Posts tagged as: human

Nigeria: Meningitis Kills 8 in Kaduna – Health Commissioner

The Kaduna State Government says it has confirmed eight deaths since the outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, CSM. was reported in parts of the country in January.

The Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Paul Dogo, confirmed this when he spoke with journalists in Kaduna on Monday.

Mr. Dogo said that the state had recorded the eight deaths from 11 confirmed cases of CSM as at May 5.

He said that the state recorded 68 suspected cases in 15 local government areas, but 11 cases were confirmed to be CSM and eight among them died.

He said the eight cases were confirmed in Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi and Giwa Local Government Areas.

“This makes Kaduna State to be ranked 22 out of the 28 states with confirmed cases of CSM nationwide,” the commissioner said.

Over 1000 people are believed to have died from CSM across Nigeria since the start of the latest outbreak.

Mr. Dogo said that proactive measures were being taken and personnel were being trained on CSM outbreak investigation and case management.

According to him, relevant personnel of the ministry are handling procurement of spinal needles, pastorex kits and TI bottles as well as repositioning of drugs, ceftriaxone and medical consumables to health facilities for case management.

Mr. Dogo said distribution of ciprofoxacin to high risk primary contacts of confirmed cases was going on while meningitis alert had been sent to all medical doctors.

“Awareness campaigns through radio jingles and distribution of posters, syringes and gloves, training on CSF sample collection and transportation is also going on to tackle further outbreak,” Mr. Dogo said.

Meanwhile, the commissioner said that the state had also confirmed two cases of Lassa fever in the state within the period.

“We have recorded two cases of Lassa fever in 2017, one male and female, both from Igabi Local Government Area,” he said.

Mr. Dogo said the two persons came visited the state from Gombe and Ebonyi states, respectively.

“While the male patient was isolated in Kakuri IDCC and treated successfully with Ribavirin, the female patient died on the day of presentation and was diagnosed post mortem with blood sample.

“All their contacts enlisted and monitored for 21 days in surveillance and none developed the symptoms,” Mr. Dogo said.


Fresh Torture Accusations Leveled Against Police

Photo: NBS TV/Youtube

Now Kamwenge town council mayor Geoffrey Byamukama claims that police detectives tortured him from the now-notorious high-security Nalufenya police detention facility in Jinja district.

press releaseBy Maria Burnett

Last week, Uganda’s police were – again – accused of torturing suspects to illicit confessions. First, defendants charged in the murder of police commander Andrew Kaweesi had visible injuries during their court appearance. They complained in court of being beaten in Nalufenya police station in Jinja, Eastern Uganda. Then, photos leaked of the hospitalized mayor of Kamwenge, who had horrific injuries including gaping wounds on his knees and ankles, which he said resulted from beatings by police who were investigating the same murder.

The ensuing police denials ring hallow.

Over the last 15 years, Human Rights Watch has interviewed hundreds of Ugandans who say they were tortured by police, specifically by a string of units which have changed name and location over the years, but whose brutality repeats itself over and over again. First, Operation Wembley in Clement Hill, then Violent Crimes Crack Unit in Kireka, then Rapid Response Unit, also in Kireka and now the Special Investigations Division, at times assisted by staff from the Flying Squad, in Nalufenya. Scores of victims across Uganda have described nearly identical treatment during interrogations, including beatings on the joints with batons over several days, at times while handcuffed in stress positions with their hands under their legs. All of this units have defied laws regulating arrest and detention with no consequences.

In December 2011, General Kayihura, the inspector general of the Uganda Police Force, disbanded Rapid Response Unit, in part due to human rights violations by its officers. But without investigations into those violations and prosecutions of those responsible, the very same officers have continued to commit abuses as part of a new unit, with a new name. The lack of investigations and failure to remove abusive officers from police ranks, despites decades of allegations, only reinforces the problem – that Uganda’s police too often rely on forced confessions. They beat suspects to bypass the tough work of carefully investigating crimes and gathering credible evidence that could stand up to scrutiny in court.

