Posts tagged as: chief

Liberia: Liberia to Send Blood Samples Abroad in Latest Disease Outbreak

Photo: Liberian Observer

Liberian Health Minister Bernice Dahn

By Lennart Dodoo

Monrovia — Liberia does not have the capacity to diagnose the latest disease outbreak which has already killed at least 11 persons in Sinoe County.

Nine infected persons are undergoing treatment. There are fears that the number may rise.

The country’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Kateh told reporters Friday that the Health Ministry is considering sending blood samples broad for further testing.

According to Dr. Kateh, initial tests conducted to determine Ebola proved negative. However, the current laboratory is not equipped to determine food poison, which many suspect to be the cause of the sudden outbreak.

Those infected with the “strange” disease showed symptoms of severe stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and headaches

Doctors suspect that the disease can be spread through body contacts.

Residents of the county, according to reports, have begun taking precautionary measures introduced during the Ebola outbreak.

Sinoe County is one of few counties which were not affected by the Ebola Virus Disease that struck the country in 2014.

More on This

Liberia to Send Blood Samples Abroad in ‘Mysterious Deaths’ Case

Mysterious Deaths ‘Not From Ebola’Strange Disease Outbreak in Sinoe County – Nine Persons Already DeadSeven Die From ‘Strange’ Sickness in Sinoe

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it had sent rapid response teams to the area to assist Liberian health officials with technical and logistical support.The teams were investigating reports linking the disease to attendance at the funeral of a religious leader in Sinoe County.”The investigation teams will try to find if this could be in relation to the consumption of same food and drinks and if there is an environmental exposure to some chemicals or bacteria,” the WHO said in a statement.According to reports, seven of the deaths were linked to the death of an 11-year-old who died on Sunday, April 23, 2017.She died after showing symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and mental confusion.She was immediately taken to F.J. Grante Hospital where she reportedly died within one hour after she was admitted into the emergency room.She reportedly attended the funeral ceremony of a religious leader on Saturday, April 23, in Greenville.The religious leader is said to have died at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. He was diagnosed of high blood pressure.On Monday, April 24, another patient from Down Town Community who also attended the funeral of the religious leader presented symptoms of head ache, skin itching and body pain. He was admitted the same night at the F.J. Grant Hospital died by 2:00 A.M. Monday morning.Another lady from Red Hill community who also attended the same funeral presented symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. She died upon arrival at the Grant Hospital.A local journalist in the county described the situation as “tragic” and said it has instilled fears in many of the inhabitants of the county.Rep. Jefferson Kanmoh (APD- District #3 Sinoe County) also described the outbreak as “very disturbing and a source for serious concern”.”There is panic in the county right now for many reasons.””Many recall our recent past where Ebola killed a good number of our citizens and with the latest where there are many deaths in succession shows serious reason for panic and concern.”We want to encourage authorities at the Health Ministry to work fast to give answers to our people, while we appeal to our people to keep calm and await results of the test.”All that we are hearing right now are speculations; so we ask people to maintain their peace,” he said.

Liberia: Death Toll From ‘Strange Disease’ in Sinoe Climbs to 10

The Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh, has disclosed that another person has died from the ‘strange disease’ in Sinoe County, bringing to ten the number of deaths.

Dr. Kateh told ELBC Radio Thursday that another person who has contracted the disease has been hospitalized at the J.F Grant Hospital in the provincial capital Greenvile.

This, he said, brings to 18 the number of persons who have contracted the disease.

Dr. Kateh reiterated that initial tests conducted by the Liberia Institute of Bio-Medical Research in Charlesville, Margibi County have proved that the disease is not Ebola.

He, however, said another test will be performed while authorities and the Liberia National Police have launched an investigation to ascertain the origin of the deaths.

It can be recalled that on April 25, Sinoe County health authorities reported multiple unexplained deaths in five communities in Greenville, Sinoe County in southeastern Liberia from a ‘strange disease.’

The outbreak has instilled fear in Liberians as it reminds them of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in 2014 that claimed an estimated 4,500 lives in Liberia and more than 10,600 lives in the hardest hit countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Dr. Kateh reiterated that the Ministry of Health has put in place the necessary systems, measures and capacity to contain any outbreak of infectious diseases in the country.

He said the ministry of health will keep the public updated on the situation as it unfolds.


