Tag: healthcare politics

Tech Transfer for Local mRNA Vaccine Production

South Africa is planning to make vaccines locally using messenger RNA, the breakthrough technology of the global COVID vaccination effort – and once nearly consigned to the dustbin of medical research history.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its COVAX partners are working with a South African consortium comprising Biovac, Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a network of universities and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish its first COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub.

This follows WHO’s global call for Expression of Interest to establish COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hubs to scale up production and access to COVID vaccines. The partners will negotiate details with the South African government and public and private partners both local and international.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “The COVID pandemic has revealed the full extent of the vaccine gap between developed and developing economies, and how that gap can severely undermine global health security. This landmark initiative is a major advance in the international effort to build vaccine development and manufacturing capacity that will put Africa on a path to self determination. South Africa welcomes the opportunity to host a vaccine technology transfer hub and to build on the capacity and expertise that already exists on the continent to contribute to this effort.”

“This is great news, particularly for Africa, which has the least access to vaccines,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “COVID has highlighted the importance of local production to address health emergencies, strengthen regional health security and expand sustainable access to health products.”

The announcement follows the recent visit to South Africa by French President Emmanuel Macron, who gave his country’s commitment to aiding local vaccine production.

“Today is a great day for Africa. It is also a great day for all those who work towards a more equitable access to health products. I am proud for Biovac and our South African partners to have been selected by WHO, as France has been supporting them for years,” said President Macron. “This initiative is the first of a long list to come, that we will keep supporting, with our partners, united in the belief that acting for global public goods is the fight of the century and that it cannot wait.”

Technology transfer hubs are training facilities where the technology is established at industrial scale and clinical development performed. Interested manufacturers from low- and middle-income countries can receive training and any necessary licences to the technology, assisted by the WHO and partners.

Biovac is a bio-pharmaceutical company resulting from a partnership formed with the South African government in 2003 to establish local vaccine manufacturing capability for the provision of vaccines for national health management and security.

Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines is a biotechnology company focuses on product development, bulk adjuvant manufacturing and supply and distribution of key biologicals to address unmet healthcare needs.

The organisations complement one another, and can each take on different roles within the proposed collaboration: Biovac will be the developer while Afrigen is the manufacturer, with a consortium of universities as academic supporters providing mRNA know-how. Africa CDC will provide technical and regional support.

The South African consortium has existing operating facilities with available capacity and experience in technology transfers. It is also a global hub that can start training technology recipients immediately.

The WHO is speaking to a number of pharmaceutical manufacturers about establishing the hub, though the talks are so far mainly with “smaller companies,” said Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist. “We are having discussions with the larger companies with proven mRNA technology,” she added.

The mRNA vaccines may be produced in South Africa within 9 to 12 months, she said. WHO’s call for expressions of interest has so far generated 28 offers to either provide technology for mRNA vaccines or to host a technology hub or both. 

It is the first time that messenger RNA technology has been used to make vaccines, which has been used by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. They have proven very effective against the original SARS-CoV-2 strains and even against its more recent variants.

Source: World Health Organization

Brazil COVID Deaths Pass Half a Million

Brazil’s COVID deaths passed 500 000 in Brazil, days after the US reported passing 600 000 deaths. Experts warn of a worsening outbreak amid slow vaccination and the onset of winter.

President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to back measures like social distancing even as the virus continues to take its toll. With only 11% of adults vaccinated, Brazil’s health institute Fiocruz says the situation is “critical”.

Heavy criticism has been directed at President Bolsonaro for not implementing a co-ordinated national response and for his vaccine scepticism, lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen.

The country has reported, on average, 70 000 cases and 2 000 deaths daily in the past week. Most new cases were among those aged 20-59, Fiocruz said, warning that the start of winter in the southern hemisphere this week could result in more infections.

Yet governors and mayors have already relaxed nonpharmaceutical interventions. Restaurants, bars and shops have reopened in many cities, while many people in the streets are not wearing face masks or following social distancing.

