Posts tagged as: foundation

South Africa: Euthanasia Back in Courts As Doctor Fights for Right to Die

Photo: Premium Times

Hospital Ward.

By Rebecca Davis

The right of terminally ill individuals to end their life when, and how, they choose has been a battle fought before South Africa’s courts in recent years. An application launched at the South Gauteng High Court has now brought the issue into the spotlight once more. At the heart of the matter: a Johannesburg doctor and patient duo arguing for the right to undergo physician-assisted euthanasia lawfully.

For years, Johannesburg doctor Sue Walter helped to ease the pain of terminally ill patients nearing the end of their lives. Walter, a palliative specialist who previously served as a director of Hospice Houghton, founded the 11 Angels Foundation to assist terminally ill patients to explore every possible treatment.

And then Walter was diagnosed with a terminal illness herself.

Court papers lodged at the South Gauteng High Court in late August record that Walter, 43, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a form of blood cancer – in February 2017. Now she is approaching the courts to ask for legal permission to end not just her own life, but also that of patient Diethelm Harck.

Harck, 68, who is retired, was diagnosed with motor neuron disease – the condition which…

South Africa

Man Rearrested After Shooting Same Person Twice

A man is expected to appear at the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday after he was rearrested for shooting the… Read more »

Africa: Bridging the Maternal Healthcare Divide With Mobile Technology

By Joakim Reiter, Group External Affairs Director

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Every day, about 830 women die due to complications related to pregnancy or childbirth around the world. The suffering is completely unnecessary.

Every day, about 830 women die due to complications related to pregnancy or childbirth around the world. For each death there are many more women who suffer traumatic, life-changing injuries due to pregnancy and childbirth. These figures are tragic, particularly when you consider that the majority of the cases occur in developing countries and almost all of them are preventable.

The suffering is completely unnecessary. In most instances, access to basic maternal healthcare would secure the wellbeing of these women and their babies. It’s not just about the number of hospitals and healthcare workers either, sometimes the healthcare is available, it just doesn’t reach the women who need it, particularly in rural communities. This is where mobile technology can help.

Take Tanzania as an example. About 70% of Tanzania’s 56 million people live in rural areas with limited access to healthcare. As a consequence, the Government of Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey estimates that in 2015 556 women died for every 100,000 live births, which is one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The number of Tanzanian women seriously injured because of traumatic deliveries is even higher: every year there are an estimated 3000 new cases of obstetric fistula alone.

Obstetric fistula is directly linked to a major cause of maternal mortality: obstructed labour. Untreated, fistula is not only distressing and painful, but many of the women are marginalised, isolated and no longer regarded by their communities as productive members of society. In 2016, the scale of the problem prompted the UN Secretary General at the time, Ban Ki-Moon, to call upon the world to end fistula within a generation, putting it at the same level as HIV and polio.

Many women with obstetric fistula don’t even know it can be treated. Even if they are aware, they have no way of getting to hospital, nor do they have the money to pay for treatment. With no hope of a cure, they suffer in silence, hidden away, making it extremely difficult for the health system to reach them.

For example, when the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation Treatment (CCBRT) in Dar Es Salaam started offering free treatment to women with obstetric fistula in 2009 it only treated about 200 women a year – well below its capacity and a relatively small number compared to the total number of women in Tanzania suffering with the condition. It had the surgeons, facilities and money, but it couldn’t get the message to women that free treatment was available or have any way of sending them the funds to travel to hospital.

This is where mobile technology offered a lifeline. CCBRT partnered with the Vodafone Foundation to establish a pioneering new service called “Text to Treatment”. It enabled CCBRT to use text messaging to raise awareness and communicate with patients. They could also send women the money for them to travel to hospital via M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service developed by Vodafone with support from the UK’s Department for International Development. In the first year of the service, the centre saw a 40% increase in the number of women treated. In 2016, 94% of the 1012 patients treated used the M-Pesa service.

Since then, USAID and the Vodafone Foundation have established a broader programme called “Mobilising Maternal Health” in Tanzania. Building on the work fighting obstetric fistula, its goal is to find ways that mobile communications can improve access to healthcare and help educate women in rural areas about pregnancy and childbirth.

A central pillar of the programme is a “ambulance taxi” service. A toll-free number in the Sengerema and Shinyanga districts connects emergency calls 24 hours, 7 days a week from expectant mothers to a network of 100 taxi drivers who will take them to the nearest, most appropriate health facility according to their condition and the fare is paid using M-Pesa. In one year the service played a critical role in reducing the number of maternal deaths by almost 30%.

If we are serious about achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of reducing the global maternal mortality rate to less than 70 per 100,000 by 2030, there is so much more to do.

