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Archive for June 26th, 2013

Singer Rokia Traorè in Concert at the Arts Festival of North Norway June 2013

Posted by African Press International on June 26, 2013

www.africanpress.me/ Singer Rokia Traorè in Concert at the Arts Festival of North Norway June 2013

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Kenya: Kimilili District Deputy County Commissioner castigates drunkard teachers in the region

Posted by African Press International on June 26, 2013

  • By Godfrey Wamalwa,Bungoma,26/6/2013

“I want to warn the teachers  who report to their work while drunk that the government will not tolerate such behavior and stern action will be taken against them,”that is a warning bell that Kimilili district deputy county commissioner has sent to the teachers.

Addressing students of  Kibingei Friendssecondary school in Kimilili District after the students went on a rampage and marched for about seven kilometers to his office, citing poor management by the school’s principal.

While presenting their grievances the students alleged that the Principal Mrs. Scholastic Mukui sends them home regularly for school fees as well as talking ill of their parents terming them as poor an issue that did not get down well with them.

They further claimed that she does not coordinate her staff well as some teachers are normally drunk hence cannot attend to their lessons well an issue that has affected the syllabus coverage for a long time especially to the candidates and having few teachers for chemistry, biology and agriculture.

“Our school  has been disqualified from participating in the regional football competition, reasons being that one of the players was found to be nineteen years of age an issue they said was aimed at sabotaging their efforts to nurture their talents away from academics”claimed the students.

However, Kimilili district quality assurance and standards officer Andrew Shiundu said it was a national rule that all students who are supposed to represent a school in a games completion should be eighteen years of age and below.

 Kimilili deputy county commissioner Joseph Lewa also urged the Teachers’ Service Commission to address the issue of under-staffing in the entire district by deploying more teachers to avoid such strike issues in future.

He further cautioned teachers who report on duty while drunk saying the government officers in charge will conduct a thorough investigation and those implicated will face the law.

Ends

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Children learning disaster risk reduction in Timor-Leste

Posted by African Press International on June 26, 2013

Children learning how natural disasters can affect them

DILI,  – Timor-Leste needs to do more at the national and district levels to boost disaster preparedness, especially in rural areas, say experts.

Each year, communities face an increasing number of natural hazards with 185 floods recorded since 2010, compared to 32 between 2001 to 2009, according to the National Disaster Management Directorate (NDMD).

Over 70 percent of the country’s 1.1 million people live in rural areas.

In June, more than 1,850 people in the half-island nation were affected by floods in five of the countries13 districts, the NDMD reported.

“The country is not well prepared to cope and respond to any kind of large-scale natural disaster,” Geraldine Zwack, country director for CARE International, told IRIN in the capital Dili.“If disaster preparedness starts at the community level then the impact on the district is less. It reduces the burden on the government during an emergency response and increases the communities’ ability to bounce back and recover more quickly.”

Aid agencies say an increased focus on disaster preparedness at the national government level is needed, particularly in addressing infrastructure, food security and the livelihoods of poor rural communities who are vulnerable to disasters.

“The country is regularly affected by disasters and the majority of these are small local ones, such as floods and landslides,” said Pedruco Capelao, education in emergencies manager at Save the Children. “There is a need to improve disaster response mechanisms at national and sub-national level, and ensure emergency supplies are stockpiled to allow communities to respond to any disaster.”

According to Maplecroft’s annual Natural Hazard Risk Atlas (2013), which evaluates the exposure and resilience of 197 countries to 12 natural hazards, Timor-Leste is at extreme risk when natural disasters strike, due to its lack of coping mechanisms, and is ranked six and 34 for infrastructure fragility and community vulnerability, respectively.

The overall socioeconomic resilience ranking for Timor-Leste is 32.

The Assessment Capacities Project, implemented by Help Age International, Merlin and the Norwegian Refugee Council, is working to improve the assessment of needs in complex emergencies. In September 2012 a Project report said “urban areas are unprepared for possible disasters” and had particular concern about a “lack of earthquake resistant structures in Dili or district capitals”.

While Timor-Leste is prone to severe and recurrent drought, flooding and landslides, other risks include tropical cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis, the report noted.

“It is a disaster for the people here, who mostly rely on agriculture for survival, when a flood, landslide or drought hits. When the farmers’ crops are completely washed away, they are left with nothing. The government must work to prepare these communities to respond to these challenges and build infrastructure and resilience to assist people to cope with such disaster,” said Oxfam country director Kunhali Muttaje.

“Most of the government focus is on emergency response and only a small proportion of the budget is directed towards disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities,” emergencies and DRR project officer at Save the Children Jack French told IRIN, noting that “there is a need for the government to create a policy or legal framework and develop a strategic plan for DRR which would allow the ministries and the NDMD to focus more on disaster preparedness at the district level.”

An early warning sign in Manufahi District

Climate change impact

With long-term average temperatures and sea levels rising over the past few decades, climate scientists are warning that things could get worse.

“Many regions and industries are not well adapted to the current range of climate variability, with impacts on agriculture and infrastructure from droughts and floods,” said Michael Grose, a research scientist for the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program (PACCSAP), within the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, a scientific research agency based in Australia.

