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SkyVision to Unveil its New Cloud Services

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2013

SkyVision cloud-based solutions will enable customers to reduce overall IT expenses

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – SkyVision Global Networks Ltd. (http://www.skyvision.net), a leading global communication provider, today announced its launch of a full suite of Cloud services and solutions. The official launch will take place at AfricaCom 2013, November 12-14, Cape Town, Booth C14. AfricaCom is an integral part of the company’s ongoing commitment to expanding its activity within the telco market and throughout Africa.

SkyVision’s success in Africa is the result of a comprehensive network of local partners and representatives, and SkyVision offices in Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Morocco. As a leading service provider in Africa, SkyVision provides viable solutions that help African companies, organizations and service providers develop their ICT capabilities, increase their productivity and profitability, and the level of service they provide to their customers. SkyVision cloud-based solutions will enable customers to reduce overall IT expenses by deploying new applications without having to purchase additional hardware, software licenses, or be concern with scale up/scale down their computing and storage resources.

In addition SkyVision will introduce a new mobile application for its voice services. SkyVision’s voice services provide high quality and cost effective international and interbranch voice connectivity. With the addition of the new SkyVision Voice line mobile app, SkyVision customers can now use the same service account at their office, from their laptop using our softphone application and on the go from their mobile device using the new mobile app.

“Deploying efficient, effective infrastructure and solutions when limited resources are available, is a challenging task and a key enabler for diffusing ICT in developing countries,” comments Doron Ben Sira, SkyVision CEO. “We are especially proud to be taking part in this continent-wide event where we can reach out to customers, prospects, policy makers and practitioners in ICT with a viable cloud-based solution. AfricaCom gives us the perfect stage to promote our corporate cloud services, uniquely tailored to meet the needs of e-Governance, e-Infrastructure, and e-Business customers,” he added.

 

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About SkyVision

SkyVision (http://www.skyvision.net) is a leading global communications service provider, offering comprehensive, integrated solutions to meet all corporate, government and telco market requirements.

Via its gateways in Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East, the company provides IP connectivity with access to the global Internet backbone, as well as an extensive suite of both customized end-to-end solutions and industry-standard services. With a network spanning 100 countries, SkyVision’s solutions combine global reach with active local presence and support. SkyVision’s customers include telecos, ISPs, cellular operators, global and local enterprises, government entities and NGOs. For more information, visit http://www.skyvision.net.

 

SOURCE

SkyVision Global Networks Ltd.

 

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New range of satellite services for African enterprises

Posted by African Press International on November 12, 2013

The new services are offered thanks to the new Service Delivery Platform developed under SatFinAfrica, and ARTES 3-4 Satcom Application project co-funded by the European Space Agency-ESA

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Belgium-based satellite service provider, SatADSL (http://www.satadsl.net) is set to launch its new range of services for professional users at the AFRICACOM Conference, slated for tomorrow at Cape Town Convention Centre.

The new services will allow to provide high quality communications and Internet connectivity with guaranteed performances to corporate offices, bank agencies, mining sites and all similar medium-size exploitations in Sub-Saharan Africa where terrestrial communication services are either not available, unreliable or too expensive.

The new services are offered thanks to the new Service Delivery Platform developed under SatFinAfrica, and ARTES 3-4 Satcom Application project co-funded by the European Space Agency-ESA*. The new Service Delivery Platform provides SatADSL with complete control over the definition and enforcement of its service profiles and   paves the way for building tailor-made services. The new platform provides to SatADSL the flexibility that is required to serve the complex requirements of the African telecom operators and ISPs who are offering the service locally and are willing to propose various options that meet their customer specific requirements and budget.

Speaking ahead of the conference, SatADSL Chief Technology Officer Fulvio Sansone said “the new Service Delivery Platform is a cornerstone in the company development”.

“Companies in Sub-Saharan Africa are often confronted to limited coverage and reliability of terrestrial telecommunications means. Especially outside of urban and coastal areas where the population is less dense, telecommunication links may not be as reliable as needed by professional users. That is where SatADSL comes in with specialised, but at the same time affordable, services for the professional market. This market segment requires customised services, often with guaranteed data rates. SatADSL is now in a position to offer a complete range of services and become a one-stop-shop for its customers for services from low-cost transaction-based or back-up to unlimited services” he said.

The new services have been successfully demonstrated and are now being launched commercially all over Sub-Saharan Africa in cooperation with SatADSL local partners. They allow medium-size offices and corporate branches to get connectivity, Internet access and voice over IP with guaranteed performances wherever they are located. Using the same low-cost, self-installable, Sat3Play hardware, users will be able to choose among a wide range of Unlimited, Contended Services, as well as the previously available Fair Usage Policy based Services.

