WHO and partners scale up the response to the Ebola outbreak

CONAKRY, Guinea, April 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The efforts to control the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Guinean capital Conakry are being intensified. More resources were mobilised and WHO and partners are streamlining their coordination of different components of the response.

To strengthen contact tracing in Conakry, the World Health Organization (WHO) organized an intensive training today for a first group of 70 trainees. They will go into the communities to follow up on specific persons who had close contacts with patients with a confirmed Ebola infection.

Training for health workers on infection control has started yesterday in different departments of the Donka national teaching hospital and will also take place in other health facilities in coming days.

Simultaneously, WHO is setting up an operation centre for alert and response within the Guinean Ministry of Health (MoH) in order to centralize the coordination of all activities linked to detection, search, transportation, hospitalisation and burial of suspect cases.

WHO clinicians continue to support Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and MoH in providing clinical management at Donka isolation ward.

According to the latest figures, 157 people, including 101 deaths, have been infected with the Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea. As of today, sixty-six cases have been confirmed by laboratory analysis.

Spread across 6 districts of the country including Conakry, this Ebola outbreak represents a particular challenge that requires the mobilization of different resources from national and international partners to put in place the necessary response measures.

WHO has more than 50 people on the ground supporting the Ministry of Health and other partners to provide clinical management of patients, contact tracing, disease surveillance, laboratory work, logistics, as well as information-sharing and social mobilization and communication.

New outbreak management software developed by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is presently being updated with data from the field, and will soon be used as the primary database tool by all partners. The CDC software package Epi-Info aggregates various types of outbreak data into a single database that produces statistical and visual reports on the outbreak.

Ebola can have a case fatality rate of up to 90%, and is a severe acute viral illness. It is characterized by sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, nausea and sore throat. This can be followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

No vaccine is available, nor is there any specific treatment. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. Patients are frequently dehydrated and require oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes, or intravenous fluids. 8 patients in Guinea have so far recovered.

Raising awareness of the risk factors for infection and the protective measures that should be taken is the only way to stop transmission and subsequent deaths.

Close unprotected physical contact with Ebola patients should be avoided and those who have died from the disease should be promptly and safely buried.

Source: APO

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Africa: Elections in Guinea-Bissau

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Jen Psaki

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 9, 2014

The upcoming elections in Guinea-Bissau are an important step toward building a more stable, prosperous, democratic future for the Bissau-Guinean people. As the people of Guinea-Bissau go to the polls on April 13, we call on Bissau-Guinean authorities to create an environment that allows its citizens to express their will in peaceful, credible elections. At the same time, we encourage voters to participate fully in the democratic process and to make their voices heard peacefully. The United States remains a long-standing friend of the Bissau-Guinean people. We look forward to working with Guinea-Bissau as it seeks to return to democratic rule and to achieve lasting peace in the region.

Source: APO

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U.S. Delegation Supports Peace and Interreligious Cooperation in the Central African Republic

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

April 9, 2014

On Tuesday, April 8, U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Rashad Hussain traveled to the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) with an interreligious delegation of leaders from the United States representing several faiths to demonstrate solidarity between religious communities in the U.S. and the people of the C.A.R.

The group met with C.A.R. religious leaders Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, Imam Omar Kobine Layama, and Reverend Nicolas Guerekoyame Gbangou, who have actively come together in interfaith cooperation to promote religious tolerance and reconciliation in C.A.R.

Together, the U.S. and C.A.R. religious leaders met with the transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza to discuss promoting peace and reconciliation in C.A.R. They visited a mosque and the cathedral in Bangui and met with NGO representatives, UN agency officials, and members of civil society, including Seleka and anti-Balaka representatives, youth leaders, and officials of the transitional government.

Both sides agreed that further collaboration was needed to increase education and training on reconciliation and peacebuilding. The participants from CAR also signed a statement renouncing violence and encouraging intercommunity and inter-religious dialogue to mitigate tensions and lay the foundations for a new peaceful coexistence in C.A.R.

In addition to S.E. Hussain, the delegation included the U.S. Department of State’s Senior Advisor for C.A.R. David Brown, and religious leaders Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Imam Mohamed Magid, and Mr. Leith Anderson.

For more information about this trip, please contact AF-Press@state.gov.

Source: APO

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New EU programme to strengthen land governance in ten African countries

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, April 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A new programme worth €33 million to improve land governance and help improve the food and nutrition security of family farmers and vulnerable communities in Sub Saharan Africa, was announced today by Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. This will be done, among other things, through the application, at country level, of some Voluntary Guidelines set up by the international community in 2012 to improve land governance.

Roughly 1.2 billion people worldwide live without permanent homes, land access or formal property rights, a reason which is often used for their land to be attributed to large scale land investors. Therefore, land governance issues are strongly linked to key challenges such as food scarcity, water shortages or urban and population growth.