“People in Brazil are tired and they normalise death now,” Dr Natalia Pasternak Taschner, a microbiologist at the Question of Science Institute, told the BBC, adding that they have a long way to go.

“If we’re not successful in changing the behaviour of people and if we don’t have campaigns for mask wearing, social distancing and vaccinations coming directly from the central government we’re not going to be able to control it.”

On Saturday, protests against President Bolsonaro were held in cities across the country, with demonstrators accusing him of delaying the purchase of vaccines yet prioritising unproven treatments, such as hydroxychloroquine.

More transmissible variants of the virus have driven Brazil’s outbreak, including the one first identified in the Amazon region which is now known as Gamma. Occupancy rate for intensive care unit beds remains at or above 80% in most states, while cities struggle with vaccine supplies.

Faced with a crumbling healthcare system without the relief of lockdowns, a ‘Covid Kit‘ of ivermectin and azithromycin has been touted by the government, and which is widely prescribed. Ironically, its creator, a doctor in Mato Grosso state, died of COVID last September. In a country notorious for its excessive pill-taking, doctors are finding it difficult to recruit people into trials who have not taken ivermectin.

The Brazilian Senate is looking into President Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic. The opposition is accusing him of delaying vaccine orders for political reasons, as he has consistently downplayed the pandemic’s severity.

But President Bolsonaro maintains he has done all he can to buy vaccines from several countries, and insists the impacts of a lockdown would be worse than the pandemic.

The president has not commented on the 500 000 deaths although on Twitter, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga expressed solidarity with relatives of those who had died.

Source: BBC News

Urgent Vaccine Call as COVID Closes Free State Schools

Photo by Mary Taylor from Pexels


As COVID cases and deaths continue to rise in the Free State, with schools being closed, it is unclear when the province’s teachers will receive their vaccinations.

The deaths of six learners, 75 teachers, and three support staff from COVID have been reported in the Free State since March 2020.

While teachers await their vaccines, COVID still claims lives in the school system – and not just older teachers and staff. Quincy Tsoenyane lost a daughter to COVID-related complications, 18 year-old Nomthandazo Ngcoyi, who was a learner at Lephola Secondary school in Welkom. Nomthandazo was one of 11 learners at the school who tested positive for COVID in May. Tsoenyane, who is a father to two surviving children, said it pains him to know that his daughter got sick at school.

According to the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Nomthandazo developed a cough at school and was tested for COVID along with other learners. On 19 May, she tested positive and was sent home to self-isolate. She died at home six days later.

A rare case

Dr Cloete van Vuuren, an Infectious Disease Specialist in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Free State, said that Nomthandazo’s death is a rare case as it is uncommon for young people to die from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The DBE figures show that since March 2020, the Free State has recorded a total of 2101 positive cases among teachers in schools: 1377 among learners, and 461 among non-teaching staff. Outbreaks of COVID cases have forced several shutdowns of Free State schools.

Holding out for vaccines

As COVID numbers climb in Free State schools, teaching federations and unions are urging that teachers be vaccinated as soon as possible.

From 26 July, children from Grades R to 7 will return to in-person classes. In a media statement, the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said that they are pleased to hear that the education sector will receive 500 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

However, the union said they are still in limbo because the doses must still require verification by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will expire on 28 July.

As of Thursday, there were 591 new COVID cases in Free State, with a new case incidence rate of 17.8 per 100 000 people.

Teachers need to protect themselves and others

Dr Kerrin Begg, Public Health Specialist in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town reminded teachers that although it is understandable for them to be anxious about the vaccination, each and every person has the responsibility to educate themselves.

“Teachers need to be teaching themselves about the virus just like they do in their everyday line of work of teaching children.

“At the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, we have produced school guidelines on measures to take to reduce the transmission of COVID in the school environment,” she said. She said that socialising outside of class was where most of the transmission took place, and that learners now no longer adhered to social distancing.

