10 August 2021

Guinea: A first West African case of Marburg has been discovered in Guéckédou in the country’s east. Marburg is “a highly infectious disease in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola”, transmitted from fruit bats and spread amongst humans through bodily fluids. The “last major outbreak (happened) in Angola in 2005”. Frantic efforts to track contacts of the first victim (who has died) are underway.

Morocco: Jailed journalist Soulaimane Roussani has ended his hunger strike after 122 days of refusing food. Accused of indecent assault – a charge that he denies – he was jailed more than a year ago and sentenced to five months in prison in July. According to his supporters, the charges are politically motivated. “A number of journalists in Morocco have been prosecuted for alleged sex crimes.”
BBC Africa Live 10 August 2021. 8:30

09 August 2021

Women’s reproductive and sexual health rights: The impact of the pandemic has been felt on many levels. First of all, according to WHO, in 7 out of 10 countries family planning and birth control have been severely disrupted. According to UNFPA, 47 million women in low and middle income countries are unable to access contraceptives. Furthermore, contraceptive supply chains have been disrupted by confinement measures as has the ability to access health facilities. School closure expose girls amongst others to high-risk teenage pregnancy. The pandemic has also increased gender-based violence.
Guttmacher Institute estimates that there were, “in 2020, 218 million women with unmet need for modern birth control method, 111 million unintended pregnancies, 30 million unplanned births and 35 million unsafe abortions (in) low- and middle-income countries” – more than those affected by COVID-19.
The article’s authors conclude that “(s)exual and reproductive health and rights must become a global priority” and make some further recommendations how this should happen.