Speaking ahead of the high level conference on land tenure, due to take place today at the European Parliament in the presence of President Blaise Comparoe of Burkina Faso, Commissioner Piebalgs said: “I am convinced that these land tenure guidelines, which recognise farmers’ ownership and access rights, are essential to achieve efficient, sustainable and inclusive agriculture, and to promoting human rights and peace in society. This new programme will help farmers, and specially women, to make a living and feed their families, without fear of losing their property.”

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloș, who will also attend today’s event, added: “Improving land tenure management is a key challenge to strengthen family farms, encourage investments in agriculture and increase food security. We need to support African countries concretely by sharing our experience in this field to make sure that guidelines and voluntary processes are translated into national legislation or into standard contracts for local governments.”

Other activities of this new programme include:

• the development of new land registration tools and digital land registry techniques for example through satellite images

• support to local organisations and civil society groups in making farmer groups (particularly women and young people) aware of their land rights so they are able to maintain them

• formalisation measures will be put in place to make land use legitimate; e.g. the provision of property deeds and relevant documentation to recognise land rights

The programme will be rolled out across ten African countries: Angola, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Swaziland.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) contributes to the in-country implementation of the programme: in Somalia, it will carry out an in-depth assessment on territorial rights and will set up strategies on land management. In Kenya it will review and harmonise the national strategies, policies and legislation required for strengthening of institutions and for the building up of future strategies.

Ahead of the event, Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General of the FAO said: “Any solutions for eradicating poverty must examine the ties between rights, entitlements, opportunities and poverty, with a special emphasis on empowering the most vulnerable. Only an empowered population, with secure rights and a stake in their future can move a nation forward and transform natural assets into wealth.”

Background

The concept of this programme is to apply at country level the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT), adopted by the Committee of World Food Security (CFS) in 2012. They were seen as a major step forward by the international community to improve land governance at a global level.

Land governance is a particular challenge in many developing countries; particularly for smallholder farmers who often struggle to gain recognition for a communal area or agricultural investments. Many countries suffer from the lack of a transparent and effective land ownership system, with no public registration system. Fragile states are particularly volatile in terms of land tenure. Setting up a clear legislative framework for land registration and governance in this context is crucial.

The issue of land ownership will become increasingly important as the world population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. Additional pressure is put on land through food and biofuel production, as well as the importance of preserving forest basins and climate change.

Today’s ‘High-Level Conference on Property Rights: Land Tenure Security, the Missing Key to Eradicating Poverty’ will be hosted by Commissioner Piebalgs and MEP Nirj Deva at the European Parliament, from 2pm-7pm. Other high level invitees included President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Dacian Cioloș, European Commissioner for Agriculture, HE Raymond Tschibanda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo, HE Pierre Mabiala, Minister for Land Affairs and Public Domain, The Republic of Congo, HE Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture, The Ivory Coast, Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General FAO and Klaus Deininger, Lead Economist at the World Bank.

Today’s event marks ten years of strategic cooperation between the EU and the FAO.

Source: APO

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David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award goes to Nigerian Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

ABUJA, Nigeria, April 9, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (http://www.fmf.gov.ng) yesterday, April 8th, has been honoured with the prestigious David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award alongside Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Simao Jatene, Governor of the State of Para, Brazil in New York.

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=981 (Governor of the State of Para, Brazil Simaol Jatene, Peggy Rockefeller Dulany, Chair of Synergos, Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman)

Photo 2: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=983

Photo 3: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=982

Photo 4: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=984

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/nigeria-1.png

Okonjo-Iweala was joined by a list of high profile personalities such as the late Nelson Mandela, Kofi Anan, Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Bill Gates, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, James Wolfenson etc, that have been honoured in the past.

The only other Nigerian who has previously received the award for her decades-long work of empowering women is Mrs. Bisi Fayemi.

In Okonjo-Iweala’s case, she is being honoured for her uncommon courage and capacity to deliver on the economy and lead, in a very difficult environment.

Organised as part of the Synergos Institute University for a Night Series, the event brings together leaders from business, government and civil society to discuss innovative ways of addressing global problems.

Synergos is a group of leading philantropists that look at issues such as unleashing the leadership capacity of young people; changing the lives of women and girls; women’s health and social justice; improving governance to meet human needs; overcoming violence and sustaining peace.

Founded in 1986 by Peggy Rockefeller Dulany who serves as Chair, the organization supports initiatives in more than 30 countries and regions. It has staff and representatives in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Latin America.

The award was presented by Mrs. Dulany.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria.

Media contact

Constance Chiogor Ikwoku

Media Advidor to CME

consyik@yahoo.co.uk

Paul C Nwabuikwu

Special Adviser to CME

Source: APO

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