“We remind parents and teachers to remember that protecting themselves is not to be practiced during school hours only, but there are three major focal points of transmission which are before, during, and after school hours.

“Teachers need to understand that the environment of the classroom is very important. Fresh air is better than artificial air, outside is better than inside. Schools also need to continue to promote personal and physical distancing, and hygiene measures daily,” Dr Begg said.

Source: Spotlight

Nearly 9% of Alcohol Consumed by Underage Drinkers

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Underage youth consumed $17.5 billion worth, or 8.6 percent, of the alcoholic drinks sold in 2016 in the US. Nearly half of youth consumption was made up of products from three alcohol companies: AB Inbev, MillerCoors and Diageo. The study findings were published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

In a landmark study of youth alcohol consumption by brand, the authors collected large amounts of data to estimate, for the first time in two decades, the monetary value of youth alcohol consumption. And for the first time, they were able to attribute those revenues to specific companies.

“The alcohol industry has said they don’t want minors to drink, but when we counted up the drinks, it was clear that they were making billions of dollars from these sales,” said co-lead author Pamela J. Trangenstein, PhD, assistant professor of health behaviour at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. “There is a clear disconnect when an industry advocates prevention but then makes billions of dollars from prevention’s failure.”

Alcohol is the number one substance used among people ages 12 to 20. Although underage drinking has fallen in recent years, alcohol is still responsible for approximately 3500 deaths annually for under 21s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the US, the minimum drinking age is 21, although before 1984 states set their own drinking age. According to the CDC, raising the drinking age to 21 saw a 16% reduction in motor vehicle accident deaths, and there is evidence that this limit protects drinkers from alcohol and other drug dependence, adverse birth outcomes, and suicide and homicide.

“Our prior studies have repeatedly shown that youth are exposed to and influenced by alcohol marketing,” commented co-author David H Jernigan, PhD, professor at Boston University. “If alcohol companies are truly committed to preventing youth drinking, they should be willing to put these revenues into an independent agency able to address underage drinking without a conflict of interest.”

The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, the science advisory body for the US Congress, made that recommendation in their 2003 report on underage drinking. In 2006, the legislation was passed entirely devoted to curbing underage drinking. While that legislation authorised $18 million in spending, the full amount has never been used. 

“Community coalitions in North Carolina and across the country are constantly begging for dollars to support their work on underage drinking,” said Prof Trangenstein. “Our study identifies a clear source for that badly needed funding. Families and communities are paying the price, while big alcohol companies are reaping all the benefits.”

Source: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

More information: Eck, R. H., Trangenstein, P. J., Siegel, M., & Jernigan, D. H. (2021). Company-specific revenues from underage drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 82, 368–376. DOI: 10.15288/jsad.2021.82.368

Meet the Two Women in the Running for SA’s Top Medical Job

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is in hot water over alleged procurement fraud for a R150 million COVID contract, and is widely expected to step down shortly.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is reportedly weighing up two candidates to replace Dr Mkhize as health minister.

The candidates are the former Gauteng health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, (who took over following the Life Esidimeni tragedy) and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who, as Health Minister saw the overhaul of the country’s apartheid-era healthcare systems.

As an anti-Apartheid activist, Dr Ramokgopa held various leadership positions. She qualified as a medical doctor (MBChB) in 1989 and obtained her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in 2007. She worked as a Medical Officer at the Dr George Mukhari (then Ga-Rankuwa) Hospital until 1992.

Having served once as the Gauteng health MEC in 1999,  Dr Ramokgopa took on the role deputy health minister from 2010 to 2014. She succeeded Qedani Mahlangu as Gauteng health MEC following the shameful Life Esidimeni tragedy involving the deaths of at least 94 mental health patients released from private mental healthcare facilities to 27 unlicensed facilities. In a  statement, she vowed to tackle waste and corruption.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma completed her MBChB at the University of Bristol in 1978, and took part in underground ANC activities. During Mandela’s presidency, she was appointed Minister of Health, and courted controversy by voicing support for Virodene, an ‘HIV cure’ which attracted heavy criticism and which was never approved.

