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press release By The Independent

Kampala — The Chairperson of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health and Minister of State Health in the Republic of Uganda Sarah Opendi has said that the region is committed to eliminate HIV/AIDs and preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.

Opendi urged stakeholders to work diligently to build consensus in the health sector in order to build the health of the EAC population. Opendi was speaking during the official opening of the 1st EAC Roundtable on investing in Health Infrastructure, systems, services and research for the accelerated attainment of Universal Health coverage and sustainable development at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, in Kampala, Uganda.

The Minister underscored the importance of investing in health, which is the most direct route of creating wealthy nations.

"Poor health hinders our ability to realize national and global socio-economic aspiration set out in the national development plans, Common Market Protocol, the EAC vision 2050 and SDGs," she said.

She said the roundtable comes at time when the region was still facing major challenges of emerging and re-emerging diseases which calls for increased investment in human financial and technological resources by various stakeholders

"It is my sincere hope that this roundtable dialogue shall come up with concrete proposals and build consensus on priority health infrastructure systems, services and research investments with the highest potential to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage and the health related sustainable development goals," said Opendi.

She disclosed that the EAC Partner States were currently expanding the regions capacity to deliver high quality specialized health services through EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for higher medical education and research with the support from the African Development Bank.

On his part, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, underscored the importance of regional cooperation in health within the context of EAC Common Market Protocol to be buttressed on harnessing the comparative advantage of all stakeholders including Public, Private and Civil Society.

"Through collaborative actions the region will re position health as a key driver of economic growth and contribute to the attainment of the other pillars of regional integration," said Bazivamo.

The Deputy Secretary General informed stakeholders at the roundtable that the region had made significant progress in many areas including expanding the capacity for delivery of high quality health services, training and research with the support of development Partners such as AfDB who financed the regional Centres of Excellence to facilitate access to specialized health care and cross border health services.

Bazivamo called upon the stakeholders to use roundtable discussions to consolidate regional partnership in order to strengthen the health sector based on priorities identified by the region.

The 1st EAC Roundtable on investing in Health Infrastructure, system, services and research for the accelerated attainment of Universal Health coverage and sustainable development is being attended by among others, all the Ministers in charge of Health from the EAC Partner States, Permanent /Principal Secretaries and Senior Officials from government institutions and agencies.

The Joint Retreat is aimed at giving impetus to infrastructure and health development by way of harnessing political support for regional flagship projects, funding commitments, and Public-Private Partnerships arrangements.



Photo: New Vision/File

Babies born with HIV/AIDS and their mothers at a Health Centre in Kalungu district (file photo)

analysis By Henry Zakumumpa, Makerere University

Over the last 15 years, there's been a rapid increase in the number of patients receiving HIV treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. This has largely depended on foreign aid, particularly from global aid organisations such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The Global Fund.

Millions of lives have been saved and the quality of life of those living with HIV has been improved dramatically.

In recent years there have been persistent reports of a decline in the amount of international assistance that governments are getting for HIV treatment. This has happened at the same time as there's been a dramatic increase in the number of people who need HIV treatment. The numbers spiked significantly after the World Health Organisation announced in 2015 that everyone diagnosed with HIV should start treatment immediately.

African countries have become dependent on foreign aid to meet the escalating demand for HIV treatment. In Uganda for example, foreign aid accounts for 85% of the national HIV response.

This is a dangerous place to be. Changes in the governments of donor countries can affect foreign aid commitments. And countries receiving aid are susceptible to donors using aid as a political tool. In 2015 for example, donor aid to Uganda was temporarily halted after an anti-gay law was passed in the country.

What's become increasingly clear is that there's funding gap for the scale-up of antiretroviral treatment as well as service delivery. The gap is for the ongoing services that people living with HIV need, like having their viral loads tested regularly or getting multivitamins to build their immune systems.

In our research we looked at how Uganda is attempting to plug this gap with a range of innovative approaches involving different donors and for different aspects of HIV treatment.

We found that the initiatives have resulted in multiple funding streams, which in turn has increased access to the support services that people on ARVs need.

What's not covered

In Uganda there are about 1.7 million people living with HIV. More than 750 000 of them are on antiretroviral treatment.

As part of its national HIV and AIDS strategic plan the country has committed to enrol 80% of the people living with HIV on antiretroviral treatment by 2020. Although the government has increased its domestic spending on HIV in recent years, large international funders still finance vital components of the HIV programme such as HIV drugs.

