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Dr. Quist-Aphetsi Kester, A Global Scientist Leading The Fight Against COVID-19 Through Coding

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Dr. Quist-Aphetsi Kester, PhD

The recent pandemic issue around the world has become a challenge to nations. The COVID-19 which has created so much desperations to world leaders.

This virus came knocking at our doors without alerting nations and whiles Health Professionals are doing their possible best to ensure lives are being saved, the number of people getting the infection keeps increasing each minute according to records by the Worldometer.

Dr. Quist-Aphetsi Kester and his team at CRITAC has been on the frontline, working diligently to help control the situation in Ghana through coding.

The first application built by CRITAC was a website that consolidates updates on COVID 19 around the world and Ghana from https://covid19.critacghana.com/index.php. It helps visitors of the site to view updates from Johns Hopkins University, get summary updates from Ghana health Service on their maps, get updates from worldometer and view Police checkpoints and lockdown areas in Ghana.

This site is helping Ghanaians understand the statistics of the cases around them and how the cases are distributed over geographical area. This provides them with adequate information for preparedness and precautions.

Notable among them also is the new platform that assesses the Risks level of the coronavirus, COVID 19 in all the Districts and regional levels in Ghana.

A COVID-19 self-test application that helps people to know their probability of having the Coronavirus disease and to help them from social distancing. https://covid19.critacghana.com/test/question.php

Also Read: African academics launch initiative to collate COVID-19 data across Africa, call for volunteers

The Team comprises United Nations ITU/WHO Expert Group Members, Lead Scientists and researchers at CRITAC who understands the critical nature of this epidemic, led by Dr. Kester Quist-Aphetsi who is a member of ITU/WHO Artificial Intelligence for Health Group of Experts.

As experts in dealing with a health pandemic like this, Dr. Kester also shared his opinion on the Coronavirus case in Ghana and how the government can help save the situation before the country went on lockdown. Details of his advice was highly appreciated and consideredas part of the measures the president put in place during his address before the lockdown. https://youtu.be/u1wsivKQdIA

The lab is still working diligently to help other countries also benefit from what they have already done for Ghana. Follow CRITAC to know and learn more.

There are some free courses designed by CRITAC as well to help educate people on Coronavirushttp://critaceducation.com/educationonline/courses.php

Below is the link to the Expert Talk on Coronavirus situation in Ghana before the Lockdown.

Credit: CRITAC

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Education

Calvin University Appoints Adejoke Ayoola Founding Dean of its School of Health

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Calvin professor of nursing Adejoke Ayoola, PhD, RN, FAAN (Image & Article: Calvin)

Calvin University has appointed Adejoke Bolanle Ayoola as the founding dean of its School of Health. Ayoola stood out among the high caliber candidates reviewed by the search committee – a team which included Provost Noah Toly and representatives from each department and program in the School of Health.

Ayoola is nationally and globally recognized as an experienced practitioner, educator, researcher, and administrator. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, and earned her PhD from Michigan State University. Ayoola has been a member of Calvin’s faculty since 2007, contributing to both the nursing and public health programs and most recently chairing the nursing department.

“Dr. Ayoola not only met but also clearly excelled in the critical leadership requirements established by the committee,” said Toly. “She has a vibrant Christian faith, possesses a deep understanding of the Reformed tradition, models a prayerful life, and demonstrates a commitment to joyful integration of faith and learning.”

Accomplished thought leader and scholar

Ayoola’s academic influence runs deep, as she has contributed to her field with research in the areas of community based nursing, and maternal and infant health. Since completing her PhD, Ayoola has earned several awards and distinctions recognizing her accomplishments in the health field.

Notably, from 2012–2015, Ayoola served as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar. The program, involving intensive leadership training, was created to inspire the next generation of national leaders in academic nursing. Five years later, Ayoola was inducted into the 2020 Class of Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing.

Ayoola is a member of the American Association of Nurses, the Honors Society of Nursing, Sigma International, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society; and she currently serves as a reviewer, associate editor or on the editorial board of 12 scholarly publications.

Guided by God

For Ayoola, the field of health has always been a passion, and it is a passion that is rooted in her faith.

“I am motivated to act when I see people or members of my community hurting —physically, emotionally, and spiritually – and when the vulnerable population experience health challenges,” she said. “I see health as an important part of what God wants for us.”

Ayoola believes that it is God who equipped her with the skills needed for this position, not only through her academic experiences, but also through her community work such as leading the African Ladies Fellowship of the African Resource Center in Grand Rapids and serving as an elder in her home church, Brookside CRC.

Carrying on Calvin’s mission

“Dr. Ayoola is deeply committed to the mission and vision of Calvin University,” said Kerrie Berends, kinesiology department co-chair and professor, and member of the search committee.

Ayoola has demonstrated this commitment by playing an integral role at Calvin, participating herself in a search committee for the dean of the School of Business, founding H.E.A.L.T.H. Camp at the university, and serving on the task force that articulated a vision for Calvin’s university structure – to name just a few contributions during her 15 years of service. Former advisees, research assistants, and research fellows recognize Ayoola for her commitment to their learning and post-graduate success.

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For Ayoola, this next vocational step was confirmed by God’s guidance through prayer. She believes her vocation also includes preparing others well for work in the field.

