FACT SHEET: The U.S. Response to the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa

WASHINGTON, October 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Since the first cases of Ebola were reported in West Africa in March 2014, the United States has mounted a whole-of-government response to contain and eliminate the epidemic at its source, while also taking prudent measures at home. The President last month outlined a stepped-up U.S. response, leveraging more thoroughly the unique capabilities of the U.S. military to support the civilian-led response in West Africa. Domestically, we have prepared for the diagnosis of an Ebola case on U.S. soil and have measures in place to stop this and any potential future cases in their tracks.

Specifically, our strategy is predicated on four key goals:

Controlling the epidemic at its source in West Africa;

Mitigating second-order impacts, including blunting the economic, social, and political tolls in the region;

Engaging and coordinating with a broader global audience; and,

Fortifying global health security infrastructure in the region and beyond, including within the United States.

International Response

In support of national government efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea—and alongside the international community—the U.S. response builds upon the measures we have had in place since the first cases of Ebola were reported. The United States already has committed more than $350 million toward fighting the outbreak in West Africa, including more than $111 million in humanitarian aid, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is prepared to devote more than $1 billion to the whole-of-government Ebola response effort. As a further indication of our prioritization of this response, the United States convened a special UN Security Council session on the epidemic, and President Obama called the world to action during a subsequent UN session called by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. These U.S. actions have galvanized millions of dollars in international funding and in-kind support.

Among the specific response efforts, the United States has:

Deployed to West Africa more than 130 civilian medical, healthcare, and disaster response experts from multiple U.S. government departments and agencies as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team as well as approximately 350 U.S. military personnel, constituting the largest U.S. response to an international public health challenge;

Increased the number of Ebola treatment units (ETU) in the region, including supporting ETUs in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and one of our new ETUs in Liberia discharged its first four Ebola survivors last week;

Increased to 50 the number of safe burial teams, which are now working across every county in Liberia to safely and respectfully dispose of bodies;

Deployed and commenced operation of five mobile Ebola testing labs in the region, two of which opened this week in Liberia and have doubled lab capacity in the country—reducing from several days to just a few hours the time needed to determine if a patient has Ebola;

Provided more than 10,000 Ebola test kits to the Liberian Institute of Biological Research and Sierra Leone’s Kenema Government Hospital;

Received and passed to interested humanitarian organizations information from nearly 2,200 volunteers willing to provide healthcare in the affected countries;

Delivered approximately 2,200 rolls of USAID heavy-duty plastic sheeting for use in constructing Ebola treatment units across the region;

Procured 140,000 sets of personal protective equipment, 10,000 of which have already been delivered, along with hundreds of thousands of medical gloves and thousands of protective coveralls, goggles, face shields, and other personal protective supplies;

Delivered an initial 9,000 of 50,000 community care kits to Liberia;

Supported aggressive public education campaigns reaching every Liberian county with life-saving information on how to identify, treat and prevent Ebola;

Administered nutritional support to patients receiving care at Ebola treatment units and in Ebola-affected communities across the region; and

Provided technical support to the Government of Liberia’s national-level emergency operation center.

In the days and weeks to come, U.S. efforts will include:

Scaling-up the DoD presence in West Africa. Following the completion of AFRICOM’s assessment, DoD announced the planned deployment of 3,200 troops, including 700 from the 101st Airborne Division headquarters element to Liberia. These forces will deploy in late October and become the headquarters staff for the Joint Forces Command, led by Major General Gary Volesky. The total U.S. troop commitment will depend on the requirements on the ground;

Overseeing the construction of and facilitating staffing for at least 17 100-bed Ebola treatment units across Liberia;

Deploying additional U.S. military personnel from various engineering units to help supervise the construction of ETUs and provide engineering expertise for the international response in Liberia;

Establishing a training site in Liberia to train up to 500 health care providers per week, enabling them to provide safe and direct supportive medical care to Ebola patients;

Setting up and facilitating staffing for a hospital in Liberia that will treat all healthcare workers who are working in West Africa on the Ebola crisis should they fall ill;

Operating a training course in the United States for licensed nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers intending to work in an ETU in West Africa;

Leveraging a regional staging base in Senegal to help expedite the surge of equipment, supplies, and personnel to West Africa;

Continuing outreach by all levels of the U.S. government to push for increased and speedier response contributions from partners around the globe; and,

Sustaining engagement with the UN system to coordinate response and improve effectiveness.

Domestic Response

We have been prepared for an Ebola case in the United States and have the healthcare system infrastructure in place to respond safely and effectively. Upon confirming the Ebola diagnosis, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our interagency team activated plans that had been developed.

