MSF: Ebola decline encouraging, but critical gaps remain

MSF: Ebola decline encouraging, but critical gaps remain / Reaching zero cases difficult unless weaknesses in the response addressed

PARIS, France, January 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A downward trend of new cases is reported in Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Ebola management centres across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with just over 50 patients currently in its eight centres. While this is a promising development, the medical-humanitarian organisation cautions that loss of vigilance now would jeopardise the progress made in stemming the epidemic.

Suggested Book: Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus

“This decline is an opportunity to focus efforts on addressing the serious weaknesses that remain in the response,” says Brice de la Vingne, MSF Director of Operations. “We are on the right track, but reaching zero cases will be difficult unless significant improvements are made in alerting new cases and tracing those who have been in contact with them.”

 

The World Health Organization reported last week that only about half of new cases in both Guinea and Liberia are from known Ebola contacts, while in Sierra Leone there is no data available. “A single new case is enough to reignite an outbreak,” continues de la Vingne. “Until everyone who has come into contact with Ebola has been identified, we cannot rest easy.”

 

There is almost no information sharing for tracing Ebola contacts between the three most-affected countries. “With people moving frequently across borders, it is essential that surveillance teams based in each country collaborate immediately so that new cases are not imported into areas considered Ebola-free,” says de la Vingne. “This is a regional problem, not a country-specific one, but it is not being dealt with as such.”

 

Sierra Leone: cases decreasing but hotspots persist

In the past two weeks, reported cases of Ebola across Sierra Leone have declined to the lowest since August. The situation appears to be improving faster in remote, rural areas such as Kailahun district, a former Ebola hotspot where MSF began working in late June 2014. The comprehensive response with an early emphasis on health promotion, contact tracing and monitoring, and a small number of organisations working together all contributed to bringing the disease under control in this district, which has seen no new cases since 12 December.

 

Despite these encouraging signs, some hotspots persist, notably the capital Freetown, the Western Rural Area and Port Loko district. MSF’s busiest Ebola management centre is currently the Prince of Wales centre, in Freetown, with 30 patients as of 24 January.

 

Stopping transmission is particularly difficult in the overcrowded slum areas of the capital, Freetown. Elsewhere, tracing contacts of Ebola patients is still not being carried out systematically, while many contacts are being forcibly quarantined in their homes, at times experiencing shortages of food or water. These quarantine measures can discourage families from seeking early treatment for their sick relatives for fear of being locked in their homes.

 

“An added struggle is the paralysis of the public health system,” says Karline Kleijer, MSF Emergency Coordinator. “One in ten of the country’s health workers have died of Ebola, the medical facilities are in disarray, and people with non-Ebola illnesses struggle to get the treatment they need.”

 

Last week MSF teams provided 1.8 million anti-malarials in Freetown, the largest ever distribution in an Ebola outbreak.

 

Guinea: stigma and fear still problematic

Guinea has also seen a steep decrease in new cases; however 14 out of the 33 prefectures in the country are still considered as “active.” New cases appear to be originating from areas of the country that were previously regarded as calm, such as Boké, Dabola and Siguiri.

 

Together with surveillance, health promotion and social mobilisation are inadequate and failing to make significant progress today in Guinea. “Health workers and survivors are stigmatised, people are still reluctant to seek care, and Ebola treatment centres are often regarded with suspicion and fear,” says Henry Gray, MSF Emergency Coordinator.

 

MSF is currently running two Ebola management centres in Guinea, as well as conducting surveillance, social mobilisation and trainings in infection control. A rapid response team is in place to address needs as they arise.

 

Liberia: safe reopening of the public health system an urgent priority

Liberia has seen the sharpest decline in Ebola cases, with only 5 confirmed cases currently reported in the country. On 17 January, for the first time since it opened, there were no Ebola patients in MSF’s ELWA 3 Ebola management centre in Monrovia; today there are now just two.

 

Liberia’s already weak public health system has been seriously damaged by the epidemic, with many hospitals shut down. Though some are beginning to reopen, infection control is crucial to mitigate the risk of Ebola and restore public confidence in the health system. In response, MSF supports thirteen health centres with infection prevention and control, and is opening a 100-bed paediatric hospital in Monrovia.