But a large part of the drive requires scaling up services and there are a number of critical areas that aren't covered. This includes, for example:

  • Medication that is administered to HIV patients for the numerous opportunistic infections they can get.
  • Buying food for patients to make sure they don't take their medication on empty stomachs.
  • Paying for multivitamins and the additional nutrition support patients need to ensure they stay healthy.
  • Funding community HIV outreach activities in all districts of Uganda without exception.

We looked at close to 200 health facilities across Uganda that provided emergency roll-out of HIV treatment between 2004 and 2009 to see how they coped.

Our study shows that these gaps were funded by private individuals and foundations.

How funding gap is being closed

In the Masaka region of South Western Uganda the majority of HIV clinics are funded by the California-based African Health Care Foundation. But several health facilities didn't solely depend on foreign aid. To cover their costs they introduced innovative funding strategies.

Some introduced 'VIP' clinics where higher-paying patients were treated after normal working hours. They paid what was called 'Robin Hood' pricing because the extra money was used to support the costs of poorer patients.

Some clinics had also developed a special 'HIV' medical insurance scheme to help patients manage costs because these can fluctuate with HIV. By expanding private insurance coverage clinics could potentially reduce the outpatient burden in public facilities by redistributing some of the patient loads.

Several public hospitals behaved like NGOs to source funding, and had a team of grant writers on board.

Most health facilities in our survey no longer depended solely on PEPFAR and The Global Fund. They had managed to attract at least two additional funders, with many having as many as five donors.

Reducing dependency on donors

Governments in Africa should all be moving closer to fulfilling the Abuja Declaration which commits them to spending 15% of their annual budgets on the health sector. At the moment the average is no more than 5%. This would reduce the current very high levels of dependency on foreign aid.

And there are other alternatives that should be explored. In Zimbabwe, for example, HIV services are funded by a 2% levy on beer and soft drinks. Uganda has a similar initiative. But it hasn't been implemented yet even though it's been in the pipeline since 2014.

On top of this, as our study shows, it's also possible to find local alternative mechanisms to improve access to HIV services.

By John Okot

Gulu, Uganda — Francis Okello wanted to kill himself after he was blinded at the age of 12 by an unexploded bomb while digging in his family garden in northern Uganda - until he made friends with a dog.

"I would have nightmares," said Okello, who lives in an area that has been scarred by two decades of conflict between Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and Ugandan forces.

"Life became worthless because I was stigmatised."

Hope flickered when Okello bonded with a dog called Tiger at his boarding school, where he felt ashamed of having to wake people up to guide him to the toilet at night.

"I hated burdening people for help," the 29-year-old father of two told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"I got close to Tiger who would help me walk to the toilet."

The value of therapy animals for mental health problems is well documented in the West but is rare in East Africa, where many people fear dogs as they are usually kept as guards.

Okello later trained as a community psychologist and set up the Comfort Dog Project in 2015, which has helped heal more than 300 people who have been traumatised by the rebellion, marked by the kidnapping of children for use as fighters and sex slaves.

Uganda's health ministry estimates that seven out of 10 people in northern Uganda are traumatised by the war in which tens of thousands were killed and 2 million were uprooted from their homes. The LRA was ejected from the area in 2005.

Filda Akumu, 35, whose family was massacred by LRA rebels, battled with trauma after escaping rebel captivity.

"When I witnessed my father and my two brothers being hacked to death, I never thought I would heal again - until now," said Akumu, who also volunteers at the project.

Thousands of former abductees - like Akumu - suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and suicidal thoughts, making it hard to rebuild their lives, experts say.

The presence of dogs can provide comfort to people with mental health problems and distract them from upsetting thoughts, research shows.

Okello gets many of his dogs from The Big Fix, northern Uganda's only veterinary hospital.

"I mainly use stray dogs because they face tough conditions," Okello said.

"When these dogs bond with our patients, they form a companionship that heals both parties."

(Reporting by John Okot. Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit to see more stories.)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Choral group - Harare MUMC Choir (Vabvuwi), formerly Harare West MUMC Choir - can rightly claim to have over the years contributed to the growth of gospel music in Zimbabwe.

More than 20 years after hitting the airwaves, the all-male group continues to draw admiration every time they take to the stage.

Having remained intact over the years, it is with a sense of satisfaction that the group, led by John Kawadza and his committee, is proud of having met their main objectives. Vabvuwi, a Shona word, is derived from the noun "kubvuwa", loosely translated to the spread of God's word.

The sense of achievement comes with the idea that the group has not only spread the word through their husky but captivating vocals but the large number of preachers who are or were members of the group.

With vocals are accompanied by the distinctive drum-beat and shakers (ngoma nehosho), Harare West, who recently released their 19th album, remain confident that they are here to stay.

In an interview, spokesperson and marketing leader Rerutsai Mujeka said the 32-member group has grown to be a revelation. He said the group was elated that they have been realising the prime objectives of their formation.

