Nov 142014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM, Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower and Emigration and the Governor of Qalyoubia governorate this week inaugurated the country’s first Information Counselling and Referral Service (ICRS).

The ICRS will be part of Egypt’s Public Employment Services Office and aims to bolster youth employment by providing skill enhancement opportunities, job placement services and business start-ups in areas with high levels of outward and irregular migration.

The initiative is part of an ongoing three-year, EUR 9.9 million European Union-funded IOM project: “Stabilizing at-risk communities and enhancing migration management to enable smooth transitions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya (START).”

Nov 142014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On the occasion of World Diabetes Day (WDD), Merck is conducting Diabetes awareness camps in India, Kenya and Ghana in collaboration with Maharashtra University and Government in India and with Kenya Ministry of health, Diabetes Management and Information center (DMI) and National Diabetes Association of Ghana.

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), The world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company, has rolled out today its Diabetes awareness and prevention campaign in collaboration with Universities of health sciences, Ministries of health and Diabetes patients associations in Africa and India in order to improve diabetes awareness and community health level.

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On the occasion of World Diabetes Day, Merck, the German pharmaceutical and Chemical Company has played a great role to improve access to better diabetes care through supporting Diabetes awareness at 15 medical colleges in Maharashtra and several locations in both Kenya,Ghana and Uganda, aiming to screen and educate more than 19,000 community members across Asia and Africa. Dubbed ‘Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier’, the campaign aims to reverse this worrying trend by preventing or delaying the development of diabetes.

This great initiative is part of Merck Diabetes Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) which has been launched in 2012 with a target to reach 30000 community members with free diabetes screening and education by end of 2018. The Merck Diabetes CAP has reached 23000 community members by 2014, which exceeds their initial target for this period.

Dr. Stefan Oschmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Pharma said: “By partnering with universities, Ministries of Health, patients associations and local research institutes , we hope to quickly achieve our objective of advancing healthcare capacities and contributing to social and economic development of Africa and Asia. Our goal is to improve the healthcare sector in those continents through educating and empowering those affected by diabetes on how to manage and prevent it.”

Rasha Kelej, Vice President, Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development of Merck Serono said at their awareness campaign in India “This is only a start, more awareness campaigns and outreach programs in cooperation with Academia and Ministries of Health will be supported by Merck as part of our long term commitment to the social and economic development of Africa, Asia and Latin America in the near future”.

She emphasized “We are pleased to join Ministries of Health and Universities to celebrate the World Diabetes Day (WDD) focusing on “Healthy Living and Diabetes” in order to improve access to better Diabetes. Supporting Diabetes education and Diabetes community outreach programs of Academia will contribute significantly to improving awareness, early diagnosis and prevention of the disease across developing countries and underserved population”.

The Cabinet Secretary of Kenya Ministry of Health James Macharia has applauded Merck for its Capacity Advancement Program that was launched successfully in 2012 in Kenya. “The Ministry of Health is supporting private public partnership with reputable companies like Merck to promote key health guidelines and raise awareness about diabetes so that people learn how to prevent it” .he added.

After the successful Merck Diabetes CME tour in 10 medical and pharmacy colleges, in 8 universities in 7 Sub-Saharan countries which just ended on the 7th of November in University of Ghana, this initiative is a natural evolution of the education program for medical and pharmacy students who will be the future healthcare providers. “It is time to focus on community and support the universities outreach programs and Patents association’s activities”. Kelej added on the celebration event of WDD.

Macharia emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others”.

Merck has provided the necessary support to conduct Diabetes free screening and education to each of the 15 medical colleges in Maharashtra University during the week of the WDD to raise awareness about diabetes and empower community members on how to better manage and prevent the disease. Aiming to screen more than 15,000 person across the state.

While in both Kenya and Ghana Merck supported 4000 free diabetes screening on the same day and they are aiming to triple this number in 2015

Dr Pravin Shingare, Director of Medical Education and Research, Government of Maharashtra, India emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others. There is a strong, new argument that by combining screening to find pre-diabetes and early diabetes, along with management aimed to keep glucose levels as close to normal as possible, we can change the natural history of the disease and improve the lives of our patients. Hence, I urge all Indians to get screened and be active in order to get healthier”.

Merck plays a great role in building healthcare capacity in Africa with special focus on diabetes and chronic diseases.

“The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa, but a scarcity of trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes at all levels of the health care systems. It was clear for us from the start that if not addressed as a matter of urgency, diabetes, will soon threaten the economic viability of Africa. And sadly, many people who survive HIV and AIDS may die of diabetes” Kelej added

The 5 year program was kicked off in India last month and has been implemented successfully in 7 sub- Saharan countries which are Kenya, Uganda, Namibia Angola, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique and will further expand to other Sub-Saharan and Asian countries in 2014.

