First Ebola Vaccine to Be Tested in Affected Communities One Year into Outbreak Ring Vaccination Starts in Coyah, Guinea

CONAKRY, Guinea, March 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Guinea Who Country Office Press Release – 25 March, 2015

The Guinean Government with the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated the very first efficacy trial of an Ebola vaccine this week in an affected community of the Basse-Guinée, one of the areas where most Ebola cases are found in the country. Ring vaccination tests of VSV-EBOV, a lead Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, received an excellent response from the community in a small village in the Coyah prefecture, where the trial team arrived on 23 March.

“This landmark operation gives hope to all of us, in Guinea and in the world, that we might soon have an effective public health tool against Ebola, should the vaccine prove to be safe and effective,” stated the WHO Representative in Guinea, Dr. Jean-Marie Dangou. “The start of ring vaccination clinical testing today in Guinea is therefore one of the most important milestones we have achieved in seeking a modern line of defense against Ebola.”



Trained medical staff, vaccines and other essential equipment were dispatched from Conakry to Coyah to vaccinate contacts of recently infected people who have given consent in a village of the Coyah prefecture. Vaccinations for now will include only adults, who are most at risk of infection, with the exception of pregnant women.



“We are committed to ending this epidemic,” said Dr. Sakoba Keita, National Coordinator of the Fight against Ebola in Guinea. “Combined with control measures that we are putting in place with our partners, a safe and effective vaccine will allow us to close this trying chapter and start rebuilding our country.”



The ring vaccination strategy consists in identifying recently infected patients and vaccinating all their contacts, thereby creating a ‘ring of immunity’ around them to stop the virus from spreading.

“This very same strategy was a key contribution to eradicating smallpox in the 1970’s, and allows us to vaccinate all those at greatest risk,” explained WHO Coordinator for the Guinea Vaccine Trial, Dr. Ana Maria Henao Restrepo.



Dr. Bertrand Draguez, Medical Director for the Non-governmental Organization Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) stressed that: “The trial is organized on a voluntary basis, and participation is confidential, free and non-remunerated.”



The Guinean Government is fully committed to the success of the vaccine clinical trial. In a 20 March official letter addressed to all the Mayors, Prefects and local Health Officials in Guinea, the Head of the National Coordination Against Ebola in Guinea, Dr Sakoba Keita, asked all local public actors for their full cooperation and support.

A total of around 10 000 people are planned to be vaccinated in 190 rings within a six-eight week period. Volunteers will be followed for three months. Results could be available as early as July 2015.

Source:: First Ebola Vaccine to Be Tested in Affected Communities One Year into Outbreak Ring Vaccination Starts in Coyah, Guinea

Categories: African Press Organization | Leave a comment

CommProve Wins Strategic African Networking Monitoring Contract

DUBLIN, Ireland, March 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — CommProve (http://www.commprove.com), a leader in end-to-end network management for actionable customer insights, has today announced its working with an African telecommunications regulator to monitor the Quality of Service (QoS) of multiple mobile network operators (MNOs) in country.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/commprove.png

“Typically, a telecommunications regulator has no way of determining the actual customer experience, or monitoring if the customer experience is improving or degrading,” says Darren Harding, CommProve VP of Sales for MEA. “This makes it very difficult to identify the QoS the MNOs subscribers are actually getting. And this is where CommProve can support both the regulator and the MNOs.”

The African regulator has deployed CommProve’s monitoring solution, CommProve GSP at each of the operator sites. GSP feeds MNO network performance and customer experience information back to a centralised reporting system. This provides the telecommunications regulator with key performance indicators (KPIs) for every MNO, based on actual experience of every subscriber on the MNO, for the whole of the MNO network, 24 hours a day seven days a week. The insight is based on the actual calls or data sessions that the subscribers make, or try to make in the case of service failures.

Additionally, MNOs could benefit from being able to use the data that is pertinent to their network only, to fault find and improve their own network performance thereby improving the QoS they provide to their end user subscribers.

The regulator is planning to make the network performance information for specific locations publicly available on their website. Adds Harding: “This is a great way for MNOs to demonstrate improved QoS and to attract new customers.”

To find out more about CommProve’s product and services portfolio click here.: http://www.commprove.com/products

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of CommProve.

Analyst/media contact:

Stephanie Forrest

Email: Stephanie@wearetfd.com

Mobile: +44 (0)7917 695755

About CommProve

CommProve (http://www.commprove.com) provides monitoring solutions to capture and analyse, network and subscriber data from multiple sources, and transforms this data into actionable insights to control financial performance, quality of experience and network performance using real-time cell awareness.

