CONAKRY, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The Chinese medical team in Guinea has been hailed for its contribution to fighting the deadly Ebola virus.
The director of Sino-Guinea Friendship Hospital in the capital Conakry, Dr. Fode Ibrahim Camara, made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday just after the World Health Organization declared free of Ebola in Liberia.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa had been pronounced over with Liberia’s end of the virus, however hours later a new case was confirmed in Sierra Leone which had been declared Ebola-free on Nov. 7, 2015.
Guinea was declared Ebola-free on Dec. 29, 2015.
Photo Credit: www.news.cn.com
The current 10-strong Chinese medical team in Guinea is the 24th mission sent by China to the country since 1968. They arrived in Guinea in August 2014 and serves a two-year term.
Camara said the 24th Chinese medical team had come to Guinea at “the most difficult time” when the Ebola epidemic was at its peak, when most people were leaving Guinea and most businesses were closing down.
“This support shows that our forefathers were right to establish the cooperation with China, which has continued to grow stronger since 1960s,” Camara said.
He hailed the good working relationship between Guinean and Chinese doctors in battling Ebola virus.
Camara said the Chinese government contributed effectively to the fight against Ebola in Guinea.
The Chinese government was the first to come to Guinea’s aid, providing all the necessary material and financial support in the war against Ebola, he said.
China was the first country to provide aid for Ebola-hit countries after the outbreak was reported in March 2014. Guinea received the first Chinese supplies in April 2014.
Camara said China also helped to train over 1,500 health workers who engaged in the fight against Ebola, both in Conakry and other parts of the country.
The 23th Chinese medical team in Guinea, which returned in August 2014, helped to fight against Ebola for six months. Its 19 members have been lauded by the country for their contributions.
As of November 2014, China has offered aid worth 750 million yuan (about 113.77 million dollars) and sent thousands of medical personnel to Ebola-hit countries.
Ebola has killed more than 11,000 people mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since December 2013.
Like many of you, I was greeted by sad news this morning. Phife Dawg of the legendary group, A Tribe Called Quest, had passed away from medical complications caused by diabetes. He was only 45 years old. Phife had been battling diabetes mellitus type 1 since he was first diagnosed in 1990, the year that Tribe’s first album dropped.
Phife’s condition was hereditary (his mother had diabetes) and it was exacerbated by his hectic touring schedule which caused him to eat large amounts of fast food. In a 2010 interview , he said, “I was still waking up to a glass of Quik, you know what I’m saying? Oreo cookies for breakfast, just stupid shit. It didn’t make it any better that we were on the road performing, eating KFC, McDonalds, shit like that and I was going hard when we was younger”. At some point, his kidneys began to fail and in 2004 he started dialysis. Eventually, his wife became his donor and gifted him with one of her kidneys. He drastically improved his eating habits and seemingly regained control over his diabetes before A Tribe Called Quest’s reunion in 2008. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to prolong his life into old age.
His passing reminded me of the death of Patrice O’Neal, one of my favorite comedians. Patrice was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his early twenties and died at 41.
I’m 37-years old now, and thankfully, in good health. So as far as I’m concerned, these guys were way too young to die. Unfortunately, diabetes is one of the most life-threatening health problems plaguing the Black community today. Over ninety percent of people who have the disease suffer from type 2 diabetes. This is largely the result of excess body weight and lack of physical exercise. According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only five percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.
Compared to the general U.S. population, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health (OMH)website, “African Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. In addition, they are more likely to suffer complications from diabetes, such as end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and lower extremity amputations. Although African Americans have the same or lower rate of high cholesterol as their non-Hispanic white counterparts, they are more likely to have high blood pressure.”
End-stage renal disease (ESRD) signifies that the kidneys are barely or no longer functioning after about 10-20 years of chronic kidney disease. Without dialysis or a kidney transplant, ESRD leads to death. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ESRD related to diabetes is about 170% higher in black men than in White men and about 131% higher in black women than in White women.
Diabetes isn’t exclusive to the Western world though. This health condition is also becoming more prevalent in African countries. A report by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) states that the African continent counts approximately 13.6 million people with diabetes. Nigeria has the highest number of people with diabetes(with approximately 1.2 million people affected).
In Ghana, a large percentage of the population suffers from type 2 diabetes. According to Elizabeth Denyoh, president of Ghana’s National Diabetes Association, the country has no national diabetes program. Denyou said, “In Ghana, most people diagnosed with diabetes are the poorest of the poor. There is a lot of Type 1 diabetes in rural areas. ” Type 1 diabetes, although still rare in many areas, is becoming increasingly more prevalent. IGT (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) is also becoming problematic in many African countries. This counters the prevailing myth that diabetes is solely a disease of the wealthy west.
In numerous interviews (3 min mark), Phife mentioned how he used his celebrity as a platform to raise diabetes awareness. He said that he would love it if he could inspire others with the condition and let them know that they can still achieve their dreams and desires despite the hardships that come with diabetes. Like Phife, there are many other well known individuals who have been affected by diabetes directly or indirectly. Many are using their popularity as a platform to raise awareness.