Our public health officials have led the charge to prepare and fortify our national health infrastructure to respond quickly and effectively to Ebola cases domestically. Their efforts include:

Enhancing surveillance and laboratory testing capacity in states to detect cases; in the last three months, 12 Laboratory Response Network labs have been validated to perform Ebola diagnostic testing throughout the United States;

Authorizing the use of a diagnostic test developed by DoD to help detect the Ebola virus.

Providing guidance and tools for hospitals and health care providers to prepare for and manage potential patients, protect healthcare workers, and respond in a coordinated fashion;

Developing guidance and tools for health departments to conduct public health investigations;

Providing recommendations for healthcare infection control and other measures to prevent disease spread;

Disseminating guidance for flight crews, Emergency Medical Services units at airports, and Customs and Border Protection officers about reporting ill travelers to CDC;

Providing up-to-date information to the general public, international travelers, healthcare providers, state and local officials, and public health partners;

Advancing the development and clinical trials of Ebola vaccines and antivirals to determine their safety and efficacy in humans;

Monitoring by the Food and Drug Administration for fraudulent products and false product claims related to the Ebola virus and implementing enforcement actions, as warranted, to protect the public health; and,

Issuing by the U.S. Department of Transportation, in coordination with CDC, an emergency special permit for a company to transport large quantities of Ebola-contaminated waste from Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas as well as from other locations in Texas for disposal.

Passenger Screening

On top of these domestic measures, we recognize that passenger screening efforts in West Africa and at domestic airports represent another line of defense. We have developed and supported a stringent screening regimen both at home and abroad, and we are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of these and other potential measures. We will make adjustments as deemed prudent by health professionals and the appropriate U.S. departments and agencies.

Exit screening measures are routinely implemented in the affected West African countries, and U.S. government personnel have worked closely with local authorities to implement these measures. Since the beginning of August, CDC has been working with airlines, airports, ministries of health, and other partners to provide technical assistance for the development of exit screening and travel restrictions in countries with Ebola. This includes:

Assessing the capacity to conduct exit screening at international airports;

Assisting countries with procuring supplies needed to conduct exit screening;

Supporting with development of exit screening protocols;

Developing tools such as posters, screening forms, and job-aids;

Training staff on exit screening protocols and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) use; and,

Preparing in-country staff to provide future trainings.

All outbound passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms in the affected countries. Such primary exit screening involves travelers responding to a travel health questionnaire, being visually assessed for potential illness, and having their body temperature measured.

If a person has a fever above 101.5 or is suspected to be ill, the passenger will be taken aside for a more detailed health assessment – a secondary screening – to determine if he or she should be isolated.

Airport employees must wear latex gloves, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and monitor their own body temperature daily, among other measures.

Once passengers arrive in the United States they are subject to additional measures.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the CDC have closely coordinated to develop policies, procedures, and protocols to identify travelers who may have a communicable disease, responding in a manner that minimizes risk to the public. These procedures have been utilized collaboratively by both agencies on a number of occasions with positive results. Among these measures:

CBP personnel review all travelers entering the United States for general overt signs of illnesses (visual observation, questioning, and notification of CDC as appropriate) at all U.S. ports of entry, including all federal inspection services areas at U.S. airports that service international flights.

When a traveler is identified with a possible communicable disease or identified from information that is received from the CDC, CBP personnel will take the appropriate safety measures by referring the traveler to a secondary, isolating the traveler from other travelers, and referring to CDC or public officials for a medical assessment. CBP personnel may don personal protective equipment (PPE), to include gloves and surgical masks, which are readily available for use in the course of their duties.

CBP personnel receive training in illness recognition, but if they identify an individual believed to be infected, CBP will contact CDC along with local public health authorities to help with further medical evaluation.

CBP is handing out fact sheets to travelers arriving in the U.S. from Ebola- affected countries, which detail information on Ebola, health signs to look for, and information for their doctor should they need to seek medical attention in the future.

Secretary Johnson has also directed Transportation Security Administration to issue an Information Circular to air carriers reinforcing the CDC’s message on Ebola and providing guidance on identifying potential passengers with Ebola. DHS is closely monitoring the situation and Secretary Johnson will consider additional actions as appropriate.

UN Special Representative for Somalia welcomes the recovery of Barawe

MOGADISHU, Somalia, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Nicholas Kay, welcomed the recovery earlier today of the port city of Barawe from Al-Shabaab by the Somali National Army and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces.

“The recovery of Barawe by the Somali National Army and AMISOM forces is a critical milestone in Somalia’s path to peace and stability. I welcome this important achievement. I encourage any remaining Al-Shabaab to lay down their arms. Now is the time for peace and political progress for all Somali people.” SRSG Kay said.