Headquartered in Ireland, and privately held since it was founded in 1996, CommProve customers include Telecom Italia, TIM Brazil and Vodacom. For additional information please visit www.commprove.com.

Source:: CommProve Wins Strategic African Networking Monitoring Contract

Categories: African Press Organization | Leave a comment

Libyan human rights defenders under attack – UN report

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 25, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A UN human rights report released on Wednesday reveals a catalogue of violent attacks and threats against Libyan rights defenders, across Libya – and in some cases even after they are forced to leave the country.

Attacks, including killings, abductions, torture and other ill-treatment, unlawful deprivation of liberty and death threats by phone and on social media since the escalation of fighting in May 2014 have been documented in the joint report by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office. Armed groups across the country have targeted human rights defenders seeking to shed light on and address human rights violations and abuses.

Most recently, prominent civil society activist Entissar al-Hassaeri was shot dead last month in Tripoli. Her body and that of her aunt were found in the trunk of her car on 23 February. Two members of the National Commission for Human Rights-Libya, a human rights NGO, were abducted on 13 and 14 February in central Tripoli. Both have since been released, but other human rights defenders and members of civil society remain missing or have gone into hiding.

“Given the increasing risks, the killings of prominent human rights defenders and repeated threats, many have fled the country, fallen silent, or have been forced to work in secret at great risk to themselves and their loved ones,” the report notes.

“Those who managed to flee abroad face a plethora of problems linked to their residency status, expiration of passports with no possibility of extension at some local Libyan consulates, loss of income, and other financial difficulties. Some human rights defenders who have fled have explained that they continued to receive death threats on their mobile phones and social media pages. In at least two cases… human rights defenders were physically assaulted in Tunisia, apparently by Libyans.”

In one such case, a media professional and women’s rights defender from Benghazi, left the country in late 2014 after numerous threats, including a text message threatening abduction of her son. Her car was struck, apparently deliberately, by another vehicle and a factory she owned was set on fire. She has continued to be outspoken – and has continued to be threatened – after moving abroad.

“On 19 October 2014, as she was walking to the train station, she was stopped by a car with Libyan license plates,” the report says. “The passenger threw a cup of coffee at her warning: ‘you…activist and journalist…next time it will be acid’.”

Another journalist and human rights defender received threats, including of sexual violence, on her Facebook page. “We will … come to your house and break your honour,” read one post. After fleeing Libya in August 2014, she continued to receive threats via Viber and text messages.

Another human rights defender left Tripoli in September 2014 after being repeatedly subjected to physical assaults, short-term detentions and abduction threats directed at his family.

“Civilians in Libya, including human rights defenders, have few or no avenues to seek protection or access to remedy for the harm suffered,” the report warns. “The breakdown of law and order has led to the failure of the criminal justice system in some parts of Libya, especially Derna, Benghazi and Sirte, while severe disruptions have been reported elsewhere. Justice sector officials…have been violently targeted by armed groups.”

The murders of several prominent individuals in Benghazi last year, including newspaper editor Muftah Abu Zeid, human rights defender Salwa Bughaigis, and two young civil society activists, Tawfik Bensaud and Sami al-Kawafi, remain unsolved.

Another human rights defender said she found a piece of paper on her car soon after the murder of Bughaigis in June 2014, stating “your turn is next.” Other defenders have had family members detained or abducted.

Staff members of Jurists without Chains, a human rights organization in Benghazi, shut its premises late last year following numerous threats, a raid, and the firing of a projectile into their office. The national human rights institution of Libya, the National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights, also closed its offices in Tripoli in late 2014 as a result of intimidation, threats and raids.

“Armed groups across political, tribal, regional and ideological divides…are responsible for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and abuses of human rights, including abductions, extra-judicial executions and other unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment. Human rights defenders seeking to document and denounce such violations and abuses have faced reprisals,” the report says.

The report warns that those committing crimes under international law, including many detailed in the report, are criminally liable, including before the International Criminal Court. It stresses the crucial need to resume building State institutions, particularly law enforcement agencies and the overall justice system. The report also urges all sides to publicly condemn attacks against civil society members.

Neighbouring countries and the international community should also ensure the protection of Libyan human rights defenders, including by issuing emergency visas and providing temporary shelter, the report urges.

The report also calls on the Libyan authorities and on those with effective control on the ground to immediately refrain from, and take action to stop, attacks on human rights defenders, and work towards creating a safer and more enabling environment for them to conduct their indispensable work for the protection and promotion of human rights in Libya.

Source:: Libyan human rights defenders under attack – UN report

Categories: African Press Organization | Leave a comment

Statement by Minister Nicholson on Upcoming Nigerian Elections

OTTAWA, Canada, March 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“As Nigeria prepares to hold presidential, legislative and state elections in the coming weeks, Canada urges Nigeria to take all necessary steps to ensure that the elections are peaceful, free, fair and credible.

