Philips and the Rhiza Foundation pilot Mobile Clinic to improve delivery of primary healthcare and enable healthier communities in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, May 15, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• “Health clinic on wheels” will service townships of Diepsloot, Cosmo City and Orange Farm in Johannesburg

• Collaboration between Philips, Rhiza Foundation, Nozala Trust and IDC is an example of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) aimed at improving access to high-quality primary healthcare

• Launch is part of the sixth consecutive Philips Cape Town to Cairo roadshow that maintains focus on maternal and child health

On the occasion of Philips’ sixth consecutive Cape Town to Cairo roadshow (http://www.philips.com/C2CAfrica), Philips South Africa (http://www.philips.com) and the Rhiza Foundation today launched their “mobile clinic” project focusing on delivering basic primary healthcare to thousands of people living in townships that have little or no access to healthcare facilities.

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1991 (MEC Qedani Mahlangu from the Department of Health with Jose Fernandes, General Manager, Philips Healthcare, Southern Africa)

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1992 (The mobile clinic – Entrance)

Photo 3: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1993 (The mobile clinic)

Photo 4: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1933 (Philips VISIQ – Tablet-sized miniaturized ultrasound)

Logo Royal Philips: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/philips-1.jpg

Logo “Philips’ Cape Town to Cairo roadshow”: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1927

A collaboration between Philips South Africa, Rhiza Foundation and corporate social investment partners Nozala Trust (http://www.nozalatrust.co.za) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) (http://www.idc.co.za), the mobile clinic is currently being deployed to service the populous townships of Diepsloot, Cosmo City and Orange Farm, in Northern Johannesburg.

The main goal of the clinic is to improve the quality of life and provide access to health services, particularly access to maternal-child healthcare and dental care.

The Mobile Clinic vehicle, custom built on a mid-sized truck frame, operates as a “mini-health clinic on wheels” and provides an extremely versatile platform to deliver primary health care services, education and counseling. Measuring 10 meters by 2.5 meters, the mobile clinic is divided into two parts: a maternal and child care section and a dental care section.

Maternal screening allows for early detection of complications

According to the Philips Fabric of Africa trends report (http://www.newscenter.philips.com/pwc_nc/main/standard/resources/corporate/press/2013/Fabric-of-Africa/Philips-Africa-Trends-Report.pdf), women in Africa are at significant risk of premature death, with particular high mortality rates recorded in pregnancy. Women in semi-urban and rural areas across South Africa (in fact all of Africa) often die due to preventable complications during child birth as they have no access to ultrasound screenings to detect critical conditions. Many of these deaths can be diagnosed with basic imaging technology.

Philips has championed the UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtml), related to reducing child mortality and improving maternal health; and the “mobile clinic” project conceptualized by the Rhiza Foundation offered a good synergy to address the issue of maternal and infant mortality.

Coming on board as the clinical technology partner in this project, Philips has equipped the Mobile Clinic with its innovative VISIQ ultrasound (http://www.healthcare.philips.com/main/products/ultrasound/systems/visiq); the size of a tablet, the VISIQ is the first ultra-mobile ultrasound system from Philips. Approximately ten times smaller than a traditional ultrasound machine and with reduced energy consumption, the VISIQ ultrasound is ideally tailored for the mobile clinic and will be used for screening, triage and fetal well-being scans, all of which helps to address the critical issue of maternal and infant care prevalent across South Africa.

In addition, other diagnostic and maternal imaging technology such as the Philips Avalon Fetal Monitor (FM20) (http://www.healthcare.philips.com/main/products/patient_monitoring/products/avalonFM20_30/index.wpd) – to detect the baby’s heart beat and the uterus contractions and a Goldway Colposcope (http://www.healthcare.philips.com/main/products/goldway/gynecology-solutions/slc-2000b-video-colposcope), to capture live images of the cervix have also been installed in the mobile clinic. Philips plasma screens with DVD player will be used to show patients educational videos when they visit the mobile clinic.

“In many African countries including South Africa, there is a chronic shortage of suitable equipment or necessary skills to facilitate safe delivery and appropriate newborn care, as well as dental care. By bringing healthcare directly to those most in need, shortens the waiting period and improves access which ultimately saves lives” states Jose Fernandes, General Manager, Philips Healthcare, Southern Africa. “Innovation as a means to improve people’s lives is at the heart of who we are at Philips and we increasingly seek engagement and co-creation opportunities with organizations like the Rhiza Foundation that can result in making a difference in the lives of South Africa citizens.”