Africa Forum 2014: New OECD Development Centre’s Africa Action Plan to support the continent’s integration and transformation agenda

PARIS, France, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With an average growth rate of about 4% in 2013, compared with 3% for the global economy, Africa continues to show strong dynamism in the face of regional and international turbulence. The continent´s average growth is projected to accelerate to close to 5% in 2014 and 5-6% in 2015.

However, lasting success will require making this growth more inclusive and more sustainable; for instance by helping African firms harness regional and global value chains to create new jobs, or by implementing innovative territorial policies to promote balanced regional development and make the most of emerging rural/urban dynamics.

Those issues are the heart of the 14th edition of the International Economic Forum on Africa: “By Africa, for Africa? Industrialisation and Integration for Inclusive Growth”.

For the first time, the African Union Commission (AUC) is invited by the OECD Development Centre to co-organize the Forum. As she pays her first official visit to the OECD, AUC Chairperson Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will sign a formal agreement, aimed at sustaining high-level dialogue over the coming years on a pan African agenda of integration and transformation.

The Forum will also host the launch of the OECD Development Centre’s Africa Action Plan which builds on the Centre’s partnerships and activities with member countries and institutions in Africa.

At the global level, the Action Plan aims at developing policy dialogue platforms with the African Union Commission on global value chains and on natural resource-based development; and improving tax revenue statistics. Working with the Economic Commission for Africa, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme, the Action Plan assesses national experiences in promoting industrial policies and productive transformation. It also assesses how to strengthening of the African Economic Outlook project.

At a country level, the Action Plan will draw from a new series of multi-sectorial country reviews to support the design and implementation of African national development strategies. Côte d’Ivoire is the first in the series, to be followed by Morocco and others. Several countries will also be engaged in the analysis of the economic implications of migration, establishing sustainable social protection systems, promoting youth policies and developing of appropriate skills for employment.

The Forum’s debates will build on the conclusions of the African Economic Outlook 2014 jointly produced by the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre and UNDP.

Follow the discussions on #AF 2014.

Canada’s leadership in the extractive resource sector is helping to fight global poverty / Minister Paradis promotes responsible natural resource development as a driver of private sector-led growth in developing countries

OTTAWA, Canada, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today, on the occasion of the CEO Summit of the Devonshire Initiative, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, re-affirmed Canada’s commitment to promoting responsible oil, gas and mining development to help move the world’s most vulnerable from poverty to prosperity.

Minister Paradis also announced Canada’s support for three projects aimed at helping developing countries stimulate private sector-led growth and create the conditions to maximize the benefits of their resource wealth.

“The development of extractive resources is one of the most effective tools for eradicating poverty in developing countries,” said Minister Paradis. “Canada’s support enhances the capacity of developing countries to manage their extractive resource sectors, creating jobs and providing governments with revenue to deliver services to their citizens and enabling communities to maximize the benefits of the oil, gas and the mining sectors.”

Canada’s support announced today will help developing countries in both Africa and the Americas manage responsibly the complex issues surrounding extractive resources development, such as administering taxation and addressing social and environmental impacts in ways that improve the health and well-being of those involved.

“Canada is recognized as a global leader in responsible resource management,” said Minister Paradis. “Our efforts focus on growing economies more sustainably, managing resources more responsibly, and working more closely with the private sector to reduce poverty and build tomorrow’s markets for trade and investment.”

Minister Paradis also noted how Canada’s development work in the extractive sector is an important example of how strong partnerships involving the private sector and civil society are stimulating sustainable economic growth and helping to break the cycle of poverty in developing countries.

Helping developing countries to responsibly manage their resource wealth also aligns with Canada’s efforts to promote corporate social responsibility by Canadian companies operating abroad. Canada is committed to working with our trading partners to pursue policies that support a responsible and sustainable investment environment in the best interests of both communities and businesses.

Quick Facts

• The management of natural resources in developing countries is an increasingly important driver of sustainable economic growth. It creates jobs and provides governments with revenue to deliver services to their citizens.

• Exports of oil and minerals from Africa, Asia, and Central and South America in 2012 were worth more than US$1.35 trillion—more than 15 times the amount of official development assistance provided to these same regions in that year.

• Extractive industries (mining, oil and gas) are a major driver of Canadian prosperity. Building on this domestic strength, Canada has also become a major player in the international extractive sector.

Ministers meet at FAO to discuss role of commodity markets / FAO Director-General urges a review of market governance institutions to boost voice of smallholders

ROME, Italy, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Governments ought to review the way international agricultural commodity markets are governed, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told ministers from around the world gathered for a meeting on the subject Monday.

