Foreign Minister Steinmeier congratulates the new Tunisian Government

BERLIN, Germany, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (6 February) on the assumption of office of the new Tunisian Government:

Yesterday, the Parliament in Tunis approved by a large majority the new Government of the Republic of Tunisia which is formed of a broad coalition of political forces. This marks the successful conclusion of the process of democratic transition which began with the January 2011 revolution, and I would like to express my sincere congratulations to the Tunisian people on this occasion.

Germany will continue to act as a partner to Tunisia and will support the country in the implementation of further reforms as well as the upcoming phase of stabilising the economy. Within the framework of the European Union, too, Germany will work actively to encourage even closer cooperation with Tunisia. It is in all of our interests for the great achievements of Tunisia’s democratic transition to be safeguarded and for them to serve as an example for other countries in the region.

Source:: Foreign Minister Steinmeier congratulates the new Tunisian Government

Categories: African Press Organization

CAR: High-level UN and European mission to assess humanitarian crisis and protection needs

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A group of high-level experts from the United Nations and the European Commission will undertake a mission to the Central African Republic from 10 to 14 February to assess the current humanitarian crisis in the country, which has been deteriorating since last year. The experts will also look into ways of responding to the protection and assistance needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.

The four-day joint mission is headed by the UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Kyung-Wha Kang; the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Mr. Chaloka Beyani; and European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department Director of Operations, Mr. Jean-Louis de Brouwer.

The Central African Republic is engulfed in a full-blown humanitarian crisis with more than 438,000 IDPs across the country, including over 58,000 in the capital Bangui alone, and more than 423,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. Some 2.7 million people need immediate humanitarian assistance, while reports of terrible atrocities and attacks against civilians and aid workers continue.

The delegation will assess the new dimensions, scope and urgency of the humanitarian crisis in CAR and identify key issues, and propose concrete courses of action for promoting and protecting the rights of IDPs.

Through their findings, the experts expect to strengthen global support for the humanitarian response and advocate for peace and security with relevant stakeholders at local, regional and global level.

The delegation is scheduled to travel to Bambari in the Ouaka Province (north-centre) to assess the humanitarian impact of the crisis and the on-going relief efforts. They will also visit Yaloke in Ombella M’Poko, where more than 500 members of the Peuhl minority currently seek to be relocated to neighbouring countries.

The experts will meet with senior Government officials, UN representatives, international NGOs, donors, religious leaders and affected communities.

On 14 February, at the end of the joint mission, the international experts will share with the media their findings and preliminary recommendations at a press conference in Bangui.

Source:: CAR: High-level UN and European mission to assess humanitarian crisis and protection needs

Categories: African Press Organization

Food crisis escalates in South Sudan / FAO warns of deteriorating situation, need to expand resilience efforts

ROME, Italy, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A staggering 2.5 million people – about one-fifth of the population – remain in either Crisis or Emergency level food insecurity as fighting continues in South Sudan, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, released this week.

This is more than double the number of people who were experiencing this level of food insecurity in December 2013, when the current conflict broke out, bringing the country once again to the brink of a major hunger crisis.

An additional 3.9 million people are in a state of food security Stress, according to the report, some of whom are likely to slip into Crisis and Emergency if livelihood support, security and markets fail.

“Missed crop cycles in conflict-ravaged parts of the country mean we’re now expecting household food stocks in the worst-affected counties to run out by March 2015 – much earlier than in a normal year,” said FAO Country Representative in South Sudan Sue Lautze.

According to seasonal patterns, the food crisis is expected to deepen and the risk of a dramatic deterioration will be greatest between April and July this year, when the lean season reaches its peak, she added.

States without active conflict ¬– Warrap, Lakes, Western and Northern Bahr-el Ghazal, and Western, Central, and Eastern Equatoria – have great potential to produce enough food to sustain the rest of the country, but a lack of infrastructure, inputs and technology are among a myriad of factors that currently limit productivity.

Stepping up support now

“We have to continue to invest on two tracks: one, provide humanitarian aid to prevent the most affected areas from sliding into greater crisis and, two, boost food production and local economies in the more stable areas, so they can support recovery in other parts of the country,” according to Lautze.

FAO is urgently seeking an additional $32 million to maintain and expand its current operations in South Sudan, as well as to procure supplies needed for the coming year.

In the past year, FAO has already reached over 3.2 million people (538 000 households) with more than 570 000 emergency livelihood kits through its Emergency Livelihood Response Programme. The kits contain portable, essential inputs, including vegetable seeds, crop seeds and tools, animal health equipment and fishing inputs that have been reaching affected communities by truck and airdrop.

At the same time FAO continues to work on building resilient livelihoods and food systems by supporting local food production, access and trade.

Interrupted production, looming crisis

As conflict rages in the northern states of Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile, up to 80 percent of people in these areas were unable to cultivate crops during the last agricultural season.

The coordinated, large-scale efforts of a wide network of agencies, donors and partners, including FAO, have been crucial in preventing 12 conflict-affected states from deteriorating from Crisis to Emergency levels of food insecurity. Food security and livelihoods in these areas depend heavily on the ability of humanitarian agencies and partners to deliver planned interventions, and continued support is essential.

