Facebook’s Zukerberg, wife commit shs95.4b to fight coronavirus


Mark and Chan at a recent conference. Courtesy photo.

Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zukerberg and wife, Priscilla Chan have announced they are committing $25 million, approximately 95,487,427,439.84 billion Uganda shillings to accelerate fighting COVID-19.

Mr Zukerberg announced this on Friday via Facebook. He wrote:

“Priscilla and I are committing $25 million to accelerate the development of treatments for COVID-19. We’re partnering with the Gates Foundation and others to quickly evaluate the most promising existing drugs to see which ones might be effective at preventing and treating the coronavirus. Since these drugs have already gone through clinical safety trials, if they’re effective, it will be much faster to make them available than it will be to develop and test a new vaccine — hopefully months rather than a year or more. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Therapeutics Accelerator discovers. More soon.”

COVID-19 in Africa

On 19 March 2020, World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa [WHO Africa] said more than 600 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in 34 countries in Africa “as of 19 March”, compared with 147 cases one week ago. Although the region has seen a significant increase in confirmed cases recently, there are still fewer cases than in other parts of the world.

“The rapid evolution of COVID-19 in Africa is deeply worrisome and a clear signal for action,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “But we can still change the course of this pandemic. Governments must draw on all of their resources and capabilities and strengthen their response.” 

Twelve countries in the African region are now experiencing local transmission. It is crucial that governments prevent local transmission from evolving into a worst case scenario of widespread sustained community transmission. Such a scenario will present a major challenge to countries with weak health systems.

“Africa can learn from the experiences of other countries which have seen a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases through rapidly scaling up testing, isolating cases and meticulously tracking contacts,” said Dr Moeti. 

As of Friday, global cases were said to be at 500,000, with projection it could lead to over 80,000 deaths in the United States.

In Spain, death toll had passed 4000, European media reported.

In Uganda, the ministry of health have announced four new cases on Friday – from 14 as of Wednesday. The total COVID-19 cases in Uganda has risen now to 18 – in nearly two weeks.


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