Sep 152014
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Statement by EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva and EU Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, following the High Level Event to coordinate the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa:

The EU is gravely concerned by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, where the situation continues to deteriorate. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the dedicated healthcare workers who are doing their utmost to fight the spread of the virus and take care of the victims. Today, we have discussed with EU Ministers how to coordinate further steps in a Europe-wide response to the epidemic.

We welcome the contributions made already by our EU Member States through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. We call on them to continue and strengthen their support to the region in order to respond to pressing needs such as effective treatment centres, sufficient numbers of health workers, and ensuring macro-economic stability. We will also do our utmost to align to the priorities identified and coordinated by the WHO.

The EU has increased its response on several occasions since the outbreak of the epidemic and has so far pledged almost €150 million to help the affected countries. This includes ensuring treatment for infected patients and measures to contain the epidemic, as well as strengthening health care systems and improving food security, water and sanitation. EU mobile laboratories are deployed in the region to help with the diagnostics and confirmation of cases and train laboratory technicians. Furthermore, Liberia and Sierra Leone will receive financial assistance through budget support to help them deliver health care services and bolster macro-economic stability in response to wider economic challenges arising from the crisis.

The EU is firmly committed to supporting the affected countries and their development in the immediate and longer-term.

Today’s meeting has reaffirmed our partnership and solidarity with West Africa. We also discussed actions to facilitate transport in and out of the region.

We welcome the participation of the UN at this meeting, laying out efforts for international coordination, notably through the establishment of operational platforms. These efforts deserve our full support, and provide the appropriate backbone to deliver the European Comprehensive response to the Ebola crisis.

We agreed on the crucial importance of reliable systems of medical evacuation for humanitarian staff and medical workers in the affected countries so as to maintain an effective international response on the ground. To this end, we agreed to launch work without delay on developing a European co-ordination mechanism for medical evacuations. Participants at the meeting expressed their appreciation for a proposal from France which could form the basis of further discussion on such a mechanism.

Despite the low risk of the virus circulating within EU countries, the need to continue working on preparedness and coordination of risk management was also stressed.

Sep 152014
 

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

John Kerry

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

September 15, 2014

I am pleased to announce that we are resuming operations at our embassy in Bangui. The people and leaders of the Central African Republic have made progress in ending the violence and putting their nation on a path toward peace and stability. But we all know that much work remains to be done.

That’s why I asked David Brown to serve as Chargé d’Affaires and to work closely with the transitional government, as well as our international friends and partners, to advance a peaceful, democratic and inclusive political transition. And that’s why, on his arrival in Bangui, we announced an additional $28 million in U.S. humanitarian funding, bringing the U.S. total to $145.7 million this year alone.

With the September 15 transition to the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, we extend our profound thanks to the African Union, its force-contributing countries, as well as the French and European forces, for their important contributions to peace and stability in the Central African Republic. We call on all parties to fully support the UN mission in its vital task ahead as it takes over from the African Union mission. And as we reopen our embassy, I want to thank our dedicated Central African colleagues for their service during these difficult 21 months.

Only a fully inclusive, peaceful, and democratic political transition process can stop the cycle of violence in the Central African Republic. That process must include the voices of all Central Africans, especially refugees and internally displaced persons. It must end impunity and give all citizens access to justice while holding those who have committed abuses accountable for their actions. And it must lead to free and fair elections that give all Central Africans a stake in the future of their country.

The Central African Republic and its people are at a crucial juncture. The United States is determined to help make this moment of opportunity a success.

Sep 152014
 

ROME, Italy, September 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Includes new figures on the number of hungry people in the world, key lessons from individual countries on food security and nutrition.

On Tuesday 16 September at 10:00h Rome-time, the three Rome-based UN food agencies – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) – will launch the new edition of the annual The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI) report.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) is published jointly by FAO, IFAD and WFP.

This year’s edition of SOFI presents new estimates on the number and proportion of chronically undernourished people in the world and also reports on progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and World Food Summit (WFS) hunger targets.