As part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP), by end of 2015, more than 3,000 medical students from the Maharashtra University of Health sciences 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 and 60,000 community members by the end of 2018 expanding to more African and Asian countries.

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

Media contact:

Elizabeth Mwai

njeri.selina@gmail.com

Nov 142014
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. The International Contact Group on the Central African Republic (ICG-RCA) held its 6th meeting in Bangui, on 11 November 2014, under the co-chairmanship of Mr. Basile Ikouebe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Congo, and Ambassador Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union (AU). The list of the countries and organizations that participated in the meeting is indicated below[1].

[1] Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, China, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, France, Georgia, Germany, Holy See, Japan, Luxemburg, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, AU, ECCAS, ICRC, IMF, OCHA, OIC, OIF, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNHCR, United Nations, USAID, and World Bank

2. The opening ceremony was marked by the statements made by the Head of State of the Transition, Catherine Samba-Panza; the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security; the Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA); the Representative of the Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); the Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration of the Republic of Chad, representing the current Chairman of ECCAS; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Congo.

3. Participants noted that the 6th meeting of the ICG-CAR was following on from the high-level meeting on the CAR held under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General in New York, on 26 September 2014, and would be followed, on 24 and 25 November 2014, in N’Djamena, by the ECCAS 16th Ordinary Summit, which will review the situation in the CAR. They took the opportunity of their meeting to reiterate their gratitude to all the leaders of the region, particularly President Idriss Deby Itno of the Republic of Chad, Chairman of the ECCAS, and Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, Mediator in the CAR crisis, for their continued commitment. They urged the CAR stakeholders to take full advantage of this international mobilization to accelerate the process of ending the crisis facing their country.

4. Participants discussed the developments in the CAR since the 5th meeting of the ICG-CAR held in Addis Ababa, on 7 July 2014, on the basis of the statements made by the CAR Prime Minister and other members of his delegation, the presentations by the AU, UN and ECCAS Special Representatives in the CAR, the representative of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on behalf of the Coordination Group for the Preparation and Follow-up of the ICG-CAR meetings (G8-CAR), as well as the interventions of other international actors involved in the management of the CAR crisis.

I. On security and justice

5. Participants noted that the 6th meeting of the ICG-CAR took place a little less than two months following the successful transfer of authority from the African-led International Support Mission in the CAR (MISCA) to MINUSCA. They commended MISCA for the work done, with the support of the Sangaris and EUFOR RCA Operations, which made it possible to complete the initial stabilization phase of the situation in the CAR. They expressed appreciation to the AU and the UN for having ensured a smooth transition. Participants expressed their support for MINUSCA in the implementation of its mandate, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2149 (2014). They encouraged the UN to continue and to accelerate the ongoing efforts to reach full operational capability for the Mission. They called for the mobilization of all the necessary support to MINUSCA to enable it effectively discharge its mandate over the entire national territory.

6. Participants noted that, despite improvements, the security situation remains precarious, as evidenced by the incidents that took place in Bangui in October 2014. They strongly condemned the acts of violence that were committed and the attacks against MINUSCA, encouraging the Mission to take, within its mandate, all necessary measures to ensure the effective protection of the civilian population and the restoration of lasting security. They warned spoilers that they would be held accountable for their acts, in accordance with the sanctions regime provided for in Security Council resolutions 2127 (2013), 2134 (2014) and 2149 (2014) and the relevant communiqués of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). They urged the CAR authorities to prosecute those responsible for these criminal acts in the relevant national and international courts.

7. Participants reminded the signatories to the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities of 23 July 2014 of the importance of implementing the provisions contained therein, in order to end the crisis in the CAR in a consensual manner. In particular, they called for the implementation of articles 4 and 8 of the Agreement, including the establishment of the monitoring mechanism provided for in the Brazzaville Conclusions and the cantonment of all ex-combatants and armed elements of the signatory groups. To this end, they appealed to the bilateral and multilateral partners to contribute expeditiously to the operationalization of the monitoring mechanism. They requested the International Mediation to facilitate the early conclusion of an agreement on the disarmament of the armed groups.

8. Participants expressed satisfaction at the efforts of the transitional authorities, with the support of the international community, to ensure the resumption of the activities of the judicial system, in order to combat impunity. To this end, and in accordance with resolution 2149 (2014), they welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Temporary Emergency Measures in August 2014, which provides, in particular, for the establishment of a Special Criminal Court in charge of investigating and prosecuting the serious crimes committed in the CAR, and called for the implementation of this MoU without delay.

