Posts tagged as: world

Nigeria: Malaria Burden Adds Up to Adewole’s Meningitis Burden

opinionBy Adeola Akinremi

In November 2009, I sat near Isaac Adewole, in Dare-Salaam, Tanzania. I could tell of his brilliance and dedication to a cause he believed in based on how up-close I saw and interacted with him. He was elected the Chairman of African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) at that meeting unopposed to confirm his leadership prowess. We all roared in jubilation to approve that election.

At that time, he was a professor at the University of Ibadan and awaiting Vice Chancellor. He made it to become the Vice Chancellor of the premier university just about one year after. His academic brain and soundness have not been mixed with Nigeria’s perplexing politics.

But in November 2015, five years later, Adewole, became Nigeria’s Health Minister and his progress took a turn. He became a reactive man, and not proactive anymore. He must really be frustrated and hiding it.

Really, serving in Nigerian government can turn a smart man into a sluggish man. Government work around here can make a man full of vision to lose his sight.

Adewole must have had a torrid time as a sitting Health Minister whose tenure has had running battle with outbreak of diseases. With scores of people dying from diseases that are preventable and government using fire brigade approach for a rescue plan, I am fully convinced that Adewole is in a cage too difficult to exit from.

“I should start with global health security, as we might be aware, we have been dealing with series of outbreaks over the last one year. We started with Lassa, we moved on to cholera, there were pockets of measles and now we are dealing with meningitis,” he said without putting figures to the number of health-related deaths under him as a minister. But those deaths are now over a million in less than two years that he became a minister.

Honestly, I feel lethargic these days about Nigerian situation that I am hesitant to write. The bad shape that our country is will require not only a smart panel-beater to beat it into shape, but a man of hammer to hit the hell out of Nigeria.

This week, after reading the headline, ‘Nigeria begs U.S. to help fight Malaria’, my heart pumped. Sadly, the news story was attributed to the Health Minister, who equally acknowledged that the United States through its USAID/Presidential Malaria Initiative covering 11 states and the National Malaria Programme has invested substantial amount of about 490 million dollars in Nigeria.

The United Kingdom through its Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, the Global Fund, all separately put millions of dollars into malaria fight in Nigeria.

But despite the huge money invested in Nigeria already by the United States, including what the country itself continues to include in its annual budget, no less than 300,000 lives are lost to malaria annually. If you have been a victim of malaria, you will have no reason to dispute the figure. I think it could be more than that after seeing two close family members killed by malaria.

So my question is why is malaria-related death continues in Nigeria year after year despite the fact that it is preventable and with the huge amount of money invested in Nigeria by donor countries and nonprofits? The continuous mismanagement and embezzlement of fund by those entrusted with its administration is a big issue in malaria fight in Nigeria.

Interestingly, Nigerian administrators are so unkind to the poor. They continue to embezzle such money meant for rescue efforts like security fund, national emergency management fund, Presidential Initiative for the North East fund, malaria control fund and many others.

On its National Malaria Control Programme website (, you can get the picture that Nigeria is not interested in eradicating malaria the way the United States did in the 50s. At best, Nigeria wants to roll malaria back so that it can continue to roll forward. The content on the website is outdated and that shows the concern the Ministry of Health has for malaria eradication.

When in November 2016, the United States launched a whistle-blowing campaign on Nigeria for theft of its donated anti-malaria fund I was sad, knowing that I have lost people to malaria.

According to the Deputy Inspector General in charge of the American supported Malarial Control Programme in Africa in USAID, Jonathan Schofield, antimalarial products including treated bed nets and medicines carrying the USAID brand meant to be distributed free of charge, as part of the contribution of the American government to eradicate malaria in Nigeria were being diverted or faked by syndicates.

I remember that the U.S. government promised to give monetary reward for any useful information that would lead to the arrest of syndicates who hoard or fake the USAID funded malaria products in Nigeria. It was that bad. Why are we the enemies of our own progress?

It may surprise many why the United States continues to support Nigeria despite its frustrating experience. Here is the truth. The U.S. understands that America is not completely a safe haven with regards to malaria, though malaria ended in the U.S. in the 50s.

