WHO collaborates with Nigerian Government to update the country health workforce profile

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

WHO Regional Office for Africa

The Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) in collaboration with The World Health Organization(WHO) has successfully updated and validated Nigeria’s health workforce profile from 2012 to 2018 with funding from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC) under the “Enhancing the Ability of Frontline Health Workers to Improve Health in Nigeria” project. 

Validating the Nigeria Health Workforce Profile 2018 provides the national health workforce information needed for planning and it is a crucial milestone in the health sector considering that the last country profile was developed and published in 2012.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary FMoH Alhaji Abdullahi Mashi represented by Dr. Evelyn Ngige stated “This document will not only better our understanding of our health workforce’s stock, characteristics and performance, it will also further help to generate insights into gaps and possibilities for health workforce strengthening”.

She reiterated, “The document will assist policy and decision makers at all levels to develop appropriate strategies to ensure that the correct numbers of professionals are trained, equitably distributed and retained towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.” 

She also thanked the WHO for the great support demonstrated in strengthening health workforce planning and management especially in the updating of the country’s HRH profile.

The profile demonstrates Nigeria’s significant progress in achieving the Global Strategy for Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 milestone which requires every country to track health workforce dynamics and share human resource for health (HRH) data needed for planning towards achieving UHC. Achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria is largely dependent on adequate and equitable supply of the needed health workforce to improve access of Nigerians to integrated people-centered quality health services. 

At the validation workshop, the WHO Officer in Charge (OiC) Dr Peter Clement,stated that “African countries need a global focus on how human resource works and how it is managed”. Dr Peter reaffirmed WHO’s commitment for continued partnership with the Government of Nigeria  in strengthening Human Resource for Health management and planning. He further indicated that the profile when finalized will set the foundation for achieving the goal of the Strategic Pillar 3 and Priority Area 9 of the Second National Strategic Health Development Plan 2018 – 2022, for having in place the right number, skill mix of competent, motivated, productive and equitably distributed health work force for optimal and quality health care services provision.

This principle has been guiding the WHO’s ongoing support in ensuring that health workforce information is readily available for management and planning in Nigeria.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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Tackling child malnutrition (by Islamane Abdou)

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
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Malnutrition is a major threat to children’s health and development in Niger. More than 4 out of 10 children under 5 are stunted, robbing them of their full potential. Global acute malnutrition is consistently above the 10 per cent ‘alert’ level – even during times and in places where no nutrition-related emergencies have been declared. Micronutrient deficiencies are rampant, and more than 70 percent of children under 5 are anemic.

Despite recent efforts, severe acute malnutrition rates and burden remain extremely high. On average annually, 400,000 children under the age of five are admitted to nutritional programmes in Niger.

UNICEF continued to support nationwide treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Nutritional and medical supplies were provided to health facilities across the country, enabling to treat more than 380,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in 2018.

Malnutrition is not just about food, or just about health care, but is an issue that requires action from different angles. That is why UNICEF and its partners are helping Niger develop a multi-sectoral nutrition response. UNICEF is working to build political commitment among government and partners to reduce stunting and other forms of undernutrition; support the design and implementation of comprehensive and effective national policy and programmes; help strengthen the capacity of community workers; promote multisectoral delivery of services and supply, including the provision of ready-to-use therapeutic food.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Source: Apo-Opa

WHO donates Information Communication and Technology equipment to improve the availability of good quality data at all levels in South Sudan

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

WHO Regional Office for Africa

With funding from Gavi, the Vaccine alliance, WHO donated Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) equipment this week (Wednesday, 14 August) to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of South Sudan.

The ICT equipment will support the expanded programme on immunization (EPI) data management and the roll-out of District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS 2) both at national and state levels including Abyei Administrative area of South Sudan.

The items were presented to the Ministry of Health at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Health in Juba, presided over by the Undersecretary, Dr Makur Matur Kariom, Ministry of Health.

