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Archive for October 20th, 2010

Kenya: William Ruto sacked from cabinet may be heading to the Hauge to face criminal charges in connection with 2007 post-election violence

Posted by African Press International on October 20, 2010

But who will accompany him from PNU and ODM to the Hauge if he is indicted by the ICC? Raila and Uhuru or who…..

It is now starting to happen. Ruto’s climb for the presidency in 2012 is now a thing of the past. His case will not be finalise before the elections and that means he will not be able to join other presidential hopefuls.

Ruto had refused to resign after the High Court dismissed his case and send him to the trial court where he will face criminal charges. He is accused of fraud, receiving money from sale of land that should not have been sold.

Ruto has been having a fight for the supremacy in ODM. Now he has to use the strength that is left to fight for his political life while Raila Odinga will use time to reorganise the party. The reorganisation of the party may see the exit of Ruto as deputy leader in ODM. His party rejected him earlier by refusing him to join the Implementation Committee that will oversee the New Constitution implementation.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, if Ruto is taken to the Hauge, will not be spared because they were the torch-bearers in ODM when things went wrong in 2007 during the elections. Uhuru Kenyatta the finance minister and deputy PM has also been mentioned in connection with the crimes that took place during the post-election violence. If the three men are taken to face criminal charges in the Hauge, Kenya has few leaders to pick from who are president material.

This, however, may open the door for Gichugu member of parliament who was formerly the Justice and Constitutional minister Martha Karua. But will Kenya accept a Kikuyu to take over from Kibaki who is from the same Central Province as Karua?

By Chief editor Korir /African Press international.

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HIV prevalence is low in Timor-Leste – 0.2 percent based on results from the latest surveillance

Posted by African Press International on October 20, 2010

TIMOR-LESTE: HIV prevalence rate “under-reported”

Piecing together the whole story

DILI, 14 October 2010 (IRIN) – HIV prevalence is low in Timor-Leste – 0.2 percent based on results from the latest surveillance by the government and World Health Organization (WHO). But this rate is rapidly increasing and most likely under-reported, according to the Health Ministry.

Data on risky behaviours is poor for groups considered at risk of HIV infection: surveys have been conducted of prisoners, military personnel, men who have sex with men (MSM) and female sex workers (FSW), but to date there has been no comprehensive nationwide survey of these groups.

A 2010 WHO and government survey of 181 female sex workers and 300 MSM revealed a 1.33 percent HIV infection rate among the men and 2.76 percent infection rate among the women, but the country has little idea of just how many and where the MSM and FSW are, said Narciso Fernandes, the Health Ministrys national HIV/AIDS programme manager.

The countrys first HIV case was diagnosed in 2003. Seven years later, there are fewer than 200 confirmed cases and health authorities suspect under-reporting. Though the countrys policy is to offer voluntary counselling and testing in nine of the 13 health districts, there are too few counsellors and poor follow-up on positive HIV results, Fernandes said.

Pre-natal HIV testing is currently offered at reference hospitals in two districts, which covers only a small percentage of the estimated 51,000 pregnant women every year, he added.

Below are highlights IRIN compiled from recent HIV-related surveys and interviews:

40.6% FSW who did not use a condom because a client paid extra
8.9: Average number of clients per FSW, per week
0.68%: HIV prevalence among tested HIV patients
1.79%: TB-HIV co-infection rate
25.6%: MSM who have been tested for HIV
32.5%: FSW who have been tested for HIV
9.6%: FSW who used drugs in the past month
60%: FSW drug users who shared needles
3.5: Average number of regular female partners per MSM
43.5%: MSM who used condom with last regular female partner
43%: MSM reporting using a condom last time they had anal sex with a non-regular partner
1.1 million Estimated national population (World Bank, 2008)
800-1000: Number of people nationwide who tested for HIV in 2009
9%: Women aged 20-24 who were pregnant by age 15

Sources:

Interview with Narciso Fernandes, National HIV/AIDS Programme Manager, Ministry of Health , September 2010
Integrated Bio-Behavioural Surveillance and sentinel surveillance, WHO and Timor-Leste government, September 2010
Timor-Leste National HIV and Strategy 2011-2016 (draft)
United Nations General Assembly Special Session 2010 Country Progress Report (based on 2008-2009 data)
Behavioural Surveillance Survey, first-round results for female sex workers, men having sex with men and uniformed personnel, International HIV Research Group and University of New South Wales, May-August 2008

pt/mw source.irinnews

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Vietnam has made signficiant inroads

Posted by African Press International on October 20, 2010

In Brief: Vietnam meets hunger MDG ahead of 2015

Vietnam has made signficiant inroads

BANGKOK, 14 September 2010 (IRIN) – A new Oxfam report highlights Vietnam’s performance in meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger and reducing poverty five years ahead of the 2015 target.

