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The Action Thread Part Two

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Though the Chernobyl accident took place 33 years ago, the legacy of Chernobyl continues to affect innocent children and families throughout the affected regions.

Since 1986, CCI have delivered over €105million worth of humanitarian aid to children and families who need the most support. However, the needs are still great and continuously change.

Please visit the link below to learn about some of CCI's Programmes and to see where your support can make a life changing difference. Thank you.

#UNChernobylDay

https://www.chernobyl-international.com/medical-programmes/?fbclid=IwAR0mHRUmI7ipXlJZa0SbI7auo-4FXhnmcNFdufNvTQHHzCPzw449Zj4eo5U

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Later this afternoon, on the 33rd Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, CCI founder and activist Adi Roche will speak at Naciones Unidas Headquarters in New York City at a poignant commemoration for Chernobyl victims, ahead of the debut of HBO and Sky’s new ‘Chernobyl’ mini-series.

“Chernobyl” dramatizes the 1986 nuclear accident that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, and brings to life the true story of the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

The Permanent Missions of Belarus, Ukraine and Ireland to the Naciones Unidas, in collaboration with Chernobyl Children International are hosting the event to honour the victims of the disaster and to recognise the cast and crew of the mini-series, which tells the real “behind the scenes” story of the world’s worst nuclear accident.

#UNChernobylDay

https://www.chernobyl-international.com/cci-at-centre-of-united-nations-commemorations-in-new-york-ahead-of-the-debut-of-hbo-and-skys-chernobyl-mini-series/?fbclid=IwAR3cLVw6JtpkoeTqGFU42SaJ4tiC3mfSfiZxcl1Xqaz9UmDbH7qGzO5w1-8

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HEALTH

A landmark malaria vaccine has been rolled out in Malawi

26 April 2019 5:57PM UTC | By: KATIE RYAN

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Lusitana, a 5-month-old baby from Malawi, has become the first person in the world to receive the new malaria vaccine as part of her routine immunisations!

Malaria is a tropical disease transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, so a simple mosquito bite can have deadly consequences for millions of people around the world.

vaccine_body.jpgThirty years in the making, this malaria vaccine prevents 4 in 10 malaria cases and can be given to children up to 2 years of age. The start of the vaccination program in Malawi is a major step forward in improving child health and saving lives from a disease that currently kills a child every 2 minutes. The vaccine will be rolled out in Ghana and Kenya in the coming weeks.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, explains, “Malaria is a constant threat in the African communities where this vaccine will be given. The poorest children suffer the most and are at highest risk of death. We know the power of vaccines to prevent killer diseases and reach children, including those who may not have immediate access to the doctors, nurses and health facilities they need to save them when severe illness comes.”

Malaria is still a crisis

While this is a major milestone in the fight against malaria, there is still a long way to go to eliminate malaria for good.

Global malaria death rates have dropped 60% since 2000, but today malaria is back on the rise. The 10 highest burden African countries saw 3.5 million more malaria cases in 2017 than the year before. In total, there were over 200 million cases of malaria last year and the preventable disease killed almost half a million people. Children under the age of 5 accounted for two-thirds of all malaria deaths.

Control measures such as insecticide sprays, insecticide-treated bed nets and antimalarial drugs have successfully reduced malaria cases and deaths. But resistance to medicines and insecticide and drug resistance is a growing threat as these interventions continue to be scaled up.

That’s why this pilot program is so exciting and should be seen as a model for public-private partnership for health. It was born through a collaborative effort amongst the World Health Organization, the countries’ health ministries, the vaccine developer, and other partners. It was financed through a remarkable level of collaboration and coordination amongst Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Unitaid.

How you can help

The Global Fund provides nearly 60% of all international financing for malaria, and has invested in malaria control programs in more than 100 countries.

In October, the Global Fund will host their Sixth Replenishment. They’re asking world leaders and private investors to come together and help save 16 million livesbetween 2021 and 2023 by meeting their replenishment goal of US$14 billion. This investment is the bold ambition the world needs to get us on track to stop the spread of these diseases.

To continue funding lifesaving programs like this one, we need world leaders to #StepUpTheFight by fully financing the Global Fund.

Add your name now to tell world leaders they must back this bold initiative this year.

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Where you live and who you choose to live with is a important choice.🏠

It makes you feel in control of your life. 🙋 We support people with a learning disability to live how and where they choose. ❤️

Find out more about our services: https://bit.ly/2jCkRLb

 

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It is important for us to remember who this special day of commemoration is all about...those who continue to live in Chernobyl's dark shadow.

We use this opportunity to remember all of those who have been and will continue to be affected by Chernobyl's legacy, and to rededicate our commitment to them.

#UNChernobylDay #IWillNotForgetYou

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We are deeply grateful to Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney for his support of United Nations Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day on the 33rd Anniversary of Chernobyl.