9. Participants recalled that the stabilization of the security situation is first and foremost the responsibility of the CAR stakeholders. In this regard, they reiterated their appeal to all parties, particularity the leaders of the ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka groups, as well as all other armed groups signatory to the Brazzaville Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, to embark upon the path of dialogue as the only viable means towards achieving lasting reconciliation and peace, and an essential condition for the successful implementation of MINUSCA’s mandate, with the support of the international forces. They welcomed the consultations held by the Government, supported by the G8-CAR, with the different components of the ex-Seleka, and requested that similar consultations be undertaken with the anti-Balaka.

10. Participants stressed the important role of the CAR internal security forces (police and gendarmerie) in the restoration of security, in coordination with MINUSCA. They called for the enhancement of their capacity and their professionalization as soon as possible. They once again requested the CAR authorities to initiate, without delay, the reform process of the CAR Armed Forces (FACA), in order to put in place a professional, representative and balanced army, including the adoption of measures to absorb elements of the armed groups meeting rigorous selection criteria, as well as those concerning the retraining of part of the FACA. To this end, participants appealed to the international community to extend a coordinated and concerted support for the gradual reorganization of the FACA, including through training and advice, along the lines of the support being implemented by the European Union (EU) in Mali and Somalia – EU/Training Mission.

II. On humanitarian aspects

11. Participants expressed their concern about the precarious humanitarian situation in the CAR and condemned unequivocally the serious violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, especially the use of civilians, women and children as human shields by political/military groups, as well as the attacks and looting targeting humanitarian personnel and their property.

12. Participants expressed concern about the impact of insecurity on humanitarian access to vulnerable populations. They appealed to the transitional authorities and the international forces to promote the respect of the humanitarian space in the CAR. They also appealed to the armed groups to cease acts of violence against humanitarian actors and civilians, and to refrain from impeding access to civilian populations by humanitarian workers, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

13. Participants noted with satisfaction the efforts made by the humanitarian actors, and reiterated their appreciation to the neighboring countries, which are still hosting approximately 420,000 CAR refugees. They made an urgent appeal to the international community to mobilize additional resources, noting in this regard that a total amount of $229 million is required to cover the needs identified within the framework of the Strategic Response Plan 2014, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

14. Participants urged the transitional authorities to establish favorable conditions for the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, build the capacity of the basic social services, and implement specific projects for women and children. In this context, they requested that more sustained efforts be made by all concerned actors, including the transitional Government and the humanitarian agencies, to establish the conditions for the dismantling of the IDP camp located presently at the Bangui International Airport and find a lasting solution for the concerned populations. They expressed the wish that this objective be attained before the next meeting of the ICG-CAR. The participants also requested that urgent measures be taken to open up the PK5 area in Bangui and to secure it.

III. On political issues and the electoral process

15. Participants welcomed the convening, from 21 to 23 July 2014, of the Brazzaville Forum. They reiterated their appreciation to the International Mediation led by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo and comprising Mr. Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, on behalf of the AU, and Abdoulaye Bathily, on behalf of the United Nations, as well as ECCAS as rapporteur, and encouraged it to continue its efforts. They stressed the need for renewed efforts by the CAR stakeholders to ensure an effective follow-up of the Conclusions of Brazzaville Forum.

16. Participants took note of the formation of the transitional Government on 22 August 2014. They urged all the components of the CAR nation to act in the supreme interest of their country by ensuring cohesion between the transitional institutions, and to work steadfastly towards the implementation of the transitional Roadmap. Within this framework, they welcomed the commitment of the transitional authorities to orient the action of the state towards the restoration of security as a prerequisite for the success of the inclusive dialogue and reconciliation process, as well as the smooth holding of the elections.

17. Participants took note of the proposal made to the CAR political stakeholders to combine phases 2 and 3 of the political process. In conformity with the Conclusions of the 5th meeting of the ICG-CAR, they requested the transitional Government to organize the Bangui Forum by no later than January 2015. This Forum should focus on the following issues: dialogue, truth, justice, fight against impunity and national reconciliation; security aspects, including DDR and SSR, as well as the use of child soldiers; general principles that would guide the preparation of the new Constitution and electoral issues; and governance and assistance to affected populations.