"We have grown over the years and with 32 members we are fairly a very large group," he said.

The group has had its ups and downs with about seven members dying over the years. Mujeka believes one of the group's strengths is the plethora of musicians who compose their songs while sticking to hymns from the church.

"Most of our songs are from the United Methodist Church hymn book with a few being composed by mostly our lead singers who are plenty within the group," he said.

The members come from the different circuits within Harare Central and Harare West districts of the Zimbabwe West Annual Conference.

"We identify talent sometimes members apply to join the group then you will be put under probation for a period to see one's commitment," Mujeka said.

Driven by the objective of spreading the gospel mainly through music, the Harare MUMC (Vabvuwi) has indeed raised the flag of the church high.

"Our latest album Tiri Pano Baba is our 19th album and our major strength respect between the founding members and those who have joined the group over the years.

"We interact very well as one family and I can safely say we are inseparable, that is the young members and the old guard who are the founding fathers of the group," he said.

The group has already broken tradition of performing at church to serenade people at parties, business gatherings, memorial services, funerals, national events among others across Zimbabwe.

"We have achieved quite a lot over the years after we pioneered recording this type of music way back in 1995 and we have been coming out with popular tracks. We are proud that we have inspired other groups to start recording their own music," he said.

The group, which recently bought a bus to use on the road believes the support they continue to receive from their followers has been tremendous.

"We want to thank them all for the support they have continued to give us through invitations, buying and listening to our music. We promise to continue producing more music for them."

Pop artiste Bankole Wellington (aka Banky W), has announced the rebranding of his record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.).

E.M.E. was the starting record label for popular names in the music industry including Wizkid, Skales and Niyola.

He said the E.M. E is now a full-fledged Media Agency will focus on creative Marketing, Advertising, PR, Brand Events/Activation's, and a talent management firm.

The singer on Tuesday shared the news in a two - part instagram post via his account @bankywellington, where he recounted the history of the label and the decision to redefine it.

After nine years of operation in Nigeria's music industry, the singer and actor said it became necessary to shut down the label in January 2017, due to the restructuring.

According to him, E.M.E.'s business venture will now be marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, shooting of television commercials and documentaries.

He also added that the agency is not restricted to music artists, but will also cater for creative people in other areas such as sports, radio and television; and acting.

Banky W named his wife Adesua Etomi, DJ Xclusive, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Host of the BBNaija 2018 'Double Wahala' TV show and Tolu 'Toolz' Oniru as the first set of clients of the rebranded company.

He wrote: "We have played our little part in helping discover/boost the careers of a number of talents in the music business (some of your favourite artists, producers and engineers).

"In January, 2017, after nine years of being in the Nigerian music industry, we decided it was time to quietly close the record label arm of our business.

"Essentially, we have restricted our business and instead of operating just as a record label, we have expanded and changed our focus a bit.

"This switch in focus has been amazing and fulfilling behind the scenes, we have been able to impact the launching and marketing of a number of brands and companies the way we did artists.

"But even in the talent management side, we are no longer restricted to working with just music artists.

"We still work with musicians, but also work with On Air Personalities, actors, and evaluating sports management as well."

E.M.E. was founded by Banky W and his best friend, Tunde Demuren in 2002 while they were at the university in New York.

Wizkid reportedly parted ways with EME in February 2013, to start his own label 'Starboy'.

Skales also moved on from E.M.E. following the expiration of his contract.

The label was best known for its 2013 compilation album 'Empire Mates State of Mind'.


By Jayne Augoye

Nigerian pop star, David Adeleke aka Davido, has announced that his hit songs "If" and "Fall" have gone diamond and platinum in sales respectively.

An album or track goes platinum once it has hit a certain number of sales.

The exact number of album sales required to go platinum varies from country to country, depending on population.

In the United States, platinum certification means that an album has sold 1 million copies or that a single has sold 2 million copies.

Diamond means a U.S. sale of more than 10 million units for a single title.

Platinum on the other hand means a single has sold 2 million copies.

Davido shared the news on his Instagram page on Wednesday and also announced that his awards and plaques have arrived.

The singer also shared a photo of himself at the Columbia Records office with his awards and plaques.

'IF' Is officially Diamond and 'FALL' is officially Platinum in sales!!! My 🏆's finallly came in as well! GOD IS REAL!! 😇😇😇! Thank you Guys for making this happen!! ❤️🌎 just gettin started!!! Bless to my team @efe_one @asaasika @missamadi @sirbanko @lt_ddon⚡️

A post shared by Davido Adeleke (@davidoofficial) on Feb 20, 2018 at 7:53am PST

If, which is undoubtedly one of Davido's biggest hits, was produced by Tekno and released in February 2017. The Afro pop superstar dropped four chart topping singles namely "If", "Fall", "Fia" and "Like Dat" in 2017. The songs have remained fan favourites ever since.