For example, Lil Jon raised money the American Diabetes Association during his stint on The Apprentice. His now deceased mother had type 2 diabetes and suffered a stroke while they were the taping a season of the show. He went on to raise $195,000 for the cause.
Dennis Coles aka Tony Starks aka Ghostface Killah of the Wu Tang Clan, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1996. In a 2005 interview about his condition, he said “I didn’t know what that shit was.” He went to two doctors before it was detected. “My sugar was mad high, but it was a little relief to know what it was.” His doctor prescribed insulin along with a healthier regiment. “That meant putting down the blunts and cutting back on the alcohol and sweets.” It’s about discipline”, said Ghost. “You can quit the cigarettes and all that other shit but as a diabetic you fiend for sweets. When you sitting at the crib staring at them Oreos, you gonna fuck around and go in. You want those Fruity Pebbles and all that shit. I had to learn how to just chill, exercise, drink protein shakes and monitor my sugar.”
Let me be clear: this isn’t some pathological problem that’s simply impacting our community. Black people are dying and developing poor health, largely because of racism and oppressive systems. There are virtual food deserts in many Black communities across the U.S. Young people consume high amounts of soda and candy and other crap. There are rarely any healthy food options, let alone affordable options in many of our communities.
Most of us know someone or have someone close to us who are diabetic, if we’re not diabetic ourselves. Eating habits are hard to break, especially considering the fact that sugar is literally in everythingwe consume. The impact of everyday racism and classism have a way of negatively impacting our immune systems and the physiological functions of our bodies. But to know better is to do better. Let’s all do what we can to prevent another loss like this. If you want to know about some Black owned businesses that are committed to health and wellness, check out our previous post.
To address this growing epidemic, the American Diabetes Association has created programs and materials to increase awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and its complications among African Americans. Learn more here.
With about 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, there’s no reason the conversation about the issue should be slowing down. Actor Jussie Smollett, who has been an outspoken advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, delivered that message loud and clear in a conversation with HuffPost Live last week.
The “Empire” star warned against considering HIV/AIDS to be a problem from “yesteryear.”
“We get attached to these hashtags and it becomes this social media fad,” he said. “But it’s almost as if HIV/AIDS stopped being the thing to talk about before social media came around. We’ve gotta bring that back because we’re not done.”
Leaving Sierra Leone with my son. Sitting next to me is former parliamentarian newly appointed Minister of State Isata Kabia. Ms. Kabia sponsored the right to abortion bill that was passed in parliament but that got sent back by the President after giving in to pressures from a male dominated assembly of religious leaders. Photo Credit: Go Woman Africa
I went to the Immigration Head Office in Freetown, Sierra Leone on a Monday to submit a passport application for my son. On this day I entered the building sans problem, I went passed the security, greeted them and asked for Mr. Kakay’s office. They directed me to a desk inside the building. I went there and they said he was on the third floor.
I spent something like 2 hours at the Immigration Office and was told to return two days later at about 10am to collect the passport. On Wednesday morning with my son in arms, I got out of the car and proceeded towards the entrance just as I had done two days before. I said Good Morning and was about to continue on when a police officer stopped me. This was the same officer who I had greeted two days earlier. I knew he recognized me because I recognized him.
“Excuse me?” I asked half confused.
“You can not enter you are wearing a singlet,” he said.
“Sleeveless. Read the sign. You can’t wear singlet in this office.”
He points to a sign that was behind him taped on the side of the entrance that I had not noticed when I came on Monday. From where I was standing I could not see the sign.
I took a breath. A very deep breath.
“OK. I understand but that sign is all the way over there and I didn’t know there was a dress code. I’m just here to pick up my son’s passport”.
“That is not my problem, go and come back,” he said.
Another Police Officer, he looked older standing on the top of the platform brought himself into the conversation.
“Where do you live?”
“In a hotel, but I can’t go and come back to change my top”.
“Ah well you cannot enter here like that, that is the rule”.
I take another deep breath. I am holding my baby so I don’t want to be upset. Since giving birth 5 months ago, I have taken to wearing tank tops to make it easier for me to breastfeed as and when he needs it. They can see that I am holding a baby. They can see that it is hot. They can also see that by the fact that I was there at the Immigration Office which serves that I am also Sierra Leonean, like them.
“I understand you are doing your job. I understand that this is your law. Can you please call someone from inside who can then assist me with collecting my son’s passport while we wait outside.”
“No I won’t be able to do that”, the younger of the two officers said.
At this point of the conversation I had been reduced to 60 percent of self because when you have to deal with micro aggressions whether they be race or gender based that is what happens. You are reduced to feeling less of a person. The rationale for these dress codes is that if you are a woman and you have on a sleeveless top or shirt or dress that you must be there to seduce one of the Immigration staff. That any woman who dresses like that must be there looking for a man. Because that is what we women do, we come with our breasts to shove in their faces.