SatADSL delivers and manage customer’s mission-critical communications with end to end solutions, integrated technologies and flexible service options. SatADSL is a premium partner of SES and Newtec respectively leading satellite operator and equipment manufacturer. SatADSL is already offering reliable and low-cost satellite networking solutions and operates close to 1000 terminals across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Caroline De Vos, Chief Operations Officer, and Thierry Eltges, Chief Executive Officer, will welcome the visitors, potential partner-distributors and customers at the company stand P14 located in the exhibition area of the conference.

* The view expressed herein is independent of ESA’s official opinion.

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About SatADSL:

SatADSL (http://www.satadsl.net) is a satellite service provider offering low cost transactional, Internet access and VoIP service to branch offices of companies located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The company is seated in Brussels, Belgium, and offers Internet access by satellite in Africa since 2010. Hundreds of African companies use SatADSL service in over 15 different countries in Africa. A money transfer company is connecting together more than 100 of their branches offices thanks to SatADSL.

SatADSL new satellite communication service in Africa is unique because it combines very high-quality service with a low cost of equipment and subscriptions. Corporate users operating in remote areas require both service quality guaranteed by SLAs and affordability. SatADSL service offer is recognized in Africa as being a unique competitive offer for serving companies small branch offices performing business-critical transactions.

SatADSL teams up with highly qualified African partners who offer a high-quality service to professional end-users, spanning from Mali to South Africa. SatADSL distribution network is expanding every day.

 

SOURCE

SatADSL S.A.

 

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NTV Journalists win TV features category at CNN Africa Journalist of the year awards in a ceremony held in South Africa

Posted by African Press International on October 14, 2013

Kenya Nation TV reports that their two journalists “Rose Wangui and Wambui Kurema have been honoured on the World stage among their peers in what is arguably the most prestigious and respected award for Journalists across the African continent;” and that the pair, “took home the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the year awards in the Television features category in Cape Town South Africa.”

Related story:

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Coming to terms with sexual violence

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2013

By Kristy Siegfried 

David Elliott, Renier Louw and Mike Abrams are all involved in projects to uplift Bredasdorp’s disaffected youth

BREDASDORP,  – Seventeen-year-old Anene Booysen was gang raped and brutalized on a patch of scrubby grass between two newly built RDP [government subsidized] houses, in a bleak, low-income suburb about 3km from central Bredasdorp, a small town in South Africa’s Western Cape Province.

At the time of her attack, in the early hours of 2 February, the houses were only half built and the area was an unlit construction site. Booysen’s attackers raped her, punched her repeatedly in the face and then cut her open from vagina to anus. She was discovered a few hours later and taken to hospital, but lived only long enough to say the nickname of a man she knew, whom the police assumed to be one of her attackers. He was arrested but later released due to lack of evidence. Another man has confessed to raping and beating Booysen but denies cutting her; he is in custody, awaiting trial.

Although Booysen’s attack was particularly brutal it was by no means exceptionally so in a country renowned for its high levels of violent crime and for having one of the highest incidences of rape in the world.

Even in Bredasdorp, a rural town with a population of 27,000, Booysen was not the first rape victim to lose her life. Why her case became a focus of national attention making the town synonymous with a crime afflicting the entire country, is baffling to many of its residents.

Substance abuse

In the days following Booysen’s murder, media reports and politicians were quick to point to the high levels of drug abuse among Bredasdorp’s youth and to suggest that ‘tik’ – the local term for methamphetamine – played a role in her death. Tik addiction is rife in Cape Town, about 200km away, and the drug has made its way, along with marijuana and Mandrax, to Bredasdorp. But according to commander of the local police station, Colonel Maree Louw, “The accused were not gangsters or drug abusers. They’d been drinking only.”

In fact, most community members that IRIN spoke to suggested that alcohol abuse was a bigger problem, affecting both young people and their parents. Booysen was attacked on her way home from a pub that continues to be a popular hangout for young people in the area with little else to occupy them.

“Nothing happens here during the week, everyone just goes home. But at the weekend, it’s on,” said Mark Diedericks, 19, who lives in the area. “People don’t earn much here… They buy a couple of cases of beer on account, then there’s no money for food and they’re in debt.”