Uganda’s police leadership need to stop facile denials that torture festers in Uganda’s police cells, and particularly nowadays, in Nalufenya. Police should take suspects’ allegations seriously, investigate officers for torture and mistreatment, and work with prosecutors to finally bring charges under Uganda’s never-used Anti Torture Act. Officers who commit torture should be removed from police ranks. Police shouldn’t be allowed to commit crimes while seeking to fight them.

Maria Burnett is the Director, East Africa and the Horn.

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Stella Nyanzi Returns With ‘New’ Language

Photo: Alex EsagalaDaily Monitor

Temporary relief. Makerere University research fellow Stella Nyanzi is carried by her lead lawyer Nicholas Opiyo (right) and her relatives after she was granted bail at Buganda Road Court.

On her 34th day of continuous incarceration, Makerere University research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi on Wednesday regained her freedom after being released on bail by Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court.

Dr Nyanzi was released from Luzira Prison on a non-cash bail of Shs10m, ending a month’s uncertainty and anxiety about when she would be out of jail.

Prior to her arrest, Dr Nyanzi had been in the lime light for making scathing attacks on the First Lady and Minister of Education Janet Museveni, deriding her over the ministry’s failure to provide sanitary towels to all girls in public schools.

Dr Nyanzi also lashed out at Ms Museveni for telling parents not to take their children to school using boda boda motorcycles as a means of transport.

On return, Nyanzi expressed her gratitude at being out of the “state’s belly of brutality”, thanking her lawyers, family and friends who stood by her.

What a delight to be out of the ugly belly of the state’s brutality! Luzira Women’s Prison will forever hold a dear place in my heart. I made friends with prisoners. Thirty-three days of wearing the sickening yellow uniform, sleeping on a thin mattress spread on the cement floor – alongside sixty other in-mates in my ward, the nightmare of shitting in a flooding pit latrine, surveillance, interrogation, the works…

I am glad to be home with family and friends who love me. I am loved. I am grateful to be loved. All the days I was locked up in Uganda’s beastly prison, I was upheld by love from near and far. I thank you all for the love. Freedom smells lovely when among loved ones.

My lawyers and legal team kept my winning spirit up. My sureties restored my hope in humanity. All my visitors in prison inspired me not to give up. The public press media and the social media fraternities kept the fire burning. Human rights activists, feminists, queers, journalists, cartoonists, comedians, musicians, artists, scholars, researchers, foreign missions, and all my allies who stood tall and proud in solidarity with me, I thank you.

Nyanzi wrote on her Facebook timeline

Dr Nyanzi is facing two charges of cyber related crimes. She was charged last month for referring to President Museveni as a “pair of buttocks” which the State says is offensive. Dr Nyanzi denies using any offensive language against the President.

She will return to court on May 25 when her lawyers will respond to the State’s application seeking to have Dr Nyanzi subjected to a mental test to determine her sanity.


Over 1000 to Lose Their Houses Along Kampala-Entebbe Road

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Areas Which Led in Witchcraft-Related Violence and Killings Named

By Louis Kolumbia

Dar es Salaam — Tabora, Mbeya and Shiyanga are among the 11 regions of Tanzania Mainland with a high incidence of witchcraft-related violence and killings, a recent report on the state of human rights in 2015/16 released by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) shows.

Released recently, the report shows that the three regions recorded a total of 120 incidents during the year – Tabora (69 incidents), Mbeya (29) and Shinyanga (22).

Other regions with their respective number of incidents in brackets are Geita (13), Rukwa (12), Dodoma (11), Lindi (9), Simiyu (8), Arusha (8), Katavi (7) and Morogoro (7).

Launching the report last week, LHRC researcher Paul Mikongoti said 394 killings of people were recorded by June 2016 compared to 425 killings recorded in 2015, suggesting that the situation might have been worse in the year since data for six months couldn’t be immediately established.

“Following these killings, 135 people were arrested and charged, 20 of them have been convicted, 15 have been acquitted and 35 cases are still going on in court. One major challenge in combating witchcraft killings is, however, a slow pace of investigation and taking the culprits to court. The LHRC recommends to speed up investigation and prosecution,” he said.

According to the report, the country recorded 320 killings by June 2014, but the highest killings (765 incidents) were recorded a year before, which was a slight increment from 2012 during which 630 killings of people were recorded.

The report quotes the Home Affairs ministry’s speech in Parliament during the 2016/17 budget session, saying 222 incidents of witchcraft-related killings, targeting especially elderly people, occurred during the period of July 2015 to March 2016. The reports shows that the majority of the victims of witchcraft killings were women. It further shows that 157 women were killed in 2016 compared to 71 men recorded to have been killed in the same year due to witchcraft accusations. About 90 per cent of those interviewed believe witchcraft beliefs contributed to the killings.

“Witch doctors have been telling their customers, who is harming them or their family members. Being rich or successful in life has partly contributed to increased incidents of violence and killings,” reads part of the report.

Other reasons include, lack of education, poverty and inadequate investigation and prosecution. Traditional courts too are blamed for issuing orders to kill suspects in some parts of the country with the elderly women with red eyes turning major victims, usually facing recurrent attacks with machetes, leading to their deaths. Therefore, the LHRC recommends that the police and local security committees should increase efforts to locate, arrest and take to court perpetrators of witchcraft related killings.

The report recommends the government authorities and civil society organisations to increase public awareness campaigns on witchcraft-related violence and killings in society. “Special attention should be given to Tabora, Shinyanga, Mbeya and Geita regions. Religious leaders and faith based-organisations in the regions should speak against and discourage mob justice and strengthen religious beliefs,” reads the report.

Last Chance to Get Katarikawe’s Fine Art Work

By Kari Mutu

For those still thinking about acquiring a painting by legendary Ugandan painter Jak Katarikawe, this may be your last chance.

Currently there are two artworks of Katarikawe hanging at the Nairobi Gallery. Village Life shows a rural setting in Uganda with villagers, huts, long-horned Ankole cattle, land planted with rows of crops, a small lake and the national flag.

Family is a yellow and white portrait of a bespectacled father, mother and daughter holding each other lovingly with smiling faces. They are surrounded by a throng of white-faced cows with long horns and the human-like faces that characterise many of Katarikawe’s animal images.

Both illustrations are oils on canvas, painted in soft hues and in the fanciful style that Katarikawe favours as a means of narrating stories that are heavily influenced by his countryside upbringing.

Katarikawe is a long-time resident of Kenya and a well-known figure in East Africa’s art scene since the 1960s. Due to poor health and low sales, his productivity has diminished over the past few years. Those familiar with his work also cite a decline in the fineness of his recent paintings.

“I would say the two pieces at Nairobi Gallery are among the last works of his previous quality on the market,” said Alan Donovan, co-founder of the African Heritage Gallery. There is a third painting themed around elephants that awaits a buyer, according to Donovan.

In his heyday, Katarikawe’s sold his work through famous galleries such as the now defunct Gallery Watatu in Nairobi, run by the late Ruth Schaffner, who was well connected in the global art world.

Sadly, Katarikawe’s plight echoes that of many older artists including John Odochameny in Uganda, Elkana Ong’esa and Richard Onyango in Kenya.

Pioneering artists who relocated overseas seem to have fared better, such as ceramist Magdalene Odundo of Kenya and sculptor Francis Nnaggenda, who returned to Uganda to chair the Fine Arts Department at Makerere University. –


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Tanzania: The Road to Eliminating Malaria in Zanzibar

By April Monroe

It has only been about two weeks since countries, including Tanzania, commemorated World Malaria Day.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling on countries and their development partners to urgently improve access to life-saving prevention tools. One of the most effective tools in malaria prevention is the insecticide-treated net (ITN).

Use of ITNs has been shown to reduce malaria incidence rates by 50 per cent in a range of settings, and to reduce malaria mortality rates by 55 per cent in children aged under 5 years in sub-Saharan Africa.

Despite this reduction, malaria persists with the largest burden in sub-Saharan Africa.

ITNs are primarily designed to protect people indoors while they sleep by providing a physical barrier of protection and by killing mosquitoes that land on them.