The report also examines seven case studies – Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malawi, Yemen – that highlight diverse experiences in creating an enabling environment to improve impact on hunger and malnutrition.

The new SOFI and its main findings will be presented at a news conference at FAO’s headquarters, which will be webcast live at http://www.fao.org/webcast/

The report will also be available online from 10:00 at http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/en/

WHO: José Graziano da Silva – Director-General, FAO

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, WFP

John McIntire, Associate Vice-President on behalf of President Kanayo Nwanze, IFAD

WHAT: News conference to present 2014 edition of the UN’s

annual world hunger report

WHEN: Tuesday 16 September 2014, 10:00h CET

WHERE: Sheikh Zayed Media Centre, FAO headquarters

Rome, Italy | Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, corner with Viale Aventino. Metro stop Circo Massimo.

Accreditation will take place at the main FAO visitor’s entry kiosk. A valid press card or letter of assignment on company stationery, plus picture ID, required.

Webcast: http://www.fao.org/webcast/

Twitter hashtags: #UNFAO #SOFI2014 #foodsecurity #foodinsecurity #hunger

Twitter accounts: @faonews, @faoknowledge, @IFADnews @WFP, @WFP_media

Sep 152014
 

PRETORIA, South-Africa, September 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Special Envoy Said Djinnit completed a two-day visit to South Africa, as part of his first tour of signatory countries of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and the region. The Special Envoy met with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and Minister of State Security, Mr. David Mahlobo.

“South Africa is a crucial regional partner. South African troops in the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade in DRC play a vital role in maintaining stability in eastern DRC, and I commend the dedication of South African men and women to this fundamental task. As a signatory country to the PSC Framework, South Africa further helps establish key linkages between the ICGLR and SADC and spur regional cooperation on priority issues under the Framework”, Mr. Djinnit said.

Special Envoy Djinnit and South African officials discussed progress in the implementation of the PSC Framework, focusing in particular on neutralization of negative forces, and the need to strengthen regional relations. “I am pleased with the constructive discussions I had and the support I received in South Africa for my mandate. I look forward to working closely with the Government of South Africa, as a PSC Framework signatory country and Chair of the SADC Organ for Politics, Defence and Security, to make progress on some of the most urgent issues we face under the Framework, such as the FDLR. I am also pleased with South Africa’s pledge of support for an upcoming Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference, which shows a shared long-term vision under the PSC Framework towards lasting peace and greater economic development for the region”, according to Mr. Djinnit.

Sep 152014
 

DAKAR, Senegal, September 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ten African journalists, including three in Kenya, two in Ethiopia, two in South Africa, one in Burkina Faso, one in Ghana, and one in Rwanda, have been selected as finalists in the 2014 APO Media Award (#APOMediaAward) (http://www.apo-opa.com/apo-media-award.php).

Logo APO: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/apo-african-press-organization-small.png

Photos of the finalists: http://bit.ly/1qOdGN1

APO Media Award celebrates brilliant and inspiring stories about Africa. Stories are judged on content, writing, analysis, creativity, human interest and community impact.

2014 APO Media Award Finalists are:

Aimable Twahirwa (@atwahirwa) – Rwanda

“Tech Entrepreneur Encourages Rwanda’s Young Women to Venture into ICT” (http://bit.ly/1ogmYkJ)

Andualem Sisay Gessesse (@andualemsisay ) – Ethiopia

“The new face of agriculture in arid Ethiopia?” (http://bit.ly/1pALjMX)

Claire Muthinji (@cmuthinji) – Kenya

“Maintaining a strong saving culture in Africa” (http://bit.ly/Wpv6mE)

Elias Gebreselassie Woldegebriel (@EliasGebre) – Ethiopia

“For Ethiopia, wildlife protection makes economic and climate sense” (http://tmsnrt.rs/ZcpUEK)

Félix Dela Klutse (@felixklutse) – Ghana

“Unlocking the potential of agribusiness in Africa” (http://bit.ly/1pAM60f)

