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Javid sorry for Covid losses but says he has not read Commons report in detail

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Javid sorry for Covid losses but says he has not read Commons report in detail

The health secretary has said he is sorry for the losses that have occurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but fell short of apologising for the government’s decision to delay lockdown last March.

Sajid Javid’s comments came in response to the publication on Tuesday of a damning health select committee report on lessons learned from the pandemic, which found the government’s management of the outbreak was one of the worst public health failures in British history.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether he regretted pressuring the government to prioritise the economy over introducing lockdown, Javid said: “I don’t think I got it wrong based on the information I had at the time, but … I was out of the government when decisions were made.”

Javid, who was a backbencher at the time of the first lockdown, added: “I do think when governments make decisions should they be thinking beyond a single department and thinking about the wider interests of society and the public.”

He said he had not read the report in detail, but accepted “there are lessons to learn from this period for the UK government and for governments across the world”.

He welcomed the report as an important means of providing parliamentary scrutiny, but said he was “not in a position to look back at every decision made”, and that this was best left to the upcoming public inquiry.

While he would not apologise for the government’s handling of the pandemic, he said: “I am sorry for anyone that’s been hurt throughout this pandemic and especially those people who lost loved ones, brothers, sisters, their mum and dad, close friends, and also those people who’re still suffering with long Covid.”

Javid’s appearance coincided with the publication of a new government and NHS action plan, which will give GPs in England £250m to improve their services but only if they increase the number of patients being seen face-to-face.

Javid said he did not expect all surgeries to apply for the additional funding, if they feel they can cope with their patient load and do not feel the need to increase their opening hours.

He acknowledged there were unlikely to be enough locum GPs available to meet demand, but that clinics could instead hire additional physiotherapists or nurses to free up time for GPs.

“This is about the here and now, especially over the winter. This funding will buy more capacity, not just from GPs,” he said.

“We’ve had feedback from a number of GPs both directly to my department and to the NHS that if they have more funding they can buy in more hours and support, and that will increase capacity.”

The plan also outlines new monthly data starting next spring, which will show what proportion of each surgery’s appointments occurred in person or virtually, a move GPs have described as a “name and shame” exercise.

Javid defended the publication of data as a way to provide “more transparency and accountability”. He added that it was a crucial component of plans for “levelling up healthcare”, which would address disparities in health outcomes between regions. “We need information to find out what’s working,” he said.

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Health

AIDS Agency Chief Says 1 Out Of 100 Persons Positive In Kaduna

The Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA), Dr Isa Baka has said a survey had revealed that one out of 100 people is positive to the AIDS disease in the state.

Baka disclosed this speaking shortly after a walk in commemoration of the World AIDS Day, on Thursday in Kaduna.

The theme of the year’s’ World AIDS Day is “Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment and Prevention Services’’.

He said the present statistics was a remarkable development against previous survey which gave 11 of every 100 people in the state.

Baka added that the AIDS prevalence in Kaduna, which is at 1.1, being a survey carried out by the state government itself, was later done at the national level, where that of Kaduna was confirmed as very accurate.

“At the national level, the prevalence of the virus (AIDS) was at 1.4 (four people out of 100 test positive), while that of Kaduna is confirmed to be 1.1, was in determination of the state government and KADSACA’s efforts to ensure minimal prevalence of the virus,” he said.

He said as part of efforts to continue reducing the prevalence of AIDS in the state, government initiated programmes across the 23 LGAs.

He said one of the UNICEF anchored programmes, which is the ‘Adolescent and Youths Living With HIV and AIDS’ programme, was present and effective in at least, 18 LGAs and 24 sites in the state.

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Health

Malawi Commences Large Scale Malaria Vaccination- First In The World

Malawi has commenced large-scale vaccination of children against malaria.

This is the first large-scale malaria vaccination campaign since the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine in October 2021.

The endorsement followed a two-year vaccination programme, which involved more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Recommended for children from five months of age to around 18 months, the vaccine  has an efficacy of 39 percent.

The first phase of the vaccination in Malawi is expected to cover 11 of the country’s 28 districts.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the WHO in Malawi said the expansion of access to the malaria vaccine will enable more children at risk of malaria to benefit from an additional prevention tool.

“Malawi has expanded access to the first malaria vaccine! The expansion of the RTS,S Malaria vaccine, into the 11 districts that participated in the malaria vaccine implementation program (MVIP) has been launched today. The vaccine offers a glimmer hope for Malawi,” WHO wrote.

Michael Kayange, Malawi’s national malaria control programme manager, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that although the vaccine has low efficacy, “in malaria control, there is no single intervention that does it all”.

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Health

Nigeria Yet To Attain 70% Covid-19 Vaccination Coverage- NPHCDA

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that Nigeria is yet to achieve 70 percent coverage for COVID-19 vaccination.

Faisal Shuaib, executive director of NPHCDA, said on Tuesday that as of November 25, a total of 56,790,371 eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated while 12,492,646 are partially vaccinated in 36 states and the FCT.

“We are 21.6 million eligible persons away from reaching its target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of its eligible population by December 2022,” he said.

“But 62 percent of the country’s eligible population is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The country has fully vaccinated half of the total population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“We have also fully vaccinated an additional over 25 percent of its eligible population, in the last 110 days of SCALES 3.0 implementation.”

The executive director said 13.2 percent of fully vaccinated persons in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose for additional protection against the virus.

He commended the COVID-19 strategy group for achieving 50 percent vaccination coverage in the country and promised that the momentum would be sustained.

Shuaib said he has also directed the team to intensify efforts toward the attainment of herd immunity.

“Until this is achieved, the strategy group will continue to develop strategies that will help the country achieve health security,” he said.

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