Americans are explorers and they go everywhere, and because they visit such malaria endemic countries as Nigeria there’s the probability of being infected.

Of course, with more immigrants and tourists arriving in the U.S. everyday, they will likely carry the fever with them and place the burden on America’s healthcare system.

For instance, in a report published on April 24, the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene claimed that between 2000 and 2014, about 22,000 people were admitted to U.S. hospitals with complications of malaria.

As the U.S. Consul General in Lagos, Francis John Bray, recently wrote that, “ridding the world of this burden will have a long-term transformative impact across the globe, saving millions of lives and generating trillions in additional economic output,” the burden is on Prof. Adewole to follow the money to save lives.

Africa: Ghana Drops VAT On Domestic Flights As 10 Investors Seek License

The Ghana Ministry of Aviation has received proposals from 10 foreign and local investors to operate in the country’s domestic airline industry.

The country’s Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, made this known at the opening of this year’s International Air Transport Association (IATA) Day in Accra, according to an online publication,

It is being organised by IATA, which is the trade association for the world’s airlines.

Participants include key stakeholders in the air travel industry from Africa.

The conference has the theme: ‘Aviation: catalyst for socio-economic development in Ghana’ and will discuss the impact of aviation on the economy, infrastructure development and safety in the industry.

Although Dapaah did not give details of the proposals received, she said the ministry was studying them and would announce the final decision in due course.

She stated that the government considered the development of the aviation sector a priority, for which reason a lot of investment had been made in infrastructural development at the various airports, aerodromes and airstrips across the country.

She added that all facilities at the airports were being modernised to meet international standards and to improve safety and the comfort of travelers.

To promote domestic air transport, Dapaah said the government had abolished the 17.5 per cent VAT on domestic airfares to encourage more patronage by the travelling public and also reduce the cost of operation of airlines.

Dapaah said as part of plans to establish a national airline, which would fly initially in the West African region, a transactional advisor had been working on finding a strategic investor to partner the government.

To improve the regulation and provision of air navigation services, she said a new entity was being established to take care of air navigation, while the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority concentrated on its core mandate of regulating the sector.

“This is intended to improve safety standards and also properly regulate the operations of the various actors in the industry,” she explained.

An IATA Regional Head in charge of membership and external relations in Africa and Middle East, Ms Adefunke Ademeyi, commended Ghana for transforming its aviation industry in recent years.

She named Ghana and Rwanda as one of the countries in Africa which were using aviation to promote their socio-economic transformation.

“The transformations in the airports in Ghana are visible and positive,” she stressed.

She urged African governments to open up their aviation markets in order to promote connectivity and facilitate easy travel on the continent.

For his part, the President of IATA, Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, said globally, the aviation industry contributed $2.7 trillion, which represents 3.5 per cent of the world’s GDP, and directly employed 9.9 million people.

Demand for air connectivity in the next 20 years, Mr Kuuchi said, was projected to double and that would take a tremendous amount of planning and coordination between airlines and other stakeholders in the aviation industry to achieve.

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.


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Learning By Practice – Students Exposed to Conservation

interviewBy Mugini Jacob

Principal of Singita Grumeti Environmental Education Center Mr Laurian Lamatus carefully explains a point to some students who attended an environmental course at the center recently .

SINGITA Grumeti’s commitment to conservation, development and community outreach come together in perfect harmony in the establishment of the Singita Grumeti Environmental Educational Center in Tanzania.The Center serves to engage and educate the community’s next generation of leaders on the importance of a balanced, sustainable ecosystem. The center conducts approximately 25 week-long courses per year which are attended by 300 youth from the 26 secondary schools in nearby districts border.

The center’s focus on education extends to the environment and the critical role each individual plays in minimizing their impact on the earth’s limited resources. Twelve students accompanied by their teacher are exposed to critical environmental issues such as deforestation, soil erosion, waste management and water conservation that affect each and every one of them. In this interview Staff Writer MUGINI JACOB talks with Laurian Lamatus the principal of the center since 2009 on conservation issues.Excerpts:

What does an average day at the EEC look like?