Bridging the rural-urban healthcare divide is pivotal, and the programmes in Tanzania, which have helped about 440,000 women in total, are a demonstration of the role mobile technology can play. The onus is on governments, donors, private companies, and international organisations to continue working together to harness the power of mobile technology to give every woman and child around the world access to quality healthcare.

East Africa: EA Region to Benefit From Agricultural Financing

By Victor Kiprop

East African countries are among the beneficiaries of a new multibillion agricultural funding programme aimed at increasing incomes and improving the food security of 30 million households in 11 African countries by 2021.

Ethiopia, Kenya Tanzania and Rwanda are among the priority countries set to benefit from the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (Piata), which will provide up to $280 million for agricultural transformation.

The project, which was launched a week ago at the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum, is from a partnership of the Rockefeller Foundation, USAid and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that have been supporting agricultural initiatives separately in Africa.

According to Mamadou Biteye, the managing director of the Rockerfeller Foundation Africa Regional Office, the partnership will allow the partners to complement efforts and leverage on their networks for greater impact.

“We are looking forward to deploying the technologies that we have helped develop over the years, to gather our shared knowledge and grant support to work with our esteemed partners.

Together we hope to catalyse Africa’s pursuit for prosperity through agriculture,” Mr Biteye said.

The launch of the project is in line with the goals laid out in the 2014 Maputo declaration to enhance investment finance and resilience in livelihoods and production systems to climate variability and other shocks.

Sean Jones, the senior deputy assistant administrator at USAid said Piata offers a new way of doing business to ensure food security and economic growth.

Agnes Kalibata, the president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, hailed the partnership, saying that the partnership would contribute significantly towards accelerating Africa’s path to prosperity by growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture.

“Piata will be critical in bringing key players together to support governments in their push to fully unlock the potential of Africa’s smallholder farming and agribusiness,” she said.

Other beneficiaries of the strategic partnership are Ghana,Mali, Burkina Faso, Malawi, and Mozambique.

East Africa

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Private Sector Supports Investment in Power

THE private sector has commended new efforts to enhance power generation that will ensure reliable electricity supply for industrial plants being established in the drive to industrialise the economy.

The Executive Director with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Mr Godfrey Simbeye, said access to affordable and reliable power is important for the country’s industrial transformation ambitions.

“As a result of the investments being made in key infrastructure projects such as the 2100MW hydropower project at Stigler’s Gorge, the situation should improve dramatically in the coming years,” he said after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) on behalf of the Foundation.

Mr Simbeye also highlighted the challenge that companies face in accessing affordable debt financing, particularly for early and mid-stage funding from venture capital firms and private equity investors.

The OBG’s Country Director, Ivana Carapicsaid that the group would be exploring these and other topical issues in its forthcoming publication of the report; Tanzania 2017.

Tanzania’s industrialization would be a key focus, she noted, alongside the government’s efforts to reduce the informal economy and the balancing act it faces in bridging a budget shortfall without further squeezing businesses.

“Notably, Tanzania has a number of large infrastructure projects in the pipeline that have the ability to change the course of the country,” she said.

“On top of this, a national push targeting middleincome status is expected to produce a raft of new investment opportunities. I look forward to working with TPSF to highlight the issues that businesses would like to see addressed and the areas of the economy that are ripe for growth as we begin work on our landmark publication.”

Under the MoU, TPSF will contribute to OBG’s first-time report on Tanzania’s investment opportunities and economic activity.

Tanzania

Minister Touts Zanzibar’s Tourist Hot Spots

The Finance and Planning minister, Dr Khalid Mohamed, has seized the opportunity of the ongoing Eastern and Southern… Read more »

Tanzania: Private Sector Supports Investment in Power

THE private sector has commended new efforts to enhance power generation that will ensure reliable electricity supply for industrial plants being established in the drive to industrialise the economy.

The Executive Director with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Mr Godfrey Simbeye, said access to affordable and reliable power is important for the country’s industrial transformation ambitions.

“As a result of the investments being made in key infrastructure projects such as the 2100MW hydropower project at Stigler’s Gorge, the situation should improve dramatically in the coming years,” he said after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) on behalf of the Foundation.

Mr Simbeye also highlighted the challenge that companies face in accessing affordable debt financing, particularly for early and mid-stage funding from venture capital firms and private equity investors.

The OBG’s Country Director, Ivana Carapicsaid that the group would be exploring these and other topical issues in its forthcoming publication of the report; Tanzania 2017.

Tanzania’s industrialization would be a key focus, she noted, alongside the government’s efforts to reduce the informal economy and the balancing act it faces in bridging a budget shortfall without further squeezing businesses.

“Notably, Tanzania has a number of large infrastructure projects in the pipeline that have the ability to change the course of the country,” she said.

“On top of this, a national push targeting middleincome status is expected to produce a raft of new investment opportunities. I look forward to working with TPSF to highlight the issues that businesses would like to see addressed and the areas of the economy that are ripe for growth as we begin work on our landmark publication.”