The donation to the Ministry of Health includes 33 desktop computers, 34 all-in-one printers (printer, scanner and copier), 7 laptops and carrying cases, 7 docking pack and 40 (1TB) external hard drive will be distributed to the national  monitoring and evaluation office, the 32 states, and Abyei Administrative area of South Sudan.

“Strengthening health information system is vital to enable decision-makers at all levels of the health system to identify problems/needs and make evidence-based decisions”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative for South Sudan. He commended the Ministry of Health for their commitment to strengthen the health system in the country. 

Receiving the ICT equipment, Dr Makur, thanked WHO for the timely support. He emphasized that this was not the first time that WHO has provided support to the Ministry of Health of South Sudan. Dr Makur urged the beneficiaries to make the best use of the donated equipment for improved and effective service-delivery in the country.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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U.S. Governor of the State of Mississippi Builds Trade Links with Ghana

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of the United States - Accra - Ghana
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The Governor of the State of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, traveled to Accra from August 14 – 16, 2019.  Governor Bryant traveled to Ghana to expand and promote trade and investment opportunities between Mississippi and Ghana. While in Accra, he met with Government of Ghana officials, private sector representatives, local entrepreneurs, members of business associations, and scientific research stations.

Governor Bryant visited the Tema Port to observe the Ghanaian government’s investment in the port area and identify potential partnership opportunities between Mississippi and Ghana in port development. The Governor also visited Strategic Security Systems Limited, a solar panel assembly plant in Kpone in the Greater Accra Region, where he saw first-hand the positive effects of U.S. Government engagement in facilitating bilateral trade and investment ties under through the Power Africa program and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. He met with the Minister of Trade and Industry to learn about Ghana’s priorities to strengthen trade facilitation, and to identify investment opportunities for the State of Mississippi. Lastly, the Governor met with officials from the Ministry of Health to discuss private sector investments in public health that could be forged between Mississippi and Ghana. Governor Bryant was impressed with Ghana’s vibrant private sector and investment potential.

U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Christopher J. Lamora said: “We are honored that Governor Bryant met with Ghanaian businesses, government officials, and researchers, and that his delegation is exploring deepening the trade relationship between the State of Mississippi and Ghana. Governor Bryant’s visit underscores Mississippi’s key priority to promote entrepreneurship, private sector growth, and trade relations with Africa.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of the United States – Accra – Ghana.
Source: Apo-Opa

All set for eighth conference on climate change & development in Africa, says Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s Murombedzi

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
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All is set for the Eighth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA VIII) which will be held in Addis Ababa from 28-30 August under the theme; ‘Stepping Up Climate Action for Resilient Economies in Africa’.

Mr. James Murombedzi, Chief of the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), says the conference, which will be held at the African Union Conference Centre, will help ensure Africa comes up with a united position to take to the Climate Action Summit that is being convened in September 2019 by United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres.

“The conference is important as it will discuss the impacts of climate change on the continent. Just earlier in the year we had cyclone Idai that killed thousands in Southern Africa and destroyed infrastructure estimated to be worth over a billion dollars. Those are real consequences that are impacting people’s lives on the continent which will be discussed during the meeting, among other topics,” said Mr. Murombedzi.

“The conference will also help ensure that Africa’s voice is amplified and heard at the summit in New York in September,” he added.  

The conference, which will bring together the continent’s climate stakeholders, will also examine the Africa’s Nationally Determined Contributions and define additional actionable climate interventions to alleviate the impacts of climate change on ordinary people.

Impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives with national economies being disrupted; increasing costs and negative impacts on health, livelihoods and ecosystems.

Climate change is also accelerating environmental degradation and species loss, generating conflicts, and constraining the ability of most African countries to attain the global sustainable development goals and ideals of Africa’s Agenda 2063.

In recognition of this unfolding crisis, Mr. Guterres has convened the Climate Action Summit in September. He has also called on world leaders to come to the meeting with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050 as called for by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The UNSG said; “I want to hear about how we are going to stop the increase in emissions by 2020, and dramatically reduce emissions to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.”