The first thing I do in the morning is inspect the kitchens to make sure that breakfast is ready for the learners. Classes then commence at 8.00am and run until 5.00pm, after which we keep the learners active with outdoor games for a couple of hours. After a short break we meet for dinner, which is usually followed by a conservation film before bed time around 9pm. Each day I will also have a slot for doing managerial work for the center.

How did you become aware of the importance of environmental awareness?

I was a shepherd as a young boy, taking care of our goats and sheep, and had a great passion for birds and insects. I frequently stayed with my Grandma during my youth and she taught me about various herbal plants; a set of knowledge that I am proud to use to this day. In primary school I joined Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots environmental club where I became a leader and this sparked a greater interest in environmental conservation.

What’s your favourite thing about engaging students with nature?

AI love to see how my students react when they hear and see while out on game drive or exploring nature. I also enjoy the community visits where we teach local youth about what environmentally conscious hospitality means for them and their families, and the important link between tourism, conservation and community prosperity.

What does the environmental education course entail?

The goal for this course is to impart both theoretical and practical skills amongst youth in secondary schools and their teachers on the sustainable use of natural resources. The center does this by encouraging a passion for the environment and creating an understanding of the ecosystem and our role in it. Knowledge shared includes soil and vegetation usage and management; water conservation; as well as the protection of local wildlife including birds, animals and insects. Leadership skills are also taught as part of a broader strategy to influence the mindset of the youth through KAP; knowledge, attitude and practice.

Based on the skills and knowledge they’re gaining, what impact do you think your students are having on their communities?

First of all the programme is creating future leaders with the experience and ability to correctly manage the use of natural resources. Secondly, the students’ families benefit from the ripple effect of their knowledge through activities like the planting of trees and vegetable gardens in nearby villages. Finally, and as a result of this ripple effect, the local community becomes more aware of the importance of conservation, ensuring that the message is spread far and wide.

Which of the projects you have carried out with the students have been most successful?

Apart from the “green programmes” (like the tree planting mentioned above), we’ve also had wonderful success with building awareness through an art competition. Students were encouraged to design something for use in a calendar which was then printed and used to create awareness for other youth and their communities.

The annual ‘Malihai’ (youth conservation clubs) conference which commemorates World Environment Day brings young people together to learn from one another and from our speakers, who are environmental experts and professionals. They benefit greatly from these presentations as it helps to keep them up to date with global projects and movements affecting conservation and tourism.


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Eritrea: Provision of Free Medical Service

Asmara — The Eritrean Medical Association in partnership with its Italian counterpart provided free medical service to citizens working in places exposed to pollutant gases. The medical service was provided to citizens who are working in environmental sanitation and infrastructure activities as well as at Medeber in the Central region.

The medical service which daily provided for a week treating 140 people per day included checkup of respiratory system. According to Prof. Marco Bruno, leader of the Italian medical team, similar medical service is also being provided to Eritrean cyclists. The beneficiaries commending the medical service they were provided called for its sustainability.


Family of Jailed Journalist Renews Calls for His Release

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Eritrea: Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases

Massawa — Mr. Fsehaye Ghergish, head of non-communicable diseases prevention and control unit in the Northern Red Sea region, said that concerted efforts that have been made to prevent and control non-combinable disease have born fruitful outcome.

Mr. Fsehaye further noted that such remarkable progress has been registered through the expansion of healthcare facilities, deployment of healthcare professionals, introduction of modern medical equipment and distribution of sufficient medicine.

Due attention has been given to the prevention of diabetics, cardiac problem, asthma, cancer, blindness and other diseases that could cause dire consequences through the provision of efficient health service in Ghinda’e, Massawa, Afabet and Nakfa hospitals which are equipped with modern healthcare facilities and that of ophthalmic service in particular.

As part of preventing blindness around 1700 nationals have underwent ophthalmic surgery while 6,300 patients were provided with eye glasses.


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Rudisha to Make 1000m Debut in Ostrava

By Alex Isaboke

Ostrava, Czech Republic — Organisers of the Golden Spike have announced that two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha will make his 1000m debut at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on 28 June.

