African Health Ministers commit to attain universal health coverage

African health ministers meeting in Zimbabwe for the 67th Session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee have adopted a range of actions intended to strengthen health systems in countries and eventually lead to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. It enables everyone to access the services that address the most important causes of disease and death, and ensures that these services are of sufficient quality to be effective.
UHC is the eighth target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 that was adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly to guide global development by 2030. To achieve UHC, WHO advises Member States to build strong and resilient health systems that can ensure public health security, can deal with effects of climate change and are capable of ending deadly epidemics such as Ebola. Such health systems require good health stewardship, adequate financing for health, qualified and motivated health workforce, access to quality medicines and health products, functional health information systems and people-centred service delivery systems.
Introducing the action framework, the Director of the Health System & Services Cluster at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Dovlo said: “UHC is the foundation for healthier communities, stronger economies and our collective security. It calls for renewed commitment and concrete actions to ensure that national health systems in the Region are well funded and aligned with the changing needs and expectations. This will ensure that health is playing its role in facilitating the attainment of sustainable development”.
In the ensuing deliberations, the ministers agreed to implement the six comprehensive framework actions in their countries that will contribute fundamentally to attainment of UHC. They include improving availability of essential services needed to sustain health for all people and to increase their coverage so that all people can easily access them. The ministers agreed to make renewed efforts to protect people from catastrophic health expenditures caused by use of health services. In addition, they will focus on promoting client satisfaction and effective health security.
The Region is experiencing demographic, economic, social, security and environmental changes that place unique and varied demands on health. The Ministers highlighted some of the challenges that lie ahead in the context of implementing the framework. These are actions that would require engagement with other sectors that have significant influence on health outcomes. They also noted the double burden of diseases that involves dealing with the rising numbers of individuals with Non-communicable diseases while tackling communicable diseases and the importance of the social and commercial determinants of health.
The ministers also recognized the complexity brought about by population changes that will result in high numbers of both young and elderly people with unique health needs. They further noted that this alignment of health systems with changing needs would require good quality human resources, effective governance, and improved organization and management of health services.
Despite the challenges, the ministers acknowledged the substantial improvements in health outcomes achieved over the last 25 years on the continent.
Improvements were also noted in the overall financing for health which may have contributed to a reduction in out-of-pocket expenditures.

Distributed by APO on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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Mozambique : Eni East Africa’s Coral South FLNG – Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes, a GE company (NYSE: BHGE) ( has announced a second major contract for Eni East Africa’s (EEA) Coral South FLNG development, offshore Mozambique, underlining the company’s position as the world’s first and only integrated fullstream provider of products, services and digital solutions that maximize productivity, efficiency and cost reduction.

  • Rotating equipment including aeroderivative gas turbines for power and gas refrigeration process of the new Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility, the first-ever built in Africa, for Africa.
  • This is the second major contract award for Coral South FLNG project, with BHGE also providing leading subsea technologies and services for the development of Rovuma basin Area 4 gas resources.
  • BHGE will also supply Boil-Off Gas (BOG) and booster compressors capable of operating at -180° C to re-liquefy excessive BOG evaporating out of the LNG storage tanks.


The contract was awarded in 2Q this year by a joint venture formed by TechnipFMC and JGC Corporation, the lead partner in a consortium that will provide engineering, procurement, construction, installation, commissioning and start-up (EPCIC) of Coral South’s FLNG facility.

The second contract – which was awarded through the former GE Oil & Gas business- will allow BHGE to provide rotating equipment for the power and gas refrigeration process of the new FLNG facility. The order consists of four Turbo-compression trains for mix refrigeration services, using the company’s aeroderivative gas turbine (model PGT25+G4) technology and driving its centrifugal compressors. In addition, the company will provide four Turbo-generation units, also driven by aeroderivative gas turbines (model PGT25+G4).

The components of the turbo compressor trains and turbo-generation units will be manufactured at BHGE Nuovo Pignone facility in Florence, Italy where the train will be assembled, and tested in the Massa facility, Italy.

Demonstrating the benefits for customers of BHGE’s access to the GE Store – where the company can draw technologies (such as the gas turbines derived from the Aviation business) and expertize from multiple industries – the Turbo-generation units will be equipped with electric generators provided by the GE Power Conversion business.

A third contract was also awarded to BHGE after the closing of the integration between GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes last July and it includes the supply of Boil-Off Gas (BOG) and booster compressors capable of operating at -180° C to re-liquefy excessive BOG evaporating out of the LNG storage tanks. In particular, BHGE boil-off gas compressor draws on extensive in-field experience and has been validated through a dedicated experimental campaign of detailed analysis and testing.