Commodity markets caught global attention due to volatile food prices in the past five years. While prices are currently declining, Graziano da Silva noted that underlying issues lurk in market institutions largely forged in the 1970s. Enormous changes since then, in production and distribution fronts, “have had far-reaching implications not only for how international commodity markets work but also for food security, property rights and access to productive resources, and the position of smallholder commodity producers,” he said in opening remarks at FAO’s third ministerial meeting on international agricultural commodity market governance.

FAO has piloted the idea of creating inclusive “multi-stakeholder fora” involving all stakeholders in a particular commodity market: government, private sector producers and traders, consumers and non-governmental organizations. It also hosts AMIS, the Agricultural Market Information System, an early-warning monitoring service that allows for coordinated response in times of stress, such as the 2012 droughts in North America and the Black Sea region.

“We need more,” Graziano da Silva said.

Lassaad Lachaal, Minister for Agriculture of Tunisia and chairperson of the ministerial meeting, said there were “deficiencies” today in amassing reliable, up-to-date information on commodity stock levels and trends and that a stronger institutional scheme to promote policy coordination is needed.

“Governance-related issues are gaining increasing attention, especially in light of the post-2015 Development Agenda,” he said.

Ministers in attendance included those from Burkina Faso, Central African Repubilc, Georgia, Haiti, Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritania, Portugal, South Africa, Sudan, Tonga, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. Other countries sent vice ministers or senior officials, including Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and United States.

The Committee on Commodity Problems, a FAO technical committee with more than 100 members set up in 1946 to survey and review international aspects of commodity production, trade and distribution, will meet from Tuesday 7 October through Thursday 9 October.

New priorities

One question ministers have been asked to discuss is how commodities should be related to the broader international development goals of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Commodity production and export account for a fifth of the world’s economic activity and are estimated to provide incomes and employment for more than a billion people.

Smallholders in developing countries produce the lion’s share of the world’s agricultural commodities, including non-staple foods such as sugar and coffee. Improving their productivity and relative prosperity is central not only to FAO’s goal of eradicating hunger, but to the broader United Nations agenda of supporting sustainability in all policy arenas.

Nearly two-thirds of developing countries rely on primary commodity exports for more than 50 percent of their export earnings. Many countries have high levels of dependence on commodities such as bananas, jute or cotton. Coffee alone account s for two-thirds of Burundi’s export earnings.

Globally, 80 percent of coffee is produced by smallholders, and the figure is higher for cocoa. Both products are part of global value chains that are often dominated by distributors.

15th Francophonie Summit: Women And Young People Take Pride Of Place

DAKAR, Senegal, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 29 and 30 November, Senegal will host the 15th Summit of heads of state and governments of countries which have the French language in common on the theme of “La Francophonie’s women and young people: vectors for peace and actors for development” (http://www.francophoniedakar2014.sn).

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Over two days, 77 heads of state and their delegations, as well as representatives of international organisations, NGOs and economic, cultural and social stakeholders, will gather in Dakar.

“The Dakar Summit will be a turning point for Francophonie, both in terms of its organisation and its intellectual, cultural and political content,” states Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, pointing out that “we are looking resolutely towards the future, with the participation of the Senegalese society, in order to enable us to meet the challenges we are facing both culturally and economically.”

“La Francophonie’s women and youth: vectors for peace, actors of development”

The programme of the Summit, which is due to appoint the OIF’s next Secretary General, as well as defining Francophonie’s direction and adopting the next ten-year strategic plan, features two main themes: women and young people.

Based on these themes, which were chosen at the end of the 14th Francophonie Summit, this year’s Summit will revisit the major role played by women and young people, especially in the current climate of economic difficulties and political tension. It will draw up specific initiatives aimed at tackling numerous social, economic and political challenges.

A few facts and figures about Francophonie

• The IOF, founded in 1970, brings together 77 Member States and Governments and OIF observers which have the French language in common.

• The Summit of heads of state meets every two years to decide on the admission of new members, define Francophonie’s direction in a ten-year strategic plan in order to maintain its worldwide influence, and elect the Secretary General of Francophonie.

• 220 million – this is the number of French-speaking people worldwide (Observatoire de la langue française), which is estimated to rise to 700 million in 2050, 85% of whom will live in Africa (Natixis, 2014) on the African continent.

• On the occasion of the 15th Francophonie Summit, Senegal will inaugurate the Centre International de Conférences de Dakar (Dakar International Conferences Centre – CICD).

A collaborative process mobilising all the actors of the Senegalese society

Organising the Francophonie Summit – a task which is entrusted to a different host country for each edition – represents a valuable economic and political opportunity for the host country, as well as the international visibility it bestows.

In order to meet this challenge, Senegal has established an extensive planning process, with the aim of ensuring the participation of all Senegalese stakeholders, in collaboration with the OIF.