Counties on the frontlines of violent conflict remain in Emergency phase, with humanitarian agencies struggling to make robust assistance plans amidst uncertain access to affected areas. Without better access, FAO fears affected communities could be trapped in Emergency conditions until the next harvest, starting in August 2015.

Building resilience, feeding the country

Some states affected by inter-communal violence and cattle raiding, including Warrap and Lakes, have seen their food security worsen since December 2014, as communities there struggle to feed displaced populations – the majority of counties in these states are now classified as Crisis level.

In these areas, resilience-building interventions are urgently needed to build skills, protect productive assets, generate income and expand access to markets in order to prevent communities from sliding further into food insecurity.

“When I visited South Sudan last month, it was clear just how resilient local populations are, even when facing extremely difficult circumstances. Producers in South Sudan are able to feed their country and alleviate the current crisis, but they need our support now,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division.

“The dry season offers a unique opportunity to implement programs that strengthen livelihoods, as travel to most areas by road is possible and opportunities to partner with other organizations are greater,” Burgeon said.

Up-to-date information

FAO continues to provide crucial food security information, analysis and coordination in South Sudan as a leading partner in the IPC process and co-lead of the Food Security and Livelihoods Cluster. The latest IPC report endorsed by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan can be found at http://www.ipcinfo.org/. The next comprehensive IPC analysis for South Sudan will be completed in April 2015.

Source:: Food crisis escalates in South Sudan / FAO warns of deteriorating situation, need to expand resilience efforts

Categories: African Press Organization

Merck Kicks off its Capacity Advancement Program – CAP in Collaboration with Emirates Diabetes Society- EDS for the first time in United Arab Emirates

DUBAI, UAE, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), a leading company for top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, in collaboration with Emirates Diabetes Society (EDS) today announces the start of Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) in Diabetes education for medical, nursing and pharmacy undergraduates and primary healthcare providers so that ultimately they act as Diabetes ambassadors across the UAE.

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The 5 year program will be accredited by the European Accreditation Council of Continuous medical Education (EACCME) and developed by EXCEMED – Excellence in Medical Education and Oxford Centre of Diabetes, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK.

The impact of the Merck Diabetes education program will be even further due to a free educational platform, www.managediabetesonline.org, to centralize and disseminate the educational value of the unique program across the globe.

During his visit to United Arab Emirates, Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board and Family Board of E. Merck KG and member of the Merck family, said: “Merck is pleased to launch the Merck Capacity Advancement Program in UAE as part of our commitment to building healthcare capacity and providing sustainable access to high-quality health solutions and safe medicines in the Middle East.”

“The CAP will provide critical education and empowerment to those affected and dealing with diabetes to show the way to manage and prevent the silent deadly disease.” he added Emirates Diabetes Society – EDS plays a vital role in educating health providers who in turn help care-givers deal better with the syndrome. EDS is collaborating with Merck to arrange this course for Students of health Sciences.

Rasha Kelej, Vice President, Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development, Merck Serono, emphasized:” Merck Capacity Advancement Program- CAP as part of Merck responsibility agenda will improve access to better Diabetes care as part of our commitment to the social and economic development of UAE. Supporting Diabetes education will contribute significantly to improving awareness, early diagnosis and prevention of the disease across the country”.

“The 5 year program was kicked off successfully in Africa, India and Indonesia and will further expand to other African and Asian countries in 2015 in order to establish Merck Africa- Asia Platform for Global health,” Kelej added.

“The high prevalence of diabetes is alarming,” says Dr. Abdulrazzaq Al Madani, Chairman of the Emirates Diabetes Society (EDS),” It gives us immense pleasure to invite the stakeholders in the field of medicine and diabetes in UAE in joint collaboration with EDS and Merck, this Diabetes education course aims to provide guidelines and clinical practice for prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes and its complications. It is estimated that there are almost 804,000 people over the age of 20 years with diabetes in the UAE, another 500,000 people are at the stage of pre-diabetes. The objective of this initiative is to increase the level of knowledge around diabetes for nursing and pharmacy students to address the non- physicians healthcare community who will work in the near future with patients to help them prevent, understand and control their disease”.

Dr. Mohamed Farghaly, Member of UAE national guideline and national diabetes technical committees and Middle East advisor world organization of family medicine and chairman of the scientific committee of family medicine society (Emirate Medical Association welcomed the program “We are happy with our partnership with Merck to develop this program to support diabetes care in UAE. This program will address a new angel in Diabetes Care, Students who will be the future healthcare providers.”

He added “In recent years, we have seen a rapid rise in type 2 diabetes across all age groups. The UAE is ranked 16th worldwide, with 19.2% of the UAE population living with diabetes. These statistics indicate that the region has high risk factors for diabetes, mostly related to rising obesity rates and physical inactivity. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop accredited teaching programs for health sciences students so that diabetics don’t need to go specialists but basic management can be done by primary health care providers .”