Gambia’s Barrow Meets Sirleaf

Liberia’s President and Chair of regional bloc ECOWAS Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has received the Gambia’s President… Read more »

Liberia: Liberian Leader Lauds Global Fund Support to Health Sector

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has lauded the Global Fund active support to the Liberian health sector through its malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS program.

She also praised the partnership between Liberia and the Global Fund that has brought about immense impact on the nation’s population.

President Sirleaf , however, called for increased support that would target rural health programs intended to enhance access healthcare.

The Liberian Chief Executive was speaking when she received in audience the Chief Executive Officer of Global Fund, Dr. Mark Dybul, at her office in Monrovia.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader thanked Dr. Dybul of Global Fund for his organization’s support to Liberia during a critical moment in our history.

Earlier, Dr. Dybul thanked President Sirleaf for the opportunity, her extraordinary support and strong voice for the work of Global Fund.

He described President Sirleaf as an advocate and champion of the aspirations of Global Fund and noted that the level collaboration in the health sector remains on course and praised Liberia for its robust Post-Ebola Resilient Healthcare Program.

Dybul acknowledged the need for support to the roads to health agenda of the government during discussions with the Ministry of Public Works officials aimed at addressing huge challenges that occasion the rainy season especially in rural parts of the country.

He expressed the need to make health services available to all sectors of the population in spite of the season.

Dr. Dybul assured that Global Fund was willing to partner with other actors, including the World Bank to critically respond to demanding infrastructure issues that will enable essential health, education and economic opportunities become accessible.

On Global Fund overall programme implementation towards its Liberia Program, Dr. Dybul noted that tremendous progress has and continues to be made in those critical facets of interventions.


Gambia’s Barrow Meets Sirleaf

Liberia’s President and Chair of regional bloc ECOWAS Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has received the Gambia’s President… Read more »

Liberia: ‘Liberia Taking Precaution After Mystery Deaths in Sinoe’ – WHO

By Cewhy Kwanue

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that Liberian health authorities are taking rapid precautionary measures after 10 people died of a mystery illness, 10 months after the end of a catastrophic two-year Ebola virus outbreak.

Liberian authorities said initial scientific investigations have ruled out Ebola as the cause of the deaths. Residents say the people died of suspected ‘food poisoning’ from food eaten at the funeral repast of a pastor (not named). The pastor’s death was attributed to high blood pressure.

The Liberian National Police is also investigating the causes of the deaths.

“The corpse of the person who died today (yesterday) reportedly decayed within a short time,” a female resident told the Daily Observer via mobile phone last night.

Accounts from Greenville have meanwhile described the situation as being tense and confusing. As a result, health workers are reportedly wearing personal protection equipments (PPEs) similar to what healthcare givers used during the deadly Ebola outbreak in the country.

One account said some of the victims were literally dropping dead and that officers of the LNP are using megaphones to warn residents to report all sick cases to the hospital and not to churches or shrines.

“Yesterday, WHO received a report from Liberia health authorities about a cluster of unexplained illness and deaths in Sinoe County, southern Liberia,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in an email.

“According to the report, since Monday, 14 people have fallen sick. Eight people have died and six are seriously ill and still in the hospital.”

He gave no indication of what might have caused the deaths, but said specimens from seven bodies had been sent to the national laboratory for testing and that results were expected Wednesday or yesterday, Thursday.

Samples were also being taken from water sources to test for chemicals and bacteria, he said.

“Health authorities are taking immediate precautionary measures such as isolating suspected cases, tracing contacts and engaging with the community and their leaders,” Jasarevic added.

The Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Nah Kateh, told a news conference in Monrovia on Wednesday that rapid response teams have been activated at district and county levels.

Kateh, however, did not respond to this newspaper’s phone call last night; neither did he reply to a text message the Daily Observer sent to him.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that “initial tests conducted by the Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research in Charlesville, Margibi County, has ruled out Ebola virus disease as the cause of the deaths.”

In June last year, the WHO declared Liberia free of active Ebola virus transmission, the last of three West African countries at the epicenter of the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.

The epidemic killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 from 2013, as it swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to WHO data. (Reuters).


Gambia’s Barrow Meets Sirleaf

Liberia’s President and Chair of regional bloc ECOWAS Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has received the Gambia’s President… Read more »

Nigeria: Bankers Committee Establishes E-Fraud Database to Blacklist Fraudsters

By Babajide Komolafe

The Bankers Committee, yesterday, said it will establish a database of suspected electronic fraud in the banking industry with the aim of blacklisting suspected fraudsters.