 

An MSF rapid response team is also running mobile clinics, training local health staff in triage and infection control, and filling gaps in primary healthcare. Between October and December, MSF distributed anti-malarials to nearly 600,000 people in Monrovia to reduce the burden of malaria infections.

Source:: MSF: Ebola decline encouraging, but critical gaps remain / Reaching zero cases difficult unless weaknesses in the response addressed

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Guinea, HEALTH, Liberia, Sierra Leone | Tags:

Aggreko Extends 200 MW Ivory Coast Power Project

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, January 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Aggreko (http://www.africa.aggreko.com), the world leader in the provision of temporary power and temperature control services, has announced a three year contract extension to its 200 MW gas-fired power project in Ivory Coast, with an option to extend this by a further two years. The Aggreko plant in the Vridi area of Abidjan provides critical power to Ivory Coast and surrounding countries interconnected to the Ivory Coast grid.

 

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200 MW Aggreko Power Plant in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

200 MW Aggreko Power Plant in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

 

 

 

The facility was installed in 2010 with the first phase of the project producing 70 MW. This was later increased to 100 MW in 2011 and again increased in June 2013 to 200 MW. With a booming economy and GDP growth of around 9%, demand for energy has been increasing steadily in recent years. The Aggreko plant injects vital capacity into the local grid, helping keep essential infrastructure and services running, while also ensuring power supplies are maintained to both business and domestic users.

 

“We are pleased to be extending the Aggreko project which forms an important part of our program of strengthening the energy infrastructure across the country,” commented Amidou Traore, Director General, CI-Energies. “The 200 MW supplied from the Aggreko plant is an important component of our energy generation mix and helps us maintain supply to our customers while we develop our long-term infrastructure programmes.”

 

Economies across Africa are growing at a phenomenal rate resulting in an increased strain on power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. By adding large-scale, fast-track interim power, countries can continue to supply the energy required to sustain economic growth while governments and state utilities work on bringing new generation capacity online.

 

“Our project in Ivory Coast is a great example of the value Aggreko brings to its utility customers in Africa,” commented Christophe Jacquin, Managing Director, Aggreko North and West Africa. “Our solutions address shortages in power generation capacity, giving our customers the ability to maintain supply while they work to improve their systems.”

 

Aggreko maintains a strong presence in Ivory Coast and views the country as a vital platform in its West African operations. In addition to the Abidjan plant, Aggreko also runs its West African youth training initiative, The Aggreko Technical University in Ivory Coast.

 

The programme involves an intensive training syllabus incorporating advanced technical, engineering and project operations modules. Graduates have access to fast-track employment opportunities within technical and project operations positions in the Ivory Coast and other locations in Aggreko’s network of international power projects. The programme has so far seen 18 Ivorian and West African engineers trained with 14 of these going on to graduate and join Aggreko in various locations across Africa.

 

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Aggreko plc.

 

 

Media contact:

Nicholas van Santen

Corporate Communications Manager

Aggreko EMEA

T: +44 7920 709642

E: nicholas.vansanten@aggreko.ae

 

EDITOR’S NOTES

Aggreko plc (http://www.africa.aggreko.com) is the world leader in the supply of temporary power and temperature control solutions. Aggreko employs over 6,000 people operating from 202 locations. In 2013 we served customers in about 100 countries, and had revenues of approximately GBP 1.6bn (USD 2.5bn or Euros 1.9bn). Aggreko plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (AGK.L), is a member of the FTSE-100 index, and is headquartered in Scotland. For more information, please visit the company website at www.aggreko.com

Aggreko provides power and temperature control solutions to customers who need them either very quickly, or for a short or indeterminate length of time. Examples would be the supply of power to an industrial site which needs to service its permanent power supply, supplying a whole city in times of power shortage, or providing a major sporting event with power and cooling systems. We serve our customers either through our 202 service centres, which we call the Local business, or globally through our Power Projects business.

In the Local business, which accounts for about half of our revenues, we hire our equipment to customers, who then operate it for themselves, although we retain responsibility for servicing and maintaining it. In the Power Projects business, which also accounts for about half of our revenues, we operate as a power producer. We install and operate power plants (http://www.aggreko.com/interim-power-plants) and we charge our customers both for providing the generating capacity, and for the electricity we produce. We design and manufacture equipment specifically for these requirements in our factory in Dumbarton, Scotland.