Under the MoU, TPSF will contribute to OBG’s first-time report on Tanzania’s investment opportunities and economic activity.

Tanzania

Minister Touts Zanzibar’s Tourist Hot Spots

The Finance and Planning minister, Dr Khalid Mohamed, has seized the opportunity of the ongoing Eastern and Southern… Read more »

Six Jailed for Chopping Off Hand of Boy With Albinism

By Kizito Makoye

Dar es Salaam — Albinos are attacked for their body parts, which are prized in witchcraft and can fetch a high price

A Tanzanian court has sentenced six men to 20 years in jail each for chopping off the hand of an albino boy in the hope of selling it as a witchcraft charm.

The men were charged with severing the left hand of 12-year-old Mwigulu Matonange in February 2013 and running away with it, before some were caught scouting for a prospective buyer, the local Daily News reported.

The United Nations estimates that at least 75 albinos were killed in Tanzania between 2000 and 2015 but says that could represent a fraction of the attacks as most occur in secretive rituals in rural areas.

Albinos are attacked for their body parts, which are prized in witchcraft and can fetch a high price.

The four men were convicted on Friday of conspiring to murder and attempting to kill the boy, charges that carried separate jail terms.

However they were not sentenced to the maximum term of life imprisonment due to mitigations and the fact none had previous criminal records, Justice Adam Mambi told the high court in the southwestern Rukwa region.

“Twenty years? Why not the maximum sentence?” Vicky Ntetema, head of the Under the Same Sun charity’s Tanzania office, wrote on her Facebook page.

“So it is 30 years in prison for impregnating a school girl and only 20 years for hacking off a minor’s hand for witchcraft purposes, conspiring to murder, and for attempting to kill! These laws have to be changed.” she wrote.

In 2015, four men were sentenced to death by a Tanzanian court after they were convicted of abducting, killing and dismembering a 17 year-old albino boy.

Albinism is a congenital disorder that causes lack of pigment in skin, hair and eyes. It is more common in sub-Saharan Africa, and in Tanzania affects an estimated 1 in 1,400.

(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, resilience and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

Tanzania

Four Jailed After People With Albinism Attacked

THE High Court of Tanzania, Sumbawanga Zone, has pronounced separate 18-year jail verdicts on three people, after… Read more »

NGOs Donate TVs and Milk to JKCI

By John Namkwahe

Dar es Salaam — Tulia Trust Foundation in collaboration with DSTV and TSN Supermarkets on August 28, 2017 donated four television sets and two cartons of powder milk to the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI).

The donation comes after the institute initially called upon stakeholders to support the government’s efforts to improve health service delivery at the institute.

Speaking to reporters during the hand-over of the televisions, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and founder of Tulia Trust Foundation, Dr Tulia Ackson, noted that the TVs would be a great help to the mental well-being of the cardiovascular diseases sufferers, notably children.

“A problem we normally encounter is trying to keep the patients stimulated all the times, which is very difficult with the staff shortages and budget cutbacks,” she said.

She added: “Television sets will be a great help to the mental well-being of the children, enabling them to listen to music and watch various shows.”

For his part, JKCI Executive Director, Prof Mohammed Janabi, said he was more than happy to receive the aid and he called upon other stakeholders to continue supporting them.

“At least 75 percent of the patients that we receive here are children aged below 15 years and they stay here for months before and after the operations. The TV sets will enable them to enjoy their stay in wards,” he said.

Prof Janabi listed other challenges facing the Institute as including shortage of enough space to accommodate the patients, urging the government to construct a state-of-the art facility to accommodate the children.

Tanzania

Lawyers Opposed to Call to Boycott Courts After ‘Bomb’

Several lawyers are opposed to a recent call by the Tanganyika Law Society governing council to boycott court sessions… Read more »

South Africa: Consider Giving the Gift of Life

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has urged all South Africans to consider listing themselves as organ donors.

The call comes as the country observes Organ Donor Month to raise awareness of the critical deficiency of donor organs in the country, resulting in long waiting lists for organ transplants with potential negative consequences for those waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

“Donated organs have saved the lives of many… people across the world, including South Africa,” SAMA said.

Organ Donor Month is a nationwide effort in view of the extremely low organ donation rate in South Africa.

The prime goal of the Organ Donor Foundation (ODF), a national non-profit and public benefit organisation, is to raise national awareness about the need for and the benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

According to the Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa, as many as 4 300 South African adults and children are on waiting lists for organs and cornea transplants. However, the number of South Africans willing to donate organs remains critically low at 0.2% of the country’s population, owing to cultural and religious reasons.

Lifesaving organs and tissues that can be donated include the heart, liver, lungs, kidney, pancreas, corneas, skin bone and tendons.

