Sub-Saharan Africa

HIV virus

New twice-yearly shot to prevent HIV achieves 100% success rate in late-stage trial

In this double-blind, randomized study of 5,300 cisgender women in South Africa and Uganda, 2,134 got the injection and the others took one of two types of daily PrEP pills. The trial from California-based company Gilead Sciences began on August 2021 and, so far, not a single woman who received the injections has contracted HIV. The participants who received either of the oral PrEP options, Truvada and Descovy, had infection rates of about 2% — consistent with the infection rates of oral PrEP in other clinical trials.

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Lgbt pride rainbow flag during parade in the city .

Namibia’s High Court decriminalizes homosexuality

The court’s ruling occurred in a case involving Friedel Dausab, a gay Namibian man, who argued that anti-gay sections of the country’s Immigration Control and Defense Acts constituted unfair discrimination and infringed on citizens’ fundamental rights. The court’s judges found that the laws unfairly discriminate between straight men, women, and gay men and were “based on prejudice and unfounded societal biases.”

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Acacia tree branch

Democratic Republic of the Congo plants more than 800 million trees between 2019 and 2023

Ten percent of the world’s tropical forests are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). But the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the DRC is losing 1.2 million acres of forest every year. To help address this, a Congolese government program aspired to plant 1 billion trees between 2019 and 2023, aiming to strengthen climate resilience, alleviate poverty and protect biodiversity, and achieved 90% of their goal.

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Wind turbines amid clouds

Seven countries now generate 100% of their electricity from renewable energy

Albania, Bhutan, Nepal, Paraguay, Iceland, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo produced more than 99.7% of the electricity they consumed using geothermal, hydro, solar or wind power. Data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) also revealed that a further 40 countries generated at least 50% of the electricity they consumed from renewable energy technologies in 2021 and 2022.

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Mosquito on a leaf

New types of mosquito bed nets could cut malaria risk by up to half, trial finds

Nets treated with two types of insecticide rather than one were trialed in 17 African countries where malaria is endemic between 2019 and 2022. During clinical trials when a net was coated with the insecticides pyriproxyfen or chlorfenapyr, alongside pyrethroid, malaria transmissions were reduced by between 20% and 50%. More than 600,000 people died from malaria in 2022 and 249 million people were infected, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.

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Person filling syringe with vaccine

Nigeria becomes world’s first country to introduce ‘revolutionary’ meningitis vaccine

Nigeria has become the first country to roll out a “revolutionary” five-in-one vaccine against meningitis, the World Health Organization has announced. The Men5CV vaccine offers a powerful shield against the five major strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause the disease. Known by the brand name MenFive, it provides broader protection than the vaccine currently used in much of Africa.

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Young trees

The TREES program has planted tens of millions of trees across Africa since 2015

Since it was founded in 2015, the Trees for the Future (TREES) mass reforestation campaign has convinced and enabled thousands of farmers to plant tens of millions of trees every year. The program spans nine African countries ranging from Senegal and Mali to Tanzania and Kenya. In less than 10 years, it has reportedly restored a combined area of more than 41,000 hectares, which is about seven times the size of Manhattan.

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African girl sleeping on mother's shoulder

‘Historic milestone’ as global child mortality hits record low of 4.9 million in 2022

Figures newly released by the U.N. Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) reveal the global under-five mortality rate has declined by 51% since 2000 reaching an all-time low. Some countries such as Cambodia, Malawi, Mongolia, and Rwanda reduced under-five mortality rate by over 75% over the time period. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell praised the dedicated efforts of midwives, health workers and community health workers, whose commitment has contributed to the remarkable decline.

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Elephant

2023 was the first year without elephant poaching in Republic of Congo’s Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park

The park, which celebrated its 30th anniversary on December 31 of 2023, also shared an exciting conservation milestone: 2023 was the first year without any elephant poaching detected. “We didn’t detect any elephants killed in the Park this year, a first for the Park since [we] began collecting data. This success comes after nearly a decade of concerted efforts to protect forest elephants from armed poaching in the Park,” Ben Evans, the Park’s management unit director, said in a press release.

2023 was the first year without elephant poaching in Republic of Congo’s Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park Read more