In the fight against malaria, East African nations build capability via AFRICOM medical engagement

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Twelve technicians from the Defence Forces of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda recently participated in a malaria diagnostic training event sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command’s Office of the Command Surgeon and the Humanitarian and Health Activities Branch.

The event was conducted at the Malaria Diagnostics Centre (MDC), a department of the Kenya Medical Research Institute, and the U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Kenya, located in Kisumu, Kenya, Oct. 30 – Nov. 12, 2013. The MDC is the largest malaria diagnostic center in sub-Saharan Africa.

Turning a negative into an advantage

The MDC is located in a malaria endemic region of Kenya, but this environment has a “plus side” in that researchers and clinicians have access to a continuous supply of malaria parasites for preparation of blood films, giving trainees more than adequate resources for hands-on training on smear preparation and staining.

The training, developed by MDC and AFRICOM staff, established four key objectives: to high-light the importance of microscopy as a reliable malaria diagnostic tool; improve malaria diagnosis in both clinical and research settings; standardize malaria microscopy procedures and practices, and establish competency and performance standards for malaria microscopy.

A response to a need

Funded by AFRICOM, the malaria diagnostic training was developed in response to a need identified during a presentation by the East Africa Malaria Task Force (E-AMTF) member nations during the E-AMTF meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in July 2012. The goal is to create a pool of trainers who can train others (known as “train-the-trainers”) and build capacity capability in malaria diagnosis in their countries.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

PARTNERSHIP AFRICA CANADA WELCOMES FIRST ICGLR-CERTIFIED CONFLICT-FREE MINERAL CERTIFICATES FROM RWANDA

OTTAWA, Canada, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A leading international organization working in the conflict free mineral sector today welcomes news that Rwanda has become the first country in Africa’s Great Lakes region to issue a certificate verifying that their minerals are not contributing to fuelling war and contributing to human rights violations.

“We congratulate Rwanda on taking this important first step toward strengthening the legal trade of valuable African minerals,” said Joanne Lebert, Program Director for the Great Lakes Programme at Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), an Ottawa based organization.

“It’s also a crucial step towards giving international consumers added confidence that their purchase of everyday technology products that contain these minerals are not contributing to armed conflict,” added Lebert.

Rwanda issued the certificate on November 5 as part of its implementation of the regional certification mechanism of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)-a political body comprised of 12 countries in Eastern and Central Africa.

Lebert made the comments at the close of the 6th joint meeting of the ICGLR, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo, held in Kigali from November 13-15.

In 2010 PAC helped to design and implement the ICGLR’s Regional Certification Mechanism for four high value and conflict prone minerals-tin, tungsten and tantalum, and gold-in an effort to improve the legal traceability of minerals that have partly financed Africa’s longest running and most costly civil war. For the past three years, PAC has provided technical assistance to the ICGLR Secretariat and its Member States to implement the Region Certification Mechanism.

Lebert noted that while Rwanda has made the first step to issue certificates for its minerals, more needs to be done-by Kigali as well as other ICGLR member states.

Lebert underscored the urgency of establishing the Independent Mineral Chain Auditor (IMCA) as soon as possible. The IMCA, which is the equivalent of a Regional Ombudsman for mineral resource governance, has been politically endorsed by all ICGLR Member States. It is tasked with evaluating and reporting on certification compliance, and carrying-out ongoing monitoring and independent investigations.

Lebert also encouraged all ICGLR Member States to move toward full compliance with all elements of the certification process, including publicly sharing production and export figures.

“Rwanda needs to work with their partners to get continued technical assistance, specifically to capture chain of custody data, to reconcile this information prior to export and to regular transmit this data to the ICGLR for analysis.,” added Ajay Garg, a Certification Expert with PAC.

Lebert also noted that full implementation of the regional certification mechanism is key for these countries to attract critical international investment and successfully align their efforts with other supply chain management schemes, particularly due diligence processes of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

PARTNERSHIP AFRICA CANADA WELCOMES FIRST ICGLR-CERTIFIED CONFLICT-FREE MINERAL CERTIFICATES FROM RWANDA

OTTAWA, Canada, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A leading international organization working in the conflict free mineral sector today welcomes news that Rwanda has become the first country in Africa’s Great Lakes region to issue a certificate verifying that their minerals are not contributing to fuelling war and contributing to human rights violations.

“We congratulate Rwanda on taking this important first step toward strengthening the legal trade of valuable African minerals,” said Joanne Lebert, Program Director for the Great Lakes Programme at Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), an Ottawa based organization.

“It’s also a crucial step towards giving international consumers added confidence that their purchase of everyday technology products that contain these minerals are not contributing to armed conflict,” added Lebert.

Rwanda issued the certificate on November 5 as part of its implementation of the regional certification mechanism of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)-a political body comprised of 12 countries in Eastern and Central Africa.

Lebert made the comments at the close of the 6th joint meeting of the ICGLR, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo, held in Kigali from November 13-15.

In 2010 PAC helped to design and implement the ICGLR’s Regional Certification Mechanism for four high value and conflict prone minerals-tin, tungsten and tantalum, and gold-in an effort to improve the legal traceability of minerals that have partly financed Africa’s longest running and most costly civil war. For the past three years, PAC has provided technical assistance to the ICGLR Secretariat and its Member States to implement the Region Certification Mechanism.

Lebert noted that while Rwanda has made the first step to issue certificates for its minerals, more needs to be done-by Kigali as well as other ICGLR member states.

Lebert underscored the urgency of establishing the Independent Mineral Chain Auditor (IMCA) as soon as possible. The IMCA, which is the equivalent of a Regional Ombudsman for mineral resource governance, has been politically endorsed by all ICGLR Member States. It is tasked with evaluating and reporting on certification compliance, and carrying-out ongoing monitoring and independent investigations.