The main crime the police in Bredasdorp deal with is assault, mostly occurring over the weekend after alcohol has been consumed and usually involving people who know one another. Of the 20 rape cases recorded in 2012 (down from 36 the year before), Louw said that most of the women knew their attackers and were themselves under the influence of alcohol when the attack happened. Under such circumstances, some women decide not to press charges.

“There are a lot of cases where girls get raped and report it but then withdraw the case,” confirmed David Elliott, a facilitator with a local youth project. “Sometimes the [perpetrator’s] family pays them, or they might be scared or it might be a relative. A lot of people just keep quiet.”

Culture of silence

“Most rape is silent. It happens in households, and alcohol plays a huge role”

Several other people IRIN spoke to suggested that the majority of rape cases in the town go unreported.

“Most rape is silent. It happens in households, and alcohol plays a huge role,” said Theresa Pas, a youth leader with Education Connection, a local NGO that encourages young people to abstain from sex, drugs and alcohol.

Education Connection invites children to write letters about problems they face that they find difficult to talk about. Following Booysen’s death, the organization received a flood of letters containing stories of rape, molestation and abuse.

The organization’s pregnancy crisis centre also deals with cases of girls who report being raped only after becoming pregnant. “It’s such a small town. Girls don’t want everyone to know they’ve been raped, and their parents also don’t want people to know,” said Elna van Rooyen, who runs a sexual education programme at local schools through Education Connection.

Van Rooyen suggested that the easy availability of pornography on mobile phones and the internet has had a negative effect on the way the boys she teaches view girls and women. “It’s a poor community, but they all have ‘smart’ phones and they can show me all the best porn sites,” she said.

Several girls that IRIN interviewed at the local high school agreed. “Most of the guys see girls as just people to have sex with,” said Xandria Smit, 18.

Her friend, Naledi Mosola, 17, pointed out that for some boys, negative male role models can be found much closer to home: “When your father’s beating your mother, you think it’s right to do that.”

Youth disaffection

Young people that IRIN spoke to complained about the lack of things for them to do in Bredasdorp. “There’s church stuff and sports,” said Smit. “Children who aren’t into that go to pubs and clubs.”

Anene Booysen’s assault took place between two of these RDP houses, one of which is to be turned into a skills-and-development centre named in her honour

Levels of boredom and alcohol abuse among the town’s youth are part of a broader social malaise in Bredasdorp, which has high rates of school dropouts and single-parent households. “Bredasdorp has a 60 to 70 percent school dropout rate,” said Mike Abrams, founder of Hands On, another local NGO that is running projects aimed at keeping children in school. “Anene was a drop out; so was her [alleged] attacker.”

Like many of her peers, Booysen only completed primary school. Before her death, she had a job cleaning newly built RDP houses on the same construction site where she was killed.

“She didn’t talk about school and stuff or what she wanted to do with her life,” said her niece, Monisha Ruiters, 16. “She was a quiet person at home.”

Renier Louw, 24, leader of Bredasdorp’s Youth Council, said the high school dropout rate was related to a lack of job opportunities. “Youth here [are] very frustrated. Why do kids drop out of school? It’s because they don’t see the point.”

Both Louw and Abrams are involved in a youth leadership project that will support 50 young people over the next three years to stay in school by sticking to individual development plans.

Another Hands On project called Boys To Men aims to fill some of the void created by the absence of fathers from the lives of many young men in Bredasdorp.

“We found a lot of men don’t know how to speak to other men,” said Louw, who himself grew up without a father. Boys To Men organizes workshops and sporting activities that bring together older and younger men to support each other and talk about fatherhood and the problems they face.

Wounded society

Abrams described the sense of anger and hopelessness afflicting Bredasdorp, and many other South African communities, as symptoms of “a multiply-wounded country” still reeling from colonization and apartheid. “Communities have suffered trauma over many years, and it’s crept into the fabric of society,” he said. “We’re all infected by it; it becomes normalized, and there’s no quick fixes… Access to mental health services is limited, and trauma compacts until something triggers it and they snap.”

Only two social workers serve the entire Cape Agulhas Municipality that encompasses Bredasdorp, and government funding for programmes aimed at youth development and preventing abuse has been scarce. The town’s many NGOs and community organizations have attempted to fill the gap, but according to Abrams, many lack management capacity and often work at cross-purposes. The recent establishment of an umbrella organization, the Overberg Development Association, is helping to improve coordination, but it is Booysen’s case that has brought a much-needed injection of interest and cash for social development programmes.

“We know Anene’s death opens a lot of doors for us and we have to ride that wave,” said Annaleen Vorster, communications manager for the Municipality.

