USAID Aims to Fortify Development Efforts in the Ashanti Region

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Mission Director Andrew Karas traveled to the Ashanti Region February 28 to March 3 to visit USAID programs and activities in the areas of economic growth, governance, and health. The objective of the visit is to strengthen USAID’s partnerships in Ghana’s Ashanti Region to achieve positive development results.

While in the Ashanti Region, Mr. Karas met with the Ghanaian Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to discuss collaborative efforts to address the issue of child labor in Ghana’s cocoa sector. Since 2015, the U.S. government has supported the Government of Ghana in the Ashanti and Western Regions through the Mobilizing Community Action and Promoting Opportunities for Youth in Ghana’s Cocoa-Growing Communities (MOCA) project to diminish child labor at the community level. The project will target 3,200 youth, ages 15-17 who are engaged in or at risk of becoming victims of child labor. Additionally, Mr. Karas met with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service in Kumasi, where he learned about their successes and challenges of countering human traffickers.

Mr. Karas toured Farmer’s Hope, an organic fertilizer producing company , as well as Vesta Oil Mill, a soybean oil and cake processing plan—jointly supported by the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. In Ghana, Feed the Future works to increase the competitiveness of the maize, rice and soy value chains.

Through USAID’s Ghana Strengthening and Accountability Mechanism project, which works to increase local government accountability and give communities a voice, Mr. Karas observed a district assembly performance audit in Fomena and delivered remarks. “USAID seeks to bridge this information gap and improve citizens’ knowledge in order to hold public officials accountable,” stated Mr. Karas. “When citizens play a bigger role in the design, implementation and monitoring of capital development projects, these projects will better serve their needs.”

Mr. Karas also met with the Ashanti Regional Minister and participated in a domestic resource mobilization workshop with district assembly members at the Ashanti Region Coordinating Council. The workshop highlighted topics such as public financial management and tax policies to encourage the spending of public funds in an accountable and transparent manner.

On March 3, Mr. Karas ended the trip with a visit to Ejisu Juabeng Government Hospital, where USAID, through the President’s Malaria Initiative, provides training to health workers in malaria case management and diagnosis. While there, he observed clinical training on preventative and curative malaria interventions for malaria control in Ghana.

USAID/Ghana works in four key areas: economic growth, education, health and democracy. USAID works with the Ghana Government to boost agricultural productivity, increase access to education, improve health services and promote good governance.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Embassy of the United States – Accra – Ghana.

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Outstanding Philippine Healthcare Highlighted at Kuwait Medical Travel Congress

Top notch medical expert on international patient safety and quality healthcare, The Medical City Clark Philippines (, was highlighted at the recently concluded Medical Travel Congress at Kuwait Health.

The Medical City Clark (, a private tertiary hospital known for its cutting-edge health services with centers of excellence in the field of cardiovascular, cancer, neuroscience and regenerative medicine as well as wellness services, is backed up with 1,500-strong medical staff complimented by a 2,700-member workforce. It is a part of The Medical City network, one of Asia’s most trusted healthcare organizations, which has been at the forefront of advancing the standards of hospital operation and administration in the region for 50 years, serving some 50,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients per year.

The Medical City Clark is strategically located in Kuwait-invested Sabah Al-Ahmad Global Gateway Logistics City, a 177-hectare development named after H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait. The commercial hub provides easy access for patients flying in from Clark International Airport serviced by Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Speaking at the conference, President and CEO of The Medical City Clark, Dr. Cenon Alfonso underlined the factors that medical patients should consider in choosing a destination to acquire healthcare services and treatment.

In his presentation Mabuhay! It’s more fun and healthy in the Philippines, Dr. Alfonso expounds: “The Philippines has a lot to offer, more than some of the best islands in the world, pristine beaches and magnificent landscapes. If you are practical about your medical needs, you will go to the Philippines because, even with technology and expertise at par with other medical destinations, the costs are still significantly lower without compromising the quality of patient care. Patients can also recover faster because the facilities are world-class and highly-maintained. Not to mention the warmth of the Filipino people which certainly helps.”

The Philippines is currently ranked 8th in the world as the preferred destination for people seeking treatment, consultation and diagnostics. The country receives about 250,000 patients from around the world every year. At The Medical City Clark, about 50% of the patients are non-Filipinos coming from USA, Korea, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom and Germany. According to Dr. Alfonso, “Foreign medical tourists choose the Philippines for their aesthetic and un-complicated procedures while thousands of Filipino expats return home for medical care and combine it with their family visit.”