Recent customers include the 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilTM (http://www.aggreko.com/media-centre/press-releases/world-cup-brazil-2014), the Ryder Cup (http://www.aggreko.com/media-centre/press-releases/ryder-cup-2014) and Cirque du Soleil (http://www.aggreko.com/media-centre/press-releases/cirque-du-soleil) and the power utilities in over 50 countries including the UK, France, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and the USA.

In 2013 we fulfilled almost 48,000 customers’ assignments and 72% of those who responded to our research gave us a recommendation of 9 or 10 out of 10.

For more information, please visit our local website at: http://africa.aggreko.com

Source:: Aggreko Extends 200 MW Ivory Coast Power Project

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Côte d'Ivoire | Tags:

More flooding expected in stricken Malawi as Red Cross appeals for 2.6 million Swiss francs in emergency funding

LILONGWE, Malawi, January 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — With more rain expected in flood-stricken Malawi and camps for displaced people overwhelmed, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal for 2.6 million Swiss francs to help 42,000 desperate people.

 

Heavy rains have ceased for now but are forecast to return and could continue for weeks. “The chance of more flooding remains high,” said Michael Charles, IFRC’s acting regional representative in southern Africa. “A dire situation could be exacerbated. Things could go from bad to worse.”

Figures of how many people have been displaced still need to be verified but one count suggests at least 174,000. The government estimates that in total 630,000 people have been affected.

Charles says camp numbers are certainly growing as sodden houses collapse and more people emerge from the devastation.

The appeal will support emergency operations of the Malawi Red Cross Society which is already aiding thousands of destitute people in the worst-affected southern districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe and urban Blantyre. They will target the immediate needs of 7,660 households for nine months.

Grossly inadequate shelter in the improvised camps to which people have fled, and the risk of epidemic disease, are major Red Cross concerns. With sources of water contaminated and sanitation poor, there is mounting fear of water-related sickness, and cholera is endemic. Malaria can be expected to spread with stands of stagnant water providing mosquitoes with breeding grounds.

Charles underlined the conditions. “I saw a camp of 2,500 people where 40 or 50 people were sheltered in tents meant for no more than ten. Food distribution was intermittent and those 2,500 people had access to just four latrines. That’s the common picture. The camps are overcrowded and overwhelmed.”

The appeal seeks to fund operations providing food and shelter, safe water and sanitation, and health and care services. Red Cross volunteers would also reunite families the floods have separated. Across the devastated south, people lost sight of loved ones in the chaos of evacuation, and children now on their own in the makeshift camps is a Red Cross priority.

The planned response reflects the current situation and will be adjusted in the light of new developments and more detailed assessments now being conducted by a Field Assessment Coordination Team (FACT).

Source:: More flooding expected in stricken Malawi as Red Cross appeals for 2.6 million Swiss francs in emergency funding

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, ENVIRONMENT, Malawi | Tags: ,

DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa wins a record number of awards in 2014

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, January 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — DHL Express (http://www.dpdhl.com), the world’s leading international express services provider, has won a record number of external awards for its business in Sub Saharan Africa in 2014 – almost triple that of 2013 – demonstrating the success from its 2014 strategy to create greater service quality and increase employee engagement.

 

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Photo Charles Brewer: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/photos/charles-brewer-1.jpg (Charles Brewer, Managing Director for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa)

 

In 2014, DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa received a total of 61 awards from external parties such as government bodies, trade associations and the media. The recognition from industry leaders is a testament of the business’ successes in customer service delivery, employee engagement, contribution to corporate social responsibility, as well as its commitment to provide excellent service quality in the region. This is an increase of 178%, up from the 22 awards received in 2013.

 

Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, says that the company’s vision to be The Logistics Company for the World is not just about the strong network and the number of countries or territories DHL is present in, but also how customers and the general public perceive the company.

 

DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa was named Top Employer 2015 in Africa by the Top Employers Institute for the company’s outstanding employee offerings across the region. This is in addition to six African countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Ghana that were also certified as Top Employers in their local markets.