This statement, along with one from President of Ireland / Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D. Higgins will today be read at a special commemorative event at UNHQ in NYC, which will recognise the value of HBO and Sky's new mini-series 'Chernobyl' which will debut on 06 May.

https://www.chernobyl-international.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Tánaiste-Statement-UN-Chernobly-Commemoration-Final-1.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1zp1SXDrCzb7UOzIOPzBgz7zs9Gokij2c4wuoh2doweTRwOtEpMQw0kAQ

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If you missed RTÉ News' report on our event at the United Nations with the Irish, Belarusian and Ukrainian Missions to the UN, you can catch up with it here!

A preview of HBO and Sky's 'Chernobyl' mini-series was debuted at the event, which was attended by cast and crew of the series including Jessie Buckley, Emily Watson and Jared Harris.

https://www.rte.ie/news/world/2019/0426/1045758-chernobyl/?fbclid=IwAR2Y7zt1rOZ96yPRe0vALpTVO09IfnCO8ivOVQeXIDQHP0zxJvSW2TdsNbY

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HIV/AIDS

These Zambian acrobats are flipping HIV taboos on their head

28 September 2018 3:47PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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This post was originally written by Emma Batha. Editing by Claire Cozens for Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Zambian slum of Chibolya is notorious for crime and drugs, but acrobat Gift Chansa wants to get the township’s youth hooked on a very different high – circus.

Chansa is co-founder of Circus Zambia, the country’s first social circus, which provides disadvantaged young people with education and job opportunities while teaching them everything from unicycling and fire-eating to tumbling and juggling.

The circus also runs a “Clowns for Condoms” project to help tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia, where myths persist that the disease is linked to witchcraft.

Set up in 2015, Circus Zambia has already gained international attention, performing in Britain, the United States, Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands and across Africa.

Chansa grew up in Chibolya, a poor Lusaka township which one Zambian journalist recently likened to Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is an image the charismatic acrobat is keen to dispel. He says young people are discriminated against and refused jobs simply for mentioning they come from Chibolya.

“When you grow up there, no one takes you seriously,” Chansa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation during a tour of Britain this month.

“So we wanted to say, ‘Look, not everybody is a criminal. There are young people coming up that are knowledgeable … young people that are ready to take over the world’. And that’s why we created the platform Circus Zambia.”

 

Source: BBC What’s New? Circus Zambia UK Tour, August 2018

 

While in London, Chansa met Queen Elizabeth to receive the Queen’s Young Leader Award which recognises “exceptional people” from across the Commonwealth who are transforming lives in their communities and beyond.

Drink & drugs

The eldest of six children, Chansa never knew his father. He was raised by his mother and grandparents, who provided him with his distinctive name, calling him a “a gift to the family”.

There were no parks, libraries or youth centres in the township so Chansa and his friends, including Circus Zambia co-founder Benard Kaumba, amused themselves with acrobatic contests in the street.

In 2014, Chansa and Kaumba were invited to train at a circus school in northern China under a scheme sponsored by Beijing after their talents were spotted by a Chinese circus troupe visiting Lusaka.

Chansa, 27, and Kaumba, 28, say if they had not discovered circus they could have easily been dragged into a world of drink and drugs.

“Things were hard for me. Circus kept me busy and helped me stay away from bad influences,” said Kaumba, dressed in his brightly coloured African-print tumbling costume.

“When you go back and see your friends, you see their life is just drugs,” he added, reeling off a list of illicit substances available on the streets of Chibolya.

Today the circus boasts 15 performers and works with 80 children. It has new premises which include a library, class room and training room and is raising money to finish building a theatre.

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Source: Circus Zambia

Circus Zambia is part of a growing global movement of social circuses including Circus Kathmandu in Nepal, created by survivors of trafficking, and Circolombia in Colombia, which works with children from areas where gangs and drugs are rife.

Through circus skills, marginalised young people learn self-esteem, discipline, trust and team-work as well as physical fitness and creative expression.

Social circuses also use entertainment as a tool to engage communities on social or health issues such as alcohol abuse or HIV/AIDS.

Juju myths

Two years ago, Chansa watched a young friend die of HIV/AIDS after he refused medicine, believing he had been cursed. Chansa is now determined to help tackle widespread ignorance around an epidemic that has left one in six people in Lusaka HIV positive.

“In Zambia it’s hard to talk about sex, nobody talks about sex,” said Chansa, who believes the HIV rate is even higher in Chibolya.

“A lot of people will say (HIV/AIDS) is witchcraft, it’s juju, and then they won’t take their medicine – and then they die. We want to say it’s not juju.”

Last year Circus Zambia launched Clowns for Condoms, an initiative that uses circus to bust taboos around HIV, increase awareness and distribute condoms.

Chansa says their colourful wigs and costumes help overcome barriers.

“It’s easy to attract people when you go into the community and people see you dressed as clowns,” he said. “You can (talk to) them just there and then, so that’s why we use circus.”

Chansa wants to expand Circus Zambia to other regions and ensure it has a secure future for the next generation of performers.

He is also dreaming big for his own future.

“I want to be a politician,” Chansa said. “That’s my ambition – because people don’t understand what young people are going through, especially in communities like mine.”

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organisations highlighted.

