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Good morning, this is Pokuaa, and with yesterday marking World Health Day, we’re covering renewed calls from World Health Organization officials for equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Also whilst fighting the pandemic, a new health study demonstrates the virus' mental toll, pointing to links between Covid survivors and mental health illness diagnoses. Meanwhile, EU research finds that the AstraZeneca vaccines could lead to 'rare' blood clots, yet health authorities maintain that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

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Pokuaa Oduro-Bonsrah


Global health news

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During a protest in defense of vaccinations on World Health Day outside the national Congress in Brasilia, Brazil a protestor holds a mock syringe with the phrase “Defend the public system”.

💉🐟Small fish in mighty ocean. On this year’s occasion to celebrate World Health Day, the World Health Organization appeals for equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, joining small countries such as Azerbaijan and Barbados who say their supplies are at risk of drying up soon. For low- and middle-income countries, particularly smaller countries, they say the size of their economies are too little compete for vaccines or even garner the attention of large pharmaceutical companies.

Health Policy Watch (EN)

🧠😷Covid-19 infection and mental health diagnoses. A new Lancet Psychiatry report estimates that one in three Covid-19 patients experienced a psychiatric or neurological illness six months after being diagnosed. Analysing health records of 236,379 Covid patients primarily from the United States, it was estimated thirteen per cent were diagnosed for the first time with a mental difficulty, most commonly depression or anxiety.

Stat News (EN)

🩸👍 AstraZeneca causes potential blood clots but vaccinations must continue. EU health authorities have concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Still the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization maintain that the benefits far outweigh the risks, and that innoculations continue to fight Covid effectively and quickly.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Number of the day

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North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un ,in Pyongyang, North Korea, 3 March 2021. (Credit: EPA/KCNA)

😷❌ Is North Korea still Covid-free? In its latest report to the World Health Organization, North Korea claimed to have a perfect record for keeping the coronavirus out of the country. Shutting its borders, banning tourists and jetting off diplomats, the country has continued to limit entry and quarantined tens of thousands. On Tuesday representatives said North Korea would not attend the Tokyo Olympics over fears of the pandemic, stating keeping out the virus is a “matter of national existence.”

The Associated Press (EN)

Next on the agenda

📍8 April | Building momentum for the nutrition for growth year of action. In recognition of the midway point of the UN Decade of Action on nutrition, Scale Up Nutrition movement aims to push the conversation on achieving the global nutrition targets on maternal, infant, and young child nutrition and diet-related noncommunicable diseases.

Scale Up Nutrition (EN)

📍8 April | (Mis)management and social inequality in Brazil during the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on theoretical insights from the social history of medicine, this presentation will examine the nexus of populist rhetoric, institutional obstacles, and social inequality in relation to the Covid-19 response in Brazil.

Graduate Institute (EN)

Image of the day

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Mustafa Harrey, 71, of Johnson City, N.Y., a Sudanese refugee who lived in Sudan until 2019 receives a Covid-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic at the American Civic Association (ACA),a community-based entity that has served immigrants and refugees.

UN refugee agency calls for equitable access to health. As the Covid-19 pandemic highlights already existing inequities, vulnerable populations are unfortunately at the receiving end. Inequality has shaped the responses to the virus, particularly when it comes to equitable access to vaccinations. On World Health Day UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency are once again making pleas for countries to adopt vaccination strategies that include refugees, ensuring no one is left behind.


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