“Upholding democratic values is the collective responsibility of all political parties and state institutions, and includes promoting peaceful dialogue and rejecting violence in the event of a loss or disputed result. The professionalism and impartiality of security agencies during and after the elections is paramount.

“These elections are critical to reinforcing democracy in Nigeria and offer a valuable opportunity for Nigeria to set a positive example of democratic elections in Africa.”

Source:: Statement by Minister Nicholson on Upcoming Nigerian Elections

Categories: African Press Organization | Leave a comment

Mozambique’s recently merged energy and resource ministries present new opportunities for inward investment

MAPUTO, Mozambique, March 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With Mozambique’s Ministry of Resources and Energy now merged, the country has taken another major step towards its 2025 vision for gas and power development. As the former Deputy Finance Minister, His Excellency Dr. Pedro Couto will clearly have a plan to promote sustainable partnerships for trade with a focus on the country’s balance sheet; however, will there be extra emphasis on regional gas sharing and power sector investment?

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/150304moz.jpg

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1843

With exports of liquefied natural gas projects scheduled to start in 2019, Mozambique has high expectations for its gas sector. Furthermore, the prospects for renewable energy look promising with more than 23TW of possible renewables projects coming online.

However, despite over US$ 3.238 billion of investment in power projects in 2014, the transmission bottleneck continues to impact the social and economic development of the region, threating the bankability of power projects in development. Eskom, African Development Bank, IFC and Southern African Power Pool are amongst the partners addressing transmission and regional distribution to accelerate the country’s industrial development.

EnergyNet (http://www.energynet.co.uk) will host the 4th Annual Powering Africa Mozambique in Maputo from the 7th-8th May 2015 (http://www.poweringafrica-mozambique.com). Participants will be given the opportunity to connect with over 150 senior participants including power developers, financiers, DFIs and transmission partners to discuss market developments, investment opportunities and the viability of project finance in line with the country’s vision 2025 objectives.

Respected stakeholders and major investors confirmed to attend include Eskom, Sasol, AIIM, ACWA Power, SMBC, European Investment Bank, African Development Bank and Tractebel Engineering. Visit www.poweringafrica-mozambique.com for more information.

Topics will focus on the new Ministry’s strategies for encouraging investment, natural resources and generation topics in support of Mozambique’s plans to escalate electricity access in line with its future gas economy.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of EnergyNet Ltd.

For more information about Powering Africa: Mozambique 2015

Meeting dates: 7-8 May 2015

Venue: Polana Serena Hotel, Maputo

If you feel you could contribute to the agenda topics, please contact: Amy Offord, Marketing Manager

Tel: +44 (0)20 7384 8068 E: amy.offord@energynet.co.uk Visit: www.poweringafrica-mozambique.com

Source:: Mozambique’s recently merged energy and resource ministries present new opportunities for inward investment

Categories: African Press Organization | Leave a comment

Guinea-Bissau: EU lifts restrictions on cooperation

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 24, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Council has repealed the measures limiting the European Union’s cooperation with Guinea-Bissau. This comes in the wake of credible elections in 2014, the restoration of constitutional order and the country’s progress in putting into practice reform commitments made to the EU. As a consequence, the EU fully resumes cooperation with Guinea-Bissau.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini said: “Guinea-Bissau has embarked on a new path of peace, reconciliation and development after the holding of elections and the restoration of the constitutional order in 2014. Today’s decision allows us to support the efforts of the authorities to rebuild the country, entrench democratic institutions and lay the foundations for long-term stability. Already this week the EU is co-organising, together with the government of Guinea-Bissau and the UN, an international conference that will mobilise support for the implementation of reforms in Guinea-Bissau and its development programme”.

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added: “Guinea-Bissau is back on the international scene and ready to move forward with the support of the EU. We will in the coming months finalize the programming of the 11th EDF envelope and align our cooperation with the priorities of the national development strategy of the government.”

The EU encourages Guinea-Bissau to stay united and continue its efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law, reform the security sector and combat corruption, impunity and drug trafficking. The Union supports efforts to face these challenges and is currently discussing the programming for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) with Guinea-Bissau.

In July 2014, the Council suspended the restrictions on cooperation with Guinea-Bissau, following the holding of free and credible elections. The measures limiting the cooperation with Guinea-Bissau had been imposed in July 2011 after the appointment of the main instigators of the military munity on April 2010 to leading posts in the military hierarchy, which the EU considered as a serious breach of the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement.

Source:: Guinea-Bissau: EU lifts restrictions on cooperation

Categories: African Press Organization | Leave a comment