“I’m really looking forward to my race in Ostrava,” Rudisha said. “It will be my third race of the season but most interestingly for me it’s my first time to run 1000 metres!”

Testing himself in off distances isn’t anything new for Rudisha who last season in his run-up to a successful Olympic 800m title defence, broke the African record over 600m at the Birmingham leg of the IAAF Diamond League, clocking 1:13.10.

But going up in distance is uncharted territory for the 28-year-old, who famously broke his own 800m world record in the 2012 Olympic final.

“I’m excited to try this race. People are always asking me how would I run at 1500. I always say that’s too far to run against the miler guys! But 1000m is of course shorter and closer to my racing distance.

“I’ve got no time or plan in mind but I’m excited to test myself and see what I can do,” added Rudisha, who will be competing in the Czech city for the fifth time.

One publicly unstated goal could be the meeting record of 2:15.08 set by Ilham Tanui Ozbilen of Turkey in 2014, the fastest time that year over the rarely-run distance.

Rudisha is the latest Olympic champion announced for the meeting’s 56th edition.

Previously announced were 400m world record holder and Rio winner Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa who’ll contest the 300m, double world and Olympic champion Mo Farah of Great Britain, who’ll compete in the 10,000m, Thomas Rohler of Germany, who’ll contest the javelin, and Christian Taylor of the US in the triple jump.

@alexIsaboke is a Sports Journalist with Capital FM who hopes to inspire sportsmen achieve their dreams. Find him on the pitch, track, court, course….


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Long-Distance Runner Simbu Tanzania’s New Hero in Athletics

Photo: Daily News

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa admires a gold medal won by Tanzanian athlete Alphonce Simbu at the Mumbai Marathon in January, this year. Simbu visited the National Assembly in Dodoma yesterday, at the invitation of the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harison Mwakyembe , following his recent success in London Marathon. The runner finished fifth at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Dodoma — Pomp and fanfare greeted Tanzanian marathoner, Alphonce Simbu, at the National Assembly yesterday, following the runner’s recent feat at the international competitions.

Simbu, who finished fifth in London Marathon last Saturday, visited the House here at the invitation of the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe. He was accompanied by officials from DStv, who are the runner’s official sponsors and officials from the National Service, JKT.

Shortly after the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Tulia Ackson mentioned Simbu as among the visitors, MPs erupted into a deafening applause, giving standing ovation to the country’s new hero in athletics.

After the morning session, Simbu had an opportunity to greet Prime Minister. Several MPs including Primer Majaliwa had a photo session with the runner.

Premier Majaliwa, could not hide his high esteem on the runner, saying he has made the country proud. Majaliwa said the government acknowledges and respect contributions made by several stakeholders in ensuring that Simbu continues to make his mark at the world’s top level.

He wished the runner best of luck ahead of the forthcoming 2017 World Championships in Athletics to be held in August this year in London. The long distance runner later met with Minister Mwakyembe at his office, where they had a brief discussion.

Mwakyembe expressed his delight following the runner’s recent feat, saying his ministry will continue his achievement as a challenge to seek for more. “We take this very serious and we will continue to work with other stakeholders and other ministries and institution especially the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) to see how they can support sports. We need to come up with more sports centres to develop sports in the country,” he said.

After finishing fifth at 2016 Rio Olympics and snatching a gold medal at the 2017 Mumbai Marathon, Simbu managed to put up yet another stunning performance to finish in lucrative London Marathon.

Simbu, who clocked 2.09.10 in the closely-contested race, was awarded $10,000 (about 30m/-).

Kenya’s Daniel Wanjiru recorded the greatest victory of his career as he fended off Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele to win the race. Simbu said upon arrival in Arusha on Tuesday, that he would fight singlehandedly to accomplish his tough mission in London by making sure no Kenyan or Ethiopian finishes ahead of him.

“I managed to beat them in Mumbai Marathon, therefore, it is very possible to outshine them again in London,” he said.

The Arusha-born Simbu said he has decided to plot his big opponents right from their home base in Kenyan Rift valley, the training ground of the most medalists. Most preferable camp is Eldoretbased Kipchoge Keino Academy where athletes from various parts of the world usually train with Kenya-based runners.