The committee comprise the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC and chief executives of banks.

Addressing a press conference at the end of the committee’s meeting in Lagos, yesterday, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said: “Part of the deliberation was that there is need to create a central depositary which is a database of suspected fraud through the system.”

The press conference was also addressed by Managing Director/Chief Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Charles Kie; Managing Director/Chief Executive, Rand Merchant Bank, Mr. Michael Larbie, and Director, Banking Supervision Department, CBN, Mr Ahmed Abdullahi.

Continuing, Wigwe explained that: “Once that data base is set up and there is suspected case going through the system we can have ways of ensuring there is strong deterrent for people who are known as fraudsters within the system.

On his part, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Charles Kie, said the committee was committed to supporting the economy and help the country get out of recession.

He said: “Overall, what the Bankers Committee also reemphasized was the need for all the banks to continue supporting the economy and ensure that they can effectively help the country get out the recession.”


There’s No Boko Haram Resurgence, Nigerian Military Assures

Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, briefing Newsmen during a Monthly News Conference on Defence and… Read more »

Lawyers’ Body Justified to Guide Judicial Recruitment


With 23 top judicial jobs falling vacant in the coming months, the process to replace them has taken on greater importance with the general quality of the bench for the next couple of years at stake.

Positions set to fall vacant include that of the deputy chief justice, two judges of the Supreme court, four judges of the Court of Appeal and 16 judges of the High court.

While the steps to be taken before one is appointed a judge are clearly laid out in the Constitution, this has not stopped reports about politics getting in the way of ability and integrity or judicial officers getting positions they didn’t apply for.

In response to persistent complaints about corruption in the judiciary, Chief Justice Bert Katureebe has been vocal in his condemnation of the vice, while at the same time lamenting that he has no powers to discipline errant judicial officers.

However, there would be fewer, if any, errant judges in the first place if the recruitment process was more transparent, meticulous and rigorous. It is, therefore, encouraging that Uganda Law Society has expressed interest in the ongoing recruitment process and seeks to play a constructive role.

According to their letter released this week, ULS, which was asked by the Judicial Service Commission to help identify and recommend suitable candidates, wants selected individuals to pass not only the intellectual competence test but also “a consistent history of honesty and moral character in professional and personal life.”

The ULS further insists that candidates it is to recommend sign the International Bar Association (IBA) anti-corruption compact to demonstrate an uncompromising stand against corruption.

With lawyers, who form the pool from which magistrates and judges are chosen, generally not enjoying high perception indicators in the public sphere, the best stage at which to stop unscrupulous judges is at the entry point.

It is, therefore, incumbent on stakeholders such as Uganda Law Society to support the Judicial Service Commission in ensuring that the right people are hired in the right places.

These vacancies provide a good opportunity to raise the bar (pun intended) for our judicial officers, and we must not let it go to waste.


Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang Tells Museveni to be Careful With Oil

Uganda is looking to tap into Equatorial Guinea’s experience of oil production, in order to build its own capacity… Read more »

Kayihura Deploys, Transfers 150 Police Officers Since Kaweesi Murder

Photo: The Observer

IGP Kale Kayihura chats with some police officers at Lubaga cathedral recently.

By Zurah Nakabugo & Johnson Taremwa

Gen Kale Kayihura, the inspector general of police (IGP), has deployed and transferred more than 150 police officers within the last one month, The Observer has established.

The action followed a directive from President Museveni to Gen Kayihura to clean up the police following the grisly March 17 murder of Assistant IGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, who was also the police spokesperson.

Since then, Kayihura has rung a multitude of changes that have affected a number of senior police officers, and has dismantled his inner circle, sending some of them on courses.

Among the changes that the police chief made early this month was to sack all his assistants, including Jonathan Baroza, his long-serving aide.

Baroza is scheduled to go for training abroad.

Yesterday, police spokesperson Asan Kasingye downplayed the transfers, saying they were a “normal” exercise aimed at improving the effectiveness of the force. He said the force also disciplines its errant officers through charging them in the police disciplinary court and dismissals.

“We have so far charged more than 100 police officers in both the police disciplinary court and public court,” he said.

However, some critics of the police such as Francis Mwijukye, the MP for Buhweju, say Kayihura is simply window dressing the problem through the transfers.

Mwijukye told The Observer that transferring police officers to different stations will not clean up a Force that criminals openly identify with and which is shamelessly partisan.

