg virus,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Africa.”Without immediate and decisive action, highly infectious diseases like Marburg can easily get out of hand,” she said in a statement.Both the Marburg case and this year’s Ebola cases were detected in Guinea’s Gueckedou district, near the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone. The first cases of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic – the largest in history – also were from the same area in Southeastern Guinea’s forest region.There have been 12 major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, mostly in southern and eastern Africa. Fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks depending on the virus strain and case management, according to the WHO.Transmission occurs through contact with infected body fluids and tissue. Symptoms include headache, vomiting blood, muscle pains and bleeding through various orifices.Reporting by Saliou Samb and Bate Felix; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Bill BerkrotOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, attends a briefing for World Health Assembly (WHA) delegates on the Ebola outbreak response in Democratic Republic of the Congo at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

CONAKRY, Sept 16 (Reuters) – An outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus in Guinea is officially over, health authorities said on Thursday, less than six weeks since West Africa’s first ever case of the disease was detected.

No further cases were confirmed by health workers monitoring the 170 high-risk contacts of the first patient, who was diagnosed after succumbing to the highly infectious hemorrhagic fever. read more

The outbreak came just two months after the country was declared free of Ebola following a brief flare-up earlier this year that killed 12 people.

“Today we can point to the growing expertise in outbreak response in Guinea and the region that has saved lives, contained and averted a spill-over of the Marburg virus,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Africa.

“Without immediate and decisive action, highly infectious diseases like Marburg can easily get out of hand,” she said in a statement.

Both the Marburg case and this year’s Ebola cases were detected in Guinea’s Gueckedou district, near the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone. The first cases of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic – the largest in history – also were from the same area in Southeastern Guinea’s forest region.

There have been 12 major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, mostly in southern and eastern Africa. Fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks depending on the virus strain and case management, according to the WHO.

Transmission occurs through contact with infected body fluids and tissue. Symptoms include headache, vomiting blood, muscle pains and bleeding through various orifices.

Reporting by Saliou Samb and Bate Felix; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Meet Africa's New Generation of Health Innovators – Africa.com

