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Low COVID-19 cases, deaths in Africa surprise Bill Gates

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Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), has expressed surprise about the low cases including death rate resulting from coronavirus in African countries.

According to him, he does not understand why coronavirus numbers have not been as high as predicted in Africa.

Gates and his wife, Melinda, had in more than one occasion, warned that there would be dead bodies on the streets of Africa if the world did not act fast enough.

Melinda said her heart was in Africa, adding that she was worried that the continent might not be able to handle the devastating effect of the virus.

Bill Gates, however, said in his end of the year notes that he was happy his prediction about Africa had not happened.

“One thing I’m happy to have been wrong about—at least, I hope I was wrong—is my fear that COVID-19 would run rampant in low-income countries. So far, this hasn’t been true,” he wrote.

In most of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, case rates and death rates remain much lower than in the U.S. or Europe and on par with New Zealand, which has received so much attention for its handling of the virus.

“The hardest-hit country on the continent is South Africa—but even there, the case rate is 40 pe rcent lower than in the US, and the death rate is nearly 50 per cent lower.

“We don’t have enough data yet to understand why the numbers aren’t as high as I worried they would get — but gave probable reasons Africa was not as affected as expected.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria is currently fighting the second wave of the coronavirus.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had last week announced a second wave of the dreaded virus.

The Federal Government on Tuesday directed civil servants from grade level 12 and below to stay at home.

They are to remain at home for five weeks following the second wave of the COVID-19 disease in Nigeria.

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Friday stated that COVID-19 related deaths now stand at 1,246.

Nigeria currently has a total of 82,747 confirmed cases in the country.

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South Africa detects two imported cholera cases

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Sanitarians disinfect themselves after working at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. - PENG LIJUN / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACTOPHOTO

South Africa has called for vigilance on the part of the country’s citizens after health authorities confirmed two imported cases of cholera.

The South African Ministry of Health, Joe Phaahla, explained that the two cases are sisters who had traveled to Malawi to attend a funeral. In addition, several family members are reported to have symptoms compatible with the disease and are being investigated in laboratories.

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Also, the South African government, which has urged people to ensure proper hygiene, as well as the use of safe or disinfected water or the complete disposal of excreta, has maintained that it is working in “close collaboration” with local authorities, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and the World Health Organization to closely monitor the situation.

On the other hand, the Health Minister recalled that cholera is not an endemic disease in the country, informing that the last outbreak, imported from Zimbabwe, took place in 2008-2009, when the country recorded 12,000 cases.

Malawi is facing a cholera outbreak declared in March last year that has left more than 1,200 dead in the country, according to the most recent data from the Ministry of Health. The Malawian Executive has imposed and lifted several measures over the past few months, including the closure of schools in some of the country’s cities.

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85% doctors planning to leave Nigeria for greener pastures – NARD

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At least 85 per cent of Nigerian doctors are planning to leave the country to seek greener pastures, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.

This is according to the data obtained from the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors.

The report also showed that the preferred countries for immigration intentions are the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The NARD members are of House Officers, Registrars, Senior Registrars, and Medical Officers below the level of Principal Medical Officers.

Speaking with our correspondent, the President of the association, Dr Emeka, said if the government did not take steps to address the ongoing brain drain in the country, the situation will get worse in the health sector.

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“When we are saying these things, it looks as if it’s a joke. Mobility of labour is acceptable anywhere and what the government should do is to address the root causes of the immigration of doctors, as long as they don’t address it, when they see better opportunities out there, they will want to go there.

“It’s about the choices people make about themselves when they think that the government is not taking care of them. The government needs to improve on the things we have highlighted to reduce the brain drain,” he said.

He noted that as of October 2022, there were only 10,000 resident doctors in the country.

“Five months after, and we don’t have any reason to suggest that there is a downward scale of doctors migrating, if anything should be, it should be an increment in the immigration because nothing essentially has changed in terms of the working condition, infrastructure, security and all that,” he added.

Going by this figure, it means that 8,500 resident doctors plan to leave the country.

The 2023 macroeconomic outlook report released by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group recently said that aside from the considerable health infrastructural gap, Nigeria has lost many medical professionals to brain drain, leading to personnel inadequacy in the health sector.

The report said, “One of the major factors inhibiting Nigeria’s economic development has been the brain drain and knowledge gap in human capital. Knowledge as a significant driver of economies of scale can be increased by investing in education and providing better health services, which is the nation’s human capital formation.

“An equipped labour force, a stable economic environment, a thriving private sector, and robust social welfare programmes are crucial in attaining Shared Prosperity in Nigeria.”

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How Nigerians above 40 can stay healthy – Physician

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A public health expert, Dr. Akinlemibola Makinde, has urged Nigerians, especially those above 40 to consider creating health-related New Year resolutions to stay healthy.

Makinde, who is the chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria also noted that it is essential to meet with one’s doctor to plan how to stay healthy and fit in the new year.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in an interview, Makinde said some lifestyle changes are crucial to stay healthy each year.

He said, “Health-wise, it is necessary to make a new year’s health resolution to take care of yourself properly, what you eat, and so on, especially if you are above 40.

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“Changing one’s lifestyle is important. People should take more vegetables than carbohydrates, people should also exercise, not in a rigorous manner. Doing exercises like taking a walk, and taking plenty of water counts.”

Makinde noted that it can be difficult to abide by any resolution, but advised that people write down their health goals for the year and keep the document where they can see it daily making it easy to imbibe it as a habit.

He also stated that it is important to consult one’s doctor when deciding to make health changes stating that consultation with one’s doctor will assist the doctor to give specific recommendations necessary for the individual based on their health status and history.

Also, in an earlier interview, a nutritionist, James Oloyede, noted that as one approaches 40, the intake of certain foods should be limited.

According to him, people over 40 should stay away from refined carbohydrates found in pasta, pastries as well as white bread, processed meat like sausages, hot dogs, and fruit juices, adding that persons over 40 should also avoid fatty food, energy drinks, and the like.

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