The Climate Action Summit is organized along six key themes and three additional areas as follows:

Key Themes

  • Climate Finance and Carbon pricing: mobilizing public and private sources of finance to drive decarbonization of all priority sectors and advance resilience; Co-led by France, Jamaica and Qatar and supported by the World Bank.
  • Energy Transition: accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, as well as making significant gains in energy efficiency; Co-led by Ethiopia and Denmark
  • Industry Transition: transforming industries such as Oil and Gas, Steel, Cement, Chemicals and Information Technology; Co-led by India and Sweden and supported by the World Economic Forum
  • Nature-Based Solutions: Reducing emissions, increasing sink capacity and enhancing resilience within and across forestry, agriculture, oceans and food systems, including through biodiversity conservation, leveraging supply chains and technology; Co-led by China and New Zealand and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Mr. David Nabarro, Strategic Director of Skills, Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development
  • Infrastructure, Cities and Local Action: Advancing mitigation and resilience at urban and local levels, with a focus on new commitments on low-emission buildings, mass transport and urban infrastructure; and resilience for the urban poor; Co-led by Kenya and Turkey
  • Resilience and Adaptation: advancing global efforts to address and manage the impacts and risks of climate change, particularly in those communities and nations most vulnerable. Co-led by Egypt and the United Kingdom and supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The 8th CCDA Conference is organized by the ACPC and convenes under the auspices of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) programme. ClimDev is a consortium of key African development institutions, including the ECA, the African Union and the African Development Bank.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Source: Apo-Opa

Zimbabwe: Police must be held accountable for appalling assault on protesters

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Amnesty International
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In response to the brutal assault on peaceful protesters who gathered in the Harare CBD earlier today in anticipation of the “16 August” national protests, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, said:

“The scenes in Harare today demonstrate just how far the authorities will go to repress dissent. Baton-wielding police unleashed a brutal assault on protesters, who had gathered to protest the socio-economic conditions which are causing suffering to so many in Zimbabwe.

“The Zimbabwean authorities should know that the world is watching. The authorities must end the escalating crackdown on dissent and respect, protect, and fulfil the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. There must be full accountability for these attacks, which left scores of people injured and shows the government’s contempt for human rights.

“We are calling on the authorities to launch a prompt, impartial and effective investigation into today’s attacks. They must also allow opposition protests to go ahead, and stop using violence as a tool of harassment and intimidation and to silence critical voices. The repression of peaceful dissent will not solve the economic problems which brought protestors to the streets in the first place.”


Zimbabwean police on Thursday announced the ban of today’s protests through a press statement, saying that “demonstrations will turn out to be violent”. Earlier today, the High Court dismissed an application by the opposition Movement for Democratic to overturn that ban.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.
Source: Apo-Opa

Joint Military Exercise Justified Accord 2019 strengthens Partner Networks and Peacekeeping Operations

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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The U.S. military and the Ethiopian National Defence Force, in cooperation with other partner nations, successfully concluded exercise Justified Accord 2019 (JA19) on July 30, with a closing ceremony held at the Peace Support Training Center in Addis Ababa.

Justified Accord is a U.S. Army Africa-led exercise designed to enhance the capacity and capability of participating staff and forces in peacekeeping operations in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor said, “Events like this exercise have positive global impact.  They support the United Nations and African Union as they carry out their mandates to support security in the region.  And they bring us closer to our common goal: a more peaceful and prosperous Africa and world.”

Over 1,000 military and government personnel from Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Djibouti, Ethiopia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Somalia, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated in Justified Accord, which took place between July 15 and July 30.

The exercise took place in two locations in Ethiopia: Addis Ababa, where the command post exercise took place, and the Hurso Training Center, near Dire Dawa, where the field training exercise occurred.

The command post exercise in Addis Ababa started with a series of academic classes and ended with a cumulative exercise that was designed to test the interoperability of the troop contributing nations to AMISOM.