She then served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2009, and then Minister of Home Affairs to 2012, where she turned around a department mired by mismanagement. Despite stubborn resistance from French-speaking nations, she was elected the African Union’s (AU) Chairperson from 2012 to 2017 and was praised for focusing on gender issues. After this, she began vying for the ANC presidency as an MP. In 2019, she was appointed Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

During South Africa’s lockdown, she memorably rose to internet fame for using “zol” to refer to cannabis when giving reasons for the tobacco ban.

Financial Feasibility of NHI Challenged

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Health groups are seeking detailed information on the workings of South Africa’s new National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, particularly on its financial feasibility.

The Khayelitsha and Klipfonetin health forums said in a presentation to parliament that a proper analysis is necessary to see if South Africa can even afford to fund the NHI. This is a concern that has been echoed by experts. The analysis should also find out if the public trusts the government to be able to deliver an NHI that is fully inclusive of community participation, the forums said.

“There is a view that perhaps we need to be building our public healthcare system as a priority to ensure a successful transition to an NHI Fund,” it said.

The forums also raised concerns around what the NHI will mean for existing healthcare systems – including the future of the country’s medical aids.

“Clarity is needed with respect to how the NHI Bill will address the transition between private medical aids and a universal healthcare system for all.

“The gap between private and public healthcare needs to be bridged and how this is done is important.”

Other critics have also pointed out that the scheme does nothing to address the serious gaps and flaws in South Africa’s healthcare system.

The fate of medical aids

The NHI Bill currently states that when the system is “fully implemented”, services that are paid for by the NHI will not be covered by medical aids.

Discovery Health has said that while it is in general supportive of the structural changes being introduced through the NHI, medical aids should not be limited.

“Our strong view is that limiting the role of medical schemes would be counterproductive to the NHI because there are simply insufficient resources to meet the needs of all South Africans.

“Limiting people from purchasing the medical scheme coverage they seek will seriously curtail the healthcare they expect and demand. It poses the risks of eroding sentiment, and of denuding the country of critically needed skills, and is impacting negatively on local and international investor sentiment and business confidence.”

Crucially, by preventing those who can afford it from using their medical scheme cover, and forcing them into the NHI system, this approach will also have the effect of increasing the burden on the NHI and will drain the very resources that must be used for people in most need, the scheme said. Significantly, there is no indication by government as to how the NHI will be paid for, or whether it can even be afforded, with only mention made to payroll taxes and other revenue streams being tapped.

Source: BusinessTech

Global Warming Drives a Third of Heat-related Deaths

Photo by Kouji Tsuru on Unsplash

While the COVID pandemic will eventually die down, the health threat from global warming will only increase as long as countries fail to control their emissions. Between 1991 and 2018, more over of all deaths in which heat played a role were attributable to human-induced global warming, according to a groundbreaking new study.

Global warming is impacting human health in a number of ways, from direct effects linked to wildfires and extreme weather, to changes in the spread of vector-borne diseases. One of the most striking ways is in the increase in heat-associated mortality and morbidity. Climate projections predict a rise in average global temperature, with extreme events such as heatwaves adding to future health burden. However, until now no research has been conducted into what extent these impacts have already occurred in recent decades until now. Research to answer these questions was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Bern within the Multi-Country Multi-City (MCC) Collaborative Research Network. 

This new study focused on man-made global warming through a ‘detection & attribution’ study that identifies and attributes observed phenomena to weather and climate changes. Specifically, the team examined past weather conditions simulated under scenarios with and without anthropogenic emissions. This enabled the researchers to separate the warming and related health impact linked with human activities from natural trends. Heat-related mortality was defined as the number of deaths attributed to heat, occurring at exposures higher than the optimum temperature for human health, which varies across locations.