By Adejumo Kabir

The Muslim Students' Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has decried the alleged inaction of the federal government on the nationwide strike of non-teaching staff of universities.

The Non-Academic Staff Union, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and National Association of Academic Technologists, cooperating under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee, JAC, have been on strike since the beginning of December.‎

This was after the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, failed to resolve their grievances over the sharing ratio of N23 billion released by the federal government to the universities as academic earned allowances.

The JAC had written Mr. Adamu a week before they embarked on the strike on December 4, warning of industrial action over the 89:11 ratio for sharing the allowances in favour of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

But the minister only acknowledged their letter and called them for a meeting mid-December, after the strike had begun.

In a statement by its president, Saheed Ashafa, on Thursday, the MSSN accused government of not paying attention to the striking workers.

"The presidency is not giving priority to the strike action and it is sending a bad perception about this administration," said the MSSN.

"In the first place, the strike is avoidable and needless. It is unpalatable to the hearing that a country like Nigeria still pays low attention to workers' welfare.

"The poor attention and undue silence of the Federal Government over the ongoing strike embarked upon by members of NASU, SSANU and NAAT are condemnable and highly demoralizing.

"It is understandable that children of majority of those leading the education agencies and ministries that should engage the striking workers are studying abroad, but that should not mean that the sons and daughters of the Nigerian masses should be made to suffer for developing interest in education"

"As we speak, some of our universities smell and stink, others have their libraries, health centres, powerhouses and other strategic facilities shut down. Students now live on university campuses like they are in the jungle.

"This is pathetic and must be urgently addressed. We will not get the best from our workers if we continue to treat them like slaves; their commitment to work will be vacuous. Apart from having meetings with the striking workers, the generality of Nigerians deserves to know what the plans of the FG are in resolving this crisis and preventing subsequent ones."

The MSSN, however, appealed to the workers to consider the plight of the students caught in the industrial dispute.

"It appears that the workers are fighting for their rights, but they should always remember that the students affected are their children. We plead with them not to allow the agitation for their rights to affect the whole essence of education in the country."

The strike has led to disruption of vital services, such as library, laboratory, healthcare, water and electricity supplies, normally provided by the JAC members in Nigerian universities.

By Emmanuel Ande

Yola — The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led 10-man National Executive Council (NEC) ad hoc committee on herdsmen and farmers' clashes says cattle ranches remain the best option for promotion of healthy animals and herders' children through the nomadic education scheme.

During a sitting of a sub-committee headed by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State yesterday in Yola, the Adamawa capita, the chairman said the Federal Government holds the states a responsibility to assist them in developing grazing reserves to boost animal production in the country.

Cases of cattle rustling notwithstanding, the governor held that was not enough to warrant the senseless killings in parts of the federation.Umahi said: " We condemn in totality the killings and cattle rustling. Those taking delight in these criminal activities should desist forthwith before the full wrath of the law comes against them."

He noted that as part of measures to tackle the crisis, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association had advocated for proper identification of all herdsmen and their cattle in the state to check infiltration and avoid future occurrence of the conflicts, as according to him, it had been alleged that the killer herdsmen were mainly foreigners.

The governor went on: " We noted that Adamawa has 31 grazing reserves covering 105, 646 hectares of land. Some of the gazetted ones the state government said have been encroached upon.

"We recommend that the state and federal governments to group the herdsmen into these gazetted reserves, using the anchor borrower scheme to develop them for better yield as well as make available water, grass, schools, veterinary clinics and milk factories.

Umahi feared that the shortage of land due to climate change could stir another round of crises if cattle are not ranched " We have agreed that the killings and hostilities must stop. We have set up a committee on peace, reconciliation and development of these grazing reserves," he added. He cautioned security agents against partisanship during conflicts, noting that one of their major constitutional duties was to protect all Nigerians.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, said that the examination mode for blind candidates for the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) was likely to be conducted by dictation, as was done in 2017.

Fabian Benjamin, Head, Media and Information, JAMB, gave the hint in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.

Mr. Benjamin was speaking against the backdrop of calls by some blind candidates in Lagos, seeking to know if they would be using the Braille Note Apex for the fast approaching all Computer-Based Test (CBT), scheduled for between March 9 and March 17.

According to him, all blind candidates will be writing the 2018 UTME through the dictation mode, as was the case in 2017.