Asked about the relationship of Philippines and Kuwait, Ambassador Renato Villa says, “I am optimistic that our harmonious and friendly relations with Kuwait and its people and the opportunities and amenities that we offer to Kuwaiti people will further develop and strengthen their belief that the Philippines is the place, where they will be safe and secure to undergo medical procedures and treatment. The place where they may unwind and enjoy the diverse tourist destinations our country can offer.”

Kuwait has been very resolute in its efforts to support the healthcare needs of its nationals. Last year, the government earmarked US$1 billion budget to pay the hospital bills of Kuwaitis that are medically treated abroad as part of the overseas treatment program.

The Kuwait Health Exhibition and Conference 2017 was an important platform for The Medical City Clark not just to showcase the medical and healthcare status of the Philippines but to also continue to expand its network, explore opportunities and partnership and provide solutions to patients founded on their unique holistic approach and personalized care.

Distributed by APO on behalf of The Medical City.

For more information please contact:
Illustrado Communications FZ-LLC
Tel: +971 4 3654543
Fax: +971 4 360 4771

About The Medical City Clark:
The Medical City Clark (, located in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, Philippines is part of The Medical City Philippines’ strategy to expand its national and international presence. The Medical City Clark has flagship programs or centers of excellence including Cardiology, Cancer, Aesthetics, Bariatric, and Orthopedic Surgery among others.

TMC brand has defined for itself a unique service philosophy in which the patient is viewed not as a problem to be solved or a charge to be cared for, but as an equal and empowered partner, co-responsible for the attainment of his health goals.

TMC has been conferred accreditation by the Joint Commission International for attaining and maintaining the highest standards of quality for healthcare organizations, for 12 straight long years now. JCI is widely recognized as the most prestigious accrediting body for international healthcare organizations. In its evaluation by JCI, TMC has received perfect scores in standards related to Access to Care and Continuity of Care, Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Patients and Family Education, and Governance, Leadership and Direction, a truly exceptional achievement by any measure.

Source:: Outstanding Philippine Healthcare Highlighted at Kuwait Medical Travel Congress


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Johnson & Johnson Names Winners of First Africa Innovation Challenge

Johnson & Johnson ( today named the winners of the first Africa Innovation Challenge at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress. The initiative, which received nearly 500 submissions from innovators and entrepreneurs across the continent, sought the best ideas for new, sustainable health solutions that will benefit African communities. The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies comprises the world’s largest healthcare business and its presence in Africa dates back to 1930, including business operations, public health programs and corporate citizenship. The Africa Innovation Challenge is part of the company’s comprehensive approach to collaborate with and support Africa’s vibrant innovation, education and health systems institutions.

In addition to the Africa Innovation Challenge winners, the company also announced today that it is a major partner of Women in Innovation and the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, programs that seek to substantially increase the number of women on the continent working in the sciences. These announcements follow the prior week’s opening of two new Johnson & Johnson regional offices in Ghana and Kenya, which along with our South Africa-based global public health headquarters, will support health system strengthening and public health programs.

“Africa is one of the fastest growing regions of the world, and Johnson & Johnson is proud to support this growth through strong collaborations that encourage innovation and accelerate advancements in the continent’s health systems,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “We are seeing a surge of activity among entrepreneurs and health system leaders to develop important solutions that overcome longstanding health and societal challenges. By working together, we hope to bring meaningful solutions to patients and consumers more rapidly, to help cultivate the next generation of scientists, and to support Africa’s entrepreneurial base.”

Africa innovation challenge

The Africa Innovation Challenge, launched in November 2016, solicited novel ideas with a focus on three critical health areas: promoting early child development and maternal health; empowering young women; and improving family well-being. The three winning concepts embraced these themes as well as the goal of creating ongoing, sustainable businesses:

  • Project Agateka (Burundi) – The development of a sustainable solution to support girls who are unable to afford menstrual pads and underwear is an important need for young women. Project Agateka will provide a direct health solution as well as the opportunity for women and girls to generate income in Burundi. With the inclusion of health information, the initiative also provides health education to support improved sexual and reproductive health.
  • Project Kernel Fresh (Liberia) – Project Kernel Fresh sources natural palm kernels from smallholder women farmers, increasing their income. The entrepreneur cold presses the palm kernel oil to be used in organic cosmetics. The project will also create jobs for young women by training them to sell the products throughout Liberia.
  • Project Pedal Tap (Uganda) Seeking to prevent disease transmission, and a reduction of water use, Project Pedal Tap will develop hands-free solutions for hand water taps in Uganda. The entrepreneurs will create manufacturing capabilities, using mostly recycled materials, which will lead to an ongoing business.

“This was an extremely difficult competition to judge as there were many terrific ideas,” said Josh Ghaim, Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. “The three winning projects demonstrated a strong benefit to local communities and the ability to empower young women, and they also have the potential to deliver ongoing economic support. We look forward to working with these entrepreneurs over the course of the next year to help them build sustainable operations.”