Additionally, Simbu’s sponsors, The Multi-Choice Tanzania (DSTV) though its Public Relations Manager, Johnson Mshana, said they hope to see Simbu taking the National Anthem abroad and most likely in the coming IAA World Championships

Improve Working Environment for Teachers, Govt Urged

By Anne Robi

AN education expert has asked the government to set up a plan that will ensure quality assurance experts regularly visit schools in the country to monitor the teaching and learning process for better development. In line with that, the move will ensure better maintenance of infrastructure and other school facilities.

A Quality Assurance Coordinator from HakiElimu, Professor Robert Mihayo said here that the move will help ensure acceptable standards of education in the nation.

“Regular visits in schools will help the government to be able to know, plan and budget requirements of the schools, ensuring quality and enough school infrastructure for better results of education outcome in the country,” he said.

Prof Mihayo who is also the Chairman of the organising committee of Global Action Week on Education (GAWE) campaign was speaking during a school building activity conducted in Sengenya Primary School in Nanyumbu District, Mtwara Region. GAWE campaign nationally which was conducted in Nanyumbu District started on the 24th of this month and is scheduled to end today.

Education, Science and Technology Minister, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, is expected to officially close the campaign. In another development, Prof Mihayo expressed the need for the government to ensure availability of qualified teachers, mostly in primary schools as well as affording attractive payments to help them keep and maintain their professions.

He said various researches conducted indicate poor performance in primary schools especially in rural areas is the result that could be attributed to low quality of teachers.

“Despite that, the government should always make sure teachers are well paid especially in rural areas,” he said, adding that measly salaries which at times are delayed has led to majority of teachers to spend teaching time engaged in other businesses for their living.

Prof Mihayo pointed out that a research by the World Bank indicates that 40 per cent of teachers in the country spend most of their time doing other businesses instead of being in class.


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Nigeria: Meningitis – Unicef Pays Close Watch On Ekiti

By Josiah Oluwole

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has said it is paying a close watch on Ekiti State as a precautionary measure to forestalling the outbreak of meningitis in the state.

Over 800 deaths have so far been recorded nationwide, as the federal government and other agencies battle to stem the tide particularly in the northern part of the country.

The international organization said although there had been no reported case of the disease in Ekiti, it was working with experts in the health ministry to ensure watchfulness and avert any eventuality.

The UNICEF representative in Ekiti, Abiodun Olagunju, made this known in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday during a stakeholders’ meeting held to discuss the second phase of polio vaccination in the state.

“Though, Ekiti is not within the meningitis belt, but we are keeping watch because someone can bring it from the meningitis endemic state to Ekiti,” Mr. Olagunju said.

“UNICEF and World Health Organisation are not fond of folding their arms and allowing communicable diseases ravage the land before taking actions, this is not medically wise.”

On the polio vaccination exercise, he said the target for children below age 5 is 100 per cent in Ekiti, adding that 87 per cent was recorded during the first phase .

“Let me also enlighten our people that the vaccines for polio, measles, meningitis, hepatitis B are available in all the health centres in Ekiti, so we are on ground to fight communicable diseases to safeguard the health of our people,” said Mr. Olagunju.

Reviewing the first phase of the anti-polio campaign held in the state, the State Immunization Officer, Christianah Ajimati, said a total of 579,704 children were immunized with polio vaccine during the exercise held in March 2017 out of the projected 667, 145 . She said Emure Local Government had the highest turnout of children with 95 per cent for the exercise with Ekiti West coming last with 66 percent.

She said the second phase of the fight against polio would kick off between May 6 and 9, saying the fight against communicable disease was total for Nigeria to maintain the polio-free status conferred by United Nations.

Mrs. Ajimati expressed delight that Nigeria, particularly Ekiti, had overcome the barrier of religion that had been a great impediment stopping many parents from presenting their children for the oral vaccine.

“We want to commend our donor agencies and Ekiti State government for the release of funds. Timely release of funds and kits really helped this exercise,” she said.

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