More actors and funding urgently needed to curb deadly measles outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Médecins sans frontières (MSF)
Download logo

A measles epidemic officially declared on June 10 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has killed 2,758 people and infected 145,000, the deadliest outbreak that the country has witnessed since 2011.

Despite the scale of the epidemic, there is an alarming lack of actors and funds to respond to this crisis: $2.5 million of the $8.9 million required for the Health Cluster response plan has been raised. In contrast, the Ebola epidemic in the east of the country has elicited a response from multiple organizations and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding.

“Two months after the official declaration and [a] few weeks before the start of the school year, the measles epidemic shows no signs of slowing down,” said Karel Janssens, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission in DRC. “If we want to contain the outbreak, it is imperative to strengthen the response, and to do it immediately. A rapid and adapted response is critical to limiting the impact of measles on the communities, but on the ground we note the absence of actors and a flagrant lack of much-needed assistance.”

The epidemic has actually worsened since July, with a rise in new cases reported in several provinces, said Janssens. Unless there is a massive mobilization of funds and response organizations, this outbreak could become even deadlier, said MSF.  

Since the beginning of the year, MSF teams in DRC have vaccinated 474,863 children and provided medical care for 27,439 patients by working alongside local teams of the Ministry of health in 13 provinces around the country.

MSF recently deployed an emergency team to Mai-Ndombe province, in the west of the country, to limit the spread of the epidemic in the health zones along the Kasai River—Kwamouth, Bolobo, and Nioki. The mobile team was set up to adapt the response to the needs identified in the community and reach people in remote areas where access to health care remains extremely challenging.

“Just to bring vaccines to places where children need to be vaccinated is a huge task,” said Pierre Van Heddegem, MSF field coordinator for the measles emergency team. “We have to keep the vaccines within strict temperature limits, which means setting up a ‘cold chain’. This requires refrigerators, generators, fuel, and fast transportation, as well as a maintenance system. Many health zones do not receive any support from other organizations, despite evident needs.”

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease for which no treatment exists. Children are particularly vulnerable to complications from measles, and the only way to protect them against the potentially life-threatening disease is vaccination. Measles remains a leading killer of young children all over the world despite the fact that an effective, low-cost vaccine has been available for decades.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).
Source: Apo-Opa

French Development Agency (AFD) and Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO) organise a workshop on Innovative Finance for Namibian Conservation Ecosystem

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ambassade de France à Windhoek, Namibie

The French Development Agency (AFD), the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO), and the UCT GSB Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship has conducted a workshop on innovative finance and its applicability for the Namibian conservation ecosystem, in particular in relation with the Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme. The workshop followed design thinking principles in order for the members of the ecosystem to co-design innovative finance pilots that might contribute to long term sustainability of conservation efforts in Namibia.

The workshop was based on the following elements:

  1. Preparatory cluster meetings between AFD, the Bertha Centre, NACSO and different ecosystem clusters to set the scene, take stock of existing initiatives, challenges and ideas and give all participants a shared starting point;
  2. An introduction to innovative finance and systems innovation to review the workshop toolbox;
  3. Innovative finance and systems innovation design thinking workshop to outline potential pilots.

The workshop was followed by a networking cocktail hosted by the French Embassy at the Residence of France.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ambassade de France à Windhoek, Namibie.

Media files
Ambassade de France à Windhoek, Namibie
Download logo

Source: Apo-Opa

Displaced by DR Congo violence, survivors’ testimonies highlight brutality of armed militia

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

UN News
Download logo

Two months since hundreds of thousands of people fled violence in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UN humanitarians warned on Friday that armed militia continue to make their safe return impossible. 

Briefing journalists in Geneva, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Spokesperson Babar Baloch, said that staff had heard numerous testimonies from people whose family members had been killed in Ituri province. 

Severe underfunding for aid work and insecurity involving the Hema and Lendu groups have meant that increasing numbers are vulnerable and unable even to go home to pick up essentials, he added. 

“These people are not even able to return,” Mr. Baloch said. “Many of them have reported people who have tried – or relatives who have tried – to return to their villages and to their homes have been reportedly attacked and killed.” 

Ebola efforts hindered by mass displacement of people ‘on the run’  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the mass displacement of people “on the run” has also hindered efforts to tackle the year-old Ebola virus outbreak. 

Latest data from the UN health agency published on Thursday indicated a total of 2,842 Ebola infections and 1,905 deaths in DRC’s Ituri and Nord Kivu provinces, with an overall fatality rate of 67 per cent. 

“The (Ebola) treatment centres are operational and the scenario of people – a highly mobile population on the run – is something that has been underlying in this response since the beginning, which is why it is so difficult to end it,” said WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier. 

Evidence of beheadings, several massacres 

The Hema and Lendu communities have a history of extreme violence in Ituri.  

In late June, the UN Human Rights office, OHCHR, reported attacks on “multiple villages” in Djugu and Mahagi territories, where investigators found evidence of several massacres where some victims had been beheaded. 

Information gathered by the UN “seems to indicate that despite the attackers reportedly belong to one community, and the victims to others, there appear to be additional political and economic motives underlying the assaults”, OHCHR said in a statement at the time. 

In the latest violence, attacks and counter-attacks forced people to flee Djugu territory, UNHCR said, adding that both communities had reportedly formed self-defence groups and carried out revenge killings. 

“In the last three weeks of June alone, more than 145,000 newly displaced people sought safety and assistance in the displacement sites across Ituri, while 215,000 were estimated to have fled to the neighbouring areas,” Mr. Baloch said, in line with UNHCR’s earlier statements highlighting widespread displacement in late 2017 and early 2018 in three of Ituri’s five administrative territories: Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu.  