In terms of climate change, “it is likely that sea level rise has influenced the impact of coastal inundation events in vulnerable coastal regions. Heavy rainfalls that may have some influence from human-driven climate change affect the incidence of river floods,” Grose said.

Since 1993, the rise in sea levels globally has increased more rapidly, at 3.2 (+/-0.4) mm/year, compared to 1.7 (+/- 0.2) mm/year in previous years (recorded since 1880), according to the report Climate Change in the Pacific: Scientific Assessment and New Research (Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, 2011).

However, in Timor-Leste the rate is higher than the global average – over 7 mm/year between 1993 and 2009.

“In Timor-Leste, there is a need to develop systems, procedures and infrastructure to help vulnerable communities adapt. People are not ready to cope with the current climate conditions, and a warming climate will only make these impacts harder to deal with as the frequency or intensity of disasters increases,” said Grose.

The government says it has the capacity to respond to small, localized disasters and a contingency plan in place, initially prepared in 2006.

“Programmes focus on local level capacity building, including improving infrastructure, relocation of vulnerable groups in risk areas, hazard and risk assessment and mapping, and use of local and indigenous knowledge to strengthen the communities’ coping mechanisms,” NDMD director Francisco do Rosario told IRIN.

According to NDMD, legislation is needed to promote coordination between government sectors and the implementation of DRR programmes.

“Disaster preparedness is vital for the country’s ongoing stability and continued economic development,” said UN Development Programme (UNDP) country director Mikiko Tanaka.

“As the government has acknowledged, increasing climate variability as well as the increasing intensity of extreme events will require greater institutional efforts as well as financial investment to improve resilience, especially at the community level.”

ch/ds/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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Cutting down maternal deaths – Space-age technology to apply

Posted by African Press International on June 26, 2013

Lifewrap demonstration

KUALA LUMPUR,  – Space-age technology, neoprene (the same material used for wet suits) and Velcro have gone into an experimental garment health experts hope can treat postpartum haemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide.

A non-pneumatic anti-shock garment (NASG) – also called a “lifewrap” – is a half-body suit that is strapped onto a woman’s lower legs and abdomen to slow bleeding and prevent shock due to blood loss.

“It [the lifewrap] works in two ways: it compresses the blood vessels in the lower part of the body, reversing shock by giving back oxygen to the heart, lungs and brain which are very oxygen-dependent tissues,” said Suellen Miller, director of the Safe Motherhood Programme/Bixby Centre for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in the USA.

If it works as intended, pressure on the abdomen decreases the radius of the blood vessels and reduces overall bleeding.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), postpartum haemorrhage – the loss of 500-1,000ml or more of blood within 24 hours after birth – accounts for nearly a quarter of maternal deaths globally and is the leading cause of maternal mortality in most low-income countries.

Maternal death tracks the inequity between countries. Death from postpartum bleeding is nearly unheard of in the developed world,” said Kate Gilmore, deputy executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

The lifewrap, which evolved from a suit originally researched and developed by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for their space programmes, was demonstrated to health experts at a recent maternal health conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Buying time

The lifewrap is not designed as a final solution to save women, but only a stabilizing measure to buy her time to be transferred to a health facility for surgery or blood transfusion.

According to US-based reproductive research body the Guttmacher Institute, in developing countries most women in remote communities give birth at home. The proportion of births in health facilities varies widely across the globe, according to the institute, from 50 percent of deliveries in eastern and western Africa to 99 percent in East Asia.

In 2010, the institute recorded 284,000 women in developing countries dying from pregnancy and childbirth complications.

“A woman has maybe two hours [from the onset of bleeding] before she suffers from lack of oxygen to her vital tissues and bleeds to death. Delays are killers,” said Miller.

“Working in parts of the world where distance is the difference between life and death demands solutions that can begin in the community or in the home,” said Purnima Mane, president and CEO of Pathfinder International, a US non-profit family planning and reproductive health organization.

Driving down costs

Clinical trials and studies on the use of the lifewrap were conducted by the Univeristy of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in Nigeria, Egypt, Zambia, Zimbabwe and India from 2004-2012. During that period, it was noted that use of the lifewrap decreased maternal death by up to 50 percent.

Though cautious not to attribute the drop to these wraps alone, and recognizing that multiple interventions may have been responsible for the decline, experts were encouraged by the correlation.

“Initial results from the testing of the garment are promising. We already have the [supporting] WHO policies. Now we want to encourage countries to review their maternal health protocols regarding postpartum haemorrhage and integrate the use of the lifewrap into their designed interventions,” said Amie Batson, PATH chief strategy officer.

WHO guidelines on the management of postpartum haemorrhage call for timely medical intervention, which include administering drugs like oxytocin and misoprostol during the third and final stage of labour.

These drugs help contract the uterus, expedite delivery of the placenta and reduce blood loss.

In the event these drugs do not work, WHO published in 2012 guidelinespromoting uterine compression, and the use of NSAGs specifically, as a temporary measure until appropriate care is available.

The lifewrap can be used up to 40 times and washed by hand with regular laundry detergent after each use. From an original cost of US$300 per garment, negotiations with manufacturers have driven down the cost to nearly $65.

Thus far, research and development of the wrap has been pursued jointly by UNFPA, Pathfinder International, UCSF, the US-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and PATH.

as/pt/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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