"Yes, the candidates would be taking this year's examination through the dictation mode.

"This dictation would be carried out by the 'Equal Opportunity Group', under the supervision of Prof. Peter Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission.

"The board is mindful of needs of the Nigerian child and, therefore, will stop at nothing in ensuring that everyone is carried along and given equal opportunity to succeed."

Meanwhile, Mr. Benjamin has urged all candidates writing the UTME Mock examination slated for February 26, to start printing their examination details, as notices had already been sent to their respective e-mail addresses.

According to him, the board has concluded all arrangements for a hitch-free conduct of the examination nationwide.

He said that candidates were being advised to adhere strictly to the directives issued to them, in connection with the conduct of the examination.

Mr. Benjamin urged candidates to ensure they arrived at their respective examination centres early.

He further said that lateness, use of mobile phones, wrist watches, blue-tooth devices, smart lenses, microphones, ear pieces, smart rings, ink pen readers and other electronic devices, would not be allowed.

About 245,753 of the 1,652,795 candidates, who registered for the examination, are expected to write the mock test.

By Pius Rugonzibwa

Mwanza — THE government plans introducing special authority to oversee tangible investments in all beach areas countrywide.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said here yesterday that the envisaged body will ensure that regions with beaches use them to attract tourists for forex earnings and economic gains. "I have already instructed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to start preparations to establish this important authority to oversee investments and sustainable development of our beaches and rivers for tourism purposes," said the Premier.

Addressing civil servants of Nyamagana and Ilemela municipalities, Mr Majaliwa challenged employees in the public sector to work hard to help the government to achieve its goal to bring development to the people.

Unlike other districts where the premier was compelled to institute disciplinary measures against public servants over misbehaviours and indiscipline, scandal free Nyamagana and Ilemela municipal officers were commended for doing their jobs well. Mr Majaliwa said Mwanza City still had a long way to go to accomplish the government's ambitious programmes, citing the state backed industrialisation drive and land formalisation, among others. He ordered formation of land registries in every municipality to guarantee availability of reliable statistics and boost revenue collection.

The PM reminded employees to observe the principle of confidentiality in work places by keeping safely all secret government documents as well as observing protocols in their daily operations to avoid unnecessary quarrels. He directed that allocations of funds for departmental expenditures be open for all the staff to know and where needed to make close follow up on their expenditures. While the government insists on civil servants to account for their conduct, the premier challenged heads of sections and departments respectfully andhumbly maintain harmony and good industrial relationship.

"It doesn't matter how qualified you are and how many degrees you posses, remain humble and respect your subordinates to realise the anticipated performance, otherwise your degrees will yield negative impact," he said. He said massive improvements have been introduced, assuring that employees will be paid all their dues on time to avoid accumulating salary arrears and other allowances.

The Prime Minister advised staff seeking to go for further studies to first consult their employers before even embarking on admission procedures from respective colleges. And soon as the employer endorses the employee to go for further studies, all the required costs, including tuition fee, research and other related costs should be paid as long as all the terms and conditions have been observed.

"So, this should be well understood. We will meet all the involved costs of your studies based on stipulated procedures. But, all those acting against the procedure will be dismissed from duty for absconding without obtaining permission," he stressed.

Earlier, the two district commissioners for Ilemela and Nyamagana presented their reports to the premier, saying they had recorded some impressive achievements in implementing the election manifesto.

Nyamagana Member of Parliament Stanslaus Mabula decried acute shortage of manpower especially in health and education sectors, which lack 500 and 200 professionals, respectively

By Tiroyaone Ramooki

Gaborone — UNWTO programme manager for Botswana, Ms Vanessa Satur says tourism has experienced continued expansion and diversification to become one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world.

Speaking during the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) workshop in Gaborone on Tuesday, Ms Satur said international tourist arrivals grew by 7 per cent in 2017 to reach a total of 1 322 million whilst in 2016 it generated revenues worldwide of US$1 220 billion.

She further said Botswana received nearly two million tourist in 2016, and that the government was keen to further develop the tourism sector after realising its importance to the economy.

Ms Satur furthermore said countries needed a thorough understanding of their tourism sector and its role in the economy in order for them to maintain an impressive tourism development sector in both a sustainable and competitive manner.

"This can only be achieved through a reliable and accurate system of tourism information," she remarked.

She said information was usually limited to a collection of tourism statistics which measured the flows of foreign travellers to a country combined with hotel occupancy rates. She also said information was provided through visitor surveys and estimates of tourist expenditures based on a balance of payments data.

"Many countries are now finding a need for more accurate information on types of visitors, the activities they engage in, and their consumption of goods and services," Ms Satur said.