During the field level exercise, U.S. soldiers from infantry, military police, explosive ordnance disposal and engineering units worked with the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) through different situational training exercises to better enhance field capabilities and strengthen relationships with the ENDF.

Brigadier General Habtamu Tilahun, Commander of the Ethiopian National Defence Force Peacekeeping Center and exercise co-director, stated at the closing ceremony, “Ethiopia and the United States have longstanding peacekeeping experience, and the skills and knowledge gained in this training arm them with high level military and tactical knowledge and skill to overcome current complex peacekeeping problems.”

Brigadier General Lapthe C. Flora, the U.S. Army Africa deputy commanding general and JA19 co-director, highlighted, “I cannot overemphasize the importance of exercises like Justified Accord. They not only contribute to the readiness of African nations and peacekeeping operations, but they also provide valuable opportunities to work together and create professional relationships and friendships.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Source: Apo-Opa

South Sudan conducts a full scale simulation exercise

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

WHO Regional Office for Africa

The Ministry of Health of South Sudan, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNICEF, International Medical Corps (IMC) Consortium (Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), Concern and GOAL International) and other partners, conducted a one day full scale simulation exercise (SIMEX) on 14 August 2019 in Juba, Nimule and Yei.

South Sudan has not reported any Ebola case. The simulation exercise was part of South Sudan’s preparedness efforts to prevent, as well as to manage any possible suspected cases of Ebola in the country.

The objective of the full scale simulation exercise was to test and validate capabilities for early detection, rapid response, and effective coordination at national, state and community levels, in view of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

The SIMIX has given us a lot of information including our strengths and gaps in the preparedness and response activities. Accordingly we will recitfy gaps early on, said Dr Pinyi Nyimol Mawien, Director General for Preventive Health Services in the Ministry of Health in South Sudan.

The SIMEX involved over 190 participants from Ministry of Health, WHO, and partners and was designed to test the implementation level of the International Health Regulations (2005) protocols for the designated two points of entry (Juba and Nimule).

“The simulation exercise is vital to evaluate and enhance operational capacities in emergency management”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative for South Sudan. “Several drills and functional exercises have been conducted in South Sudan leading up to this full-scale simulation.”

The trainers observed participants who were confronted with a hypothetical scenario of multiple suspected cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD).

Throughout the SIMEX, trainers tested the administered preparedness and operational readiness including donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE); preparation of chlorine solution; collection and handling of blood samples (pre-analytic phase); terminal disinfection and waste management at healthcare centre; patient referral, vehicle disinfection; safe and dignified burials; data management, analysis and interpretation; reporting; contact identification, contact listing; contact investigation, contact follow-up; ring vaccination, screening of travellers at a designated PoE and testing the linkages and communication with the EVD hotline and the patient transfer using EVD ambulances to the Isolation Facilities to respond to the scenario of a potential EVD outbreak in South Sudan.

Following the conclusion of the SIMEX, trainers and participants reviewed and evaluated the performance of all involved actors in order to maximize timely, effective, and coordinated responses to an EVD outbreak.

The functions tested in the full scale exercise included overall coordination and communication at national and sub-national levels and the linkages between the two levels; surveillance, and reporting of a public health event; public health emergency operations centre (PHEOC) activation, contact tracing; rapid response team capacity; ambulance services; case management at healthcare centres; case management at Ebola treatment centre (ETC); infection prevention and control; disinfection and waste management; risk communications; engagement of communities; finance and administration; operations support and logistics; movement of emergency supplies and equipment, exit screening, PHEOC ability to coordinate the multiple entities, collaboration of the various institutions among others.

The findings of the exercise will be used to validate the existing response mechanisms and identify areas within the preparedness plans and standard operating procedures that may require strengthening.