“Coral South LNG is an enormously important development for Mozambique and the region – the first new-built FLNG facility to be installed in Africa and one of only a small number in the world today,” said Rod Christie, President and CEO, Turbomachinery & Process Solutions, BHGE, “These awards further underline BHGE’s position as a fullstream provider of smart, cost-effective advanced technology and solutions to drive reliability, flexibility, efficiency and productivity for major energy developments, while building on our relationships with oil and gas operators and our technical expertise that has been a true differentiator in this project.”

The contracts won by BHGE follow an earlier award in June this year for the supply of seven xmas trees, three 2-slot manifolds with integrated distribution units, MB rigid jumpers, seven subsea wellheads with spare components, a complete topside control system to be installed on the Coral South FLNG facility, and associated Services equipment and support including IWOCS and Landing Strings, tools, spares and technical assistance for installation, commissioning and start-up.

BHGE announced on July 3rd the completion of the transaction combining GE’s oil and gas business with Baker Hughes. The new company is the first and only to bring together industry-leading equipment, services and digital solutions across the entire spectrum of oil and gas development.

The Coral South FLNG project, the first phase of EEA’s wider plan of development for the world-class gas discoveries made in the Rovuma Basin Area 4, will see the installation of an FLNG facility with a capacity of around 3.4 MTPA, fed by six subsea wells and expected to produce around 5 TCF of gas during its 25 years of production, with an anticipated start-up in mid-2022. The first ever offshore project to start producing gas in Mozambique, it will provide significant local economic benefits through job creation and support the region’s future energy needs.

EEA is the operator of Area 4, and holds 70% participation interest in the Area 4 Concession. Eni (71.43%) and CNPC (28.57%) are shareholders of EEA.

Distributed by APO on behalf of GE.

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About Baker Hughes, a GE company:
Baker Hughes, a GE company (NYSE: BHGE) is the world’s first and only fullstream provider of integrated oilfield products, services and digital solutions. We deploy minds and machines to enhance customer productivity, safety and environmental stewardship, while minimizing costs and risks at every step of the energy value chain. With operations in over 120 countries, we infuse over a century of experience with the spirit of a startup – inventing smarter ways to bring energy to the world.
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Nigeria : Buhari administration takes private enterprise seriously, says VP Osinbajo

Remarks by His Excellency, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN at the Commissioning of the Edo State Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited NPK Fertilizer Plant, Auchi, Edo State Tuesday, August 29, 2017:


First let me say how pleased I am to be here in Auchi, I was here in camp as a Youth Corper in 1979. I lived here among the warm and friendly people of Auchi for 6 weeks.

I have had the unique honour and privilege of visiting two great industrial enterprises in Edo State, all in one day. Earlier, we were at Okpella to commission the Edo Cement Plant of the BUA Group and the groundbreaking of their second 3 million tonnes per annum line. Now we are here at Auchi and what we have here is a 60,000 metric tonne fertilizer plant.

This state-owned fertilizer plant has been recently rehabilitated, as a Public-Private Partnership. The clear objective of establishing the plant is to boost farming activities and the agric value chain nationwide. This investment is a direct response to the Federal Government’s strategy of growing the Nigerian economy on a zero oil assumption.

Agriculture is that well-known, but abandoned pathway to our economic diversification and national prosperity. The fundamental constraint to optimizing agriculture is access to inputs, fertilizer being a fundamental input. On the average, a Nigerian farmer uses 13kg per hectare of fertilizer compared with world average of 100kg per hectare.

This explains why Mr. President negotiated the December 2016 Fertilizer initiative, working with the Moroccan King, aimed at achieving local production of 1 million metric tons of NPK fertilizer for 2017 wet season farming. Reducing costs and delivering finished products at N5000-5500 per bag (formerly between N8-9,000 sometimes N13,000).

This, again, is an enterprise that will create at least 500 direct jobs and several more indirect jobs. It will bring us closer to self-sufficiency in fertilizer production and, perhaps most importantly, boost food production and reduce food prices, ultimately enhancing food security in Nigeria.

To the extent that it makes import unnecessary, this plant will also help us to conserve our hard earned foreign exchange. And to crown it all, I am happy to learn of the plan for a gradual extension of this project so as to steadily boost its output.

I am informed that this is an integral part of His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki’s plan to support and actualize the job creation and food security objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari especially the NPK fertilizer initiative.

I must therefore hasten to congratulate the dynamic and far-sighted Governor, as well as the great people of Edo State, on this great achievement. Not only will this boost the local economy, it will also impact the national economy in a significant way. It is therefore a gift from Edo State to our great country.

As you are all well aware, the Buhari administration takes private enterprise very seriously. We believe that government resources cannot bring about the rapid roll out we need, especially in the areas of infrastructure and industrial development.

It is the private sector that can do so. We are therefore committed to making it easy for businessmen to invest and do business everywhere in Nigeria.

This accounts for the Presidential Enabling Business Council set up by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the work of which was fortified by the Executive Order No. 1, which I executed on May 18, 2017, on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment and facilitation of the ease of doing business.

