La Fondation Jeffrey Modell va déployer le premier réseau nord-africain pour le traitement de l’immunodéficience primaire

March 31, 2017

CSL Behring sponsorise le premier réseau de ce genre sur le continent africain LIVINGSTONE, Zambie, 31 mars 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Le leader mondial des produits biothérapeutiques CSL Behring a confirmé aujourd’hui son intention de sponsoriser le réseau nord-africain Jeffrey Modell, qui établira un centre de diagnostic et de recherche en Afrique du Nord. CSL Behring […]

Jeffrey Modell Foundation to Open the First North African Network for Primary Immunodeficiencies

March 31, 2017

CSL Behring Sponsors the First Network of its Kind on the African Continent LIVINGSTONE, Zambia, March 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Global biotherapeutics leader CSL Behring today announced its commitment to sponsor the Jeffrey Modell North African Network, which will establish a diagnostic and research center in Northern Africa, making it the first enterprise dedicated to helping primary […]

Zimbabwe Helps Drought-stricken Farmers Grow More Maize

March 31, 2017

HARARE, ZIMBABWE � In Zimbabwe, a tractor loaded with tobacco arrives at an auction floor in Harare driven by farmers from Hurungwe area, about 300 kilometers north of the capital. One of them is Felix Tarutsvira.

“I prefer [to sell] tobacco because when we compare prices, maize [corn] prices are lower than tobacco’s,” Tarutsvira said. “So as farmers want money quickly, they tend to grow tobacco.”

But maize remains the country’s staple crop and, in an effort to recover from drought-induced food shortages, the government is encouraging farmers to grow more of it.

One strategy has been pegging the buying price of maize at $390 per ton, among the highest prices in the world. But the government rarely pays farmers in a timely manner, said Paul Zacharia, executive director of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union.

“By default many, many farmers would be producing maize,” he said. “But if … tobacco gives you three-four times over what maize is giving you, go for that which gives you money. Out of the proceeds of that high-value crop you buy grain, feed your family.”

Zacharia points out Zimbabwe could use the profit from tobacco crops to import maize that is more affordable.

“Even as a nation, we could put high-value crops in our fields, make the money that you require, import the grain. It [is] much, much cheaper than the current $390 that we buy it locally,” he said.

However, that approach can leave the country vulnerable in times of crisis.

The El-Nino-induced drought in 2015 and 2016 left Zimbabwe with serious food shortages. The government could not afford to import grain on short notice and ended up relying on aid agencies. An estimated four million Zimbabweans currently rely on food handouts from international organizations until this year’s harvest starts in April, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Ahead of the 2016-2017 planting season, the government launched the “Targeted Command Agriculture” policy. The goal is ensuring food self-sufficiency. The government gave participating farmers maize seeds and supplies.

In return, the farmers will give the government five tons of maize per hectare at harvest time. The farmers keep the rest of the yield for themselves.

So far, the rains have been good this year, and Zimbabwe’s minister of agriculture, Joseph Made, said that, thanks to the initiative, the country is on track to harvest enough maize for local consumption � as much as two million tons.

Bishow Parajuli, the U.N. resident coordinator in Zimbabwe, says recovery is under way.

“[In] Zimbabwe, we were facing lots of challenges when the drought came in,” said Parajuli. “But the proactiveness of the government and the strong partnership we did have addressed all issues of famine and hunger. Of course, there is food insecurity, malnutrition issues, and that is what we are working on at the moment.”

Next month, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society will gather to figure out other incentives for farmers to plant maize crops in the hopes of easing the country’s perennial food shortages.

Source: Voice of America

Disabled Women Confront, Overcome Stigma in Burkina Faso

March 31, 2017

GARANGO, BURKINA FASO � Sitting under the shade of a tree, a group of women drink traditional beer to escape the searing 40-degree-Celsius heat. Perched on a massive tricycle, one woman passes a wooden bowl full of beer to her neighbor, whose eyes are closed. The 30 women gathered in this town of central Burkina Faso are all blind, paralyzed or suffer from epilepsy.

I used to crawl on all fours, dragging myself on the ground to get to school, said Ela Bonkoungou, who since contracting meningitis at age 5 has been paralyzed in both legs.

More than 1 in 10 are disabled

Disabled people make up more than 10 percent of the population in Burkina Faso, and are more likely to live in poverty and struggle to find jobs, according to Light for the World, an international disability and development charity.

Rights activists say the situation is worse for disabled women, who face additional stigma, even from their families.

But change is afoot.

In 2010, a group of 70 disabled women started the town’s first union for disabled women, with the help of a local community center.

The women meet several times a month at the Garango center to discuss anything from jobs to their children’s education.

The union, with help from Light for the World, aims to help disabled people gain access to education, jobs, and health and social services, an approach developed by the World Health Organization, UNESCO and the International Labor Organization, and known as community-based rehabilitation.

Gaining independence

In the center’s courtyard, wooden tables showcase basketwork, bright wrap skirts, bronze statuettes and produce such as tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.

We sell the items to visitors, which gives us money to pay for rice and millet at home, said Bonkoungou, the association’s secretary, sitting proudly on a massive metal tricycle.

Thanks to a local Catholic mission, she and other paralyzed women from the association have received free tricycles, which allow them to move freely on the region’s sandy roads.

The tricycles normally cost 150,000 CFA francs ($250) each, almost four times the average monthly income per capita as estimated by the World Bank.

But there are still domestic tasks we cannot do, like fetching water from the well, Bonkoungou added, with other women in the group nodding behind her. As disabled women, we face more problems than men. Here in Garango, all our husbands have taken a second able-bodied wife, to do what we can’t.

Micro-credit system

To become more economically stable and independent, the women in the committee have created their own micro-credit system.

Each member pays 3,000 CFA francs ($5) when joining the committee, plus an annual subscription of 1,000 CFA francs ($1.50).

The management committee designates the women most in need, who can benefit from a loan of up to 25,000 CFA francs ($40), while all members receive training on running their own business.

As long as we are together, we can forget about our disability, Bonkoungou said.

Independent women

The disabled women hope the initiative can help them fight rampant stigma.

According to Gaston Gansame, supervisor of the Garango center, disabled women in Burkina Faso have to cope with prejudice on a daily basis.

Many Burkinabe think God created the women’s disability, he said. Some think the women aren’t even able to procreate.

Salamatou Banse, another woman affectionately nicknamed the old lady by the rest of the group, cheerfully waves her crutch.

Before this initiative we were confined to our homes. We couldn’t go out, she said.

But perceptions of disability are changing in Garango, Gansame said.

The meetings and trainings, as well as home visits we make to families with disabled members, are helping portray them as able and independent women, he added.

Feeling the change

Light for the World estimates it has provided support to more than 6,000 disabled women in Garango and the rest of the country.

Elie Bagbila, the charity’s representative for Burkina Faso, said helping disabled women, and disabled children, who are often left out of education systems, helps ensure that every single Burkinabe can be an actor in their country’s development.

The women say they can feel the change.

Before, we were ugly. Now we have become pretty, Banse said.

Source: Voice of America

Government Communications on postponement of Ahmed “Kathy” Kathrada memorial service

March 31, 2017

Postponement of the official memorial service of the late Mr Ahmed Kathy KathradaThe official memorial service of the late Mr Ahmed Kathy Kathrada has been postponed until further notice.The memorial service was scheduled to take place on Saturday, 1 A…