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

Meet Dieynaba, Senegal’s first female graffiti artist fighting for change

8 June 2018 2:17PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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Written by Ricci Shryock, a writer and photographer based in Dakar, Senegal. 

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Dieynaba Sidibe. Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE

24 year-old Dieynaba Sidibe is Senegal’s first female graffiti artist. She recalls her teenage years when she first told her parents that she wanted to be a graffiti artist. “It was war,” she says.

Pikine, Senegal (April 10, 2015) - Dieynaba Sidibe, also known by her artist name Zeinixx, is Senegal's first female graffiti artist and a slam poet. During Senegal's 10-day graffiti festival, known as Festigraff, she not only painted murals, but also helped organize artists from all over Africa, Europe and the US, paint murals in a suburb of Dakar, Senegal.

Dieynaba at work. Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE

From a young age, Dieynaba loved painting and used her pocket money to buy art supplies. So she was dismayed to come home one day to find that her mother had thrown out all her paints.

Her mother didn’t believe women should paint and instead wanted her to be a doctor. Reflecting on this Dieynaba says, “Society has created a place for women, and when you try and go outside of that, there’s a problem.”

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Dieynaba sketching out her painting at the Africulturban Centre in Pikine. Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE

Eventually, when she was 18 she moved on to graffiti. “I started to paint graffiti in 2008 because I found I could express myself better on a wall as there was more space than a canvas.”

Senegal_Graffiti_30042015_RicciShryock-1

At Senegal’s Festigraff festival, Dieynaba helps organise artists from all over Africa, Europe and the US to paint murals in a suburb of Dakar, Senegal. Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE.

In West Africa, graffiti is an art-form frequently used as a tool of expression for social change. Dieynaba, whose artist name is ‘Zienixx’, uses it to promote women’s rights, despite her parents having forbidden her from practising graffiti art.

“I want to express many things. The difference between painting graffiti and painting on a canvas is when I painted on a canvas it was just because I wanted to paint, but now with the graffiti, I’m more into social messaging. Women are marginalised in society,” she continues, “I think my art can help people understand.”

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Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE

She said graffiti can help convey a message and pointed towards a recent piece of hers with just two simple words: “Woman’s Life”.

With this Dieynaba wanted to show solidarity for women, because “all women, everywhere, whether they are fishmongers, graffiti artists or office workers, we are all fighters. Women are fighting to be free to do what they want, to do work that pleases them, to be paid equally to men, and to follow their passion.”

Dakar, Senegal (April 9) - Dieynaba Sidibe, Senegal's first female graffiti artist, sweeps an open gallery space at the Douta Seck Cultural House in Dakar, Senegal to help prepare for the official opening of Festigraff, a 10-day international graffiti festival held each year in the Senegal capital.

Dieynaba sweeps an open gallery space at the Douta Seck Cultural House in Dakar, Senegal to help prepare for the official opening of Festigraff. Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE.

Dieynaba learned how to paint graffiti from fellow members of the hip-hop community at the Africulturban Center outside Dakar. President of the centre, Rapper Matador (Babacar Niang) recounted, “she was really interested in hip hop culture, slam poetry, and graffiti. It was a little surprising because she was a woman. It was new for me, because after 20 years, the only women we had here were interested in rap, and she was interested in graffiti as well.”

Unlike Dieynaba’s parents, Rapper Matador thought that her interest and desire to break barriers was a good thing. “I thought that she could bring something new into hip hop culture, because people thought only men were doing graffiti.”

“With graffiti she can show the role of women in society. If it’s coming from a woman it’s even stronger. Usually people don’t pay attention to issues. But when you walk in front of her graffiti it calls on people to think about these things,” he says.

Dakar, Senegal (April 28) - Dieynaba Sidibe, Senegal's first female graffiti artist and a slam poet, 'bombs' a wall at the Africulturban Centre in Pikine, a suburb of the capital Dakar where hip hop artists gather.

Dieynaba Sidibe ‘bombs’ a wall at the Africulturban Centre in Pikine. Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE.

Dieynaba hopes her art can shed light on the hard work of women in the country. Matador agrees: “There are so many families in Senegal, whose mothers keep them together. These women wake up at four in the morning to go to the market and sell fish, and with the money they make they buy food and make a meal. The young men are asleep that whole time, so they wake up and find food they have no idea what their mothers went through to get that meal on the table.” 

Senegal_Graffiti_30042015_RicciShryock (14 of 57)

Dieynaba gets her face painted by a fellow graffiti artist. Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE

Dieynaba reflects on the battle she won with her family – who now support her graffiti – and the battle women in Senegal have won for their rights when it comes to access to education and more.

“What we can say in general is that if it’s a war, women have won a large battle. They can express themselves – you find women in offices, women doctors, women in the military, you see them a bit everywhere.”

But, she adds,“One thing that should be spoken about is salary inequality – it’s not right that a man and woman can have the same education and capacity but receive a different salary at the end of the month. Work remains to be done, the fight will always continue.”