She added that the satelite account should be seen as a means to understand tourism as a basic part of an economy, and to describe it as an activity that has important impacts on other activities and sectors.

"A TSA based on a robust system of tourism statistics can become a reliable instrument to monitor and to position public policies on tourism development while serving as a powerful lobbying tool for national tourism administrations to support the cause of tourism," she said.

For his part, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Mr Jimmy Opelo said TSA was the standard statistical framework developed by the World Tourism Organisation for measuring the economic contribution of tourism to the economy which was consistent with the way other economic sectors were measured.

He said the TSA for 2016 was the third for Botswana after the experimental one in 2006/7 and the second one in 2009.

"The government of Botswana has supported the work of collecting and analysing tourism statistics with a view to improving decision making on strategies and policies for the development of tourism in the country," he said.

Mr Opelo further said tourism has been identified as an important sector in the economy, providing jobs, local incomes and making contributions to government revenues.

"Tourism is based on personal service and it is therefore employment intensive. It is also a major foreign exchange and tax earner which spreads wealth and builds skills," Mr Opelo said.

He further said the key results for the 2016 TSA indicated an improvement on the performance of the sector in comparison with the 2009 results with internal tourism expenditure totaling P14.5 billion, an increase from P5.8 billion in 2009.

Source : BOPA

By Kingsley Jeremiah and Juliet Akoje

Abuja — At a time governors of the Niger Delta region, ministers and other stakeholders are raising concern over development in the oil region, the House of Representatives yesterday okayed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) N364.5 billion budget.

Speaking at the ongoing Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the stakeholders said that there was need for urgent action to make communities in the region benefit directly from the volume of economic activities and investment going on in the area.

Governor of Cross Rivers State, Prof. Ben Ayade, said that the underlying issues of conflict in the region have not been properly tackled.

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson said there was need for massive industrialisation of the region.

He disclosed that collaborative efforts launched by the state in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to address economic challenges in the region was yielding results.

Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa insisted that the imperativeness of peace building as a catalyst for economic growth in the region was key in the nation's development.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who insisted that the region must return to agriculture, noted that transparency and accountability were needed to ensure that communities in the region are beneficial of investment in the area.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday approved the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) N364.5 billion budget.

Of the amount, the sum of N17, 797, 000, 000.00 is budgeted for personnel costs, N12, 459, 000,000 is for overhead costs, N4,402,000,000 is for Internal Capital Expenditure.

By Beaven Tapureta

Sixteen-year-old Anesu Mukombiwa is one of the few young writers who have managed to get published whilst still at school.

Mukombiwa's courage and talent came to be known in 2014 when she, as a thirteen year old, published her debut teenage novel titled "Genetic Twists" (Darling Kind Publishing). Bookshelf caught up with the Dominican Convent School student to find out what she has been up to.

"Readers can expect truly great things, with this new book of mine coming up. I know it will be a game changer in the Zimbabwean publishing world. Nobody has written something like this, not even my publisher who is also a great visionary writer. Trust me, this will be epic. I just hope with school and all, I will manage to get it right as I imagine it," she said.

Although she could not reveal the title of her new book, the small details she confidently gave about it arouse some curiosity. The work in progress is a sci-fiction novel she described as "much bigger, much detailed to a greater proportion, something very ambitious and unique".

Although Mukombiwa can now shine for having published "Genetic Twists" as a student, she had to fight against certain odds normally faced by students who have a dream to be great writers.

"It is definitely hard being a young writer. Most people don't take you seriously and you wish for more support, especially from schools," said Mukombiwa.

The difficulties faced by student writers in Zimbabwe include lack of enough technical advice and platforms to showcase writing talent. Online publishing has played a part in encouraging young writers but it is limited in granting them an opportunity to share their writings with other students in disadvantaged areas to whom reading the physical book written by a fellow student is an awesome experience.

Mukombiwa, who has been a student at Dominican Convent from primary and is now doing lower six at the same school, and others of her age, fear that they may not be 'welcomed' out there as young writers once they leave school.

It is true that at school the young writers have supportive peers and teachers with whom they can share their writings and get honest criticism. However, the young writers might not yet be aware of local writers' organizations and publishers there to cater for young writers' needs.

"I really encourage schools where young writers learn at to really support them in many ways. It's sad some schools don't do this and many young writers lose faith or hope in their writings. We need to be motivated, we need support," Mukombiwa said.

Her plea for support also brings back memories of the long gone exciting reading moments when The Standard, a local newspaper, in partnership with Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust used to run the Cover to Cover Story Writing Competition for schools and published a magazine showcasing stories by students from various schools. Admittedly, projects for young writers in schools offer invaluable stepping stones.

