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Accelerating Global Access to Vaccines in Developing Countries

26 Apr

 

Pfizer is dedicated to increasing access to immunizations in countries that carry the greatest proportion of global burden of pneumococcal disease, which can help prevent diseases and save lives.

In support of this commitment, and to help address the practical constraints experienced by health workers operating in many Gavi countries, Pfizer developed Prevenar 13® in the Multi-Dose Vial-MDV presentation (4 doses per vial). This new presentation will help to significantly reduce storage requirements and shipping costs in communities with health systems that are still developing. In April 2016, the MDV presentation received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Subsequently the MDV was pre-qualified by the WHO in July 2016.

In January 2017, Pfizer launched the new multi-dose vial- MDV which was prequalified in accordance with WHO’s ‘open container policy.’ With its ‘open container’ attributes, it allows for the fourth dose to be used for up to 28 days after the first dose in drawn and providing the recommended cold storage requirements have been met.

To ensure the efficient use of the multi-dose vial, Pfizer is supporting Gavi countries with a refresher training of trainers program on a variety of immunization topics including the proper handling of multi dose vials with open container policy. Pfizer partnered with AMP Services, an organization dedicated to providing the tools to promote preventive medicine and public health worldwide, to execute the training of trainers sessions in 16 countries in 2017. Continue reading

Eliminating diseases through vaccination

26 Apr

Vaccines have significantly reduced the threat of diseases that were once widespread and sometimes fatal. Today, more people benefit from safe and efficacious vaccines than ever before – and the list of diseases that vaccines can help prevent continues to grow.

As we mark World Immunization Week/World Meningitis Day, let’s be aware about the critical importance of immunization bearing in mind that vaccination is a key strategy to containing Meningococcal meningitis, ensuring continued protection for the current and future generation while taking into consideration the current outbreak of Meningitis in the region.

Meningitis disease is an infection of the meninges, the membrane covering the brain. Bacterial meningitis is very serious because its onset is rapid and the infection is associated with a significant risk of death; it may also result in mental retardation, deafness, epilepsy, etc.

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Gambia: Women’s Rights Activist Launches Candidacy For Presidency

2 Sep
A women's rights activist will today officially announce her candidacy for President of The Gambia in a ceremony holding at a local hotel in Kololi, a resort town situated 18 kilometers west of the Gambian capital, Banjul.

A women’s rights activist will today officially announce her candidacy for President of The Gambia in a ceremony holding at a local hotel in Kololi, a resort town situated 18 kilometers west of the Gambian capital, Banjul. (Photo Credit: MSJoof/FPI/Sept2016)

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Aside

STATEMENT: GPU deeply concerned by rough- handling of Journalist Mafugi Ceesay by security agents

11 Jun

The Gambia Press Union is calling on the
Gambia Armed Forces to investigate the case of Mafugi Ceesay of The Voice
Newspaper.

The journalist reported
that he was maltreated by men in
military uniform during the President’s meeting in Sukuta.

We are deeply concerned and worried
by the mistreatment meted out to Mr
. Ceesay.

Ceesay said he was on Wednesday June
3, assigned by his editors to cover the
meeting of President Yahya Jammeh in Sukuta, Kombo North, as
part of the Gambian leader’s much-
significant nationwide tour.

The reporter said he was taking notes
as the president was making his
address when an armed man in military uniform put him under arrest for
‘illegally covering’ the event without
getting press accreditation from the
State.

He alleged that the man in Military
fatigue held him by the neck and pulled him out of the crowd and took him to
his superiors, who subjected him to
interrogations.

During the one-hour plus that Mr.
Ceesay spent in their custody, his bag
was searched, and recorder, press card and notepad had been seized.

According to him, one of the men
dressed in GAF Uniform said, ‘I can put
you to sleep and go and play football.”

He noted that he was further
threatened by the men that later joined the President’s convoy.

However, he was later released without
any further incident and his gadgets
were given back to him when his
captors confirmed from their informants
that The Voice is not ‘an underground newspaper’.

The GPU has made efforts to engage the
Gambia Armed Forces since this case
involves men believed to be GAF
personnel.

Our representatives, accompanied by Journalist Ceesay, have
on Monday
and Tuesday, visited the Defence
Headquarters to lodge a formal
complaint to the Army Spokesperson,
but he was said to be busy.

The mistreatment and rough-handling
of Journalist Ceesay is quite
regrettable.

The GPU considers the
incident as an attack on press freedom. It infringes upon the reporter’s right to
seek, receive and impart information.

The constitution of the Gambia provides
an entrenched guarantee to press
freedom and further obliges the
independent press to hold the government accountable to the public.

The independent press executes this
mandate by
informing citizens about issues of
legitimate public interest.