In April, Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande launched a R10 million (US$993,800) skills development project in Bredasdorp that will offer training and apprenticeships to 700 learners and turn one of the RDP houses next to where Booysen was murdered into a skills-and-development centre named in her honour. The municipality has its own plans to build a safe house for victims of gender-based violence, funded by corporate donations.

According to Vorster, the biggest impact from Booysen’s death has been a change in mindset. In addition to improved participation in the town’s neighbourhood watch programme, “we now talk about sexual violence more openly,” she told IRIN. “Victims have come out and told their stories and there is a realization, not just in Bredasdorp, that it’s time to take a stand against sexual violence.

“I think Bredasdorp has become the conscience of South Africa.”

ks/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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Women Deliver 2013 Concludes with a United Call to Invest in Girls and Women

Posted by African Press International on June 3, 2013

  • By Dickens Wasonga.

 

World leaders and advocates demand girls and women are prioritized in lead-up to 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline and beyond
www.africanpress.me/ - Women deliver

http://www.africanpress.me/ – Women deliver

Jill Sheffield and Melinda Gates present first-ever Women Deliver Rising Star Awards to young leaders fighting for progress for girls and women.
Women Deliver 2013 concluded yesterday  with a call for continued investments in girls and women.
The conference was the largest of the decade focused on girls’ and women’s health and rights, bringing together more than 4,500 leaders and advocates representing over 2,200 organizations and 149 countries.
The final day of Women Deliver 2013 focused on the critical need to prioritize girls and women in the lead-up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline and beyond.
The morning plenary speakers—including United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark, Former President of Finland Tarja Halonen, African Women’s Development Fund CEO Theo Sawa and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark—addressed the importance of placing girls and women at the center of the next development agenda, and discussed advocacy strategies to keep girls’ and women’s needs in focus.
The appeal for action came one day before the United Nations’ High-Level Panel is expected to announce its recommendations for the post-2015 development framework. With progress lagging on the MDGs relating to women, policymakers and activists provided insights about how the next set of development goals can adequately and effectively address women’s health and empowerment.
In her remarks, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark called for a global development agenda “which gives priority to gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women to make their own decisions about the lives they lead.”
In the conference’s closing plenary, Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates recognized the next generation of leaders for girls and women and presented the first-ever Women Deliver Rising Star Awards to three emerging voices in the field of women’s health and rights:
·         Senator Pia S. Cayetano is the youngest woman elected in the history of the Philippine Senate, a champion of the rights of women and children and a staunch advocate for health. Armed with the training of a lawyer, discipline of an athlete and heart of a mother, Senator Pia excelled in her first term as legislator and was reelected to a second term in 2010.
·         Imane Khachani, MD, MSc. is a Resident in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Maternity Hospital Les Orangers, in Rabat, Morocco. She has extensive experience in sexual and reproductive health research and advocacy, particularly for adolescent and young women; and has collaborated with several UN agencies, including UNFPA, WHO and UNAIDS. She currently sits on the Women Deliver and the Guttmacher Institute Boards of Directors.
·         Remmy Shawa works at Sonke Gender Justice in Cape Town, South Africa, and coordinates a project to strengthen work with men and boys in the promotion of gender equality and in ending violence against women in Africa.
Jill Sheffield and Melinda Gates also recognized the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders, an international group of activists under 30 who received scholarships to attend the conference because of their work on behalf of women and girls.
The need to engage and include youth in the next development framework was a key theme throughout Women Deliver 2013, and young people’s voices and perspectives were highlighted throughout the meeting.
“This week at Women Deliver 2013, we have changed history for girls and women everywhere. We renewed our commitments, shared lessons learned, and listened to those leading the way on women’s health and rights, including young people who will carry this important work forward for years to come,” said Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield. “Most importantly, we have joined together to raise our voices in a single call to action—girls’ and women’s health and rights must be prioritized today, tomorrow, and every day until our work is done. Because we know, when girls and women survive, all of us thrive.”


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TB vaccines: The options in terms of cost-effectiveness

Posted by African Press International on April 1, 2013

CAPE TOWN, 28 March 2013 (IRIN) – As researchers consider who might benefit most from the next wave of tuberculosis (TB) vaccines, some argue that we’re not doing enough with the vaccine we already have. 

The disappointing results of the first infant TB vaccine tested for efficacy in 40 years were published in February 2013, but new research suggests that while babies might be easier to reach, given existing childhood vaccination programmes, new vaccines will be more cost-effective if geared towards teens and adults.The findings by the London School of Tropical Medicine are based on mathematical modelling that compared the cost-effectiveness of potential TB vaccines in the top 22 countries with the highest burden of TB, as listed by the World Health Organization (WHO), including South Africa, India and China, which account for 82 percent of all TB cases globally.