Senegal_Graffiti_30042015_RicciShryock-4

Dieynaba Sidibe strikes a #strengthie pose next to her artwork of our “Poverty is Sexist” slogan at a hip-hop artists’ centre in Dakar, Senegal. Photo: Ricci Shryock/ONE.

We won’t end extreme poverty until we break down the barriers holding girls and women back. Add your name to our #PovertyIsSexist letter now.

An open letter to leaders

Dear World Leaders,

We’re putting you on notice.

For 130 million girls without an education. For one billion women without access to a bank account. For 33,000 girls who became child brides today. For women everywhere paid less than a man for the same work.

There is nowhere on earth where women have the same opportunities as men, but the gender gap is wider for women living in poverty.

Poverty is sexist. And we won’t stand by while the poorest women are overlooked.

You have the power to deliver historic changes for women this year. From the G7 to the G20; from the African Union to your annual budgets; we will push you for commitments and hold you to account for them. And, if you deliver, we will be the first to champion your progress.

We won’t stop until there is justice for women and girls everywhere.

Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.

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This award-winning journalist writes to spark compassion
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CULTURE

This award-winning journalist writes to spark compassion

February 22 2019 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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All photos credited to Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.

At five years old, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim sat with his father listening to the radio. He didn’t understand what the news was about, but remembers that his father was completely absorbed. From that moment on, Ibrahim was fascinated with journalism.

“I knew I wanted to collect people’s stories and amplify them. So it was an easy decision to study journalism.”

Now a seasoned journalist, his desire to tell people’s stories is as strong as ever. He feels journalism helps create “a greater understanding between people.”

In 2018, he won the Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling for All That Was Familiar. The report follows two women forced to flee their homes after Boko Haram uprisings.

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Zahra attending a counseling group.

Revealing untold tales

Boko Haram’s attacks shocked Ibrahim, living just five hundred miles away in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. The news itself was bad enough, but Ibrahim was also taken aback by how the news was reported. The many orphaned, widowed, killed, or displaced were reported as numbers, not people.

“I felt they weren’t sufficiently humanized,” says Ibrahim. “These are people with lives, with dreams and ambition, people who are grieving their loved ones and afraid for their own lives at the same time, people whose lives would never be the same.”

In All That Was Familiar, Ibrahim introduces readers to Sa’adatu and Zahra, two women living in separate camps after their encounters with Boko Haram.

Sa’adatu is a mother to nine children, who she is raising alone since the disappearance of her husband. Food meant for the camp was resold in supermarkets, leaving her children without enough to eat.

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Sa’adatu cooking for her children.

Boko Haram captured Zahra and her infant daughter. She escaped during an air raid, but her daughter did not survive. Now, she hopes to reunite with her remaining relatives, who do not know she is alive.

“I thought their stories needed to be told in a way that projected our collective humanity so we could all relate to their experiences as humans.”

Confronting a crisis

Not everyone was keen to get these stories out. Authorities denied Ibrahim entry to the camp where Sa’adatu was staying, forcing him to go undercover. He also feared that revealing the information he gathered would put Sa’adatu and Zahra at risk.

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The Dalori Camp, where Ibrahim went undercover.

“It was a moral crisis, and in the end, I still hope I have done what is best…”

Building bridges with stories

From his fiction to his journalism, Ibrahim’s work uses storytelling to connect people.

“We are nothing without stories. Our stories are part of our identity and stories are the way we know each other. It is through stories that we see beyond our different skin colors… or different faiths or nationalities. Deep down, we are essentially the same.

“Stories are the spears with which we poke our own fears of other people and realize that there is really little to fear and much to love.”

The Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling is a prestigious award given to up-and-coming journalists in Africa. The award is given by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in partnership with ONE and the Elliott family.

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An ambitious drone delivery health service in Ghana is tackling key logistics challenges

Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
By Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu in New Tafo, Ghana.April 25, 2019

 

At the New Tafo Government Hospital in Ghana’s Eastern Region, community health nurse Gladys Dede Tetteh has run out of yellow fever vaccines. There is a long line of anxious mothers fanning themselves and their babies as they wait on benches.

An order has been placed for more vaccines which would usually take two hours on a good day (sometimes more) for it to be delivered by road from the central medical stores.

But 21 minutes later, a drone did the job—dropping off a parachuted box containing vaccines from a height of about 80 meters to a small lawn quadrangle inside the hospital as a group of journalists watch on. The drone doesn’t stop as it makes a delivery and returns to base. A junior nurse picked the box up and the vaccination for newborns is back on. Tafo hospital is the first in Ghana signed up to the government’s new medical drone delivery program which hopes to use unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver medical products to hard to reach communities in a timely manner.

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ZIPLINE
A child at New Tafo Hospital being given a yellow fever vaccine shot after a drone delivery

The Ghana Health Service is working with Zipline, the drone company best known for starting blood delivery services in Rwanda. Ghana’s health policymakers hope faster drop-offs will improve its health outcomes including reducing its maternal and infant mortality rates. According to the World Health Organization, “severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth is the commonest cause of maternal mortality and contributes to around 34% of maternal deaths in Africa.” The timely access to safe blood could save many lives.