Renal patients are particularly vulnerable, given the very few renal dialysis slots available in the public health system of South Africa.

The trend is likely to worsen, given the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in the country.

The majority of donations in South Africa are deceased donations, with a small component being living donor transplants (e.g. kidney donors).

SAMA said one donor can save as many as seven lives.

For more information on organ and tissue donation, visit the Organ Donation Foundation website at www.odf.org.za.

South Africa

Why Zuma’s Eventual Departure Won’t Solve the Country’s Woes

President Zuma is uniquely bad, but he hasn’t just enriched himself. Many people now have vested interests in the… Read more »

Judiciary Seeks Sharper Teeth in Anti-Crime War

By Hazla Omar in Arusha

TANZANIA is among countries that feel that there is a compelling need for the judiciary to be granted a wider latitude for tackling cross-border rackets and international crimes.

This emerged here, in the course of an international symposium held in Arusha, which drew over 100 participants. Its theme was ‘Judicial Independence-a Foundation for Combating International and Transnational Crimes.’

Opening the symposium, Acting Chief Justice Prof Ibrahim Juma remarked: “We judges in Tanzania, and I must believe also our prosecutors, and investigators–we were schooled and trained to operate within national jurisdictions under the umbrella of national sovereignty, must continue to learn and read reports on us and on our laws and on our procedures.”

He was of the view that since Tanzania was warming and opening up to the world, liberalising her politics and her centrally planned economy, the country was also increasingly inter-connecting herself with the states in the region and the world as a whole, and therefore, its judicial pillar must brace for cases of cross border vices and rackets.

The symposium brought together judges, members of civil society, academics and practitioners from the field of international and transnational criminal law.

Some of the distinguished speakers included US Supreme Court Justice, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Justice Navi Pillay, and Judge Bertram Schmitt from the International Criminal Court.

In attendance, too, was former Tanzanian Chief Justice Mohamed Chande Othman, who is a member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability. The Wayamo Foundation, the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability and the American Bar Association organized the event with financial support from the German Federal Foreign Office.

Topics covered included judicial independence and ethics in the fight against international and transnational organised crime, the relationship between domestic, regional and international courts in combating serious crimes, and the role of the judiciary in addressing human trafficking and cyber-crime.

Within the framework of Wayamo´s two-year long “Fighting Impunity in East Africa” project, Wayamo will be organising judge retreats, workshops for investigators and prosecutors in international criminal justice and transnational organised crime, and public outreach activities.

It will also endeavour to build diplomatic and political collaboration with key regional and international stakeholders.

Tanzania

Court Rejects Request to Have Businessman Manji Grilled

THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday rejected the prosecutions’ request for businessman… Read more »

Nigeria: Nigeria May Lose N20 Trillion to Power Sector Corruption in a Decade, Says Report

By Bertram Nwannekanma

Nigeria may lose N20 trillion to corruption in the power sector in the next 10 years if urgent steps are not taken to check the rate of government funding.

An electricity law expert and lecturer at the University of Lagos, Yemi Oke, stated this yesterday in a 64-page report presented in Lagos, adding that the expected loss in revenue was coming amidst dwindling fortune and recurrent revenue shortfalls.

The report titled: “From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector Agenda,” was released by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in collaboration with the Mac Arthur Foundation.

It detailed findings in the power sector, which were dashing Nigerians’ hope of efficient and regular power supply. Stressing the importance of energy to the economy, Oke, who authored the report, said the total financial loss to corruption in the sector since the return of democracy in 1999 was over N11 trillion, representing public funds, private equity and social investment or divestment in the power sector.

He lamented that the Federal Government did not earn money from the power sector privatisation as its assets were sold to cronies and politically exposed persons who could not make impact in the sector.

Nigerians, he said, would continue to grope in darkness with more fund and increased tariff because of corruption aided by lack of effective monitoring and supervision, as well as the top-down model of electricity governance in the country.

He added that institutional decay and the corruption by sector officials and other stakeholders in the power sector, coupled with the current structural arrangement and institutional impropriety, among others, would continue to undermine the sector.

Oke, therefore, stressed that there was the need for the Federal Government to revisit the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) scandal to send strong signals that corruption in the power sector would no longer be tolerated.

Speaking, Femi Falana, who chaired the occasion, challenged the 36 states to stop going to Abuja to get licences to generate electricity in their domains.

He described the report as a must reading for all Nigerians, saying it is very revealing and provoking that Nigerians were victims of darkness caused by corruption in the power sector.

Falana, therefore, urged the Lagos State government to lead the battle to take the management of power from Abuja.

Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the idea of the report supported by Mac Arthur Foundation was premised on the many effects of corruption in the power sector on ordinary Nigerians who are forced to generate their own electricity and the crazy bills phenomenon.

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