For over a year now, they have met regularly in various committees tasked with planning the themes to be included in the programme and organising logistics and the event itself, under the supervision of the General Delegation of Francophonie.

A Scientific Committee, chaired by El Hadj Hamidou Kassé, comprising members from the senior civil service, the academic world and civil society, is in charge of preparing the content of the Summit.

A number of meetings have been organised in order to plan the Summit’s themes, including the following:

– The international symposium on “Women and young people, emerging forces: Francophone issues, challenges and perspectives”, from 17 to 19 September;

– Young people’s forum from 9 to 10 October;

– The symposium on women, in partnership with the Ministry for Women’s Affairs and the “réseau francophone sur l’égalité femme-homme” (Francophone network for gender equality) from 16 to 17 October;

– And “From original inspiration to current challenges: the routes of modernity”, from 29 to 31 October.

Francophonie: cultural, social and economic zone

Alongside the Summit, Senegal will organise a number of cultural events for all those taking part. It will also establish a “Francophonie Village”, an ideal space to hold meetings and discussions, where the OIF’s member countries and Francophonie stakeholders will present their activities. Organized into four areas – an institutional area for OIF States, governments and operators, a media area, a service area for associations and companies, and a cultural area with events, concerts and exhibitions – it will be open to the public from 24 to 30 November 2014 on the site of the Grand Théâtre National de Dakar.

Finally, to follow on from the Summit and with the same aim of placing Francophonie in the action and challenges of the 21st century, Senegal will organise the Francophonie Economic Forum to be held from 1 to 2 December.

With GDP of over 7,200 billion dollars generated by the OIF’s 77 Members States and governments, this forum will discuss how to stimulate this economic potential and Francophonie as an economic driver, in support of the key role played by Senegal in the development of French-speaking Africa and even Africa as a whole.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the XVe Sommet de la Francophonie.

Media contact: Coraline Bardinat, coraline.bardinat@richardattiasassociates.com, tel : +33 1 42 68 83 94

For practical information regarding the 15th Francophonie Summit, please visit: http://www.francophoniedakar2014.sn/

Follow the latest Summit news at: @SFDK2014 and join the Facebook group: DAKAR 2014.

Somalia National Army and AMISOM liberate coastal city of Baraawe

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The much-awaited liberation of Baraawe town, Al-Shabaab’s last stronghold happened today, October 5, 2014, after a joint force made up of the Somalia Army and AMISOM troops, rolled into the coastal town without much resistance from the terrorist group.

The coastal city of Baraawe is located 220 kilometers southwest of the capital Mogadishu. This is the first time in 23 years that its residents will experience a government’s presence since the collapse of central rule in 1993. The picturesque city – which is surrounded by orchards and farms – has been captured as part of Operation Indian Ocean. The Operation aims to push the militants out of their bases along mainland Africa’s longest coastline, and has so far recorded a string of victories against the crumbling terrorist network.

Acting Head of AMISOM, Hon. Lydia Wanyoto, congratulated the Somali and AMISOM forces for their bravery and resilience in taking over Baraawe and throughout the sustained Operation. She noted that Baraawe was the nerve center for Al-Shabaab and that today’s defeat would be the group’s most significant loss since being driven out of Mogadishu and Kismayo.

“I wish to share some very good news with the people of Somalia. Al-Shabaab terror capital Baraawe is now under Somali government control for the first time in 23 years, since the last government of President Mohamed Siyad Bare. This is the second major town that has been liberated since the operation resumed,” she said.

Hon. Wanyoto added that retreating Al-Shabaab forces tried to mount an ambush in the outskirts of the coastal city.

“The Al-Shabaab ambush was immediately neutralized and our forces walked uninhibited into Baraawe, much to the delight of the locals many of whom thronged the streets to welcome the aligned forces,” Hon. Wanyoto said.

The capture of Baraawe is a significant victory for Somalia since the terrorists used the port there to import arms as well as receive foreign fighters into their ranks. The group also used Baraawe to export charcoal to the Middle East, a lucrative multi-million dollar business that served as their main source of funding.

Former Prime Minister of Bahamas to lead Commonwealth Observer Group for Mozambique elections

LONDON, United-Kingdom, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today that the Commonwealth will observe the National and Provincial Elections in Mozambique on 15 October. This follows an invitation from the National Electoral Commission of Mozambique.

Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, former Prime Minister of Bahamas, will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group.