The medical drone program was officially launched on Wednesday Apr. 24 by Ghana’s vice president Mahamudu Bawumia, who first made the announcement a year ago. The launch at Zipline’s Omenako center in Ghana (70 kilometers north of the capital, Accra) is the first of four centers it hopes to complete by the end of 2019.

The drones will be able to travel to 500 health facilities within an 80-kilometer-range from the Omenako center which is stocked with emergency medicines, vaccines, blood and blood products. The delivery program is also hoped will help reduce the incidence of wastage of medical products, a result of overstocking at hospitals.

The company is targeting the “last mile delivery” challenge which many logistics operators face in African cities and rural area where road networks are either underdeveloped or poorly maintained. Zipline is describing the Ghana operation as the world’s largest drone delivery service.

Zipline-Ghana-Map-1-e1556179832248.jpg?q
ZIPLINE
A map of Ghana showing Zipline’s four operation centers

Ghana will become the base for training future Zipline flight operators as it hopes to expand to more countries in the coming years. There have been expressions of interest in a similar service from officials in Senegal and some states in Nigeria.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Zipline, a for-profit company, was founded in 2014 and started operations in Rwanda in 2016 delivering blood and blood products during emergencies. It began delivering more health products including routine vaccines this year.

Zipline claims it would be able to cover 2,000 health facilities that serve 12 million Ghanaians (of a population of just under 30 million)—from small community clinics and vaccination centers to larger general hospitals like Tafo – when all its four local centers become operational.

The company has been contracted by the government of Ghana to make 600 deliveries a day (150 deliveries from each center) for four years and they will be paid per successful delivery. It would cost Ghana $12.5 million during the period.

Critics have argued the government should have rather spent the money on more important and simpler things the health sector really needs such as the critical shortage of hospital beds, gloves, consistent supply of water and the improvement of hospital buildings.

And yet the challenge for Ghana and indeed many other African governments is the cost and potential speed of using drone delivery to supplement or aid health services is significantly more effective in the short to medium term when compared with the required scale of investment and time for both logistics and healthcare infrastructure.

This is why for nurses like Gladys Tetteh, the use of drones are very much a case of what’s not to like?  “It makes us work faster and the mothers will not stay too long here trying to vaccinate their children.”

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WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO END AIDS?

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AIDS isn’t a disease of the past, it’s still a crisis of now. Yes, the world has made incredible progress in the fight: 22 million people are now accessing life-saving treatment; AIDS-related deaths have halved since their peak and the daily cost of treatment has decreased to only 20 cents a day.

But we’re in danger of seeing this progress reverse. Over 15 million people still need access to medication. Today, 500 babies will be born with HIV. In the few minutes it takes you to read this, 6 people will have died from a disease that is both preventable and treatable.

There’s still plenty of work to be done to end AIDS as an epidemic by 2030, the international community’s set deadline. It might seem impossible, but we can end AIDS in the next 11 years. Here are a few ways how.

FOCUS ON WOMEN & GIRLS

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Women & girls continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. 19.1 million women and girls are living with HIV around the world, more than half of the total population living with the virus. AIDS is the leading cause of death among women between the ages of 15-49 years old, and every day, 1000 young women contract HIV. Investing in programs that provide sexual reproductive health education, treatment and counseling to young women & girls can ultimately reduce new HIV infections, and protect the next generation of girls from harmful gender norms and stigma that help perpetuate the virus.

STRONG AND RESILIENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS

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Diseases like AIDS do not recognize borders. And as a result of weak health systems and lack of access to health care, the most vulnerable populations are often hit the hardest. The resurgence of diseases that previously ended like polio and measles—and more recent global outbreaks like Ebola and Zika— show the importance of investing in health care systems and security around the world. Making sure health care workers get trained, improving supply chains and strengthening data sharing will ultimately lead to more people getting access to better health care.

MONEY—AND MORE OF IT

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2019 marks a critical year for global health funding, specifically for the Global Fund, who are responsible for 20% of all international financing to fight HIV/AIDS and have helped save 27 million lives from AIDS, TB and Malaria. What should be a no-brainer investment has now become a fight for funding, thanks to increased skepticism of foreign aid— and increased complacency.

This October, in Lyon, France, the Global Fund will host their 6th Replenishment Conference to ask governments, companies, NGOs and other donors to pledge $14 billion to ultimately help save 16 million lives. Even further, every $1 invested in this Replenishment will deliver $19 in health gains and economic return.

YOU

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None of the above will be possible without you, a (RED) supporter, keeping up the heat and awareness on HIV/AIDS. Now more than ever, we need our consumers and audience to take action and help us keep up critical funding and focus on this fight.

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Download these exclusive gender equality wallpapers!
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GIRLS AND WOMEN

Download these exclusive gender equality wallpapers!

12 March 2019 3:37PM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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Take action for women everywhere

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Every day, women and girls experiencing extreme poverty face unique obstacles. And every day, they fight against them with determination. Right now, it will still take 108 years to achieve gender equality. This is unacceptable.