18. In order to guarantee the convening of the Bangui Forum as soon as possible, Participants requested the establishment by the transitional Government, in close consultation with the International Mediation and with the support of the G8-CAR, of a Preparatory Committee to prepare the said Forum, including aspects related to participation, which should be as inclusive as possible. They welcomed the commitment of the transitional Government to organizing dialogue at the level of the prefectures through the Resident Ministers, especially on the occasion of the celebration of the national Independence Day on 1 December 2014. They requested the members of the ICG-CAR to contribute to the financing of the Bangui Forum and to avail the necessary expertise.

19. Participants took note of the fact that the election date of February 2015 was no longer technically feasible. Thus, and in conformity with Article 102 of the Transitional Constitutional Charter, they requested the International Mediator in the CAR crisis, President Denis Sassou Nguesso, to extend the transition by six months (up to August 2015).

20. Participants requested the transitional authorities, as well as the National Elections Authority (ANE), urgently to take the necessary political, legal, financial and logistical steps required to speed up the electoral process and facilitate the organization, by August 2015 at the latest, of free, fair and credible elections, which will mark the end of the transition. They stressed that the implementation of these steps would greatly facilitate the mobilization of the necessary financial and logistical support, noting with satisfaction in this regard the Government’s contribution of one billion CFA francs. They requested that the issue of voting by IDPs and refugees, including their registration in the voter’s list, be a priority. They recalled the imperative for respecting the clause relating to the ineligibility of all the transitional authorities, as stipulated in the Transitional Constitutional Charter and in conformity with the relevant AU instruments. In this regard, they welcomed the reaffirmation by the Head of State of the Transition of her commitment to respecting the ineligibility clause, and look forward to all the concerned CAR stakeholders making a similar commitment. They strongly emphasized that the international community would neither support the holding of elections in violation of this clause, nor would it recognize its results.

21. Participants noted with satisfaction the efforts made by the Government regarding the deployment of the decentralized and territorial administration and the strengthening of the central administration, for the purpose of supporting the organization of the elections. They encouraged the Government to continue and enhance these efforts.

22. Participants recognized the crucial importance of the process to elaborate the new Constitution, which should seal the desire of the different components of the CAR people to live together and the rebirth of the CAR nation. In this context, they stressed the need for an inclusive participation of all components and active forces of the nation. Consequently, they urged all the CAR partners to provide the necessary support for the successful conclusion of this process.

IV. On the economic and financial situation

23. Participants expressed concern about the precarious economic and financial situation in the CAR and recalled the inseparable link between political stability and security, on the one hand, and the reactivation of the key sectors of the economy, on the other. They encouraged the transitional authorities to continue their efforts to mobilize domestic resources, particularly customs revenues, in full respect of financial best practice, in order to meet the expenses related to the functioning of the State.

24. Participants stressed that the restoration of lasting peace and stability in the CAR is contingent upon economic recovery, with concrete prospects for youth employment. In this context, they welcomed the pursuit, particularly in Bangui, of employment generating projects and their extension to other locations, inside the country. They also called for the multiplication of projects in the countryside, notably in the East and North East regions, which have an acute need of development.

25. Participants called upon the transitional authorities to further promote financial and economic governance, which is key to the restoration of confidence by the economic actors, the mobilization of new private investment, economic recovery, as well as the mobilization of the necessary international financial assistance. To this end, they requested the transitional authorities to implement the reforms related to economic and financial governance, including those aimed at the operationalization of the National Committee for the Strategic Coordination of Aid, the reestablishment of the Permanent Consultation Framework (CPC) between the public and private sectors, as well as the implementation of emergency and lasting recovery programmes.

26. Participants noted with satisfaction the external budget support provided to the CAR in 2014. They encouraged the friends and partners of the CAR, as well as the regional and international financial institutions, to pursue their support for the functioning and stability of the CAR State, in particular by ensuring that the 2015 financial needs are covered.

V. On the follow-up to the ICG-CAR meeting

27. Participants requested the International Mediation, with the support of the G8-CAR, to ensure the follow-up of the relevant provisions of the present Conclusions, particularly with regard to the conclusion of the process launched in Brazzaville, with the organization of the Bangui Forum, the elaboration of the new Constitution and the organization of the elections.

28. Participants requested the G8-CAR to prepare, within one week, a matrix on the implementation of the present Conclusions, for circulation to all the members of the ICG-CAR, as well as to submit monthly information briefs taking stock of the implementation of the agreed decisions.

VI. Thanks and next meeting

29. Participants thanked the CAR authorities for facilitating the smooth convening of the 6th meeting of the ICG-CAR and for the welcome accorded to them. They expressed their appreciation to the G8-CAR for the sound preparation of the meeting.