DAKAR, Senegal/GENEVA, Switzerland, 16 September 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) and Speak Up Africa, have announced Conrad Tankou, CEO, GIC Space (Cameroon); John Mwangi, CEO, Daktari Media (Kenya) and Imodoye Abioro, CEO, Healthbotics (Nigeria) as the winners of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award.
The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award is IFPMA and Speak Up Africa’s flagship programme to provide young entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector an opportunity to develop their business ideas and advance promising solutions to support, equip, protect, and train healthcare workers. Applicants must be 18 to 35 years and be a national or resident of an African country.
The Award winners will take home a total of $75,000 in financial support and benefit from a business mentorship programme, media training and technical support with intellectual property protection, plus exposure to a renowned network of global health leaders.
First prize winner, Conrad Tankou, CEO of GIC Space developed five proprietary medical technologies, under the GICMED platform, to remotely screen and diagnose women for breast and cervical cancers. The second prize winner, John Mwangi, CEO, Daktari Media invented Daktari Online, an online medical learning platform that offers continuing medical education to healthcare professionals. The third prize winner, Imodoye Abioro, CEO, Healthbotics created an AI-powered Electronic Medical Records system, Mediverse, which is built on the blockchain and allows health workers to input and retrieve patient records with their voice, working with or without Internet access.
First prize winner, Conrad Tankou said ““It is an honour to receive the first-ever Africa Young Innovators for Health Award. This is a true endorsement of our accomplishments and testament to our goal – improving access to screening and diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers for women, even in the most remote areas. With the Award’s financial and business mentorship support, we can upgrade our technologies and start scaling our solution much quicker by investing in manufacturing capabilities and building more local partnerships.”
Speak Up Africa’s, Founder and Executive Director, Yacine Djibo said “I continue to be impressed by the dedication, vision and creativity of young people in the healthcare sector. The Award programme is a testament to the potential but also the concrete solutions that already exist to some of the most challenging health issues not only in Africa but around the world.”
Recognising that only one fifth of applications came from women, IFPMA and Speak Up Africa also launched the Women Innovators Incubator, an initiative aimed at addressing the gaps in female-led innovation and tackling the additional hurdles women have to face to help take their business ideas from concept to implementation. Female applicants of the Award will be eligible for the programme. Participants will receive financial support, a business mentorship programme, media training and access to an expert network of supporters and partners working across, digital, healthcare and media.
Thomas Cueni, Director-General at IFPMA explained that “Our three award winners have had an amazing journey and are working on some really important innovations; and the Africa Young Innovators Award will continue in following years to find more new innovation talent. But in future years, we would like to see more young women come forwards. There are significant imbalances between men and women in access to funding, training and skills development, professional networks, and overall participation in competitive environments. The incubator is our response to tackling these inequalities and improving access to opportunities for women in the health innovation landscape. If we miss the potential of young women innovators, we are losing 50% of Africa’s power to innovate.”
The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award is supported by AMREF Health Africa, BroadReach, Ecobank Academy, Forum Galien Africa, IntraHealth International, Microsoft4Afrika, the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, and Social Change Factory, alongside our media partners: Africa.com, Télésud, and SciDev.Net.
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Speak Up Africa.
Notes to Editor
 1st Prize Winner: Conrad Tankou, 34, Global Innovation and Creativity Space (GIC Space), Cameroon.GIC Space, through its flagship product, GICMED provides access to breast and cervical cancer care to women in remote and peri-urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). With over 400,000 annual deaths recorded in SSA due to inadequate access to screening and diagnosis services, absence of required diagnostic equipment, and scarcity of qualified medical specialists; GIC Space strives to ensure access to quality healthcare services through training frontline health workers in use of their innovative and sustainable med-tech solutions, to remotely screen and diagnose women with real time pathology confirmation at the point of care and thereafter link to onsite treatment through a mobile treatment unit.Co-founded by, Dr. Tankou, after already launching an e-health venture that has scaled to 5 countries, helping over 200,000 pregnant women. Dr. Tankou was previously on Quartz Africa Innovators top 30 list of pioneers. Previous awards, grants and honors include, best health innovation in Africa at the Next Einstein Forum Global gathering in Kigali, Rwanda.
2nd Prize Winner: John Mwangi, 35, Daktari Media Africa, Kenya. Daktari Media Africa aims to improve the quality healthcare services in Kenya through ensuring health practitioners remain updated in this evolving field of health. Through its flagship product, Daktari Online, Daktari Media Africa provides an avenue through which the community of healthcare professionals (HCPs) can interact, train, publish research papers, attend and earn Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points. The platform – currently reaching 9,000 HCPs – is accredited as the first online continuous professional development (CPD) provider by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC). It is accredited by the regulatory bodies for pharmacists, pharmaceutical technologists, and clinical officers (physician assistants). Daktari Media Africa was recently one of five startups that won the 2020 Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA) Business Plan Competition in response to COVID-19 organized by Japan International Cooperation Agency. 
3rd Prize Winner: Imodoye Abioro, 27, Healthbotics Limited, Nigeria. Founded six years ago, Healthbotics Limited is committed to solving Africa’s perennial healthcare access challenges. Through Mediverse, Dr. Abioro seeks to improve the efficiency of the health worker in delivering quality healthcare and support the health authorities track disease outbreaks faster, even in places where internet has not yet reached. Powered by artificial intelligence, Mediverse is an electronic medical records system that allows health workers to input and retrieve patient records with their voice, working with or without internet access on every device. Mediverse seeks to be the fundamental solution upon which we can build a sustainable healthcare infrastructure in Africa and directly improve quality of care with data. Dr. Abioro is a 27 year-old serial innovator and entrepreneur and is not only a medical doctor but also a self-taught IBM Cloud software developer. Dr. Abioro and his team were one of the top 30 finalist of the WHO Africa Innovation Challenge; semi-finalists at the recent 2021 Nigerian Drone Business Competition and the only two-time semifinalist innovation in the history of the CISCO Global Problem Solver Challenge.
Contact To learn more about the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award, please visit https://africayounginnovatorsforhealth.org/ 
For all other media enquiries and further details, please contact: 
Award Secretariat: Uzoamaka Madu, press@whatsinitforafrica.com IFPMA: Paloma Tejada, p.tejada@ifpma.org Speak Up Africa: Maelle Ba, maelle.ba@speakupafrica.org. 
 You can find access to photos of the winners here
About the Partners
IFPMA represents research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations across the globe. Research-based pharmaceutical companies make a unique contribution to global health as innovators of lifesaving and life-changing medicines and vaccines, which improved millions of lives around the world. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community find solutions that improve global health.Twitter: @IFPMA 
Speak Up Africa is a policy and advocacy action tank dedicated to catalysing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa. Through their platforms and relationships and with the help of partners, Speak Up Africa ensures that policy makers meet implementers; that solutions are showcased and that every sector – from individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders – contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health and sustainable development.Twitter: @SpeakUpAfrica1
The post Meet Africa’s New Generation of Health Innovators appeared first on African Media Agency.