45 women activists from across the African continent contributed to a bold open letter. They’re telling world leaders that we need genuine progress, not grand promises.

You can take action by signing their open letter here.

Want to show your support even more? Download one of these exclusive wallpapers, inspired by the letter’s cosigners and their incredible fight!

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Take action for women everywhere

Dear World Leaders,

We are the women at the frontlines of the fight against gender inequality and global poverty.

Every day we see the determination and dignity of girls and women facing down the toughest challenges. We see real advances and the power of people to achieve change. We won’t surrender this fight, but we need you to play your part.

You promised to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030, but at the current rate of progress, this will take 108 years. This is unacceptable. We need genuine progress, not grand promises.

We want implementation and accountability at every level - from this year’s G7 Summit to the Global Fund Replenishment; from our African Union leaders to our community leaders. We will be looking for your actions not your words; for funding to follow promises; and policy to turn into practice. It’s both the right and the smart thing to do for everyone.

To accelerate progress men must demand change with us so that we rise united not divided. And women must have a seat at the decision-making table – because you can’t change what you don’t see.

We’re not looking for your sympathy, we’re demanding your action. Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.

Yours,

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Students In Mozambique Are Afraid The Winds Will Blow Them Away

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April 26, 20199:01 AM ET

TENDAI MARIMA

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Seventh-grade teachers Rita Ibrahim John, left, and Anotinia Marquez Bero, right, must share a single room to teach their two classes. Cyclone Idai destroyed 32 classrooms at Eduardo Mondlane Primary Completion School in Mozambique.

Tendai Marima for NPR

School is harder than it's ever been for 13-year-old Antonia Manuel Tom, a seventh grader at Eduardo Mondlane Primary Completion School in Mozambique.

She's got no textbooks or notebooks. She doesn't get enough to eat. And when rain begins to fall, she and her classmates grow nervous. "I'm scared if another cyclone comes, it will take our house and the wind will blow us all away," she says.

When Cyclone Idai hit the shores of Mozambique on March 14, the wind did blow away a great deal. Hundreds of people died. Houses were destroyed. And across Mozambique's central Sofala Province, over 600 schools were damaged by Cyclone Idai and over 300,000 children have had their learning disrupted, according to UNICEF.

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Students at the Eduardo Mondlane school stand next to classrooms destroyed by Cyclone Idai.

Tendai Marima for NPR

Julio Isaac, head of Tom's school, which runs from kindergarten through seventh grade, still struggles to come to terms with the cyclone's toll.

A damp smell lingers in his office. A pile of school records salvaged from the storm sits bundled on a chair; many more were lost in the most devastating cyclone to hit southern Africa in decades.

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Two groups of seventh graders share the former staff room at the Eduardo Mondlane school.

Tendai Marima for NPR

Meanwhile, the teachers and 508 students at Eduardo Mondlane — named for a professor at Syracuse University who was founding president of the country's ruling party — are starting to rebuild.

 

A lot of work lies ahead. Of the 48 classrooms, 32 were affected by the cyclone. Some have no roofs; others have water damage.

"It's too dangerous to put the children in some classes. The brown watermarks and the long cracks in the ceilings show some of the classrooms are not safe," Isaac says.

So some classes are doubling up. In the staff room, there's a group of seventh graders on each side of the room. The teachers talk at the same time.

Rita Ibrahim John, one of the seventh-grade teachers, says it's distracting. "When they learn together like this, it's hard to teach. The children don't concentrate on what they are doing because they're looking at the other class."

That's not the only distraction.

"A lot of the [students] are affected by their situations at home. Some of their houses got destroyed by the cyclone and some of them lost family members — so they are thinking about all of that," says John.

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Antonia Manuel Tom, a seventh-grader at the Eduardo Mondlane school, says making it through a day of school is tough because she's not getting enough to eat.

Tendai Marima for NPR

Antonia Manuel Tom, who's in John's class, is definitely preoccupied. Her family home was destroyed by the storm; she and her parents are living with relatives. "It's hard for me to come to school because I don't have food to eat at my aunty's house," she says.

"When we get food, we get it from the tents [that provide emergency aid], but it's not enough. I spend many hours learning at school so by the time I get home I'm so hungry and tired. We are staying with aunty and her family, but there's never enough food," she adds.

Isaac acknowledges that hunger is one of the most common complaints he hears among Eduardo Mondlane's schoolchildren, who range in age from 4 to 13. "It really affects their concentration," he says.

There are mental health issues as well. Save the Children, a U.K. global charity, in report published last week, surveyed 100 affected children in Beira and found signs of "severe psychological stress, including bedwetting, nightmares and anxiety."

Another worry is that families is the impact of the cyclone on the school dropout rate. Ordinarily, fewer than half of the country's 13 million children under 15 complete primary school, which runs from kindergarten to seventh grade and is free and mandatory. But fewer than 20 percent of registered students continue on to high school; they may drop out because their parents can't afford to pay secondary school fees.