Published in Nature Climate Change, the study used data from 732 locations in 43 countries around the world. For the first time, it shows the actual contribution of man-made climate change in increasing mortality risks due to heat.

The study estimates that 37% of all heat-related deaths in the recent summer periods were attributable to the warming of the planet due to human activities. These deaths were highest in hot regions such as Central and South America (up to 76% in Ecuador or Colombia, for example) and South-East Asia (between 48% to 61%).

Estimates also showed the number of deaths from human-induced climate change that occurred in specific cities; 136 additional deaths per year in Santiago de Chile (44.3% of total heat-related deaths in the city), 189 in Athens (26.1%), 172 in Rome (32%), 156 in Tokyo (35.6%), 177 in Madrid (31.9%), 146 in Bangkok (53.4%), 82 in London (33.6%), 141 in New York (44.2%), and 137 in Ho Chi Minh City (48.5%).

The authors said their findings bolster evidence in favour of adopting strong mitigation policies to reduce future warming, and to implement interventions to protect populations from the adverse consequences of heat exposure.

First author Dr Ana M Vicedo-Cabrera, from the University of Bern, said: “We expect the proportion of heat-related deaths to continue to grow if we don’t do something about climate change or adapt. So far, the average global temperature has only increased by about 1°C, which is a fraction of what we could face if emissions continue to grow unchecked.”

While on average over a third of heat-related deaths are due to human-induced climate change, there is considerable regional variation. Climate-related heat casualties range from a few dozen to several hundred deaths each year per city, as shown above, depending on the local changes in climate in each area and the vulnerability of its population. Populations living in low and middle-income countries are those most affected yet produce the least global warming emissions.

Senior author Professor Antonio Gasparrini from LSHTM, and coordinator of the MCC Network, said: “This is the largest detection & attribution study on current health risks of climate change. The message is clear: climate change will not just have devastating impacts in the future, but every continent is already experiencing the dire consequences of human activities on our planet. We must act now.”

The authors acknowledge limitations of the study include a lack of empirical data from certain regions such as Africa.

Source: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Journal information: Vicedo-Cabrera, A.M., et al. (2021) The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent human-induced climate change. Nature Climate Change. doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01058-x.

South African Variant is Now Called ‘Beta’ Under WHO Naming Scheme

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

To avoid stigmatisation and simplify discussion, the World Health Organization has announced a new naming system for variants of the COVID virus with important mutations.

In an attempt to remove the country-associated stigma from the emergence of a variant, each will receive a name from the Greek alphabet.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s coronavirus lead, said that “no country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting variants”.

She added that these new labels for VOI/VOC are “simple, easy to say and remember and are based on the Greek alphabet, a system that was chosen following wide consultation and a review of several potential systems”.

In the new naming system, B.1.17., the variant first reported in Kent, England is designated Alpha, B.1351, the variant originating in South Africa is called Beta, the Brazilian variant P.1 is now Gamma and the B.1617.2 variant first reported in India is Delta. The variants of interest run from Epsilon to Kappa. The WHO has provided a table detailing the different names.

These Greek letters will not replace existing scientific names, though there are only 24 letters. If more variants are identified for naming, a new naming scheme will be announced, Ms Van Kerkhove told US-based website STAT News.

“We’re not saying replace B.1.1.7, but really just to try to help some of the dialogue with the average person,” she told the US-based website. “So that in public discourse, we could discuss some of these variants in more easy-to-use language.”

On Monday, a scientific adviser for the UK government said the country was now in the early stages of a third wave of coronavirus infections, in part driven by the Delta variant, which had emerged in India.

It is thought to spread more quickly than the UK’s Alpha variant, which was responsible for the surge in cases in the UK over the winter.

Vietnam has reported what appears to be a combination of those two variants. On Saturday, the country’s health minister stated that it could spread quickly through the air and described it as “very dangerous”.