“Police has become partisan and any officer who fails to participate in [NRM] politics ends up getting transferred,” he said.

Other critics from within the police, who declined to speak on record, argued that transfers are merely a way of recycling criminal elements within the force, not getting rid of them, as Museveni had instructed Kayihura.

Kasingye said police is tackling the recent surge in criminal attacks by stepping up night patrols, arresting suspected criminals, as well as involving residents through community policing and neighborhood watch initiatives. The table above shows some of the officers deployed or transferred.


Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang Tells Museveni to be Careful With Oil

Uganda is looking to tap into Equatorial Guinea’s experience of oil production, in order to build its own capacity… Read more »

Observer Locker – Junkies Tip Real to Win La Liga Title


Following the El-Clasico drama and the midweek action, the Spanish La Liga title run-in is getting frenetic, although the locker-room junkies believe it is for Real Madrid to lose…..

Kabuye: I think Real Madrid are champions-elect already.

Nsimbe: You must be joking.

Kabuye: Just check how they demolished Deportivo 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Mugalu: Ha. But even Barcelona put seven past Osasuna. Man, Kabuye, you can not write off Barcelona.

Nsimbe: That is true. It is now too close to call.

Mugalu: And if you consider that Barcelona is favoured by referees, you can only dismiss them at your own peril.

Nsimbe: Anyway, for me, I will leave Mugalu with the referees. But what I think is that Barcelona has no distractions now like Real Madrid have.

Kabuye: Eh! By the way…

Nsimbe: You see, it is easier for Barcelona to plan more extensively for the league unlike Real Madrid, that have the champions league to fight for.

Mugalu: But I think Zidane has a good and deep squad, which he is rotating quite well to handle the two fronts.

Nsimbe: So far, Zidane has done a good job, but don’t forget that crunch times come with lots of pressure. That can affect results.

Mugalu: But whatever the case, I am really worried, that Barcelona may steal Madrid’s championship like they stole victory on Sunday.

Nsimbe: On Sunday, Madrid got excited after getting the equalizer. They should have settled for a draw. It would have kept them atop the league.

Mbanga: But this La Liga is getting more interesting. That Lionel Messi last-minute finish was incredible.

Atusiimire: Like the Alexi Sanchez finish against Man-City?

Kabuye: No. His simulation against Leicester City. That boy is a cheat. I can not imagine Arsenal celebrated an own goal.

Zziwa: But ssebo, what did you want us to do? We got three points.

Mugalu: Our friends are now relying on own goals to get wins? Ebintu bizibu.

Zziwa: Coming from people, who had Martin Skrtel, the chief protagonist of own goals, I am short of words.

Kabuye: Anyway, I don’t care about what Arsenal does because no matter what, they are playing in Europa next season.

Atusiimire: Nedda ssebo. Naayanga…That will not happen. We are qualifying for the champions league.

Zziwa: Anyway, for me, I am not a witch-doctor to predict the future. But it seems Kabuye is.

Kabuye: Tottenham egenda kuba embwa z’Arsenal at White Hart Lane this weekend. Then they will shut up.

Army Accused of Discrimination When Appointing Top Posts

Photo: Samara Scott/U.S. Army Africa

Ugandan army parade (file photo).

By Ibrahim a Manzil

Ministry of Defence officials and senior officers from the Uganda People’s Defense Forces have been put on the defensive over claims of regional imbalance and sectarianism in appointment of top technocrats and commanders.

Led by Defense Minister Adolf Kasaija Mwesigye, the officials on Wednesday fended off criticism from mainly opposition members on the Parliament’s Defense and Internal Affairs Committee.

Shadow Internal Affairs Minister Muhammad Kivumbi (DP, Butambala) lifted the lid off the controversial issue saying: “I have been a constant voice advocating for national representation in the UPDF especially in the administration. It is fairly absurd, skewed in one region I want to see whether progress has been made.”

Mr Kivumbi read out names of officials from the Finance department of the Ministry of Defense, saying all but one “come from the same region.”

Irritated by Mr Kivumbi’s claims, Mr Mwesigye said: “I don’t think it is proper for us to look at people through sectarian lenses, these are public servants most of whom are posted by the Ministry of Public Service.”

Lt Col Bright Rwamirama, the State Minister for Veteran Affairs, said Mr Kivumbi’s statements were incorrect since the region he says benefits is a minority in the ministry.