In some settings, mosquito behaviour–like increased outdoor mosquito biting and biting early in the evening–means that people may still be exposed to malaria when they are not protected by an ITN.

This transmission, which persists even where access to effective vector control methods like ITNs is high, is sometimes referred to as residual malaria transmission; it represents a critical challenge for eliminating malaria.

What is being done?

Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) have teamed up through the VectorWorks project, to study residual malaria transmission in Zanzibar.

The island provides a good case study for residual malaria transmission, with malaria prevalence at less than 1 per cent, thanks to interventions like ITNs, Zanzibar can realistically work toward complete elimination.

Collaborating with the Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Program, VectorWorks is combining research on mosquito and human behaviour to better understand what factors are contributing to the remaining transmission in the six sites in Zanzibar with the highest incidence of malaria.

To record information on human behaviour, VectorWorks is using direct observation of people’s activities throughout the night.

In addition, the researchers are conducting in-depth interviews with household members and community leaders that provide a rich understanding of evening and night-time activities, sleeping patterns, and current malaria prevention practices.

In addition to the human behaviour data, VectorWorks is collecting hourly indoor and outdoor mosquito biting information to develop a more complete picture of risk. Fieldwork is done in both dry and rainy seasons to collect information on how human and mosquito behaviour changes across seasons.

Studies like these are important to understanding how to prevent the last pockets of malaria transmission, and to ensure that settings with low malaria prevalence can eliminate malaria for good.

April Monroe is the Program Officer for the VectorWorks project.


Country Mourns 32 Pupils Who Died in a Bus Crash

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Tanzania: Indiscriminate High Rise Buildings Worry Legislator

Dodoma — Construction of high rise buildings in any city is supposed to adhere to rules and regulations given by engineering boards which are found in the building contract.

This was said in parliament by the Deputy Minister of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Angelina Mabula when she was responding to a question from Special Seats Member of Parliament, Mariam Kisangi (CCM).

She wanted to know why the government is issuing building permits for high rise buildings along major roads, which risk demolition to pave way for road expansion.

In her response, the deputy minister said that construction of high rise buildings along major roads is currently rampant, saying that this is mostly caused by improvement of road infrastructure in most cities.

She said that improvement of road infrastructure usually attracts a big number of investors who construct business structures, petrol stations, hotels and residential apartments.

“This is a normal thing in any developing country because good roads increase the value of any area, which in turn attracts investors,” said the deputy minister.

She said that to ensure they are not faced with a possibility of paying compensation to those who have constructed high rise buildings along major roads; the government has put several measures in place.

One of the measures she said includes identifying areas ripe for redevelopment to harmonize current and future land use and to divide the areas according to value of the land.

She said some of the areas already identified include Kariakoo, Kurasini, Temeke, Msasani, Oysterbay, Magomeni and Ilala. In other areas, she said planning of these areas is considered through master plans of the concerned towns.


Country Mourns 32 Pupils Who Died in a Bus Crash

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Kenya: Non-Graduate Clinical Officers, Nurses Won’t Preform Surgeries

By Verah Okeyo

Clinical officers and nurses who do not have a university degree will no longer perform surgeries such as Caesarean sections.

The Task Sharing Guidelines 2017 launched on Thursday by the Ministry of Health also forbid non-graduate clinicians from amputating, removing hernias or performing other surgeries considered “specialised”, including removal of the uterus and post-mortems.

During the doctors’ strike, surgeries turned fatal as clinicians stepped in to man medical facilities.


There were complaints of poorly conducted surgeries and injuries such as brain damage due to improperly monitored anaesthesia.

According to the ministry’s Human Resource Information System, there were 11,290 practising clinical officers in 2016, making them the second-largest group of public health workers after nurses and midwives (45,018). Medical doctors are 6,675.

The guidelines place medical officers at the top of the pile as the most trained and handling the most difficult cases.

In levels 4-6 hospitals, surgeries are left to doctors while injections, inserting and removing contraception implants and dressing wounds can be handled by nurses and clinical officers.


This is likely to spark off a simmering rivalry between paramedics and doctors.