The Mobile Clinic will be staffed by an-all women team of a registered nurse, a dental therapist, a dental assistant and a driver/ assistant, as one of the goals of the project is to empower and uplift women. The mobile clinic has the capacity to relocate without difficulty, allowing for increased patient care coverage. The clinic aims to enable treatment of hundreds of patients every month; this is the first pilot launch; the ambition is to scale it up to include more mobile clinics (five over the next five years in different communities) on the outcomes of the initial pilot launched today.

Alef Meulenberg, Chairman and Founder of Rhiza Foundation states, “Rhiza stands for community development at large, through education, skills and enterprise development as well as primary healthcare that makes a sustainable difference in township communities in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Our goal is to make people self-sustaining, through our holistic approach regarding community and socio- economic development. We are extremely proud that the Mobile Clinic in collaboration with Philips and our other partners is being launched today; we are confident that it will provide and improve primary healthcare in township communities that currently lack regular access to these services.”

Second stop on the sixth Cape Town to Cairo roadshow

The launch of the Mobile Clinic formed part of Philips’ annual pan-African Cape Town to Cairo roadshow that kicked off on 11th May in Cape Town. Johannesburg is the second stop on a journey covering 12,000 km across 11 cities and 8 countries over a period of 4.5 months. The roadshow has gained significant momentum over the past five years, allowing Philips to get to the heart of some of the key issues facing Africa – including Mother and Child Care, the rise of non-communicable diseases, energy efficient LED and solar lighting solutions, as well as shining a spotlight on the need for clinical education and training.

Previous milestones of the roadshow include the inauguration of a high-tech Medical Simulation Lab at the University of Johannesburg (http://www.philips.com/content/corporate/en_AA/cape-town-cairo-roadshow-2015/homepage/press-releases/release-2.html), and a life-saving ambulance and response vehicle pilot project with the Gauteng Department of Health.

The next stop on the roadshow will be Nairobi, Kenya from 26-29, May 2015.

Follow the Cape Town to Cairo journey via Twitter @philipsSafrica or visit www.philips.com/C2CAfrica.

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

For further information, please contact:

Radhika Choksey

Philips Group Communications – Africa

Tel: +31 62525 9000

E-mail: radhika.choksey@philips.com

About Royal Philips:

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) (http://www.philips.com) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2014 sales of EUR 21.4 billion and employs approximately 108,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter.

Source:: Philips and the Rhiza Foundation pilot Mobile Clinic to improve delivery of primary healthcare and enable healthier communities in South Africa

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Egypt: upsurge in H5N1 human and poultry cases but no change in transmission pattern of infection

CAIRO, Egypt, May 15, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The recent increase in the number of people affected by the avian influenza virus H5N1 in Egypt is not related to virus mutations but rather to more people becoming exposed to infected poultry, according to a recent mission of six organizations assessing the H5N1 situation in the country.

Since November 2014 to 30 April 2015, the period analysed by the international mission, a total of 165 cases, including 48 deaths were reported. This is by far the highest number of human cases ever reported by a country over a similar period. There are indications that H5N1 is circulating in all sectors of poultry production and in all parts of Egypt.

The mission stressed that the way the influenza H5N1 virus is transmitted in Egypt appears to have remained stable despite the recent upsurge in numbers of human and poultry infections. While the risk for the current situation to escalate into an H5N1 pandemic does not appear to have been changed appreciably, the situation remains a cause for considerable concern.

“Based on all the evidence we have, we believe the upsurge is not explained by changes in the virus itself,” said Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security and head of the H5N1 investigation team in Egypt. “The most likely reason for the increase in cases is that more poultry in Egypt are infected by H5N1 and so more people are exposed to this virus. Coupled with insufficient awareness, behavioural patterns and inadequate precautions taken by humans when interacting with poultry this explains what we are seeing.”

For successful reduction of the negative impact on human health and associated economic and food security consequences, it will be essential to strengthen animal and human disease surveillance, biosecurity and disease control programmes, in a context of a strengthened and close collaboration between human health and animal health departments. This includes appropriate animal vaccination programmes through joint efforts by the public and private sector in charge of animal health.

The report found that:

although human-to-human transmission cannot be excluded, the key epidemiological and demographic features of the recent human cases did not significantly change compared to those reported before the recent increase;

there was no evidence for transmission from patients to health care workers during the upsurge;

the vast majority of recent human cases – approximately 70% – had known exposure to infected backyard poultry;

analysis of the genetic sequence data did not identify changes suggesting more efficient human-to-human transmission.