The Secretary-General said: “These elections are being held at an important juncture in the history of Mozambique, particularly following the signing of a peace agreement one month ago. Conducting credible elections is a collective strength of Commonwealth member states, and our Charter recognises ‘the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes, in particular through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live’. It is our hope that these elections will consolidate the democratic process in Mozambique. The Commonwealth will be present to witness and observe them, and to work in partnership with Mozambique towards strengthening and embedding good practice.”

Mr Sharma added: “The responsibility for conducting elections with integrity falls on all concerned – from the election management body, to political parties and their leaders, to civil society, security agencies, the media and the voters themselves. Each and every one has a rightful role to ensure a credible process and outcome.”

The observer group will consider the pre-electoral environment and election preparations. On Election Day, it will observe the voting process, vote-counting procedures and the announcement of results, in the light of international standards for democratic elections, to which the country has committed.

As with all Commonwealth Observer Groups, this mission will function impartially and independently, and will conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

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The Commonwealth Observer Group to the 2014 National and Provincial Elections will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Mozambique, the National Electoral Commission, Mozambique’s political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.

The 15-member Commonwealth Observer Group will be in Mozambique from 9 to 21 October 2014. A six-member Commonwealth Secretariat team will support the Group, led by Martin Kasirye, Adviser and Head of Electoral Support.

Composition of the Observer Group:

Chair:

Rt.Hon. Hubert Ingraham

Former Prime Minister, Bahamas

Mr Michael Maley

Electoral Expert, Australia

Ms Dorothy Limunga Njeuma

Former Cabinet Minister and Board Member of Elections Cameroon, Cameroon

Mr Kenneth Abotsi

Technical Advisor, SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana

Dr Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi

Former Chief Election Commissioner, India

Ms Wyvolyn Patterson

Journalist/Media Expert, Jamaica

Ms Lilian Mahiri-Zaja

Vice-Chair of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya

Mr Giovanni Buttigieg

Electoral Expert, Malta

Ms Elaine Trepper

Former Mayor, Windhoek, Namibia

Mr Ken Nnamani

Former Senate President, Nigeria

Ms Aasiya Riaz

Deputy Director, PILDAT, Pakistan

Ms Maiava Visekota Peteru

Former Member of Parliament, Lawyer, Samoa

Ms Papama Nomboniso Gasa

Researcher and Analyst on Gender, South Africa

Mr Gerald Karuhanga

Member of Parliament – Youth, Uganda

Mr Henry Hogger

Former Diplomat, United Kingdom

WHO Ebola situation assessment / What we know about transmission of the Ebola virus among humans

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ebola situation assessment – 6 October 2014

The Ebola virus is transmitted among humans through close and direct physical contact with infected bodily fluids, the most infectious being blood, faeces and vomit.

The Ebola virus has also been detected in breast milk, urine and semen. In a convalescent male, the virus can persist in semen for at least 70 days; one study suggests persistence for more than 90 days.

Saliva and tears may also carry some risk. However, the studies implicating these additional bodily fluids were extremely limited in sample size and the science is inconclusive. In studies of saliva, the virus was found most frequently in patients at a severe stage of illness. The whole live virus has never been isolated from sweat.

The Ebola virus can also be transmitted indirectly, by contact with previously contaminated surfaces and objects. The risk of transmission from these surfaces is low and can be reduced even further by appropriate cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Not an airborne virus

Ebola virus disease is not an airborne infection. Airborne spread among humans implies inhalation of an infectious dose of virus from a suspended cloud of small dried droplets.

This mode of transmission has not been observed during extensive studies of the Ebola virus over several decades.

Common sense and observation tell us that spread of the virus via coughing or sneezing is rare, if it happens at all. Epidemiological data emerging from the outbreak are not consistent with the pattern of spread seen with airborne viruses, like those that cause measles and chickenpox, or the airborne bacterium that causes tuberculosis.

Theoretically, wet and bigger droplets from a heavily infected individual, who has respiratory symptoms caused by other conditions or who vomits violently, could transmit the virus – over a short distance – to another nearby person.

This could happen when virus-laden heavy droplets are directly propelled, by coughing or sneezing (which does not mean airborne transmission) onto the mucus membranes or skin with cuts or abrasions of another person.

WHO is not aware of any studies that actually document this mode of transmission. On the contrary, good quality studies from previous Ebola outbreaks show that all cases were infected by direct close contact with symptomatic patients.

No evidence for mutation of this virus

Moreover, scientists are unaware of any virus that has dramatically changed its mode of transmission. For example, the H5N1 avian influenza virus, which has caused sporadic human cases since 1997, is now endemic in chickens and ducks in large parts of Asia.

That virus has probably circulated through many billions of birds for at least two decades. Its mode of transmission remains basically unchanged.

Speculation that Ebola virus disease might mutate into a form that could easily spread among humans through the air is just that: speculation, unsubstantiated by any evidence.