DAKAR, Senegal/GENEVA, Switzerland, 16 September 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) and Speak Up Africa, have announced Conrad Tankou, CEO, GIC Space (Cameroon); John Mwangi, CEO, Daktari Media (Kenya) and Imodoye Abioro, CEO, Healthbotics (Nigeria) as the winners of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award.

The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award is IFPMA and Speak Up Africa’s flagship programme to provide young entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector an opportunity to develop their business ideas and advance promising solutions to support, equip, protect, and train healthcare workers. Applicants must be 18 to 35 years and be a national or resident of an African country.

The Award winners will take home a total of $75,000 in financial support and benefit from a business mentorship programme, media training and technical support with intellectual property protection, plus exposure to a renowned network of global health leaders.

First prize winner, Conrad Tankou, CEO of GIC Space developed five proprietary medical technologies, under the GICMED platform, to remotely screen and diagnose women for breast and cervical cancers. The second prize winner, John Mwangi, CEO, Daktari Media invented Daktari Online, an online medical learning platform that offers continuing medical education to healthcare professionals. The third prize winner, Imodoye Abioro, CEO, Healthbotics created an AI-powered Electronic Medical Records system, Mediverse, which is built on the blockchain and allows health workers to input and retrieve patient records with their voice, working with or without Internet access.

First prize winner, Conrad Tankou said ““It is an honour to receive the first-ever Africa Young Innovators for Health Award. This is a true endorsement of our accomplishments and testament to our goal – improving access to screening and diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers for women, even in the most remote areas. With the Award’s financial and business mentorship support, we can upgrade our technologies and start scaling our solution much quicker by investing in manufacturing capabilities and building more local partnerships.”

Speak Up Africa’s, Founder and Executive Director, Yacine Djibo said “I continue to be impressed by the dedication, vision and creativity of young people in the healthcare sector. The Award programme is a testament to the potential but also the concrete solutions that already exist to some of the most challenging health issues not only in Africa but around the world.”

Recognising that only one fifth of applications came from women, IFPMA and Speak Up Africa also launched the Women Innovators Incubator, an initiative aimed at addressing the gaps in female-led innovation and tackling the additional hurdles women have to face to help take their business ideas from concept to implementation. Female applicants of the Award will be eligible for the programme. Participants will receive financial support, a business mentorship programme, media training and access to an expert network of supporters and partners working across, digital, healthcare and media.

Thomas Cueni, Director-General at IFPMA explained that “Our three award winners have had an amazing journey and are working on some really important innovations; and the Africa Young Innovators Award will continue in following years to find more new innovation talent. But in future years, we would like to see more young women come forwards. There are significant imbalances between men and women in access to funding, training and skills development, professional networks, and overall participation in competitive environments. The incubator is our response to tackling these inequalities and improving access to opportunities for women in the health innovation landscapeIf we miss the potential of young women innovators, we are losing 50% of Africa’s power to innovate.

The Africa Young Innovators for Health Award is supported by AMREF Health AfricaBroadReachEcobank AcademyForum Galien AfricaIntraHealth InternationalMicrosoft4Afrikathe Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuellethe RBM Partnership to End Malaria, and Social Change Factory, alongside our media partners: Africa.comTélésud, and SciDev.Net.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Speak Up Africa.

Notes to Editor

 1st Prize WinnerConrad Tankou, 34, Global Innovation and Creativity Space (GIC Space), Cameroon.
GIC Space, through its flagship product, GICMED provides access to breast and cervical cancer care to women in remote and peri-urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). With over 400,000 annual deaths recorded in SSA due to inadequate access to screening and diagnosis services, absence of required diagnostic equipment, and scarcity of qualified medical specialists; GIC Space strives to ensure access to quality healthcare services through training frontline health workers in use of their innovative and sustainable med-tech solutions, to remotely screen and diagnose women with real time pathology confirmation at the point of care and thereafter link to onsite treatment through a mobile treatment unit.
Co-founded by, Dr. Tankou, after already launching an e-health venture that has scaled to 5 countries, helping over 200,000 pregnant women. Dr. Tankou was previously on Quartz Africa Innovators top 30 list of pioneers. Previous awards, grants and honors include, best health innovation in Africa at the Next Einstein Forum Global gathering in Kigali, Rwanda.

2nd Prize Winner: John Mwangi, 35, Daktari Media Africa, Kenya. 
Daktari Media Africa aims to improve the quality healthcare services in Kenya through ensuring health practitioners remain updated in this evolving field of health. Through its flagship product, Daktari Online, Daktari Media Africa provides an avenue through which the community of healthcare professionals (HCPs) can interact, train, publish research papers, attend and earn Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points. The platform – currently reaching 9,000 HCPs – is accredited as the first online continuous professional development (CPD) provider by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC). It is accredited by the regulatory bodies for pharmacists, pharmaceutical technologists, and clinical officers (physician assistants). Daktari Media Africa was recently one of five startups that won the 2020 Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA) Business Plan Competition in response to COVID-19 organized by Japan International Cooperation Agency. 