“Vietnam’s track record is one of the best in the world. They are absolutely a role model within East Asia and more broadly in the world,” Steve Price-Thomas, Oxfam’s Vietnam country director told IRIN on 14 September from Hanoi. According to Halving world Hunger: Still Possible, Vietnam has cut hunger and reduced poverty from about 58 percent of the population in 1993 to just 18 percent today. “To put this in perspective, this means that since 1993 roughly 6,000 people per day have been pulled out of hunger poverty,” Price-Thomas said.

By focusing on agricultural land reform, Vietnam has made land distribution more equitable, invested heavily in irrigation and agricultural technology and maintained restrictions on rice exports until 2001, nurturing the domestic industry.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is set to announce on 14 September that the number of hungry people worldwide has dropped, for the first time in 15 years, from 1.23 billion in 2009 to 925 million.

cm/ds/mw source.irinnews

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Many people travel miles to get tested at a VCT centre where they are unlikely to be recognized

Posted by African Press International on October 20, 2010

SUDAN: Stigma continues to hold back Darfur’s HIV fight

Photo: Glenna Gordon/IRIN

NYALA, 13 October 2010 (PlusNews) – There are nine voluntary counselling and testing centres in the Sudanese state of South Darfur, but rather than risk being recognized at one of them, many people travel to a different state to seek HIV testing or treatment.

“My best friend is HIV-positive and every month travels to El-Fasher [capital of North Darfur] to get ARVs,” a young tea seller living in Kalma camp for internally dispaced people (IDPs), South Darfur, told IRIN/PlusNews. “She could get the drugs in Nyala [capital of South Darfur] but doesn’t want people to know she is sick – she hasn’t told anyone else but me.

“I don’t blame her; she thinks she would be excluded by the entire community and family if she disclosed her status,” she added.

In 2007 an association of people living with HIV was created in Nyala to encourage HIV-positive people to exchange experiences and take the lead in advocacy, but three years on, only 25 people are members.

Ignorance

HIV prevalence remains low in Darfur – about 0.25 percent according to the most recent household survey, carried out in 2006. However, knowledge of the epidemic is very low; according to the survey, more than 46 percent of women aged 15-49 in Darfur had no knowledge about HIV prevention.

“The problem is many people still do not know enough about the disease, its methods of transmission or its consequences,” Ahmed Dawoodd, HIV and sexually transmitted infections coordinator for the Ministry of Health in South Darfur, told IRIN/PlusNews. “Fear of the unknown generates stigma and this is why more awareness is needed.”

According to a Sudan National AIDS Programme survey conducted nationally in 2009, 53.2 percent of respondents said they would not buy food from anyone with HIV/AIDS; 44 percent said they would not eat with an AIDS patient, while about 30 percent said they would prohibit a teacher with HIV from working or would remove their child from a school with an HIV-positive teacher.

The region’s conservative culture means condoms are not publicly promoted or widely available, with locals generally only able to find them at health centres.

Small steps

In 2010, the joint African Union-UN Mission in Darfur [UNAMID] started providing logistical support to the Sudan National AIDS Programme (SNAP) to facilitate condom distribution to health centres in rural areas, but due to logistical constraints, remote villages and high-risk areas bordering neighbouring Chad remain out of reach.

UNAMID also recently held HIV education seminars for 1 50 prisoners in Zalingei jail in West Darfur.

The Ministry of Health and its partners have begun implementing awareness-raising programmes among high-risk groups; with the NGO Patients Helping Fund and other partners, they have trained 50 tea sellers and 20 truck drivers in Nyala and provided mobile voluntary counselling and testing to 300 local police officers.

In addition, the UN Children’s Fund provides information and educational materials on HIV prevention to children, teachers, religious and community leaders, while the UN Population Fund has supported the State Ministry of Health and international NGOs in establishing youth centres and raising awareness on HIV/AIDS among Darfurs camp communities.

“Progress has been made in fighting the stigma but [it’s] only the tip of the iceberg,” said Dawood.

cp/kr/mw source.irinnews

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