Ban Ki-Moon and  MahamaBan Ki-moon who began his trip in Ghana on Thursday told reporters that “We must make sure that the last case of Ebola is identified, treated and eliminated”

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is currently in west Africa to visit Liberia and ‪‎Sierra Leone, the 2 major countries hit with Ebola crisis to see the assess the situation himself.

Prior to leaving for Africa, Ban Ki-moon had told reports that “I want to see the response for myself, and show my solidarity with those affected and urge even greater global action,” “Local communities and national governments are highly engaged. There has been an impressive outpouring of life-saving contributions from across Africa and across the world.”

Ban Ki-moon is currently in Liberia and will be meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf before heading to Sierra Leone to begin his assessment of global efforts to fight Ebola. More on UN‬ Secretary General Ban Ki Moon Africa Visit here.

New railway network aims to boost inter regional tradeA new railway network is underway to link 7 West African countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Togo 

On the dual carriageway linking the main airport to downtown Niamey, the capital of Niger, workers are busy digging trenches in the middle of the island separating the lanes, and laying tracks where rows of lampposts once stood. They are racing against the clock to build a thousand-kilometre stretch of a regional network that will connect Niamey to the West African seaport of Cotonou, Benin. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

“We’ve waited so long for the train to arrive,” quipped Nigerien president Mohamadou Issoufou as he ushered his counterparts from Benin and Togo into a brand-new carriage on a muggy day in April 2014. The symbolic ride lasted for only a few minutes. “History is in the making,” said President Issoufou.

Building a railroad network along the West African coast from Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire to Lomé in Togo has been talked about for years. The network is expected to boost trade among Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Togo. After several delays, the project is now firmly back on track following the decision by the exclusively francophone Conseil de l’Entente (Council of Accord), the oldest West African subregional cooperation forum, to start construction. Niger and Benin started working on their stretch of the project in April, to be followed by Burkina Faso and Togo shortly thereafter. Continue here.

What an exciting news! We all can’t wait!

Source: Africa Renewal

Fuse ODG turned down Band Aid 30 song  over negative image of AfricaAzonto star Fuse ODG has declined Sir Bob Geldof’s invitation to feature on Band Aid 30 song aimed to raise funds to fight Ebola because of his personal beliefs.

The ‘This Is New Africa’ – TINA star he wrote on his twitter

“Big up Sir Bob Geldof & his heart. He approached me about being on the Band Aid song, however upon receiving the proposed lyrics, I felt the message of the Band Aid 30 song was not in line with the message of The New Africa movement (TINA),” he wrote on Twitter.

The award winning artist of Ghanaian descent Fuse ODG’s concerns are in line with other Africans who believe Geldof’s new charity anthem reinforces the stigma being attached to Africa.

Lyrics “where a kiss of love can kill you and there’s death in every tear.”…

“No peace and joy this Christmas in West Africa. The only hope they’ll have is being alive”.

The original words in the 1984 version, aimed at raising the profile of the Ethiopian famine, read: “Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears

UK-based Nigerian rap artist @MrBreis wrote on Twitter: “The lyrics to this #BandAid30 song are ridiculous, misplaced, ignorant, backwards, nauseous, spiritually malevolent and condescending.”

Geldof, who appeared on X Factor (Nov 16) show to promote the single, which is released today, said he had been inspired to re-record the track because of the “phenomenal bravery of the NHS doctors and nurses who volunteered” to help the fight against the virus.

What are your thoughts …?

Pope Francis receives President of GhanaPope Francis on Monday lauded Ghana as a success story for Africa, recognizing the country’s peace, democratic governance and the new image President John Mahama is building for the African Continent. President Mahama and his wife, Lordina, were at the Vatican on Monday for an Official Visit, coming a year after Ghana appointed its first envoy to the Holy See.(Vatican City) The discussions also centered on the Ebola Virus Disease and the strategies to tackling it. At the Vatican, President Mahama also held discussions with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Patoline…

EBOLA-TRAVEL-SCREENINGTEbola Controlhe Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that all travelers from Ebola outbreak countries in West Africa will be funneled through one of five U.S. airports with enhanced screening starting Wednesday.

Customs and Border Protection within the department began enhanced screening — checking the traveler’s temperature and asking about possible exposure to Ebola — at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 11.

Enhanced screening for travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea was expanded Oct. 16 to Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, New Jersey’s Newark and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airports.

Those airports were supposed to screen 94% of the average 150 people per day arriving from the three countries. Lawmakers from other states asked for enhanced screening at their airports, too.

Some lawmakers have called for more restrictions, such as suspending visas or denying entry at ports for citizens from the three countries.

Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, announced that travelers from West Africa must arrive at one of the five airports starting Wednesday.

“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” Johnson said. “If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking as needed.”

The enhanced screening will apply to anyone who traveled recently to, from or through the three outbreak countries, according to the department’s announcement to be published Thursday in the Federal Register. Customs and Border Protection will work with airlines to identify potential travelers before they board, but airlines will be obligated to comply with the rule for carrying to the USA any passengers who recently traveled through the region, according to the filing.

The restrictions should affect only about nine travelers per day who would have arrived at other airports. Katie Cody, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, which serves Europe from hubs such as Philadelphia and Charlotte, said the airline has no concerns about the change.

“We have been tracking that, and we don’t have any concerns because the numbers are so small,” Cody said.

British Airways, which serves a variety of U.S. destinations other than the five targeted airports, said it would comply with the measures.

“Customers affected will be offered a refund or will be rerouted if there is availability,” spokeswoman Michele Kropf said.

Republican lawmakers offered muted praise but pressed for stricter travel restrictions.