3rd Prize Winner: Imodoye Abioro, 27, Healthbotics Limited, Nigeria. 
Founded six years ago, Healthbotics Limited is committed to solving Africa’s perennial healthcare access challenges. Through Mediverse, Dr. Abioro seeks to improve the efficiency of the health worker in delivering quality healthcare and support the health authorities track disease outbreaks faster, even in places where internet has not yet reached. Powered by artificial intelligence, Mediverse is an electronic medical records system that allows health workers to input and retrieve patient records with their voice, working with or without internet access on every device. Mediverse seeks to be the fundamental solution upon which we can build a sustainable healthcare infrastructure in Africa and directly improve quality of care with data. Dr. Abioro is a 27 year-old serial innovator and entrepreneur and is not only a medical doctor but also a self-taught IBM Cloud software developer. Dr. Abioro and his team were one of the top 30 finalist of the WHO Africa Innovation Challenge; semi-finalists at the recent 2021 Nigerian Drone Business Competition and the only two-time semifinalist innovation in the history of the CISCO Global Problem Solver Challenge.

Contact To learn more about the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award, please visit https://africayounginnovatorsforhealth.org/ 

For all other media enquiries and further details, please contact: 

Award Secretariat: Uzoamaka Madu, press@whatsinitforafrica.com IFPMA: Paloma Tejada, p.tejada@ifpma.org Speak Up Africa: Maelle Ba, maelle.ba@speakupafrica.org

 You can find access to photos of the winners here

About the Partners

IFPMA represents research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations across the globe. Research-based pharmaceutical companies make a unique contribution to global health as innovators of lifesaving and life-changing medicines and vaccines, which improved millions of lives around the world. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community find solutions that improve global health.
Twitter: @IFPMA 

Speak Up Africa is a policy and advocacy action tank dedicated to catalysing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa. Through their platforms and relationships and with the help of partners, Speak Up Africa ensures that policy makers meet implementers; that solutions are showcased and that every sector – from individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders – contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health and sustainable development.
Twitter: @SpeakUpAfrica1

The post Meet Africa’s New Generation of Health Innovators appeared first on African Media Agency.

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Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra's concert of gratitude for healthcare workers – University of Cape Town News

On the foot of Table Mountain, against the backdrop of the iconic old main building of Groote Schuur Hospital, sat the 48‑musicians‑strong Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) as they prepared to play for their first outdoor audience in almost two years.

The occasion was the Concert of Gratitude, a tribute by the CPO, the Western Cape Department of Health (DoH), Groote Schuur Hospital, and Hospital Heroes, to South Africa’s frontline health and medical workers and, more broadly, to healthcare workers across the world for putting their lives on the line throughout the COVID‑19 pandemic.

The concert took place during staff’s lunch hour on Wednesday, 15 September, in the hospital’s palm court. Staff, many of whom are from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences, were invited to take the hour to relax and enjoy the world‑class symphony orchestra’s tribute. Those who couldn’t leave their desks or wards could hear the music travelling down the hospital corridors or were able to live-stream the performance through CPO’s YouTube page.

[embedded content]

The concert is one of the initiatives headed by Hospital Heroes that focuses on the mental and emotional well-being of healthcare workers. Video Penny Lane Studios.

In addition to paying tribute to those who, after 18 months of working on the frontlines, continue to give their all for the public, the concert was also a moment to honour and remember the 193 healthcare workers in the Western Cape who died during the pandemic.

“We are sad, indeed, about the pandemic [that] has claimed the lives and livelihood of so many,” said Louis Heyneman, the chief executive of the CPO.

“We are, however, so grateful that, thanks to the staff of hospitals throughout the Western Cape, in particular, we are still here. The concert of joyous and inspiring music is a celebration of life, a salute to the health workers, and a mark of our profound gratitude.”

Lifting, motivating

Western Cape Provincial Minister of Health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo was also in attendance and expressed gratitude for the performance but also reflected on the exhaustion experienced by healthcare workers.

“We never went home; we have always been working … We don’t want a fourth wave because we, as healthcare workers, are tired; we have been working throughout.”

Dr Nomafrench Mbombo called for citizens to get vaccinated to keep the COVID-19 transmission rate down, and thereby protecting not just one another, but also healthcare workers.