The Ministry of Health, the United Nations and partners have been working collectively on Ebola prevention and preparedness since the onset of the outbreak in DRC and will continue to strengthen measures.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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Two months on, fear and squalor prevail in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Ituri Province

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
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Two months on since violence forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern province of Ituri, severe underfunding and growing insecurity mean rising numbers are in need of humanitarian assistance and are unable to return home.

In the last three weeks of June alone, more than 145,000 newly displaced people sought safety and assistance in displacement sites across Ituri, while 215,000 more are estimated to have fled to neighbouring areas. Difficulties with access in some places, and the large area from which people have fled, means the real figure is difficult to verify. Thousands have continued to flee since, although at lower rates.

Ongoing violence between militia groups means many fear to return home. During a recent trip to the town of Djugu to provide assistance, staff of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, found empty village after empty village and countless torched and abandoned houses.

People have been forced to find shelter wherever they can. Some have been taken in by other families. Many are forced to sleep in the open. Drodro, a relatively small town, has seen its population triple in just a few weeks, as local schools and churches have transformed into large, squalid dormitories.

Our staff have heard numerous testimonies from people who had lost family members. Some who had tried to return home to collect food and possessions were killed by armed groups as a warning to others not to return. There is prevailing fear for what the future holds.

The most urgent needs are for shelter, water, sanitation, healthcare and food. Overcrowded conditions are putting women and girls at high risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Poor hygiene conditions caused by the lack of clean water and latrines is increasing the risk of diseases spreading.

UNHCR is providing assistance at the displacement sites, where we are building collective emergency hangars for those sleeping in the open, and individual shelters for the most vulnerable families. However, new shelters are urgently needed to allow people to vacate schools before the new school term begins in early September. Basic household items are being provided but needs are far outweighing UNHCR’s current stocks.

Funding for this humanitarian crisis remains critically low. UNHCR is appealing to the international community to come forward with further funding and allow humanitarian organizations to provide basic, life-saving assistance. So far this year, UNHCR has received just 32% of the US$150 million needed for our operations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Source: Apo-Opa

Rugby – Ghana: Former Ghana Journalists Association President lauds Ghana Rugby President Herbert Mensah for contribution

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ghana Rugby Football Union

Former President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Kabral Blay-Amihere has praised Ghanaian businessman and philanthropist Herbert Mensah for his foresight and contribution to the growth and development of journalism in Ghana.

Mr. Kabral Blay Amihere who also served as Ghana’s High Commissioner to Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone between 2001-2009 said it was sponsorship from private business men in Ghana like Herbert Mensah in the early ’90s which helped propel independent journalism in Ghana through its best journalist award scheme.

He was speaking during the Ghana Journalists Association’s commemoration of its 70th anniversary on Thursday, August 15, 2019, at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra.  

”The GJA has come a long way. When I joined the GJA in the 80’s it was dangerous to be a journalist in Ghana. Before I became President of the GJA in 1993, the government had completely hijacked the GJA and its best journalist award scheme” the former GJA President revealed.

”The government at the time selected their favourite journalists for awards. We had no offices and no private support”.

Kabral Blay-Amihere recollected the timely intervention of private individuals who came along to sponsor the GJA and help it to grow independently.

”I have to acknowledge and thank Herbert Mensah without whose support and sponsorship we couldn’t have freed ourselves from government control in those days. We also had support from Sam Jonah and Amakye Dede in those early days. We thank them for their support when we needed it most to develop and grow journalism in Ghana.”

He also praised President J.A Kufuor for providing the International Press Centre to the GJA.

The commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the GJA also involved the cutting of anniversary cake and reflections on the history and relevance of the GJA by some distinguished personalities including Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh, head of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), as Guest Speaker.

Other key speakers at the event also included Dr G.T. Anim, the first Ghanaian General Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

Read More Here: GBC Ghana Online. (2019). Former GJA President lauds Herbert Mensah, others for contribution. [online] Available at: http://bit.ly/2MlnbW1 [Accessed 16 Aug. 2019].

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ghana Rugby Football Union.

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