"Genetic Twists" confirms the truth stated in the 2013 issue of Cover to Cover magazine by Culture Fund executive director Farai Mpfunya that "literature by children, from a children's point of view, offers us insight into their hopes, anxieties and aspirations".

In this fast-paced story, young Mukombiwa displays the power of her creative imagination as she shows through scene by unexpected scene the unfair realities which life presents to the young characters.

In a society where people are sharply divided into two social groups, the poor and the rich, Greta, the thirteen year old main character, refuses to be downtrodden and together with her young brother, she suffers for it.

Domestic violence robs the two young characters of their loving "mother". Tension rises when the two escape from home to embark on a journey to find their rightful father after discovering in a diary that they had been adopted.

If truth be told, the story in "Genetic Twists" reflects the children's natural desire to grow up in a peaceful home which then nurtures a sense of direction in their lives. There is no serenity for the young characters in Mukombiwa's novel who suddenly find themselves lonely in a dark world in which they keep running but to a dead end.

To other young writers, Mukombiwa says, "Believe in yourself and your dreams. Never give up on who you want to be in life, write, write, and write. It is very important to have your work published, be known out there."

book listing

This comprehensive history traces the evolution of modern Mozambique, from its early modern origins in the Indian Ocean trading system and the Portuguese maritime empire to the fifteen-year civil war that followed independence and its continued after effects.

Though peace was achieved in 1992 through international mediation, Mozambique's remarkable recovery has shown signs of stalling.

Malyn Newitt explores the historical roots of Mozambican disunity and hampered development, beginning with the divisive effects of the slave trade, the drawing of colonial frontiers in the 1890s and the lasting particularities of the provinces.

Following the nationalist guerrillas' victory against the Portuguese in 1975, these regional divisions resurfaced in a civil war pitting the south against the north and centre. The settlement of the early 1990s is now under threat from a revived insurgency, and the ghosts of the past remain.

This book seeks to distil this complex history, and to understand why, twenty-five years after the Peace Accord, Mozambicans still remain among the poorest people in the world.


Author:      Malyn Newitt

Publisher:  Jonathan Ball, Johannesburg


Malyn Newitt was Deputy Vice Chancellor of Exeter University and first holder of the Charles Boxer Chair at King's College London. He is author of more than twenty books on Portugal and Portuguese colonial history including Portugal in Africa: The Last Hundred Years (1981), A History of Mozambique (1994), and Emigration and the Sea (2015). He retired in 2005.

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PUB DATE: 15 January 2018
ISBN: 9781868428526
e-ISBN: 9781868428533
SIZE: TPB (216x138mm portrait)

Exclusive Books on Saturday reiterated its support for Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi's book The Land is Ours following a complaint by EFF leader, Julius Malema, on Twitter.

"Exclusive books in Hydepark did not have this book on display because they want to suppress our progressive stories, they only make it available on request. Let's shame them by making it the best seller. We bought 10 copies because we support black excellence," Malema tweeted on Friday evening.

Responding to this in a statement released on Saturday, Exclusive Books CEO, Benjamin Trisk, said: "We have supported Adv Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and his book The Land is Ours from the start, taking 50% of the stock that his publisher invoiced out on the book's initial sales, and placing a large re-order of the book late last week.

"Moreover, we wholeheartedly endorse a narrative that finally tells the story of many unheralded black lawyers."

Trisk said he himself would be involved in the planned second volume of Ngcukaitobi's work, because of his family's history and connection with former ANC secretary general Duma Nokwe.

"The stories around the remarkable African leaders that Adv Ngcukaitobi tells need to be told again and again, and amplified," said Trisk.

"The author and his publisher can count on our continuing support."

On why the books weren't on display in his company's Hyde Park branch, which Malema highlighted in his tweet, Trisk said: "The books were on display behind the counter, which is a common practice of ours when a title starts selling well.

"The customer purchased the last such copy on display, then enquired about buying more copies. Our bookseller checked our receiving area, where she found new stock was waiting to be received. She unboxed that stock and sold it to the customer.

"Most of our stores will have new stock of the book, which has sold out in nearly all of them, by mid-next week."


By Stanley Akpunonu

A recent study has shown how substandard drug used to stop post partum haemorrhage (PPH) fuels maternal deaths in Nigeria. Earlier studies had identified PPH as the leading cause of maternal mortality across the country.

To address this menace, the National Agency for Food Drug Administration (NAFDAC) with the support from United States Pharmacopeia (USP), two years ago, conducted a post market surveillance of some maternal and child health products in the country. The study revealed a failure rate of over 70 per cent of the oxytocin injection samples analysed.