Dr Bhavna Patel, the chief executive of Groote Schuur Hospital, said the hospital was “extremely grateful” and honoured by the CPO’s performance. She added that, at the time of the performance, there were 143 patients with COVID‑19 in the hospital – less than half of what they had seen two weeks ago.

“So this honour is not only for the staff at Groote Schuur but for all health workers nationally and internationally who are offering and dedicating their lives to the service of others.”

One such healthcare worker is Dr Abhaya Karki, a senior family medicine registrar from UCT and part of the team that built the Hospital of Hope from scratch in 2020.

Staff were invited to take the hour to relax and enjoy the world‑class symphony orchestra’s tribute.

He was encouraged to witness the CPO performance by his colleagues who “ran down” in excitement to hear the tribute. Karki welcomed the gesture.

“People get motivated … It’s really lifting, especially for the staff and for the patients who can hear it from the wards.”

As for the current state of affairs since vaccinations were rolled out to over‑18s, Karki noted that “there is still a lot of mis- and disinformation about the vaccine”.

“So we are seeing people who are not vaccinated, who are really very sick,” he said.

Fortunately, Karki drew hope from a recent pharmacy visit where many young people were lining up for their jabs.

He added that since receiving their vaccines as healthcare workers, staff feel much safer to work in wards, compared with the experience of the first and second waves.

On the foot of Table Mountain, against the backdrop of the iconic old main building of Groote Schuur Hospital, sat the 48‑musicians‑strong Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) as they prepared to play for their first outdoor audience in almost two years.

The occasion was the Concert of Gratitude, a tribute by the CPO, the Western Cape Department of Health (DoH), Groote Schuur Hospital, and Hospital Heroes, to South Africa’s frontline health and medical workers and, more broadly, to healthcare workers across the world for putting their lives on the line throughout the COVID‑19 pandemic.

The concert took place during staff’s lunch hour on Wednesday, 15 September, in the hospital’s palm court. Staff, many of whom are from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences, were invited to take the hour to relax and enjoy the world‑class symphony orchestra’s tribute. Those who couldn’t leave their desks or wards could hear the music travelling down the hospital corridors or were able to live-stream the performance through CPO’s YouTube page.

The concert is one of the initiatives headed by Hospital Heroes that focuses on the mental and emotional well-being of healthcare workers. Video Penny Lane Studios.

In addition to paying tribute to those who, after 18 months of working on the frontlines, continue to give their all for the public, the concert was also a moment to honour and remember the 193 healthcare workers in the Western Cape who died during the pandemic.

“We are sad, indeed, about the pandemic [that] has claimed the lives and livelihood of so many,” said Louis Heyneman, the chief executive of the CPO.

“We are, however, so grateful that, thanks to the staff of hospitals throughout the Western Cape, in particular, we are still here. The concert of joyous and inspiring music is a celebration of life, a salute to the health workers, and a mark of our profound gratitude.”

Lifting, motivating

Western Cape Provincial Minister of Health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo was also in attendance and expressed gratitude for the performance but also reflected on the exhaustion experienced by healthcare workers.

“We never went home; we have always been working … We don’t want a fourth wave because we, as healthcare workers, are tired; we have been working throughout.”

Cape Philharmonic Ochestra
Dr Nomafrench Mbombo called for citizens to get vaccinated to keep the COVID-19 transmission rate down, and thereby protecting not just one another, but also healthcare workers.

Dr Bhavna Patel, the chief executive of Groote Schuur Hospital, said the hospital was “extremely grateful” and honoured by the CPO’s performance. She added that, at the time of the performance, there were 143 patients with COVID‑19 in the hospital – less than half of what they had seen two weeks ago.

“So this honour is not only for the staff at Groote Schuur but for all health workers nationally and internationally who are offering and dedicating their lives to the service of others.”

One such healthcare worker is Dr Abhaya Karki, a senior family medicine registrar from UCT and part of the team that built the Hospital of Hope from scratch in 2020.

Staff were invited to take the hour to relax and enjoy the world‑class symphony orchestra’s tribute.

He was encouraged to witness the CPO performance by his colleagues who “ran down” in excitement to hear the tribute. Karki welcomed the gesture.

“People get motivated … It’s really lifting, especially for the staff and for the patients who can hear it from the wards.”

As for the current state of affairs since vaccinations were rolled out to over‑18s, Karki noted that “there is still a lot of mis- and disinformation about the vaccine”.

“So we are seeing people who are not vaccinated, who are really very sick,” he said.

Fortunately, Karki drew hope from a recent pharmacy visit where many young people were lining up for their jabs.

He added that since receiving their vaccines as healthcare workers, staff feel much safer to work in wards, compared with the experience of the first and second waves.



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