This efficiency and transparency drive is not a challenge to the Federal Government and its officials alone.

Every State and Local Government must be involved in the effort to ensure that private businesses thrive and create employment opportunity for our growing youth population.

By harnessing private capital and the great entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians, I believe we can seriously leverage government resources and accelerate economic development.

Let me therefore commend the Edo State Government for this partnership with WACOT, already well known Afro processing company. Barely 3 weeks ago, I was in their rice milling plant in Kebbi State.

Your Excellency, I am therefore very happy to commission this plant, which will further assist us to realise our potentials in this area.

To the Glory of God and for the benefit of humanity, it is my singular honour to commission this fertilizer plant.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Office of the Vice President of Nigeria.

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
29 August 2017

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Ghana Converts Research Reactor from HEU to LEU Fuel

Supporting Nuclear Non-Proliferation: Ghana Converts Research Reactor from HEU to LEU Fuel

Ghana has successfully completed the conversion of its only research reactor from the use of high enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, in an international project supported by the IAEA to help decrease the proliferation risks associated with HEU fuel.

HEU is an ingredient that can be used to create a nuclear device intended for malicious use, and since 1978 various national and international activities have been underway to convert research and test reactors from the use of HEU to LEU fuel, with the aim of minimizing and eventually eliminating the civilian use of HEU.

The HEU fuel was repatriated to China.

The three-year project, which was a joint undertaking of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and the IAEA, was completed last week. Ghana has become the first of the five countries operating a Chinese-supplied Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) to successfully convert and repatriate its irradiated HEU core to China.

“With this pioneer engagement Ghana demonstrated the feasibility of the MNSR conversion outside China,” said Kwame I. J. Aboh, Project Manager at GAEC. “We hope our model of conversion and repatriation can be applied in similar operations in other countries operating such facilities.”

The conversion from HEU to LEU reduces the enrichment level from over 90% uranium to below 20%, without affecting the reactor’s research capabilities. Therefore, GAEC is still able to maintain its scientific research, education, training and industrial applications based on nuclear facilities following the conversion.

“Ensuring the sustainability of MNSR operation with a LEU core was a key success factor of this project,” said Christophe Xerri, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology. “This experience offers a good example of international cooperation to foster nuclear science and practical training while addressing non-proliferation concerns and delivering capacity building.”

To ensure successful knowledge transfer for future conversion projects, a mock-up MNSR vessel was built for operator training at the GHARR-1 facility. This has since been further developed into a full-scale MNSR Core Removal Training Centre (CRTC), available for training operators from other MNSR countries. “The National Nuclear Security Administration is a strong supporter of the CRTC concept,” said Dave Huizenga, Acting Deputy Administrator of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at NNSA. “This helps harness experience gained from the pilot project in Ghana and offers full-scale training possibilities for the MNSR operators facing similar challenges in the future.”

Two meetings were held in the summer of 2017 to capture lessons learned from the implementation of the project – which could benefit other reactors looking to convert to LEU fuel. “Outcomes of these meetings will build up the Ghana model and support similar operations in the future,” said Lixin Shen, Deputy Director General of China Atomic Energy Authority.

Chinese-designed MNSRs

MNSR type research reactors were designed and manufactured by the China Institute of Atomic Energy, and the original design had a compact core with 30 kW thermal powers, containing about 1 kg of 90% enriched HEU.

Nine Chinese-designed MNSR facilities exist: four in China – one of which has been converted to LEU fuel – and one each in Ghana, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. They are used primarily for education and training purposes.

Upon the commitment of the Chinese Government, the China Atomic Energy Authority undertook the responsibility of MNSR conversion first for the prototype MNSR in China, and then worked with GAEC to complete the conversion of GHARR-1 and take back the HEU.

IAEA assistance

The IAEA’s cooperation with the MNSR community began in 2006 with a coordinated research project to determine the technical feasibility of converting them to LEU fuel.

Upon request from Ghana in 2014 for assistance in securing a LEU core for the country’s GHARR-1 facility, the IAEA’s Research Reactor Section provided support for the conversion and removal, carried out review missions at the GHARR-1 research reactor focusing on safety, offered regulator training on cask licencing and held workshops on transport security.

Nigeria and Syria have also requested IAEA assistance for conversion and HEU core removal. The Nigerian project is scheduled to be accomplished in 2018.

In Beijing, where the HEU fuel has just arrived, Mary-Alice Hayward, IAEA Deputy Director General, head of the Management Department, represented the Agency at HEU return event that the Chinese authorities organised today. She stated that “The IAEA was pleased to support our Member States with the conversion of Ghana’s MNSR and the return of its HEU fuel to China. This project represents a significant milestone in the broader endeavour to minimize the use of HEU in civilian facilities while ensuring continued access to nuclear research and training capabilities.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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