This kind of speculation is unfounded but understandable as health officials race to catch up with this fast-moving and rapidly evolving outbreak.

To stop this outbreak, more needs to be done to implement – on a much larger scale – well-known protective and preventive measures. Abundant evidence has documented their effectiveness.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange launches new range of African currency futures

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today the JSE (http://www.jse.co.za) launched the first currency futures which track the exchange rate between the Rand and select African currencies.

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The JSE listed three new currency futures contracts which track the exchange rate between the Rand and the Zambian Kwacha, Kenyan Shilling and Nigerian Naira. Currency futures allow investors as well as importers and exporters to protect themselves against the currency movement in the foreign country.

“The JSE is very excited about this new groundbreaking initiative as we have been working on this strategy for two years. With Africa being a global investment destination it makes sense for the JSE as a major exchange player in Africa to be involved in providing appropriate products to mitigate currency risk and exposure when dealing in Africa,” says Warren Geers, General Manager: Capital Markets at the JSE.

The latest trade statistics from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) show trade flow between South Africa and Nigeria amounted to R34,4 billion between January and July this year. In the same period, trade between South Africa and Kenya amounted to R4,6 billion and trade between South Africa and Zambia was valued at just less than R18 billion.

The JSE has partnered with Barclays Africa and specialist brokers, Tradition Futures, to bring this new offering to market.

Lourens Harmse of Barclays Africa who looks after sub-Saharan Africa Trading at the Corporate and Investment Banking division says, “Our involvement with the listing of the African currency futures on the JSE further deepens Barclays Africa’s commitment to growing Markets participation in Africa. As part of our vision to be the ‘Go-To’ bank, we strive to give our clients superior execution and access to the continent through world-class and leading innovation.”

Andrew Gillespie of Tradition Futures says “It is a groundbreaking development to have a transparent, independent, well regulated platform to mitigate or assume FX Risk in these African countries, against any other currency of their choice – that does not prejudice anyone, irrespective of size, domicile or nationality. The ability to transact anonymously, through specialist brokers such as Tradition Futures, and to have access to full and fair, timeous price discovery is an international benchmark requirement for a developed market. This allows for a level and fair playing field, where the best price is available to all, without bias or favour, which is a significant facet and feature of this market in African FX on the JSE.

The new futures contracts will provide the market participants with the ability to get exposure on the JSE to the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Zambian, Kenyan and Nigerian currencies through trading synthetic cross currencies. For example, investors can get exposure to the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Kenyan Shilling by trading both against the Rand. To promote cross-currency trading the JSE will charge trading fees on only one of the foreign trade logs and not both.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Issued by:

Mari Blumenthal

H+K Strategies South Africa

Tel: +27 11 463 2198

Email: mari.blumenthal@hkstrategies.co.za

JSE contact:

Pheliswa Mayekiso

Media Associate

JSE Limited

ABOUT JSE

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (http://www.jse.co.za) is based in South Africa where it has operated as a market place for the trading of financial products for 125 years. It connects buyers and sellers in equity, derivative and debt markets. The JSE is one of the top 20 exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalisation and is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE). The JSE offers a fully electronic, efficient, secure market with world class regulation, trading and clearing systems, settlement assurance and risk management. http://www.jse.co.za

ABOUT CURRENCY FUTURES

A Currency Futures (CFs) Contract is an obligation to buy or sell an underlying currency at a fixed exchange rate at a specified date in the future. For example, a futures contract can give an investor the right to buy dollars at R10 per dollar at the end of December. One party to the agreement is obligated to buy (longs) the currency at a specified exchange rate and the other agrees to sell (shorts) it at the expiry date. A futures contract is therefore an agreement between two investors with different views on the way or extent a currency will move.

The underlying instrument of a currency future contract is the rate of exchange between one unit of foreign currency and the South African Rand. This means that the value of the futures contract moves up and down with this exchange rate – the level of the exchange rate determines the value of the futures contract. Currency futures contracts therefore allow participants to take a view on the movement of the exchange rate as well as to hedge against currency risk. Currency futures are used as a trading, speculating and hedging tool by all interested participants.

UNFPA donates IEC materials to Ebola Emergency Operations Committee… commends Lagos, FG

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In continuation of its commitments to the government and to the United Nations Country Team on a number of preparedness and response areas, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has donated thousands of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials to the Lagos Ebola Emergency Operation Committee to enhance prevention, preparedness and response efforts.

Making the public presentation of the materials in Lagos today was the UNFPA Country Representative, Ms Rati Ndhlovu, who noted that the IEC materials would strengthen public sensitization about the disease as part of the intervention to prevent a relapse.