"If families whose property or livelihoods have been negatively affected by the cyclone are forced to send their children to work to make ends meet," UNICEF said in a statement last week.

Isaac is concerned some seventh graders — the final year of elementary school in Mozambique — might opt to earn an income doing menial jobs instead of continuing with their education.

"Most of these children come from the township [a poor neighborhood] in Dondo. The families don't have much, so some [parents] might end up [sending their kids] to the field [to work] instead of coming back to school," he says. "Without a qualification they won't get far."

Meanwhile, other parts of Mozambique are facing an imminent weather threat. Cyclone Kenneth has made landfall in the remote northern regions of Mozambique and southern Tanzania this week. Although the typhoon might not be as deadly as Cyclone Idai, which killed over 1,000 people across Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, it could be a further setback to the coastal nation.

Tendai Marima is a researcher and freelance journalist currently based in southern Africa. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @i_amten.

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HEALTH

Introducing the most-unlikely public health hero ever: giant rats

23 March 2018 8:18PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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By Nisha Sambamurty 

Yes, you read that right: rats. To most people, the sight of a giant rat is disgusting. But for many scientists, these rats are extremely helpful.

One in four people are currently living with latent tuberculosis, according to the WHO. That’s almost 2 billion people worldwide. Tuberculosis is a leading cause of death by infectious disease, and existing systems that work to detect it lack accuracy, time efficiency, and cost efficiency. Because of this, people in regions like East Africa often don’t undergo screening to detect the disease—due to lack of awareness or money—and many cases go undetected. In places like jails, where TB is estimated to be up to 100 times more prevalent, this issue is much worse.

Enter the super-rat!

TB-Day_BLOG_v4_1200-x-600.pngAfrican rats are being trained by a Belgium nongovernmental organization to detect TB within minutes in prisons in Tanzania and Mozambique!

How, you ask?

Here’s where it gets really interesting. When these rats reach four weeks of age, they begin a rigorous training process. They are introduced to different stimuli and are trained to interact with humans. They are taught to recognize the presence of TB in human mucus. (And you thought the rats were gross!)

The rats are presented with ten samples of this mucus, or sputum, and when they detect the ones with TB, they hover over them for three seconds to let the scientist know what they have smelled and are then rewarded when they succeed. How AMAZING is that?!

Perhaps even more incredible is their success rate and the speed at which they can detect TB. These rats can detect tuberculosis with almost 100 percent accuracy. The rats have proved to be incredibly cost-effective. According to the Belgian charity, it takes four days for a lab technician to screen 100 samples. Yet once the rats are trained, they can screen around 100 samples in just 20 minutes.

This new method of screening for TB has HUGE implications for developing countries that are heavily burdened by tuberculosis. With funding from USAID(United States Aid in International Development), APOPO plans to provide full coverage in Tanzania’s TB hotspots.

Thank you, giant rats! We’ll try to think nicer thoughts if we see you around.

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CULTURE

Here’s why books matter to Wayétu Moore

27 March 2019 10:59AM UTC | By: WAYÉTU MOORE

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Wayétu Moore is an author and the founder of One Moore Book. Her new novel, She Would Be King, will be released by Pushkin Press in the UK on 30 May 2019. You can find her on Instagram.


When I prepared for my first return to Liberia after my family fled due to the country’s civil war in 1989, I made sure I packed books. I packed novels for the 17-hour plane ride connecting through Brussels, those of Jesmyn Ward, Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Adichie, women writers who made me feel closest to home while so far away. Also squeezed between thin blouses and packets of anti-malarial pills were copies of the new children’s book I had just written, J is for Jollof Rice.

The book, illustrated by my younger sister, was named after the popular tomato, rice and protein mixture which many West-African countries will argue they prepare best.

I had arranged to deliver some of these books to a local elementary school near the University of Liberia’s Fendell campus, where my parents are professors and administrators.

Wayétu Moore, writer and founder of One Moore Book.

Wayétu Moore, author and founder of One Moore Book.

J is for Jollof Rice

I remember walking into the classroom, greeted in polite unison by welcoming smiles and familiar accents. I was anxious to show the students this book—I never dreamed of seeing the name of a popular Liberian dish written on a page.

The Principal distributed the paperbacks, and after a a nod of the head gave silent consent, the students rushed to touch their books, the sound of flipping pages spilling onto the cement floors. It was then I heard the snickering from the back of the classroom. Two boys shared a book, and while one pointed at the cover page, sounding out the words Jo-llof-Rice, the other one laughed. Other students had similar looks of confusion.

“J is for Jollof Rice,” the teacher said. “Who has read a book talking about Jollof Rice?”

Students exchanged glances. None of them raised their hands.

That a dish as emblematic of many of their childhoods as the cool breezes of Harmattan winds, became odd, became farce when printed on a page, left a lasting impression on me. Their reactions affected not only that visit, but the trajectory of my life and career as a writer.

The purposefulness of literature

In 2010, students at Saint Mary’s college in California compared US population data with books by and about kids of colour. Using data provided from the census and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, they found that minority children were grossly underrepresented in children’s literature. Blacks made up 12.6% of the population that year but only 4% of children’s books were about them. Hispanics made up 16.3% of the population but only 1.9% of books were about them.