Each of the three winning recipients will receive funding as well as mentorship from scientists, engineers, and operations members from the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Research & Development organization and other areas of the company.

Supporting women in science and innovation careers

Globally there is significant gender inequality in the sciences. To help address this, Johnson & Johnson has made a strong commitment to increase the number of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design (WISTEM2D) careers. Last year, the company entered into 10 partnerships with institutions around the world to accelerate the development of WISTEM2D careers and supported other STEM initiatives globally.

With the sponsorship of Women in Innovation (WiIN), and through the collaboration with the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), the company expands its WISTEM2D commitment to Africa, where gender inequality in science and innovation careers mirrors gaps found around the world.

WiIN is a new mentoring program that will reach 1,000 female college graduates in Rwanda and provide them with communication leadership skills and encourage them to pursue a career in the sciences. The pilot program, which will begin in 2017 and seeks to expand to other African countries, will provide week-long, comprehensive instruction and mentorship to recent women college graduates on how to pursue and maintain a career in the sciences.

The AESA collaboration, which launched this month, will promote and accelerate the development of Africa’s research leadership, scientific excellence and innovation by encouraging and supporting WISTEM2D education and career development for young people, particularly females across the continent. The initiative will include entrepreneurial mentorship and internship programs for early career researchers, challenges, and other innovation initiatives. Throughout the year, employee volunteers from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies will work with AESA to host WISTEM2D workshops and courses geared toward coaching scientific leadership and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa.

“African millennials and entrepreneurs represent some of the best talent in the world. Our presence at the Global Entrepreneurs Congress here in Johannesburg and other Africa based conferences like the Next Einstein Forum, programs like the Africa Innovation Challenge, and partnerships with organizations like Women in Innovation and the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa reflect our confidence in Africa’s women and men and their potential to change the world through innovation,” said Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Health, and Policy Communication.

New regional operations in Ghana and Kenya

The new regional offices in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya represent a novel approach to how Johnson & Johnson seeks to develop partnerships, products and service delivery models that address neglected and emerging health issues. Teams from the company’s consumer, medical device, pharmaceutical, global public health and Global Community Impact (GCI) groups will be located in a central office in each country, helping to bring an integrated approach to improving health outcomes in the region.

“The expansion of our companies’ operations in Africa allows Johnson & Johnson to continue to build innovative, collaborative opportunities that meet a variety of market needs, including developing new pharmaceutical products, service delivery approaches and advocacy for health issues impacting vulnerable communities,” said Alma Scott, Head of Africa Operations and Partnerships, Global Public Health. “Through regional engagement with health delivery partners, we seek to support locally-executable programs that drive health impact.”

About Johnson & Johnson in Africa

The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies have a strong legacy in Africa. More than 80 years ago, South Africa was selected as the company’s third overseas location and has steadily expanded its footprint in Africa to 27 countries. Today, Johnson & Johnson operates three manufacturing plants and employs more than 1,500 employees in Africa who serve the region’s diverse health needs through our consumer, commercial, global public health and corporate citizenship programs.

Through innovation, collaboration and local engagement we are:

  • Cultivating Africa’s innovation through heath technology hubs;
  • Expanding R&D skills and capacity among African scientists;
  • Catalyzing healthcare infrastructure investments;
  • Enhancing collaboration with local health delivery partners;
  • Boosting education and training resources for healthcare workers;
  • Empowering African youth to thrive and become drivers of change;
  • Improving access to medicines.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc..

Press Contacts:
Seema Kumar
+1 908-405-1144

Toneisha Friday
+1 908-938-9146

About Johnson & Johnson:
Caring for the world, one person at a time, inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson ( We embrace research and science – bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Our approximately 126,900 employees at more than 250 Johnson & Johnson operating companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world.

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The European Union and Algeria adopt their Partnership Priorities

The EU and Algeria adopted their shared Partnership Priorities at the Association Council of 13 March 2017. The partnership priorities set up a renewed framework for political engagement and enhanced cooperation. They were defined by mutual agreement in the context of the revised European neighbourhood policy and the EU’s global strategy for foreign and security policy.

The Partnership Priorities in the context of EU-Algeria relations up to 2020 are as follows:

  • political dialogue, governance, the rule of law and the promotion of fundamental rights;
  • cooperation, socio-economic development, including trade and access to the European single market;
  • energy, the environment and sustainable development;
  • strategic and security dialogue;
  • the human dimension, including cultural and inter-religious dialogue, migration and mobility.

Some of these priorities will be the subject of technical and financial cooperation, which will be implemented within the framework of the 2018-2020 financial programming.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Council of the European Union.

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