The UNFPA Country Representative also commended the Lagos State government for its quick response to the break of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the state, especially the speed with which the index case was picked and all the emergency measures put in place to prevent further spread.

The efforts of the Lagos State Ministry of Health in moving quickly with materials and personnel, and the support of the Federal Government to the state and other flashpoints, she acknowledged, was commendable. “These efforts”, MsNdhlovu continued, “have paid off and now Nigeria’s fight against Ebola is being recognized, globally, as a success story from which other countries should learn.”

The UNFPA Country Representative presented to the Lagos Ebola Emergency Operation Committee, 10,000 copies of Standard information for Ebola virus disease (EVD) contact self-care; 10,000 copies of Screening suspected patients for Ebola Virus Disease in healthcare facilities; 500 copies of Filovirus hemorrhagic fever guidelines; 500 copies of Standard operating procedures for controlling Ebola and Marburg virus epidemics; and 500 copies of Interim infection control recommendations for care of patients with suspected or confirmed filovirus (Ebola, Marburg) Hemorrhagic fever.

Philips inaugurates Africa’s first Community Life Center aimed at strengthening primary health care and enabling community development

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Royal Philips (AEX: PHIA, NYSE: PHG) (http://www.philips.com) has opened its first Community Life Center in Kenya, an integrated solution for primary health care and service facilities that provides community development from a health care, lighting and healthy living perspective. Developed by the Philips Africa Innovation Hub (http://goo.gl/2bnujk) and introduced in collaboration with the County Government of Kiambu in Kenya, the Community Life Center (located at the Githurai Lang’ata Health Center in Kiambu County) is a proof of concept that provides access to health care and at the same time enables social, educational and commercial activities after dusk and enhances safety and security of the neighborhood. An important focus of the Community Life Centers is to address infant mortality and improve maternal health, linked to the current UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 (MDGs) (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals), a cause to which Philips remains consistently committed.

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Addressing a critical need: Strengthening the health care system at primary level

Improving access to primary health care is a key challenge across Africa. Primary health facilities in most parts of the continent are not able to offer basic quality services to local communities for a combination of reasons ranging from unavailability of qualified health care workers to lack of electricity, water and basic health care technology. As a consequence, many people do not have access to adequate health care near their homes and are compelled to bypass the primary and secondary levels of care, confronting hospitals with more patients than they can handle.

The Philips Community Life Center goes beyond health care by turning a health facility into a community hub where technology is bundled with services. The technology package includes solar power (for a reliable and clean energy supply), efficient and durable indoor and outdoor LED-lighting (enabling extended opening hours and providing security to patients and staff), health care equipment (to enable patient monitoring, diagnosis and triage), laboratory equipment (especially for antenatal care tests), refrigeration (preventing spoiling of vaccines), IT-solutions (storage of patient data) and water supply and purification (preventing waterborne diseases).

Enabling community development

Philips involves community members in the assessment and design of the Community Life Center in order to create ownership. The solution is tailored to the needs of the facility and the community. Philips trains the staff and mobilizes the community to make use of the improved services of the facility. The Community Life Center serves as a community hub where, in addition to health services, the local community members can buy clean water and sustainable products like Philips’ smokeless cookstoves and home solar lighting products, and benefit from the Philips solar-powered LED outdoor lighting that illuminates the area at night.

“Philips is a leading technology company in health and well-being and our vision is to improve people’s lives through meaningful innovation”, said JJ van Dongen, CEO Philips Africa. “Today the population growth is highest in emerging markets like Africa and innovation can help drive sustainable solutions that bridge the divide between the privileged and lesser privileged sections of society and improve the quality of life at all levels. With the first Community Life Center, we have introduced a new value delivery model and our ambition is to introduce this solution across Africa to drastically improve access to primary health care.”

Philips implemented the first phase of the Community Life Center solution in June 2014. A new maternity building was inaugurated containing a Philips ClearVue 650 Ultrasound (http://www.philips.com/clearvue650) and monitoring equipment, enabling women to deliver their babies safely. Today the facility delivers an average of two babies per day and this number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming months. Health care workers at the site were empowered through clinical coaching and education.

“Our partnership with Philips comes at a time when the County has a high incidence of infant and maternal mortality resulting from preventable causes and lack of medical facilities”, states H.E William Kabogo, Governor of Kiambu County. “With Philips contributing towards solar energy solutions and state-of-the-art equipment, the County Government was able to focus on the construction of the infrastructure and hiring new staff. This co-operation is reflective of the kind of partnerships we seek to participate in with the private sector that results in uplifting the lives of our communities.”

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 2013 sales of EUR 23.3 billion and employs approximately 113,000 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 http://www.philips.com/newscenter.