“My vision is also for the experience in the School of Health to be transformative and for our future health professionals to be well-prepared in their calling to serve as great advocates for their patients,” she said.

Building on collaboration and partnerships

Beginning July 1 Ayoola will lead the School, serving approximately 600 undergraduate and over 75 graduate students studying directly in health-related programs, and dozens of other students in pre-professional tracks.

While the School is already involved in many community partnerships and collaborative scholarship, with Ayoola at the helm, colleagues say it is poised to broaden its impact.

“Dr. Ayoola has prioritized interprofessional collaboration among our departments, West Michigan communities, and globally,” said Berends. “It’s exciting and energizing to anticipate the impact that faculty and students will have as we expand our reach.”

Ayoola is ready for the challenge.

“I love creatively designing new programs in collaboration with people and in response to identified needs,” she said. “The idea of serving as a founding dean of the School of Health is exciting because it will provide me with opportunities to work with stakeholders to shape the School of Health’s programs.”

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World Blood Donor Day 2022: Fighting apathy of voluntary blood donors in Nigeria

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World Blood Donor Day, highlights the importance of blood donation in medical care and appreciate voluntary non-paid donors for their selfless gifts. This year’s theme from the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity” in recognition of how blood donation remains an altruistic gesture of kindness from one person to another. 

Blood cannot be manufactured in a lab. There are currently no medical alternatives to blood donations for patients in need. These include women in labour, neonates, surgeries, diseases like sickle cell anaemia, cancer and leukaemia. Most urgently, blood is required for accidents and emergencies as witnessed following the recent terrorist attack in Owo, Ondo state, where dozens of blood donors were needed to help victims.

Despite its importance to sustaining life, Nigeria still grapples with insufficient blood and blood products nationwide due to lack of voluntary blood donation. The reluctance of individuals who are potentially eligible to donate blood is regarded as donor apathy. With an annual need of up to 1.8 million units of blood, the NBTS collects only about 66,000 units per year, leaving a deficit of more than 1.7million pints of blood. This is despite a population of approximately 200million, out of which over half are young people-the best demographic to donate blood.

Voluntary donors are safer and more reliable than people who are paid or coerced into blood donation. However, voluntary donors remain critically low for various reasons: limited information on where to donate, poor hospital reception, cumbersome protocols, limited opening times, inadequate donation centres and long waiting times. In major cities like Lagos, full of heavy traffic and working people, blood donation needs to be easily available on evenings and weekends.

The fear of needles, getting infected or sick after donation also prevents some potential donors. This rarely happens and the ease and safety of blood donation needs to be greater amplified through advocacy, especially targeting the youth.

In addition, the lack of commitment to blood donation can be attributed to distrust of the health care system, especially health workers who oversee the collection, storage, and distribution of blood. Health workers are sometimes reported to trade voluntarily donated blood for cash from blood recipients. These few bad apples also disincentivises voluntary donors. The insufficient supply of blood leads to hospitals rationing blood or even recruiting paid donors, which is unsustainable for our health care system.

Finally, socio-economic and security challenges continue to remain a hindrance to voluntary donation. As a significant percentage of the population grapples with meeting basic needs, persisting unemployment, rising poverty, and general insecurity, finding the time and self-sacrifice to go and donate blood for strangers can be a hard encouragement.  

To solve these complex challenges, countries have invested significantly in improving citizens’ knowledge of voluntary blood donation and its importance for the sustenance of lives. They have developed systems to make donation easy, where donors are assured of their safety and that their donation will save lives. World Blood Donor Day serves as a reminder for all stakeholders, government, NGOs and healthcare workers to work together to appreciate blood donors for their life saving gift of blood.

Advocacy organisations such as Haima Health Initiative continue to work on educating the public on the importance of blood donation and facilitating the process for donors and patients including timely delivery of blood.

OpEd: By Muhammed Nurudeen, Donor Recruiter, Haima Health

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Health

COVAX surpasses 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine deliveries

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Today, COVAX has surpassed the milestone of 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccines delivered around the world, following a shipment of 2.26 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Tanzania. A little over 15 months since its first international delivery to Ghana, COVAX has now shipped COVID-19 vaccines to 145 countries across the world.

Nearly 90% of these have been fully funded doses delivered to lower-income countries supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). COVAX is the major supplier of COVID-19 vaccines in low-income countries and humanitarian settings. As the largest and most complex global vaccination effort in history, COVAX’s work has helped raise the proportion of people in 92 lower-income countries protected by a full course of vaccines to 46% on average.

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which manages the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), and leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX, comments on this milestone: “This is a significant milestone for COVAX, set up as an unprecedented global collaboration during the worst public health emergency in a hundred years, but more importantly, we are proud to have contributed to the incredible achievements of lower-income countries, who have administered nearly 4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in a truly historic global rollout.

Tanzania is a fitting example of the hurdles that have been overcome and the challenges that remain: the pandemic is not over, and we must remain committed at all levels to pushing coverage rates higher, focusing on ensuring those at high risk are fully protected. With plentiful global supply now available to support this effort, the next 3-4 months are crucial. We call on countries to set ambitious targets backed by concrete plans for implementation and on all partners to provide countries with the resources needed to accelerate and expand national strategies.

COVAX remains committed to working with partners to ensure lower-income countries can access both vaccines and the support needed to turn these vaccines into vaccinations.”

 

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