The meeting in Sukuta concerns every Gambian, therefore denying journalists
to cover events accessed by the public
amounts to gross discrimination, which
is at variance with the Gambian
Constitution.

This unfortunate incident happened at a time when the GPU is making efforts
to engage the government in a
progressive dialogue with a view to
smoothening relations and bringing
about an end to the many years of
mistrust and misunderstanding.

The GPU remains committed to the
protection and promotion of freedom of
expression and of the press.

SOURCE: GAMBIA PRESS UNION, GPU

The Gambia faces internet shut down

3 Apr
On July 3, the National Assembly in Banjul, the Gambian capital, passed into law an amendment to the Information and Communication Act 2013, imposing stiffer sanctions on persons found guilty of using the internet to spread false news (Photo credit: whurleyvision)

On July 3, the National Assembly in Banjul, the Gambian capital, passed into law an amendment to the Information and Communication Act 2013, imposing stiffer sanctions on persons found guilty of using the internet to spread false news (Photo credit: whurleyvision)

Internet users in the tiny West African state of The Gambia will face an apparent internet shut down for up to a week as the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable goes down. Sources close to the gateway and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) said internet access will be adversely affected from 2nd to 9th April 2015. While netizens will be severely affected and online communication slowed, service providers and other businesses will have to bear the brunt of it.

“When the internet goes down like this, it affects not only our daily work but also our daily financial transactions,” a cashier at Trust Bank said. “We find ourselves in a sorry state having to turn away our customers by telling them that our connection is down.”

QCell, one of the GSM companies sent this message to its subscribers: “The ACE Cable will be down 2 Apr @11pm to 9 Apr. Limited Internet access will be available via QCell’s back-up link. We apologize for any inconveniences caused.”

In March 2014, the country experienced a 48-hour internet shut down due to “technical problems” according to authorities. However, shortly after the blackout popular chat and call apps, including Viber were blocked in the country.

According to Freedom House’s Internet Freedom report 2014, The Gambia is rank second with Sudan as countries with the most repressive internet restrictions trailing a few points behind Ethiopia, the most repressive country on the continent.

Authorities remain silent over disappeared activist

20 Mar

Authorities in the tiny West African state of The Gambia remain mute more than twenty four hours since the “disappearance” of child rights activist. Aminata Manneh went missing just hours after her video of a police officer beating a school child went viral online. Sources close to Aminata’s family say that she received threats relating to the video on both her cell phone and via Facebook, where she posted the video.

Aminata Manneh, photo from her Facebook profile

Aminata Manneh, photo from her Facebook profile

In a post accompanying the video, Aminata asked: “Since when does a traffic police officer have the right to lay hands on a young school girl cuz they were fighting?” She further added: “What has become of our authorities?”

According to reports, after the video went viral, Aminata received calls from security agents and also messages on Facebook demanding to meet her urgently. “That was the last time the family and friends have seen or heard of Aminata. All efforts were made to contact and locate her with no success. The family repeatedly calls her mobile phone, which appears to be completely switched off since the last time they heard from her. The family is very desperate and worried about her whereabouts and do not know where to go in order to locate their daughter.”

The Gambia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) among other international human rights instruments but its government is heavily criticised for lack of respect for fundamental human rights. The UNCRC states that all state parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

Aminata Manneh, a 3rd year student of the University of The Gambia is a gender activist and an intern at the American Corner Banjul.

On Monday while on her way to work, she came across a highly disturbing scene of a Gambian police officer repeatedly beating a young girl of about 10 years of age with a long cane. She couldn’t bear it and started taking video of the horrible incident, which she shared with her over 4500 followers on Facebook with the caption” This is a total child right’s violation. Since when does a traffic police officer have a right to lay a hand of a young schoolgirl? What has become of our authorities?”

The video went viral and attracted lot of comments from people who feels equally shocked with the police officer’s behaviour and heartlessness towards a defenseless child. Jeffrey Smith, an advocacy officer and Human Rights Manager at Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice & human rights in New York twitted’’ Just saw a highly disturbing video of a Gambia police officer beating a young school girl in broad daylight. Sadly not an uncommon episode’’.

The family is appealing to the authorities and everyone to gets any information on Aminata to come contact in order to reunite her with the worried family.

Outrage intensify over schoolgirls abduction in Nigeria

9 May
Boko Haram

Image depicts Boko Haram (Photo credit: AK Rockefeller)

By Modou S. Joof

There has been global outrage over the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by the militant group Boko Haram on April 14.

Public protests are holding in Nigeria and across the world while the hashtag (#BringBackOurGirls) gains widespread notice on social media. The girls were taken from a school in the northern state of Borno and there whereabouts remains unknown amid growing anger in Nigeria.

In The Gambia, the Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices, Gamcotrap, and the Child Protection Alliance, CPA, has expressed a message of solidarity to Nigerian government and families of the girls. Continue reading

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