Dr Gwen Knight and colleagues used information like the number of new TB cases recorded annually, population projections, and TB mortality. Where available, they also factored in TB treatment and vaccine delivery costs. Finally, they created various scenarios based on projections of, for instance, how well a future vaccine might protect people from active TB, and how long this protection would last.

Knight’s preliminary results were presented at the TB Vaccines Third Global Forum in Cape Town. They indicate that in most scenarios, TB vaccines given to teens and adults were about seven times cheaper than those administered to infants. The most cost-effective TB vaccine would be designed for adults and teens, and would confer 80 percent protection on recipients – a high level of protection compared to most vaccines today.

The options in terms of cost-effectiveness

The cost per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) for a vaccine for adults and teens could be as little as 85 US cents, making it comparable to the lowest prices for the rotavirus and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. An infant TB vaccine conferring 50 percent protection for five years could cost as much as US$42,617 per DALY.

Vaccines for older people were modelled as much more effective in reducing TB cases, with deaths occurring at an infection level largely determined by the transmission dynamics within the group. For example, a vaccine offering life-long protection against active TB would avert almost eight times as many new cases as a TB vaccine given to babies.

The model may be important in helping researchers prioritize TB vaccine candidates and selecting groups to include in future clinical trials. “Previous modelling has shown that the global TB burden is unlikely to be controlled without new TB vaccines,” Knight told IRIN. “What we didn’t know is whether these vaccines would be economically valid, and what type of vaccine should be an economic priority in relation to others.”

In the absence of a TB vaccine, Knight and her team projected that as many as 19 million people would die from the disease between 2024 and 2050.

Making the most of what we have

The world relies on the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) TB vaccine, developed almost 100 years ago. Given at birth, BCG’s protective effect wanes as children grow to adulthood, but the vaccine has seldom been considered a candidate for global adult or teen vaccination programmes after poor results in trials.

“While drugs have had a clinical impact, they have failed to control the epidemic – that’s why we need vaccines and other tools”

Now there are growing moves in the vaccine community to move away from approaches based solely on infant immunization and to begin developing policies on immunizing adolescents and adults. Adolescents may also be a prime target for re-vaccination with the BCG TB vaccine, according to Christopher Dye, director of health information in the Office of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases at WHO.

Dye says the world could do more with the only available TB vaccine in its arsenal. Citing examples from the United Kingdom and Norway, he presented instances in which adult BCG vaccination campaigns in the 1950s and 1960s had not only shown the vaccine to be as much as 80 percent protective, but that it had also reduced new TB cases by 20 percent.

“If those results were obtained today with a TB vaccine, they would be the subject of worldwide acclaim, and they form the basis of my claim that we don’t do enough with BCG,” he told IRIN.

In their search for a cure-all for TB epidemics, policymakers at the time may have dismissed results too readily. “The interpretation was pretty pessimistic,” he said. “In my reading, this was a search for a panacea and when that was not the result obtained, the results were pushed aside.” Disappointing results from India and Malawi could be explained by the presence of other tropical bacterial infections that could reduce BCG’s effectiveness.

Rethinking vaccines, rethinking TB control

Vaccinating teens and adults might also make sense in places like South Africa, where data collected in the Cape Town area in 2010 shows that people between the ages of 16 and 35 experience elevated risks of TB infection when compared to children and older adults.

“Children between the ages of five and ten are extremely resistant to developing active TB, but then become at risk when they move into adolescence,” Dye told IRIN. “Where possible, they need to be re-protected.”

He said adolescent BCG vaccination could easily be added to existing campaigns in countries where girls and, in some instances, boys, are vaccinated against HPV before they become sexually active.

Using mathematical models, Dye proposed that repeated mass vaccination campaigns to protect people as infants, and again as teens or young adults, could cut the annual number of new TB cases in South Africa by 50 percent over a 30-year period. In combination with improved case management and preventative TB therapy for people living with HIV, the models projected that revaccination with BCG could cut TB incidence by more than 90 percent by 2050.

“With all of these intense efforts put into TB control through treatment, the impact at the clinical level has been profound, but the trajectory of the TB epidemic has been [more or less flat],” he told IRIN. “It’s clear from analysis that while drugs have had a clinical impact, they have failed to control the epidemic – that’s why we need vaccines and other tools.”

llg/kn/he  source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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