“Difficulties with access in some places and the large area from which people have fled means the real figure is difficult to verify,” the UNHCR official warned. “Thousands have continued to flee since, although at lower rates.”  

While most of the displaced have found shelter with host communities, tens of thousands have been forced to find shelter where they can.  

Squalid camps, where fear rules

“Fear and squalor” prevail in displacement camps, Mr. Baloch insisted, adding that many “are forced to sleep in the open”. 

In Drodro, a relatively small town that has seen its population triple in just a few weeks, “local schools and churches have transformed into large, squalid dormitories,” he said, noting that UNHCR has built emergency hangars for those sleeping in the open, and individual shelters for the most vulnerable. 

Funding for this humanitarian crisis remains critically low, however, and 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 only 32 per cent of the $150 million needed for its operations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.
Source: Apo-Opa

State Visit of President of the Republic of Zambia to India (August 20-22, 2019)

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ministry of External Affairs - Government of India
Download logo

His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia is visiting India on a State Visit at the invitation of Hon’ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind from 20-22 August 2019. Our President had visited Zambia last year in April 2018. President Edgar Lungu would be accompanied by a high-level delegation including Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Joseph Malanji; Minister for Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mr. Christopher Yaluma; Minister for Mines and Mineral Development Mr. Richard Musukwa; Presidential Affairs Minister, Mr. Freedom Sikazwe and senior Government officials.

The official programme of President Lungu includes a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, visit to Rajghat, meeting with the President and delegation level talks with Prime Minister. A Banquet will be hosted by President Kovind in honour of the visiting President. President Lungu will also participate in an India- Zambia Business Forum in New Delhi.

The bilateral talks are expected to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations and expected to cover issues of bilateral, regional and international interest. The discussion is likely to focus on cooperation in defence, security, geology and mineral resources, energy, health, education, infrastructure, culture, trade and investment related issues. Capacity building continues to be an important aspect of our engagement with Zambia.

India-Zambia enjoy close and friendly bilateral relations. Our bilateral trade has grown steadily. In 2018-19 our bilateral trade was close to US$ 830 million. India primarily imports copper from Zambia. Zambia is the second largest producer of copper in Africa. Zambia is also beneficiary of India’s Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) scheme. With investments of over US$ 5 billion, mostly in the mining sector, India is one of the largest investor in Zambia. India has provided considerable economic assistance to Zambia in the form of grants and credits. Zambia also avails large number of our ITEC, ICCR and IAFS scholarships. India and Zambia defence cooperation includes training and capacity building. Zambia has a large and vibrant Indian community of around 25,000 PIOs/NRIs that contributes to Zambian economy.

This is the first visit at the level of Head of State from Africa after formation of the new Government and the first-ever visit of President Lungu to India. The visit is significant in the context of our Africa outreach policy. In the last 5 years, we have had 32 outgoing visits at the level of President, Vice President and PM and nearly 100 incoming visits of African HoS/HoG. Our overall relations with Africa in defence, security, economic, trade & investment relations, development partnership and capacity building etc. are at an all-time high. The State visit of President Lungu will provide an opportunity to further energize our mutually beneficial partnership with Zambia.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of External Affairs – Government of India.
Source: Apo-Opa

UN Volunteers play a critical role in the implementation of MINUSMA mandate in Northern Mali

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)
Download logo

« Never leave the desert because the desert purifies the soul. Far from it, you are deaf and blind. “So, speak the Tuareg mothers. » Mano Dayak

We are about 160 km away from the Algerian border, and more than 1,800 km away from Bamako, in Tessalit, in the heart of the Adrar of Ifoghas. It is close by this sand-colored city, emblematic place of the Tuareg rebellion in Mali, that Rontal Dixon Saint-Juste and Jackson Mwakwilay, United Nations Volunteers, are serving with MINUSMA. In Tessalit MINUSMA camp, among the sixteen civilian personnel, the two UN Volunteers play a critical role for the proper functioning and implementation of the mandate of the Mission.

Jackson Mwakwilay, national of the United States, is a Movement Control Officer. In his capacity, he coordinates freight and passengers’ air transport from and to Tessalit. This role is even more essential as it is mainly by air that the liaison with Bamako, Kidal and Gao, is done, and that the provision of food and supplies is ensured. Jackson had the opportunity to share his knowledge with his national co-workers since February 2018.

Rontal Dixon Saint Juste is from Haiti. Since November 2017, as Logistics Officer at the Mission Support Center, he has been coordinating on any logistical aspect with the military contingents and the Malian Forces based in Tessalit. Besides, for operational needs of the Mission, Dixon also supports, when necessary, human resources and financial processes.

Despite the challenging working and living conditions, Jackson and Dixon do not regret their engagement as UN Volunteers, and the spirit of solidarity and commitment which drives them, is an incentive to continue their mission.

Beyond their respective functions and daily tasks, the Volunteers embody the values ​​of solidarity, mutual respect, and humanism. “We live as a family here,” says one of them. This “family life” is also materialized by moments of welfare and recreation, around sports, games, and shared meals, which always maintain team spirit.

Tessalit is surely far away from the tumult of the city, the climate is arid, the immensity of the desert all around is barely measurable; in this environment, probably more than anywhere else, the Volunteers have become, through their contributions to MINUSMA, ambassadors of living together, humility and courage.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Source: Apo-Opa

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.

Media files
WHO Regional Office for Africa
Download logo

Source: Apo-Opa

Tackling child malnutrition (by Islamane Abdou)

16.August.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Download logo

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.

Media files
WHO Regional Office for Africa
Download logo

Source: Apo-Opa

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
Download logo

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)
Download logo

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