Inoussa Maiga (@MaigaInou) – Burkina Faso

“La révolution mobile au Sahel” (http://bit.ly/1AiJRF2)

Kristia Van Heerden (@k_r_isis) – South Africa

“How the poor can make you rich” (http://bit.ly/ZcqRgm)

Peter Kahare (@PeterKahare) – Kenya

“In Saving a Forest, Kenyans Find a Better Quality of Life ” (http://bit.ly/1qp3PJh)

Pius Sawa (@kharunda) – Kenya

“Cheap, green solar bottles light up Kenyan slum” (http://tmsnrt.rs/1rNAlco)

Sumitra Nydoo (@sumitranydoo) – South Africa

“South Africa’s Wonderbag Revolutionizes Cooking” (http://bit.ly/1qvB9SW)

The three winners will be announced on 29 September 2014.

The first-place winner will be presented with $500 a month for one year, one laptop and one intercontinental flight ticket to a destination of his or her choice as well as one year of access to over 600 airport VIP lounges worldwide.

The second-place winner will be awarded $300 a month for one year.

The third-place winner will receive $200 a month for one year.

Follow APO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apo_source

Follow the hashtag: #APOMediaAward

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization).

Contact:

award@apo-opa.org

+41 22 534 96 97

About APO

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Sep 152014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 15, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Situation assessment – 12 September 2014

The situation in Senegal, which confirmed its first case of Ebola virus disease on 29 August, remains stable. To date, 67 close contacts of the initial case have been identified and monitored twice daily.

2 of these contacts who developed symptoms were tested for Ebola. Test results were negative. An additional 3 suspected cases across the country were also tested, with negative results.

Starting from 29 August, forty-two days – twice the maximum incubation period – must pass with good surveillance in place and no additional cases reported, before WHO can declare Senegal transmission-free.

However, intense virus transmission in other countries within the sub-region creates a high risk that Senegal will experience additional introductions of Ebola cases.

Responding to the outbreak

The investigation in Senegal benefits from the presence of an Institut Pasteur laboratory in Dakar, where the initial case was identified. This WHO-approved collaborating centre has excellent facilities and staff.

Work undertaken by the Ministry of Health has been supported from the start by two senior WHO epidemiologists, senior staff from Doctors without Borders (MSF), and a team from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All have extensive experience responding to previous outbreaks of Ebola virus disease and the related Marburg haemorrhagic fever.

Optimism about the further evolution of the outbreak in Senegal is justified but must be tempered with several cautions and reservations.

Preventing further transmission of Ebola

As in every outbreak investigation, doubts remain about whether all contacts have been identified. Aggressive efforts to identify additional contacts continue, aiming to ensure that no one has been missed.

As elsewhere, the investigation and response teams face difficulties in keeping close contacts in isolation for the 21-day monitoring period.

Contacts have remained in their homes, usually with their families, where they are checked twice daily for symptoms and tested if symptoms develop. Some contacts have resisted monitoring, but none has been lost to follow-up.

Although Senegal has banned all flights from other affected countries, road travellers from Guinea and elsewhere can cross the country’s porous borders. WHO has repeatedly advised countries not to issue travel bans, which are ineffective and needlessly disruptive.

The history of Senegal’s initial case, who arrived in Dakar by road on 20 August, reveals multiple opportunities for high-risk exposure. Continued high-level vigilance is essential; the risk of similar imported cases remains high.

Fortunately, the initial case has now fully recovered; his last 2 blood samples have tested negative for Ebola virus. He will be released soon from hospital, raising questions about his reintegration into a social situation characterized by high yet irrational fear and widespread misinformation about the risk of Ebola transmission for the general population.

Scientists do not fully understand why some Ebola patients recover and others succumb. Prior to the current outbreak, Ebola was considered a rare disease and clinical information is limited.

Some anecdotal case reports from the current outbreak in west Africa suggest that age and the presence of comorbidities are associated with a poor prognosis.

To support the global response to the current outbreak in west Africa, Senegal has agreed to open a humanitarian corridor to facilitate the transport and delivery of international personnel and supplies to affected countries.