Source: BBC News

Reviewing 50 Years of Progress in Women’s Health

Woman receiving a mammogram. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

As abortion comes under threat in the United States, a perspective article looks back at the progress made in women’s health, seeing significant improvements in areas like equitable access to health care and survivorship.

However, the article’s authors argue there is still a long road ahead, despite all of the progress.

The United States, for example, still has the highest rate of maternal death among high-income countries, particularly among African American women.

As the United States Supreme Court prepares to hear a Mississippi abortion case challenging the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, some experts are questioning whether the progress made in women’s health may be winding back.

Cynthia A Stuenkel, MD, clinical professor of medicine at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and JoAnn E Manson, MD, DrPH, professor of epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School Of Public Health, review 50 years of progress in women’s health in a perspective article published online in New England Journal of Medicine.

“Reproductive justice is broader than the pro-choice movement and encompasses equity and accessibility of reproductive health care, as well as enhanced pathways to parenthood,” wrote the authors.

In addition to Roe v. Wade, they authors reviewed advances in reproductive health including:

  • The 1972 US Supreme Court ruling on Eisenstadt vs Baird ensuring unmarried persons equal access to contraception
  • The 2010 Affordable Care Act in the US made contraceptives an insured preventive health benefit
  • The Reproductive technology advances, including in vitro fertilisation, genetic testing and fertility preservation by cancer specialists

Advances in women’s health encompass more than reproduction, the authors wrote. As interest and focus has expanded to all stages of a woman’s life, science has begun to catch up to the specialised needs of women and sex-specific risk factors for chronic diseases that disproportionately affect women’s health, such as autoimmune diseases, mental health, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.

  • Progress in breast cancer care and prevention resulted in a five-year overall survival rate of 90%
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine reduced cervical cancer mortality fell by 50%

“Moving forward, it will be essential to recognise and study intersectional health disparities, including disparities based on sex, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, income and disability status. Overcoming these challenges and addressing these inequities will contribute to improved health for everyone,” wrote the authors.

Source: News-Medical.Net

Journal information: Stuenkel, C. A., et al. (2021) Women’s Health — Traversing Medicine and Public Policy. New England Journal of Medicine. doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp2105292.

French President Macron in SA for Talks on COVID

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in South Africa today for talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa on a range of issues including possible technological assistance to aid South Africa’s response to the COVID pandemic.

On the agenda of the visit is the economic, health, research and manufacturing responses to the COVID pandemic.

Arriving from Rwanda, where he acknowledged France’s role in the 1994 genocide, Macron held talks in Pretoria with President Ramaphosa, whom he met last week in Paris at a summit on African economies.

The pair were also due to attend an event to support vaccine production on the continent, sponsored by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. 

So far South Africa is the country worst hit by COVID on the continent as far available monitoring can determine, and has vaccinated just 1 percent of its population of 59 million people.

South Africa’s immunisation efforts have been hampered by delayed procurement, and then selling off its AstraZeneca vaccines obtained via Covax to other African countries after trial results showed drastically reduced effectiveness against the local B.1.351 variant. Rollout of the replacement Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused for two weeks in April due to blood clot fears.

Now, along with India, South Africa is campaigning for a waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID vaccines, so that each country may produce its own doses. This effort has met with stiff resistance so far.

Macron has voiced support for a technology transfer to enable vaccine production sites to be set up in poorer countries.

Visit long delayed

Macron’s visit to South Africa has been long delayed due to the COVID pandemic.
The initial purpose for the trip had been to discuss multilateral cooperation with South Africa, an important G20 partner which is also a regular guest at G7 summits.

According to Foreign Policy, the French leader will also seek to establish greater influence in a region that is experiencing greater instability, marked by recent insurgencies in Mozambique.   

Jihadist attacks forced French energy giant Total to suspend work on a multi-billion euro gas project in Cabo Delgado province after a nearby town was targeted.

Before he returns to France, he will pay a visit to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, whose main missions are the fight against AIDS and education in rural areas.

Source: RFI