Asian North African countries close to ending polio with help of UN

With several Asian and North African countries expected to be polio-free within months, regional health ministers today joined a United Nations-led eradication initiative to announce a two-pronged strategy to “mop up” new cases and to help put countries in West and Central Africa back on track to stamp out the virus.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), recent figures show Asia and North Africa together reporting only 21 cases of polio in 2004, compared to 94 this time last year. And with the all-time low levels of polio in Egypt, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, four of the six remaining endemic countries are on track to meet the target for stopping the spread of the virus by the end of the year.Heath Ministers from those countries announced an accelerated strategy to “mop-up” each new virus. Under this ambitious initiative, each new poliovirus found will trigger two massive, tailored immunization campaigns in response, targeting between one and five million children, before the virus has the opportunity to spread.The picture is a bit more challenging for countries in West and Central Africa, due in part to an ongoing outbreak originating in northern Nigeria, where immunization campaigns have been suspended since August.A joint statement from the spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative warned that countries in the region, particularly Nigeria and Niger, will need different strategies to bring the regional eradication programme into line with the progress in Asia this year.WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Rotary International and the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that the spread of virus from Kano, Nigeria, across the region and into Central Africa already cost $25 million for emergency campaigns in 2003. Ramping up agency responses in the area will cost even more.The new strategy for the African region includes the reintroduction of a mass, synchronized immunization campaign across 21 countries by early 2005, if not sooner. This strategy will be supplemented, where appropriate, with mop-up campaigns around any importations.The statement adds that an understanding was reached and signed between the Kano state government and federal authorities earlier this month on the required conditions for restarting the polio immunization activities there. As these conditions are now being met, preparations are being made to support full catch-up immunization campaigns in Kano, ahead of the nation-wide activities in September, October and November. read more

UKbased Guyanese seeking to engage youths in acrobatics

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedNational Cadet Corps officially reintroducedJanuary 19, 2018In “latest news”“We need to put pre -1992 behind us” – PM Hinds hints at apology from PNC/RFebruary 18, 2015In “Politics”Essequibo remembers Dr Cheddi JaganMarch 18, 2019In “latest news” UK-based artist Patrick Hinds, also known as “Papa Scotchy,” is seeking to revitalize Guyanese youths’ interest in the once active sporting discipline of acrobatics and gymnastics.Back in the 1960s, when Hinds was part of a vibrant acrobatics and gymnastics team, that sporting discipline had given youngsters a focus while teaching them discipline and imbuing in them understanding of social standards.Now having lived in the United Kingdom for several decades, the Guyanese artist related that since his return on vacation to Guyana, he has observed that youths of the day seem to lack focus, and find time to engage in negative and socially unacceptable activities, thus his sole inspiration is to impart to the youth what he knows in the sporting discipline of gymnastics and acrobatics.Patrick Hinds and Carlyon Kennedy“I can impart (to them) my knowledge, and at the same time it’s a way forward for the youths, who seem not to have much to do; and because of this (lack of activities) their minds would go in different avenues. The youths of today are our future, they are the men and women of tomorrow, and they need some form of direction. And I think that I could contribute in this form, with my acrobatics as the vehicle to get to them,” Hinds said in an interview with one of INews’ sister media agency.Hinds arrived in the country only a few days ago, and is seeking to collaborate with the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport to launch the programme. He is optimistic that gymnastics and acrobatics would emerge as a national art.Hinds’s brother-in-law, Professor Carlyon Kennedy, a former student of acrobatics and gymnastics, told this publication that the programme is their way of giving back to the Guyanese community, while paving a way for youths to pursue and showcase their talent.Hinds has disclosed that the launch of the project primarily depends on the outcome of consultations expected to be held with various organisations over the course of the new week.The acrobatic is seeking the support and guidance of relevant authorities, local organizations, and the general public for the successful launch of the acrobatic project.“With this, I think it’s a step that we could take. He’s (Mr Kennedy’s) got the teaching ability, expertise; he’s got other things that I don’t have, but together we can do it. All we need to have is our infrastructure and someone to believe in us and give us a chance. That’s all we’re asking,” he added. read more