This national trend is even more profound internationally, since many books used by classrooms in developing countries are from the west. Although helpful, the books (like most literature from the west) mimic western culture and narratives. The result is that elementary-aged children, many of whom have never even seen white faces, are fighting two challenges when they open up these donated books.

The first struggle is to gain competency in the letters, sounds and grammar of the English language. The second is the conceptualisation of western culture and physical characteristics–from the colour and texture of the main character’s hair to the shapes of their faces and bodies.

One Moore Book

The most important support a child can be given to ensure the successful management of their future is literacy. How much more powerful or confident would a child be if the literature they read reflects their truth, their story, their name, their country? Cultural relevance, at least in my experience, assists with their engagement and investment in literature.

That’s why I formed One Moore Book, a nonprofit organisation that publishes and distributes culturally sensitive literature for children from countries with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures. Our books also serve the dual purpose of exposing children in the west to different cultures. We aim to partner with writers and illustrators from the countries featured in our books. We opened a small book store and community center in Monrovia in 2015, and have published 25 books featuring Liberian, Haitian, Guinean and Afro-Brazilian cultures.

Culturally sensitive literature is not a supplementary. It is essential. Success is rooted in self-confidence and a sense of belonging to this world. And what better way to show a child the permanence and importance of their histories and lives, than through a book?

While most international book donation campaigns have noble intentions, more attention should be paid to what kinds of books are distributed through these campaigns. And perhaps instead of just sending over boxes of books, alternative efforts can empower local writers to create their own original materials for distribution.

Liberian writers and literacy groups like Michael Weah’s We Care Library, Brenda Moore’s KEEP Liberia, Elma Shaw, Forte Othniel and others, could do more for the Liberian child through their programs and materials.

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HEALTH

Why global health is good for everyone

4 April 2019 8:57PM UTC | By: KATIE RYAN

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Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

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What is global health?

It’s a big year for global health so ONE is going to be talking about it a lot. But before we jump into the nitty gritty statistics or the importance of getting funding for the world’s most innovative partnerships, let’s talk about what global health actually is!

Global health is about improving people’s health worldwide, reducing inequality and, protecting societies from global threats, such as preventable diseases, that don’t stop at national borders.

So why is it important?

We are at a tipping point. In 2017, nearly one million people died from AIDS-related causes globally and another 1.8 million contracted HIV. After 10 years of steady decline, malaria is back on the rise, especially among children under 5 years old, who account for two-thirds of all malaria deaths. Though more than 10 million people contract TB every year, nearly 40% of those are “missed” – that is almost 4 million people left undiagnosed, untreated, and therefore, contagious.

As a global community, we all benefit when our neighbours are healthy. Access to prevention and treatment should be a right, not a privilege. Yet, so many of our community members cannot enjoy this right because of prohibitive costs, distance, or stigma and discrimination.

If people can access affordable healthcare, they can invest in bettering their community: kids can attend school, adults can pursue careers, families can enjoy their time together, the list goes on. Quality of life skyrockets when prevention and treatment are affordable and accessible.

Human rights always come first. But it is important to realize that ensuring our global community is healthy, educated and empowered has another benefit: economic growth. Failing to protect health could quickly thwart this potential. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is a staggering illustration of the economic consequences of just one outbreak of disease: in 2015, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone lost US$2.2 billion in gross domestic product, threatening economic stability and private sector growth in the region.

We know that investments made in health today will pay dividends tomorrow.

  • Every US$1 invested in immunisation, for example, leads to a return of US$60.
  • Every US$1 invested in reducing malaria infections delivers a return of US$36.
  • Every US$1 invested in health spending for the world’s poorest leads to a return of US$13.

Simply put, health is a smart investment with big returns.

Where do we go from here?

Health has been one of the most recognised and celebrated success stories in global development since the turn of the 21st century. This progress has not happened by accident. It has been driven largely by new public-private collaborations, breakthrough commitments to increase investments in health alongside greater investment from national governments, and passionate citizen activism.

This is a proud legacy that should be celebrated as a benchmark for what is possible. But it stops well short of being an indicator for future gains. Progress will not continue, and could go into reverse, if our global community, including world leaders, do not commit to looking out for our neighbours.

The Global Fund is one of the best weapons we have to fight AIDS, TB and malaria. The Fund supports programs run by local experts in the countries and communities that need it most – helping to save 27 million lives so far. To help save another 16 million lives between 2021-2023, the Global Fund needs to raise at least US$14 billion by its Replenishment Conference this October.

We must not stall progress now. Are you up for the challenge?

Add your name to tell world leaders they must back this bold partnership. Then share the action with your family and friends.

Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

Dear government and business leaders,
We're urging you to show ambition in ending AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This is a fight we can win – but only if we all do our part. I’m in, are you? Please fully finance the Global Fund to help save another 16 million lives and bring us closer to eliminating these diseases for good.

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