30. Participants agreed to convene their next meeting in Brazzaville, in February 2015, at a date to be fixed after consultations.

Nov 142014
 

NEW YORK, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist bomb attacks against the embassies of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in Tripoli, Libya, on 13 Novem…

Nov 142014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mauro Mecagni, visited Kenya during October 22−November 9, 2014. The mission reached staff-level agreement on a program that could be supported by the IMF through a Stand-By Arrangement and Stand-By Credit Facility (SBA/SCF).

Mr. Mecagni released the following statement at the end of the mission:

“Kenya’s economy remains robust, supported by strong credit growth and a dynamic investment environment. Inflation has declined in the last two months and remains within the government’s target range. A gradual depreciation of the Kenyan shilling mostly reflects developments in international currency markets, and international reserves stand at 4.9 months of prospective import coverage, boosted by proceeds from the successful June 2014 sovereign bond issuance. Investment in power generation, in particular in geothermal energy, is already translating into lower electricity costs for firms and households. However, difficult security conditions are having a dampening effect on the tourism sector.

“The initiation of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project is a major step for Kenya and for the region. It will boost integration across East Africa by reducing transport costs significantly, bringing down the cost of doing business and improving standards of living for the population, helping Kenya move closer to the medium-term goals outlined in its Vision 2030 plans. The SGR’s initial construction work will contribute to higher real GDP growth, projected to rise to 6.9 in 2015 from 5.3 percent in 2014. Imports of equipment for the SGR project combined with continued investment in oil exploration are expected to keep the external current account deficit relatively high at around 8½ percent of GDP in 2015, albeit a slight decline from a projected 9 percent deficit in 2014 thanks to lower international oil prices.

“Fiscal policy will aim at preserving debt sustainability while providing room for the execution of the SGR project. To accommodate additional investment spending, the government is committed to containing the wage bill over the medium term. Maintaining current spending under control and redoubling tax collection efforts will also release additional resources to bolster national security, expand the social safety net, and reduce the fiscal deficit over the medium term in line with the East African Community convergence criteria for monetary union. Prudent fiscal policies will also contribute to an orderly consolidation of devolution. Meanwhile, monetary policy will continue to aim at maintaining price stability in the context of a further strengthening of the CBK’s monetary framework.

“The mission and the Kenyan authorities reached staff level agreement on an economic program that could be supported by an SBA/SCF arrangement, which the authorities intend to treat as precautionary. This arrangement would serve an insurance purpose, providing Kenya with access to IMF resources in the event of exogenous shocks. The program would accommodate the SGR project and other initiatives launched by the government to remove hurdles to growth, while reducing vulnerabilities and preserving a sustainable debt position. The program builds on Kenya’s ambitious reform agenda by supporting successful fiscal devolution while strengthening fiscal risk assessments; reinforcing the coordination of debt, cash and liquidity management functions between the Treasury and the central bank; strengthening central bank independence; and improving the quality of economic statistics.

“The staff level agreement is subject to review by the IMF’s management and its Executive Board. Consideration by the Executive Board is tentatively scheduled for late January 2015.

“The mission met with Cabinet Secretary to the Treasury Henry Rotich, Principal Secretary to the Treasury Kamau Thugge, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Njuguna Ndung’u, CBK Deputy Governor Haron Sirima, Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, members of the CBK Monetary Policy Committee, and other senior government officials.

“The mission team wishes to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality, the excellent collaboration, and the high-quality discussions”.

Nov 142014
 

OTTAWA, Canada, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement regarding recent terrorist attacks in Libya, including the attacks this morning in the vicinities of the embassies of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates:

“Canada condemns the recent string of terrorist attacks across Libya, including the two attacks carried out in Tripoli this morning near the embassies of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

“These cowardly attacks only reinforce our determination to continue supporting the Libyan people. We join Libyans in rejecting terrorism and reiterate our full support of the efforts of Bernardino León, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, to fostering an inclusive political dialogue and bringing an end to the current crisis. I call upon Libyan authorities to ensure that those responsible are held to account.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend our sympathies to the families and friends of those killed in these attacks and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.”

Nov 132014
 

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Disease outbreak news

13 November 2014

On 11 November 2014, the Government of Uganda declared that Uganda was free of the Marburg virus. This declaration was made at the National Media Centre by the Minister of State for Primary Health Care, Hon. Sarah Achieng Opendi.

On 4 October 2014, WHO was notified by the Government of Uganda of a case of Marburg virus disease. The case was a male health professional that developed symptoms on 11 September. On 17 September, the patient was admitted to a district health facility in Mpigi. He was later transferred to a hospital in Kampala. On 28 September, the case passed away and was buried on 30 September in Kasese district.