Based on its long experience in diabetes management, which began in 1957 with the development of metformin, Merck seeks to raise awareness of diabetes in United Arab Emirates by supporting the healthcare system to prevent, diagnose and manage the condition effectively. As part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program, by end of 2015, more than 5,000 medical students in partnership with African universities such as University of Nairobi, Makerere University, Namibia University and University of Ghana , in addition to Asian universities such as Maharashtra university, India and University of Indonesia will benefit from European-accredited clinical diabetes and chronic diseases management training, which is seeking to equip them with skills to avert the diabetes epidemic. Merck is planning to target more than 12,000 students by the end of 2018 expanding to more African and Asian Universities.

Dr. Ahmed Reja, Vice president of Ethiopia University of Health sciences and chair elect of International Diabetes Federation of Africa, President of Ethiopian Diabetes Association and Red Cross Society said “We are happy to partner with Merck, to implement Merck’s Capacity Advancement Program in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa. This program is powerful, effective and well suited to Diabetes care needs in Africa with the purpose of improving medical research, health education and clinical practice and hence enhancing the quality of life of people live with diabetes across the continent.”

He emphasized that a change in medical Undergraduates Syllabus and medical education policies are needed urgently to keep base with the changes of the emerging disease such as diabetes and non communicable diseases” .

Paolo Carli, Head of Middle East & Egypt emphasized, “We hope to maintain a long-standing relationship with EDS and other valuable health partners to improve the healthcare standard in order to tackle diabetes and non–communicable diseases in UAE and the rest of Middle East as a part of Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP)”.

“People need to be sensitive to their physical condition and be alert in recognizing the early symptoms of diabetes and this responsible program will contribute significantly toward this goal” he added.

In addition to medical education and awareness, Merck shall continue to work with partners in UAE at large to expand the capacity of professionals in diabetes management through its Capacity Advancement Program.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Merck KGaA.

Media contact:

Russell Febrero

russell.febrero@merckgroup.com

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

About Merck:

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com) is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has six businesses – Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Merck Millipore and Performance Materials – and generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to foster the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.

Source:: Merck Kicks off its Capacity Advancement Program – CAP in Collaboration with Emirates Diabetes Society- EDS for the first time in United Arab Emirates

Categories: African Press Organization

Security Council Press Statement on Somalia

NEW YORK, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 4 February the United Nations Security Council was briefed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Maman Sidikou (via video-conference from Mogadishu), on the situation in Somalia.

The members of the Security Council expressed their concern at the ongoing political crisis in Somalia, its negative effect on delivery of progress for the Somali people, and its impact on peace and stability. In this context, they recalled the Security Council press statement of 10 December, which stressed that swift and sustained restoration of political stability is vital. They encouraged greater efforts from all of Somalia’s political leadership, including the President, Prime Minister and Parliament, to work together to establish quickly an inclusive and representative government.

The members of the Security Council urged the new Government, once formed, to accelerate delivery of the milestones of the Federal Government’s “Vision 2016” and, in this context, stressed the importance of establishing the National Independent Electoral Commission without further delay.

The members of the Security Council re-emphasised the importance of Somalia’s leaders, including the new Government, the President and Parliament, developing effective mechanisms to prevent prolonged political crises in the future.

The members of the Security Council underscored their determination to continue to support all international efforts aimed at ending the threat posed by Al-Shabaab, and creating a conducive atmosphere for peace building and sustainable development in Somalia.

The members of the Security Council underlined their resolute support for the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia. They also recalled their significant support to the people and Federal Government of Somalia, in a sustained and integrated approach, including through UNSOM and through the United Nations support to AMISOM.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to both the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Kay and United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM), as well as to the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission Maman Sidikou and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as they continue to deliver their respective mandates.

Source:: Security Council Press Statement on Somalia

Categories: African Press Organization

U.S. Concerns about Reported Extra-Judicial Killings and Detentions in Burundi

WASHINGTON, February 6, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Marie Harf

Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

February 5, 2015

The United States is troubled by reports implicating Burundian security forces in the extra-judicial killing of at least two dozen members of a rebel group after they surrendered in Cibitoke Province in early January. The United States calls on the government of Burundi to fully and credibly investigate these allegations, prosecute any crimes that may have been committed, and hold those responsible accountable.

The United States is also deeply concerned by the increase in irregular detentions and prosecutions of media workers and members of political parties ahead of elections in May, including the recent detention of journalist Bob Rugurika, and continuing due process flaws in the prosecutions of Frederic Bamvuginyumvira and members of the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy youth. These cases raise troubling questions about freedom of expression and the independence of the Burundian judiciary. We urge the Government of Burundi to respect the rights of these individuals and all its citizens to due process of law and to ensure that the judicial process is not politicized. An independent, professional judiciary is a key component of the Burundian government’s stated commitment to having a free, fair, and credible electoral process during this important election year in Burundi.

Source:: U.S. Concerns about Reported Extra-Judicial Killings and Detentions in Burundi

Categories: African Press Organization