Oxytocin injection is used to begin or improve contractions during labour. Oxytocin also is used to reduce bleeding after childbirth.

Sequel to the findings, the USP funded some researchers at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to study if there is any correlation between the laboratory results of market sample and clinical experiences of healthcare providers in the treatment of postpartum haemorrhage using Oxytocin in Lagos.

Meanwhile, according to World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes as 99 per cent of deaths occur in low income countries and Nigeria accounts for 19 per cent of global maternal deaths because a high percentage of women deliver at home or outside health facility without access to obstetric care or a skilled birth attendant.

In line with the dissemination of the findings, different key players gathered Tuesday in Laos to discuss the results of the findings.

Commissioner of Health Lagos state, Dr. Jide Idris, said it is one thing to identify a problem and it is one thing to be able to develop strategy and actually implement that strategy.

Idris who was represented by Director of Pharmaceutical Services Ministry of Health Lagos State, Dr. Moyosore Adejumo highlighted that most of the things that have been said are known to the stakeholders.

He added: "Many solutions have been proffered and we hope that the implementation will be robust. What we are hoping to do is to make sure the data, findings is in the public space. We hope the implementations would be easier and identify the challenges that mitigate against the maternal mortality health in the country."

Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye commended USP in the step they are taking in ensuring distribution of quality medicines across the nation.

By Sulayman Bah

Photo: Adama Tamba is the women's top scorer

Adama Tambia is the country's women premier league's latest top scorer.

The seasoned goal poacher leapfrogged Mbassey Darboe on the scoring log who 'd led beginning around December.

However, the tables have turned with the Gambia international now headlining the chart.

Tamba returned from France following an unsuccessful trial with Paris Saint Germain's women outfit to send the women's division blazing.

Her ratio per-game is unmatched in the local division after smacking in eighteen (18) goals in just ten games. The statistics, yet to better her over 50-goal feat last term, means she has plundered in 18 of Red Scorpion's combined forty-two goals.

While Adama is a proven goal-getter, she is being trailed by Interior's Mbassey Darboe who is three goals shy of catching up on her.

Tamba's teammate Ola Buwaru sits third on ten goals.

Adama's performances is reflective of Red Scorpion's unbeatable form who tops the 6-team league after subjecting title rivals Interior to their first defeat of the campaign last Saturday which ended 2-0.

In other weekend games, second-from-bottom Armed Forces pounded bottom-placed Future Bi 8-0 who're yet to win in ten matches.

Abuko United also sashayed over Immigration on a 2-1 score.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Drapeau du Cameroun

By Moki Edwin Kindzeka

Political parties in Cameroon have set an ambitious goal ahead of this year’s polls — to put women in at least 30 percent of elected offices.

An all-female orchestra plays as 300 women selected from associations around Cameroon campaign in markets, universities and popular spots in the capital, asking women to register to vote.

Twenty-nine-year-old fish seller Clarisse Kongnyuy says she agreed to register because the women convinced her that with hard work, she might even one day be on the ballot.

“We can be able to do what a man can do, to be given posts that the world thinks that is only for men," she said. "There are women who are mechanics. There are women who are driving Caterpillars and all the like, but at first they thought that that was just the job of a man. The problem is that some of the women are not pushful. They are like sleeping."

Cameroon will be having a series of important elections this year — local, parliamentary and presidential.

Political parties, including the main opposition SDF and the ruling CPDM, have taken public commitments to achieve a U.N.-established benchmark of at least 30 percent female representation. The government has echoed that commitment, calling on parties to put forth an adequate number of female candidates.

The first election of the year is the senatorial, scheduled for March 25.

To meet the gender goal, women would need to win at least 20 of the 70 senatorial seats up for grabs, while President Paul Biya would have to include women among the 30 senators that the constitution calls on him to appoint.

Observers say the odds of success are long, at least in the short term.

Cameroon has 386 mayors. Just 26 are women. In the National Assembly, women occupy one-third of the seats in the lower house, while the upper house is just 20 percent women.

Female members of the ruling CPDM party say women should not to be discouraged.

Senator Julienne Djakaou of Cameroon’s Far North region says many women are not able to participate in decision-making because of traditional misconceptions and early marriage, which derails their education.

She said she did not believe it when men in her community said the Bible prohibits women from participating in politics, and so she went to seek advice from the highest member of the Roman Catholic Church in Cameroon, Cardinal Christian Tumi. She said he told her that politics was for both men and women.

But some male politicians argue women aren't ready and that Cameroon needs to get more women to vote before it can get more women in office.

Women constitute 52 percent of the country’s population. Yet, according to official figures, women account for just 30 percent of the seven million people registered to vote in this year’s polls.

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