Lebert also encouraged all ICGLR Member States to move toward full compliance with all elements of the certification process, including publicly sharing production and export figures.

“Rwanda needs to work with their partners to get continued technical assistance, specifically to capture chain of custody data, to reconcile this information prior to export and to regular transmit this data to the ICGLR for analysis.,” added Ajay Garg, a Certification Expert with PAC.

Lebert also noted that full implementation of the regional certification mechanism is key for these countries to attract critical international investment and successfully align their efforts with other supply chain management schemes, particularly due diligence processes of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

LittleBigSouls International Charitable Foundation on the 3rd Annual World Prematurity Day Nov 17, raises an audible voice in Africa and Globally to honour the 1 million babies that die each year

LONDON, United-Kingdom, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — LittleBigSouls International Charitable Foundation the Voice for the Premature Baby Born in Africa (http://www.littlebigsouls.com), The First and Premier Charity of its kind for premature babies and the Founding Partner/Co-Creator of World Prematurity Day announces the vital 3rd World Prematurity Day 2013.

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

The tragic facts are that a baby dies every second across the Globe. 15 million babies are born each year to preterm birth and over 1 million babies die each year, 75 percent of whom can be saved. In statistics taken from the latest research in the Born Too Soon Report launched in May 2012, more babies unfortunately die from Prematurity than from Aids and Malaria. In the top fifty countries of the highest ranking preterm death statistics, African countries unfortunately are in the majority and Nigeria ranks 2nd, Ethiopia at 7th, Uganda at 12th, Ghana 29th, Guinea 48th with South Africa ranked 28th.

LittleBigSouls CEO/Founder, Chief Mrs Igweh thus states that “premature birth and its complications is irrefutably a global crisis that cannot be ignored, being highest on our African continent, and it is imperative that negative practices are completely eradicated through the education of the general populace on prematurity and its causes and management”.

LittleBigSouls is thus proud this year to continue to advocate on this great initiative, honouring babies born too early, giving a voice to families, sharing their stories, celebrating miracles, changing the perception of prematurity and working on the improvement of the survival of the neonatal and maternal populace affected by pre-term birth.

LittleBigSouls as the leading proponent of pre-term birth on the continent is incredibly proud of its achievements to date, working to fund medical care for babies, support mothers, advocate greatly to prioritize better support of the neonatal healthcare sector, better education of clinicians, providing vital neonatal care equipment and low resource life-saving measures such as Kangaroo care to improve the care and survival of pregnant women and babies born too early to premature birth on the Africa continent and globally.

LittleBigSouls’s Equipment Donation and Jaundice Program donated over $60,000 worth of vital life-saving neonatal equipment & non-invasive jaundice devices to 5 hospitals across Nigeria in an incredible generous EVERY BREATH COUNTS Campaign partnership with Draeger the leading Neonatal Manufacturer and BabyFirst, the provider of educational resources and support to caregivers and parents of premature infants.

This year across the African continent LittleBigSouls continues to see the exponential growth and recognition of World Prematurity Day and a changing focus by some governments towards the support of the neonatal sector. In Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, medical professionals, Ministries of Health, families and the general public will also be joining hands to honor the 15 million babies that are born each year prematurely.

LittleBigSouls-ACM Guinea will mark World Prematurity Day in Guinea with our NICU Connect event with the goodwill of the Ministry of Health; In South Africa in Port Elizabeth, LittleBigSouls will have a NICU Connect Event in a great Partnership with Draeger the leading neonatal manufacturer and Babyfirst, the clinical and education resource provider to families affected by Pre-term Birth; In Ghana, LittleBigSouls marks this year’s World prematurity Day with a Mountain Climb for Babies, our NICU Connect event in 5 hospitals, and our Every Breath Counts awareness walk; In Nigeria LittleBigSouls will hold its NICU CONNECT Event and is joined by the Ministry of Health and its private and public sector partners to mark the day; and in Zimbabwe, the Medical associations through the Ministry of Health will mark World Prematurity Day in Zimbabwe with an Awareness walk and event.

Our work has the great support of noted African celebrities such as international Artist Tuface Idibia, legendary Nollywood Actors, Francis Duru and Ejike Asiegbu, Ghana’s Prince Mydas and Ofie Kodjoe in addition to other African Celebrities who act as ambassadors to the cause and have been vital in our advocacy. Wonderfully this year, International Celebrity and Grammy and multiple award winning artist Celine Dion lends her voice in support of World Prematurity Day 2013 to make a life-saving difference against the mortality rates of pre-term babies on the African continent and globally. Everyone can join us in making a difference in wearing purple, joining the events happening in your countries and sharing experiences on LittleBigSouls Facebook page. Join us on Twitter @littlebigsoulsl using the hashtag #WorldPrematurityDay in a 24 HR twitter relay from 16th of November through the 17th of November 2013.

Help Save a Tiny Life. Every Breath Counts. For more information contact info@littlebigsouls.com.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of LittleBigSouls International Charitable Foundation.

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

AU Special Representative closely monitoring the situation in Puntland after heavy floods

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif is closely monitoring the situation in Puntland in which at least 300 people are feared to have lost their lives, hundreds others unaccounted for, and countless livestock lost after days of heavy storm and floods.

Ambassador Annadif said the African Union and AMISOM in particular are with the people of Somalia and the Federal government during this period of emergency situation. He commended the efforts so far made by the Puntland authorities to help those affected by the floods and calls on other stakeholders to swiftly come to the rescue of flood victims.

He said; “I’m very touched by reports of death, injury and displacement of people in Puntland following days of flooding. It is my humble appeal to both local and international partners to provide the much needed assistance to help alleviate the suffering of those who have been affected.”

Source: APO

Categories: African Press Organization

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