“It is not fair to read names selectively… even the region they are saying to be a majority is a minority,” retorted the visibly irritated Lt. Col. Rwamirama.

Not done, Obongi County MP Hassan Fungaroo Kaps reinforced Mr Kivumbi’s allegations, warning Committee Chairperson Judith Nabakooba (NRM, Mityana) against “protecting sectarianism.”

“What we raised here is not promoting sectarianism but we are fighting it… madam chair don’t protect sectarianism,” he said.

Ms Nabakooba had warned the MPs against “going personal and promoting sectarianism.”

Chief of Defense Forces Gen David Muhoozi rebuffed Mr Fungaroo’s claims, saying: “I come from West Nile.”

He added that “the leadership is sensitive to regional balance,” by reading out names of commanders he said are sourced from all parts of the country.

Mr Simon Mulongo, a former MP and security analyst, in a telephone interview with the Daily Monitor said “the question of regional balance has been there in the ninth Parliament, we took it up to challenge the establishment and the explanation has been historical.”

He added: “We are not yet there but I think there is an attempt to correct it as you can see in the new structure… I think Kivumbi should make his criticism constructively.”

Mr David Pulkol, a former External Security Organisation chief told Daily Monitor that lack of regional balance in the army is a recipe for disaster.

“The army is not an enterprise of the private sector. This is ethnocentrism which must be resisted,” he said.

UPDF Act amendment

Mr Kivumbi asked ministry officials whether they have any plans to realign the section of the UPDF Act because whenever President Museveni summons the Army Council, he omits Gen Mugisha Muntu (the leader of the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change) yet he is number one on the list of council members provided in the Act.

In response, Mr Mwesigye said they have a Bill to amend the UPDF Act to incorporate such issues.

Mr Fungaroo asked whether Gen Muntu ever gets invited to the meetings, to which Mr Mwesigye responded in the affirmative.

Gen Muhoozi later told Daily Monitor that Gen Muntu receives invites because “as far as I know, nobody has stopped Gen Muntu from attending the Army council meetings they send a [military] radio message, it (invitation) is not personal.”

Asked whether Gen Muntu, a retired officer, has equipment to receive the radio message, Lt Col Rwamirama said he (Gen Muntu) is privy because he has an aide but he doesn’t want to attend because of his political inclination, nobody would stop him.

Gen Muntu neither answered nor returned repeated phone calls to his known mobile phones.

He did not respond to several text messages.

Mr Mulongo, however, said Gen Muntu’s attendance of the Army Council meetings will be “a threat to national security because FDC is not just a political opposition, it is opposed to the establishment.”

“It is true that our troops from Somalia have not been getting their allowances from the month of October to March because the AU (African Union) has not paid the allowances. However, their local salaries are going to their accounts.”

Uganda: We Have Capacity to Cover Govt Assets, Insurers Say

By Eronie Kamukama

Kampala — Insurers have said the sector has more than enough capacity to take on government assets in case it heeds to their appeal made last month.

“Yes, we do have the capacity to underwrite those assets because what happens is that the whole market pools their resources which is addressed as capacity to make sure that they can undertake that risk. We also work with external markets to make sure the risk is appropriately covered as well as managed,” Uganda Insurers Association (UIA) chief executive officer Miriam Magala, said. According to UIA, insurance of government assets would drive penetration up by 1.5 per cent.

Insurance Regulatory Authority chief executive officer Ibrahim Kaddunabbi, said what the Central Government owns is very manageable when one looks at the treaties vis-à-vis the capacity of insurance companies.

IRA is currently having discussions with the Central Government because the losses that it incurs as a result of not taking on insurance are tremendous according to Mr Kaddunabbi.

They made the remarks on Monday in Kampala while announcing the 44th African Insurance Organisation conference to be hosted by Uganda in May.

More than 800 insurance professionals from Africa, Middle East and Europe are expected to attend the four-day meeting to be held from May 21 to 24.

Speaking to journalists, Mr Kaddunabbi said the meeting will focus on driving the uptake of insurance services not only to the ordinary Ugandans but of the continent as a whole.

The conference comes at a time when Uganda is ready to take on bancassurance, Islamic insurance and agricultural insurance, among other new products.


Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang Tells Museveni to be Careful With Oil

Uganda is looking to tap into Equatorial Guinea’s experience of oil production, in order to build its own capacity… Read more »

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