 

When looking at the various countries’ awards leader board, Nigeria and South Africa ranked in the majority of the awards with 13 and 12 awards respectively, followed by Kenya (6), Uganda (5) and Zimbabwe (4).

 

Other awards won in 2014 include the Visionaries of Uganda Award bestowed by the Government of Uganda for DHL’s contribution to social-economic transformation, Jobberman’s 100 best places to work Award in Nigeria, Silver International Business Stevie Award for their PR success across the continent and the South Africa Transport and Logistics Award at the Topco National Business Awards.

 

“We truly value external recognition and believe that it affirms our mission statement – Excellence. Simply delivered. This means that we want to simplify the lives of our customers. We make our customers, employees and investors more successful, while making a positive contribution to the world. These awards demonstrate a healthy mix of recognition across all these areas, which form part of our four pillars, which are Motivated People, Great Service Quality, Loyal Customers and a Profitable Network.”

 

“At DHL, in an industry that never sleeps, where we genuinely believe in the pursuit of excellence, we will continue our investment and expansion in Africa, we will continue to strive for excellence for our people, our staff and our environment, and ensure that 2015 is a truly great year for us,” concludes Brewer.

 

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

 

 

Media Contact:

Megan Collinicos. Head: Advertising & Public Relations, Sub-Saharan Africa

DHL Express

Tel +27 21 409 3613 Mobile +27 76 411 8570

megan.collinicos@dhl.com

 

DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL (http://www.dpdhl.com) is the global market leader in the logistics and transportation industry and “The logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, national and international parcel delivery, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation as well as contract and e-commerce related solutions along the entire supply chain. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and around 315,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their shipping and supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.

 

For more information: www.dpdhl.com

Stock images available: http://www.dpdhl.com/en/media_relations/media_library.html

Source:: DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa wins a record number of awards in 2014

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, ECONOMY | Tags:

Didier Reynders welcomes the consensus on the electoral reform bill in the DRC

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, January 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders welcomes the spirit of conciliation and dialogue that prevailed between the different political actors after the recent violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He welcomes the consensus reached by the National Assembly and the Senate, who chose to preserve social peace by withdrawing from the electoral reform bill a clause under which a national census would have to be completed before the next presidential and parliamentary elections.

 

Minister Reynders stresses that credible, inclusive, peaceful and transparent elections must be organized in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He calls on all political actors to refrain from taking any action that would impead the organisation of elections according to the provisions stipulated in the Constitution, or would limit participation. Belgium will remain attentive to this.

 

Minister Reynders stresses that democratic elections are not possible without liberty of expression and peaceful assembly. Civil society has an essential and constructive role to play.

 

Didier Reynders underlines that Belgium will support the organisation of these elections only if the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) adopts a clear, reasonable and transparent budget, as well as a realistic and credible timetable.

Source:: Didier Reynders welcomes the consensus on the electoral reform bill in the DRC

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Congo, Democratic Republic of | Tags:

Democratic Republic of Congo – Compromise Electoral Law Adopted

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Jen Psaki

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

January 25, 2015

 

The United States welcomes the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s approval of electoral legislation that sets the country on course towards timely elections in line with its Constitution. We applaud the efforts of the National Assembly and the Senate to reach consensus and ensure that presidential elections happen no later than December 2016. Parliament’s action today reflects the will of the Congolese people and upholds the DRC constitution. We urge President Kabila to expeditiously sign the electoral legislation as passed by the Parliament and reaffirm that Congo’s first peaceful transition of power will take place through presidential elections in 2016‎. We also call upon the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) to release a global electoral calendar promptly that is in line with Parliament’s action and the Constitution.

The actions the DRC Parliament has taken today, along with President Kabila’s expected signature, represent critical, albeit initial, steps towards national elections in 2016 and what could be the DRC’s first peaceful transfer in power in its almost 55 years since independence. We encourage all Congolese stakeholders, including the government, opposition, and civil society, to use this opportunity to undertake a peaceful, transparent, and inclusive dialogue about the electoral process moving forward. The United States stands ready to support the DRC in this process.

Source:: Democratic Republic of Congo – Compromise Electoral Law Adopted

Categories: AFRICA, African Press Organization, Congo, Democratic Republic of | Tags: