This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Key COVID-19 vaccination targets to be missed in Africa
Eight in 10 African countries are set to miss the goal of vaccinating the most vulnerable 10 per cent of their populations against COVID-19 by the end of September, the UN health agency said on Thursday.
In an alert from the World Health Organization (WHO), it said that 42 of Africa’s 54 nations needed to speed up vaccination deliveries and getting shots in people’s arms, if they’re to achieve the 10 per cent threshold.
Nine African countries have already reached the target, including South Africa, Morocco and Tunisia, and another five could join them if they see improvements in vaccine roll-out, WHO said.
The UN agency explained that while many African countries have sped up coronavirus jabs as vaccine shipments increased in August, 26 countries have used less than half of their vaccines.
Across Africa, COVID-19 infections are declining slightly but remain “stubbornly high”, WHO said, noting a rising number of new cases in Central, East and West Africa and more than 5,500 deaths in the week ending on the 29th of August.
Tigray aid situation worsening by the day, warn UN humanitarians
The aid crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray region is worsening, the UN said on Thursday, with stocks of relief aid, cash and fuel “running very low or depleted”.
Since 12 July, less than 10 per cent of the trucks that should have reached desperate populations affected by months of fighting have managed to get through, said UN aid coordination office OCHA.
It noted that the only access route to Tigray, via the Afar region using the Semera-Abala corridor, has been inaccessible since the 22nd of August.
Humanitarian partners estimate that 100 trucks of food, non-food items, and fuel need to enter Tigray every day to sustain an adequate response.
Parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate timely, unfettered, safe and sustained access to all people affected by the crisis, OCHA insisted.
Dementia to hit 139 million people by 2050 @WHO
Dementia is a growing global problem that affects tens of millions of people but “it is not inevitable”, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, as it issued an urgent call for countries to focus on prevention measures to avoid being overwhelmed.
Data from the UN health agency covering three-quarters of the world’s population indicated that more than 55 million people (8.1 per cent of women and 5.4 per cent of men over 65) live with the illness.
This number is estimated to rise to 139 million by 2050, said WHO’s Dr Katrin Seeher from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use:
“We’re far from being able to cure dementia so at this stage and I think that’s why it’s so important to prepare health and social care systems ; we do need to provide care and support to enable people who have dementia to live as independently as possible. And with the right amount of support, that is truly possible.”
Dr Seeher insisted that dementia was not an inevitable part of ageing and that measures to prevent cognitive decline in later years should be employed by countries now.
These include promoting education and tackling depression, said WHO, which warned that only a quarter of the world’s countries have a national policy for supporting people with dementia and their families.
Half of these countries are in Europe, but even in that relatively wealthy region, many national plans are about to end or have already expired.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.