Although some of the apparent upsurge in cases might be a result of increased testing for H5N1 in humans, this cannot explain the whole picture. The upsurge of infections in poultry and the cases in people has likely been caused by changes in the economy and the poultry industry.

Many small farmers have turned to raising poultry for food and income in an unmonitored and uncontrolled farming sector. The implementation of a proper veterinary control strategy will require strengthening the response capacity, public–private partnerships, vaccination strategies and biosecurity in most poultry production sectors. Ensuring compliance with intergovernmental standards on animal health and regulatory statutes at national level, both in poultry production enterprises or households will be critical for limiting the spread of the H5N1 virus.

The report also notes that Egypt has already recognized the key features leading to the increase in disease, and has recently proposed important structures, sound policies and strategies. However, for them to be effective will require better implementation and concerted commitments at national, governorate and local level. The report recommended that Egypt should make long-term investments in agriculture, veterinary services, health and rural communities to combat H5N1. Policies should be developed to engage the large number of unlicensed commercial and semi-commercial poultry farms in developing new means of implementing and assuring effective disease prevention and control.

Source:: Egypt: upsurge in H5N1 human and poultry cases but no change in transmission pattern of infection

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Minister Nicholson Expresses Strong Concern over Crisis in Burundi

OTTAWA, Canada, May 15, 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:

“We are gravely concerned by the reports of escalating violence in Burundi. Canada calls for calm and asks that all Burundians work together in the interest of peace.

“Canada commends the ongoing efforts, including those of the leaders of the East African Community, who are calling for a cessation of violence by all parties and the restoration of stability in order to allow the safe return of refugees and the holding of elections in a peaceful, free, fair, transparent and inclusive manner.

“With the Arusha Accords, Burundi has closed the dark chapter of a decade of civil war. This chapter must remain closed, and national reconciliation and democratic development must continue to move forward.

“Canada urges the Burundian security institutions to uphold their responsibility to protect the human rights and security of its population. Peaceful dialogue must be restored to ensure open and inclusive democratic space.

“Canadians in Burundi who require emergency consular assistance should contact the High Commission of Canada in Kenya in Nairobi at +254 20 366 3000 or Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s (DFATD’s) 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre at +1 613 996 8885 (collect calls are accepted). An email can also be sent to sos@international.gc.ca.

“Friends and relatives in Canada who are concerned about Canadian citizens in Burundi should contact DFATD’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 1-800-387-3124 (toll-free) or 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted) or sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.”

Source:: Minister Nicholson Expresses Strong Concern over Crisis in Burundi

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Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Burundi

NEW YORK, May 15, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General is gravely concerned by developments in Burundi since the announcement of the electoral candidacy of President Nkurunziza and especially in the aftermath of the 13 May declaration of a coup d’état. The Secretary-General condemns attempts to oust elected governments by military force. He appeals for strict respect of Burundi’s Constitution as well as the Arusha Agreement.

The Secretary-General now urgently calls for calm and restraint. He urges all political and security leaders to clearly and openly reject the use of violence, refrain from acts of revenge, and rein in their militants. He stresses that anyone responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held accountable. In this regard, he has full confidence that the Security Council will consider the various tools at its disposal in examining the situation in Burundi, including regarding accountability.

The United Nations reminds the Burundian authorities of their obligation to ensure the protection of all Burundian citizens, as well as United Nations personnel and premises.

The Secretary-General commends the East African Community (EAC) for its leadership. He is in close contact with leaders in the region. Through his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Said Djinnit, the United Nations will continue to work closely with the EAC, the African Union and other partners in joint efforts to help resolve the crisis in Burundi. He also urges Burundians to create the conditions for the holding of inclusive, violence free and credible elections, as soon as possible.

New York, 14 May 2015

Source:: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Burundi

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IMF Staff Completes Combined 2015 Article IV and Fourth PSI Review Mission to Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda, May 15, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Ana Lucía Coronel, IMF mission chief and senior resident representative for Uganda, visited Kampala to conduct the 2015 Article IV consultation and the fourth review of Uganda’s economic program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI).