A national task force with 5 sub committees (surveillance/epidemiology, case management, social mobilization, psychosocial, and coordination) oversaw the outbreak response. A total of 197 case contacts were listed and followed up for 21 days. Thirteen contacts developed Marburg-like symptoms but all tested negative for the virus. Suspected Marburg cases were managed in 4 isolation facilities in Kampala, Wakiso/Entebbe, Mpigi, and Kasese districts. Psychosocial support was provided to contacts and family members of the deceased. The public was sensitized about Marburg and viral haemorrhagic fevers.

Since there have been no active cases of Marburg for 42 days, the outbreak is considered to be contained.

Heightened surveillance activities will be maintained to identify potential outbreaks in the future. Public awareness campaigns will also continue in view of the ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa.

The response was supported by WHO, UNICEF, USAID, World Vision, Uganda Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Nov 132014
 

WASHINGTON, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks

Catherine A. Novelli

Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment

University of Pretoria

Pretoria, South Africa

November 13, 2014

Good afternoon. I am delighted to be here to speak at this distinguished university and to visit your beautiful country. Thank you so much for inviting me. South Africa is the last stop on an Africa trip that included Tanzania and Kenya. Along the way, I’ve seen incredible energy and dynamism.

I’d like to speak today about a new economic reality and the policy choices we all face. These choices are in front of every government, business, university, and individual as they determine their economic future. The reality is, the world is more connected than ever before, with goods, services, information, people, and financial resources crossing borders at an unprecedented rate.

Before this speech and after it – perhaps during it – you will be looking at mobile devices, tapping into the internet, engaging in social media, and conducting business and commercial transactions on line. The object in your hand, perhaps a smart phone, is the result of a manufacturing process that started with innovation and design at various locations around the world, manufacturing at a host of other sites, and distribution and marketing from even different corners of the globe.

That’s the reality of today’s world, whether you are in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania – as I was in recent days – or Washington, DC, or London or Tokyo. Global supply chains have come to define the way we do business in today’s economy.

The Connected World

McKinsey Global Institute recently wrote that cross-border flows of goods and services totaled $26 trillion in 2012. This represents 36 percent of global gross domestic product, more than 50 percent larger than 20 years ago. About half of those flows are knowledge-intensive, compared to labor-intensive, and the proportion is growing. Intermediate goods – ones that are incorporated into a finished product—have become an ever-increasing proportion of trade. These goods in turn are fueling exports from the countries that have imported them. Over a quarter of the total value of global exports is made up of intermediate imports, and this share has nearly doubled since 1970. These statistics bring to light the changing nature of business. Older models of single-country, soup-to-nuts manufacturing arrangements are giving way to globally integrated supply chains. Innovation and design come from a worldwide network of research and development. Raw materials and components flow from site to site, supported by worldwide procurement systems, logistic hubs and warehousing. Marketing and financial services may be at other locales. Consumers are targeted for sales around the globe.

How Countries Can Take Advantage of Value Chains

So what are the implications for countries, companies and citizens of a world where global value chains are increasingly dominating trade? What policies should countries follow to benefit the most from value chains? I would suggest that countries need to focus on five policy areas as they enable their citizens to fully reap the benefits of today’s connected world.

First, open markets facilitated by fast customs procedures, international product standards and modern infrastructure is critical. Supply chain production is more complex than traditional export systems, with more import and export transactions for each unit of value added. This means that as goods and services move across multiple borders on their way to the final market, even small barriers can add up and affect the competitiveness of a product.

In the connected world, policies that may have offered protection to domestic firms in an earlier era, like import substitution, local content requirements, or data localization obligations, now make them less attractive as supply chain partners. An OECD study of local content requirements, found that local content requirements not only made countries less innovative, these requirements actually harmed the domestic market by raising prices for the public for products of lesser quality.

Because of just-in time production, concentrating on bread and butter trade facilitation issues like customs procedures, transportation and modern infrastructure is all the more important. Since products need to be sold in many markets, adhering to international standards is essential for their international viability.

Second, countries need to adopt legal and regulatory processes for doing business that are transparent, predictable, streamlined and include input from all stakeholders. The ability for investors to enforce contracts, and high standards for labor and environmental protections along with an intolerance for corruption are all key considerations for businesses in deciding where to locate or source.