In his book East African Doctors: A History of the Modern Profession, British historian John Iliffe talks of doctors’ resistance to clinical officers having private practice.

In 1985, doctors thrashed the ‘Medicus Bill’ to this effect, stating that clinical officers were “only equipped to follow simple signs and symptoms to make probable diagnoses and then provide uncomplicated remedial measures, incapable of independent practice or be equated with professionals”.


Clinical Officers Union secretary George Giboro said while they are the “donkeys” in health facilities, the ministry and doctors have undermined them.

A clinical officers’ diploma takes three years, higher diploma one to two years, a degree four years, with a year and a half of internship, as masters takes three and a half years and a doctorate three years.

Doctors take five to six years for undergraduate, three for postgraduate and a maximum of five for a doctorate.


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Take Nyerere’s Philosophy On Development to Heart


When articulating the nation he cherished to build, the father of Tanzanian nationalism, Mwalimu Nyerere, declared in no uncertain that freedom and development were inextricably linked, as are chickens and eggs — boot!

Focused, determined and scrupulously honest, Mwalimu spoke firmly that as in the case of having no chickens one gets no eggs and without eggs one will have no chickens, similarly, without freedom you get no development and without development you soon lose your freedom.

He defined freedom as the ability of Tanzanians to determine their own future and govern themselves without interference from non-Tanzanians. He also defined development as expansion of freedom and the economy.

On personal freedom, he defined it as someone’s right to live in dignity and equality with all others, the right to freedom of speech, freedom to participate in the making of all decisions, which affect one’s life and freedom from arbitrary arrest because he happens to annoy someone in authority and so on. He fervently believed in those principles and lived up them.

It is sad that about half a century later, Mwalimu’s treasure is forgotten to say the least.

But better late than never, right? We can rummage through his speeches, dust them off, go through them to determine the fundamentals of national unity, adjust to our circumstances and use them to ensure that laws, regulations and actions that give our country a bad name end.

We can’t stand the sight of innocent people going missing, being abducted, being arrested arbitrarily, being refused to gather and expressing their views.

The ‘Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Tanzania 2016’ is a blot on society as it details how the legal framework is hostile to human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society organisations (CSOs). It cites 50 cases of attacks, kidnapping, harassment, arbitrary arrests and criminalisation of HRDs in the past two years.

Defenders of pastoralists accused of espionage

There were 10 cases of HRDs being accused of espionage and sabotage offences for defending pastoralists’ land rights in Loliondo. The report also cites deregistration and suspension of some non-governmental organisations (NGOs), raids and illegal confiscations of office documents and prosecution of some of directors of NGOs simply because of the unproven failure to comply with the NGOs Act.

There have also been cases of attacks, harassment, threats, defamation charges, denial of freedom of movement against journalists, as well as destruction of their work equipment and personal effects.

Some journalists were either attacked or restricted.

Legal setbacks, which infringe on freedom of expression and access to information, are also a problem.

Disappointingly, more draconian laws are being enacted. The Access to Information Act of 2016, the Media Services Act, 2016 and the Cybercrime Act, 2015 are some of the pieces of legislation that curtail freedom of expression.

As the nation is geared up for industrialisation by 2020 and becoming a middle-income economy by 2025, let’s live Nyerere’s treatise of freedom and development.

Nairobi to Host UN Meeting

By Charles Omondi

The 26th Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) opens in Nairobi Monday.

A statement from the Office of the President in Kenya said the meeting will run till Friday.

It will be the first since the UN-Habitat III council gathering in Quito, Ecuador in October, 2016.

Political tone

President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend the meeting.

The theme of the conference is; “Opportunities for the effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda”.

The conference is expected to set the political tone and shape the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

The Governing Council serves as the decision-making body for the UN-Habitat and approves the agency’s biennial work programme and budget.

Human settlements

GC is also responsible for setting UN-Habitat’s policies by developing and promoting policy objectives, priorities and guidelines on existing and planned programmes of work on human settlements

The council meets biennially and reports to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) through the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).


Dengue Fever Outbreak Hits 153 in Mombasa

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