At the end of the mission, Ms. Coronel, issued the following statement:

“Uganda’s recent economic performance has been favorable. The GDP rebasing revealed an economy that is 17 percent bigger than earlier thought, although growth rates in the last few years have been more moderate. Nonetheless, real economic growth is projected to reach a robust 5.3 percent in the current fiscal year and 5.8 percent in FY2015/16 (compared to 4.5 percent in FY2013/14), led by scaled-up public investment and a recovery of private consumption supported by stronger credit growth. Average core inflation has gradually increased from 3.1 percent in December, but is projected to remain within the targets range of around 5 percent in the medium term.

“Strong growth and subdued inflation, alongside high international reserves (above 4 months of imports), a sound financial system, and relatively low government debt (currently at 30 percent of GDP) continue to provide buffers to shield the Ugandan economy against shocks. Nonetheless, there are risks to the outlook posed by domestic and regional uncertainties.

“Performance under the PSI was broadly satisfactory. The end-December 2014 fiscal and external targets were met. There was significant progress on increasing tax revenue, with the strong package introduced in the FY2014/15 budget expected to yield about 1 percent of GDP compared to a target of 0.5 percent. The stock of domestic arrears has declined considerably, although the end-December target was missed by a small margin.

“Fiscal and monetary policies have supported the growth and inflation objectives. The supplementary budget before parliament reallocates rather than increases spending, using savings from improvements in the payment and payroll systems to address emerging needs. This expenditure reallocation and procedural delays in the execution of the hydroelectric projects unfortunately tilted the expenditure envelope in favor of current outlays. However, at 4½ percent of GDP, the FY2014/15 overall deficit is envisaged to be below projections and total debt is expected to remain at low risk of distress. Monetary policy kept inflation low in spite of the recent large shilling depreciation.

“Fiscal prospects for FY2015/16 are encouraging. The mission welcomes the efforts underway to improve tax collections, and a combination of new measures and efficiency gains is projected to result in an additional tax-to-GDP ratio increase of about 0.5 percent. Perseverance in containing current expenditure pressures in the run up to the elections remains a key priority, and is essential to create space for the planned large increase in public investment without generating undue pressures on inflation and domestic debt.

“Reducing existing infrastructure bottlenecks is key to boosting potential growth and creating job opportunities. The mission welcomes the authorities’ commitment to sequencing the execution of their ambitious infrastructure investment plan—in the areas of energy and transport—to ensure consistency with the absorptive and implementation capacities of the economy and preserve debt sustainability. It remains crucial that the selected projects carry the best possible financial terms and are commercially viable and transparently executed.

“The approval of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act represents a major milestone. Its application will allow for the FY2015/16 budget approval before the start of the fiscal year and improve the budget process helped by the necessary regulations currently being prepared. The adoption of a charter of fiscal responsibility will support fiscal policy formulation and transparency, including in preparation for petroleum revenue management.

“Ongoing initiatives to enhance financial deepening and expand access to bank services by improving financial literacy and consumer protection are welcome. The government should continue to strengthen policies to ensure that all segments of society, including the most vulnerable, share the benefits of growth.

“IMF Executive Board consideration of the 2015 Article IV consultation and fourth review of the PSI-supported program is expected by end-June 2015.”

The mission met with Hon. Mr. Matia Kasaija, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Dr. Louis Kasekende, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda; Mr. Keith Muhakanizi, Permanent Secretary/Secretary of Treasury; and other senior government officials, and representatives from the business, civil society and international communities.

Source:: IMF Staff Completes Combined 2015 Article IV and Fourth PSI Review Mission to Uganda

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FCO Minister calls for end to violence in Burundi

LONDON, United-Kingdom, May 15, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — James Duddridge, Minister for Africa, has called for all sides to show restraint and find a peaceful way forward in Burundi.

Commenting on the current situation, James Duddridge, said:

“The UK calls on all parties to bring an end to the violence in Burundi, to exercise calm and restraint and come together to find a peaceful way forward. I believe that the Arusha Agreement and its principles of inclusion, dialogue and peace should act as a guide for Burundi’s future. I support the mediation efforts of the African Union, the East African Community and the United Nations, and urge regional governments to help bring about stability and democracy in Burundi.

“The UK continues to support the holding of inclusive, peaceful and credible elections in Burundi. I urge all leaders to work together to bring about the conditions that will enable this to happen. It is vital that the democratic rights of the Burundian people are restored as soon as possible. The eyes of the world are now on Burundi. Any individuals and groups responsible for acts of political violence and repression should know they will be held accountable for their actions.”

Source:: FCO Minister calls for end to violence in Burundi