“In addition to requiring all travelers from at-risk countries to fly through airports with enhanced screening measures in place, I continue to call on the administration to suspend all visas from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The head of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said a “real solution” is to deny entry to anyone from the three countries under a provision of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act.

“President Obama has a real solution at his disposal under current law and can use it at any time to temporarily ban foreign nationals from entering the United States from Ebola-ravaged countries,” Goodlatte said. “The vast majority of Americans strongly support such a travel moratorium, and I urge the president to take every step possible to protect the American people from danger.”

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said steering travelers through the five airports is a sensible precaution.

“As agreed upon by experts in both the public health and transportation communities, issuing a blanket travel ban would not only be counterproductive, but it would also irresponsibly impede getting much-needed supplies and relief to the countries that need it most,” Conyers said.

Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group for all aspects of travel, praised the move to calm travel concerns while avoiding a travel ban.

“The Obama administration continues to heed the counsel of an overwhelming consensus of health and security experts and resist calls for any sort of travel ban on the grounds that it will be counterproductive to efforts to contain Ebola,” Dow said.

A Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who became the first person diagnosed with the disease in the USA after arriving in Dallas on Sept. 20, had a temperature of 97.3 degrees but didn’t tell airport officials in Monrovia, Liberia, that he had cared for a pregnant woman suffering from Ebola. He died Oct. 8, and two nurses who treated him have become infected.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the enhanced screening adds a layer of protection against Ebola entering the country.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s policy to funnel all passengers arriving from Ebola hot spots to one of these five equipped airports is a good and effective step towards tightening the net and further protecting our citizens,” Schumer said.

Obama and Johnson have said they will continue to monitor travel restrictions for possible changes.

“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly,” Johnson said.

Source: USATODAY

obamaAfter an in-person briefing from the staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced a “major increase” in the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The United States will send troops, material to build field hospitals, additional health care workers, community care kits and badly needed medical supplies.
Countless taxis filled with families worried they’ve become infected with Ebola currently crisscross Monrovia in search of help.
They scour the Liberian capital, but not one clinic can take them in for treatment…

Source:CNN

gate foundation With Ebola’s spread reaching a crisis stage in West Africa, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Wednesday that it is committing $50 million to support the emergency response.

The money will go to groups already responding to the epidemic — including U.N. agencies, international organizations and national governments in Ebola-ravaged West Africa — to buy supplies and scale up the response in the hardest-hit countries, according to a statement from the foundation.

“We also want to accelerate the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics that can help end this epidemic and prevent future outbreaks,” Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the foundation’s chief executive, said in a statement.

To put the foundation’s pledge into perspective, the U.S. government has spent just over twice that amount in the region since the outbreak began.

The Gates Foundation has already committed more than $10 million of the $50 million to the Ebola response effort. An additional $2 million from the foundation will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to support incident management, treatment and health care system management.”

Dr stella Ameyo Adadevoh & Dr kent brantlyAn American doctor who contracted the Ebola virus while working in West Africa will be released from an Atlanta hospital on Thursday, officials said. Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, worked with Christian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia treating patients with the deadly virus when he fell ill. He and Nancy Writebol, an aid worker who also contracted Ebola while doing missionary work in Liberia, received experimental treatment before being flown to an isolation unit in Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in early August. Brantly was due to make a statement at an 11 a.m. ET news conference. Writebol, 59, is expected to be discharged from the hospital’s isolation unit but it was not immediately clear whether she would also leave the facility.

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, said Thursday that he had “marveled at Dr. Brantly’s courageous spirit as he has fought this horrible virus” and thanked staff at the hospital. On Friday, Brantly released a statement asking that people “continue to pray for and bring attention to those suffering in theongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa.” More than 1,300 people have died from the disease in the region, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the Ebola epidemic a global health emergency.

Sadly, one of Nigeria’s top doctors Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh passed away 2 days ago while also treating patients because she couldn’t get any treatment. 2 doctors doing the same job 1 dead 1 saved.

Let’s remember all Ebola sufferers in our prayers, Especially those in Africa, Medical workers …. We hope Africa too soon gets the medicine that is helping others around the world to survive.

wole s woleWole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright and political activist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

Wole Soyinka wrote his first important play, A Dance of the Forests, in the late 1950s. It satirizes the fledgling nation by showing that the present is no more a golden age than was the past. The Nobel-winning writer sometimes writes of modern West Africa in a satirical style, but his serious intent and his belief in the evils inherent in the exercise of power are usually present in his work.

 

Igbo-Ora-twinsIt’s a curious, but little-known fact that the rate of twin births in West Africa is about four times higher than in the rest of the world. The centre of this twin zone is Igbo-Ora, a sleepy southwest town in Nigeria.

More twins are born here than anywhere else on earth, but nobody is quite sure why this town should be more twin prone than any other. Outlook reports from the ‘twin town’ with a difference.

Central to the Yoruba people’s diet is the cassava, a plant with a tuber root, which can be eaten in addition to the leaves and flowers.

Research into multiple births carried out at Lagos’s University Teaching Hospital has suggested that a high level of a chemical found in the Yoruba women and the peelings of the tuber could account for the high level of multiple births.

So, could it be that eating tuber peelings leads to multiple births? The International Institute of Tropical Agricultural is uncertain.  Following research into the reputed high oestrogen content of a yam like vegetable called agida, Robert Asiedu is sceptical of the tuber link. Citing the specific cultivation of yams in regions of Asia for their contraceptive qualities, in an article for Science In Africa magazine, he commented:
‘Nobody has provided any scientific explanation or evidence that could prove that yam consumption can cause multiple births.’