I have heard some voices suggest that these “doing business” issues don’t matter, and that companies merely want to find the lowest labor costs. But in my experience, that’s not true. The ability to do business transparently matters a great deal to the bottom line. Morever, branded companies value their brand image, and don’t want to risk harming it due to scandals over labor or environmental conditions. Nor do they want to be in the position of being labor and environment regulators. Besides the moral issues surrounding poor labor and environmental enforcement, the need to constantly oversee these practices among suppliers when countries are not policing them themselves adds a great deal of cost.

Fostering Global Collaboration Through the Internet

Third, an open Internet, access to broadband, and free flows of data are essential to competitiveness. As I mentioned earlier, global supply chains are dynamic and highly collaborative, with teams of suppliers and purchasers from various stages of the value chain working together across borders to solve design, manufacturing, and marketing problems. This really is the essence of today’s connected world. This cannot occur without internet.

The best way to unleash the creativity and ingenuity of your people, your companies, and your universities is to let them connect with others to develop new ideas and start new businesses.

There is an inaccurate perception that the Internet mostly benefits industrialized countries. The truth is that the Internet’s economic benefits are increasingly shifting to the developing world. The Internet economy is growing at 15 to 25 percent per year in developing countries, double the rate in the developed world. In Turkey, for example, smaller businesses that use the web have experienced revenue growth 22 percent higher than those that do not. Here in South Africa, Ronnie Apteker founded the first Internet service provider and enabled countless new technology businesses. I am looking forward to meeting some of those new entrepreneurs tomorrow.

A recent report by the American think tank, the Brookings Institution, showed how the internet and cross-border data flows are providing opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises. The report notes that SMEs on eBay are almost as likely to export as large businesses and, in fact, over 80 percent of SMEs export to five or more countries.

Fourth, strong intellectual property protection allows countries to be part of a higher-value global supply chain. At a recent conference in Washington, General Electric noted that it maintains research and development centers in Shanghai, Bangalore, Munich, Rio de Janeiro and New York. Many other international firms have similar R&D footprints. This geographic diversity allows for an R&D operation that, given time zones, literally never stops. Companies look at many factors when considering where to locate their R&D centers, including the level of education, vocational training, and scientific collaboration. But the level of intellectual property protection is also critical.

Closely related to this is a fifth policy— an open market for services. We often think of trade as the physical movement of goods from place to place. But in today’s global economy, knowledge-intensive trade and investment, particularly in the services sector, plays an increasingly central role.

Economists from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have found that services now constitute 50% of the manufacturing process. Insurance, accounting and other financial services, and creative and design services, are all integral parts of supply chains. But in many countries, markets for these services are closed, or heavily regulated. If the goal is to maximize participation in global value chains, closed market policies like these no longer make sense.

Regional Trade Liberalization

The policies I have set forth are important, but not sufficient to be globally competitive. In addition to being islands of good practices, countries need to join together to create regions where those good practices are integrated.

Last August, I chaired a roundtable on global supply chains at the U.S-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington. We invited corporate representatives as well as trade, investment, and economic ministers from African countries.

One of the most interesting themes was the need to create regional markets in Africa. Companies were clear that the markets in many individual countries in Africa are too small to support operations just for that market. That does not mean that there are no opportunities for smaller countries to benefit from the global supply chain. In fact, recent research indicates that, on average, regional trade agreements increase member countries’ trade about 86 percent within 15 years.

The European Union is perhaps the largest, best known and most successful example or regional integration. There is also the North American Free Trade Agreement, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. With Asia, we are now negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership, and with Europe we have launched talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Arrangements such as these, which lower barriers to trade and investment, deliver a big boost to commerce in member countries. These arrangements also offer ready-made hubs for setting up a global supply chain. Countries who haven’t established some type of true regional integration will find it harder to compete for the investment that a global supply chain brings.

In Africa, regional organizations like the Economic Community of West African States, the East African Community, and the Southern African Customs Union are working to create regional integration and address barriers so that countries can achieve economies of scale and maximize their comparative advantages. Nelson Mandela recognized the importance of looking at regional integration when he conceived of Development Corridors along cross-border transportation routes.

Africa and Supply Chains

Here in South Africa, I had a wonderful illustration of the connected world yesterday at the Ford factory in Silverton. It is an American investment, creating jobs in South Africa. Inputs, like raw materials and components, arrive from various locations around the world. Local workers assemble those components and the factory exports to other African countries and to European markets.

The United States recognizes Africa as a dynamic continent where economies are growing and innovation is taking root. Many African countries are reaping the benefits of economic reforms, better governance and social investments. We would like to be a part of this positive change and contribute to Africa taking its place in the global supply chain, so that the people of Africa can reap the benefits of global growth.

The United States is supporting Africa’s growth through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the Trade Africa Initiative, and similar efforts. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, for example, has issued grants of almost $10 billion to support projects in sectors like transportation, education, and property rights and land policy. Through President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, a number of U.S. agencies are making available $7 billion in financial assistance to double access to power in six sub-Saharan African countries.

Some continue to argue that African nations need “protectionism” to compete. I disagree. Africans are strong, resilient, and ingenious, and I have seen in my meetings with entrepreneurs, businesses, and students people who can go toe-to-toe with the most competitive companies in the world. We need to go forward together towards openness, high standards, and opportunity for all of our citizens.

Thank you very much.

Nov 132014
 

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 13, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• Merck supports diabetes medical education and community awareness as part of its Capacity Advancement Program – CAP in Kenya.

• Merck and DMI are aiming to free screen more than 2000 community members on the World Diabetes Day

Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com), a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, announces today its Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Campaign in partnership with Kenya Ministry of Health and Diabetes Management and Information center (DMI) on the occasion of the World Diabetes Day.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/merck_logo.jpg

Merck Diabetes Awareness and prevention campaign will be at Kenya Diabetes Management & Information Centre ( DMI Centre) Rose Avenue, Hurlingham, Off Argwings Kodhek Road Nairobi , Kenya.

The press conference will be at Serena hotel, frangipani on the 14th of November from 7 am to 10 am.

Dubbed ‘Get Informed- Get Active- Get Healthier’, the campaign aims to free screen more than 2000 community members for Diabetes in order to reverse this worrying trend by preventing or delaying the development of diabetes in the Kenyan population.

Dr. Stefan Oschmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Pharma, said: “By partnering with Kenya Ministry of Health and DMI we hope to quickly achieve our objective of advancing healthcare capacities and contributing to social and economic development of Kenya. Our goal is to improve the healthcare sector in the country through educating and empowering those affected by diabetes on how to manage and prevent it in Kenya and the rest of Africa.”

Eva Muchemi, Executive Director of the Diabetes Management and Information Centre (DMI) said: “World diabetes day is celebrated on 14th of November of every year around the world to raise awareness among peoples about diabetes with a theme “Healthy Living and Diabetes”. In simple words we can explain Diabetes as a condition which occurs due to the problem in production and supply of insulin in the body.

In large towns or metro cities, most of the people don’t eat healthy food, and also take less physical activity, that may be the major reason of this condition”.

Muchemi urged people to use diet food, proper exercises and medication to control Diabetes.

The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others.

The Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Health James Macharia has applauded Merck for its Capacity Advancement Program that was launched successfully in 2013 in Kenya. “The Ministry of Health is supporting private public partnership with reputable companies like Merck to promote key health guidelines and raise awareness about diabetes so that people learn how to prevent it” .he added.

Rasha Kelej, Vice President, Head of Global Business Responsibility and Market Development said” Merck plays a great role in building healthcare capacity in Africa with special focus on diabetes and non- communicable diseases”.

The lack of financial means is not the only challenge in Africa, but a scarcity of disease awareness and trained health care personnel capable to tackle the prevention, diagnosis and management of diabetes at all levels of the health care systems.

“It was clear for us from the start that if not addressed as a matter of urgency, diabetes, will soon threaten the economic viability of Africa and sadly, many people who survive HIV and AIDS may die of diabetes complications”. She added.

Merck Capacity Advancement Program aims at expanding the professional capacity in Africa in the areas of research and development, clinical research, supply chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, community awareness and medical education for students at the University of Nairobi and healthcare providers in rural areas with special focus on Diabetes.

Macharia emphasized “The cost of managing diabetes is enormous and places a huge burden on already strained healthcare system. The lack of awareness on disease symptoms makes many diabetes patients to be diagnosed late when they have already developed complications such as blindness, foot ulcers or gangrene, heart diseases among others”.

Merck is working with African countries to establish its Capacity Advancement Program and is actively engaged in a dialogue with local stakeholders in Kenya and Africa to launch a structured, country-specific and partnership-based agenda, which will add great value to society and the scientific community. In addition to awareness campaigns and medical education, Merck will continue to work with partners in Kenya and Africa at large to expand the capacity of professionals in diabetes management through its Capacity Advancement Program.

By end of 2018, more than 12,000 medical students from African and Asian universities of Health sciences 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.

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

Media contact:

Leonard Saika

Tel: +254722762037

e-mail: leonard.saika@merckgroup.com

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Merck (http://www.merckgroup.com) is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck 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 further the success of our 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 is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.