“As a police officer you know your job is not to just enforce the law but to serve and assist citizens like me right?”
“Me noh know that”, he says.
“I don tell you say you noh dey go inside.”
At this point people start to gather and they start to ask what, and why. I am still holding my son. Still standing under the sun and now being reduced some more, as I am shamed for wearing a tank top by all the additional eyes there present. I am now 50 percent of self. I explain myself to three different people.
One man an older man comes out and says yes you must respect our country. You go back to where you came from and wear proper clothes. You can not come in here.
“Is this not my country too?”
“Me noh know if na you country.”
I am still holding my son. We are still under the sun being refused entry into a building where I spent many many years playing under the desks. Until I was age 10, when we left Sierra Leone, my mother’s office was on the third floor. This was once the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I had grown up, eating groundnut under the tables, with the children of other Ministry staff. After school we would all walk from our various schools, and collect each other and make it to our parents’ office. It was like a unique form of Daycare, that for the most part is probably being practiced in offices in Freetown. You go wait at your parent’s office and you go home together. In this office I had been locked countless times in the elevator when there was light off. I had lost one shoes, socks, books, and toys countless times. It was ironic that of all the buildings in all of Freetown that it would be this same one that my mother had served in for some 30 years that I was being refused entry.
I am asked to step to the side. That I should not block the entrance. People have to go in, I was not people, for this morning I was less than that because I had on a tank top that revealed my arms and chest.
“Go over there!’
They point to the side of the building, a little off to the right. I step away from the front. I stand to the side. It seems like it is going to drizzle. Oh no those aren’t rain drops, they are the tears that start to well up whenever I get reduced below 50 percent of self. It seems my tears never can hold below this point.
I will not cry. You must not cry I tell myself. This is what Sierra Leone does, it tries to make you powerless. It tries to reduce you. You must not be reduced. I must say something to fight back.
“You know this is what is wrong with this country?” I say it loud enough for them to hear me.
“We don’t have any compassion for one another. What if I was your sister, or your wife is this how you would want them to be treated?”
I’m not sure anyone even cares or hears me but I feel better saying that. I know that whatever indignity I am suffering here, I know for a fact that it compares not to the indignities women of lower socio economic status have to suffer in Sierra Leone. I reassure myself that I will get in. This is how they are. I don’t even know who “they” are but I know that this is them.
A man comes out and he says he wants to help me. I have caused enough of a fuss I guess, by refusing to walk away and be dismissed. He asks me what I want and I tell him. Then he goes inside and a woman comes out and hands me a very very sheer scarf. I don’t know how many others like myself, having been reduced have shared arm skin on this scarf. I take it reluctantly barely covering with it and walk passed the police officer. The woman I am going to meet is already coming down the steps, someone had told her I was there. She takes me to the passport section downstairs, formerly the protocol division of Foreign Affairs of which my mother was a director of an all male team. It takes me 5 minutes to sign the form and receive my son’s passport. It took me 30 minutes to enter the building.
As I’m signing the register the man who helped me says, you know you are right. We need a little bit more compassion in Sierra Leone. I don’t smile, I don’t make small talk. I’m still suffering from having been reduced. I hand the scarf back to the owner. I walk out of the building and as I leave I say this to the police office;
“Sometimes we see people on the street they are poor and suffering and no one knows why, maybe they suffer because at some point in their life they showed no “sorri heart” to another human being, maybe one day that will be you. God dey.”
I didn’t bother to read the sign the was printed on A4 and stuck on the inside of the building. I don’t know if the dress code is even legal especially when it only applies to women. This is not the only government building in Sierra Leone where women are subjected to this kind of harassment and indignity. At State House, the Office of the President you will be turned away depending on who you are if you are wearing pants, yes even a corporate style pant suit because women wearing trousers clearly are sexually loose and will come there to seduce their employees. The same goes for the Youyi Building, if you attempt to enter it on foot, and if you are a woman who looks like you are not well off someone will attempt to stop you. Every single day women are being harassed in Sierra Leone, suffering micro aggressions put there to reduce them, and make them feel less. It happened to me, it could happen to anyone and after this incident I read a letter from the nation’s corporate affairs boss, another woman who was subjected to the same reductions.
When you arrive in Europe for the first time, the first shock you get is seeing how overpopulated the place is, especially the western part.
A small country like France, which is five times smaller than the Democratic Republic of Congo, has about the same population – 67 million inhabitants. The UK is smaller than Gabon, but has a population of more than 60 million inhabitants, compared to Gabon’s population of just over 1.5 million. The worst example is a micro country like Belgium (just over 30000 km square, 167 times smaller than the Congo) which has a population of 11 million. That’s 365 people per km square, compared to the DRC’s rate of 30.
The first question you ask yourself is how they manage to feed themselves in a resource-poor continent like Europe? Why do they have so many kids when Europe is already the only continent to send more than half a billion economic and political refugees to other richer places of the world during the last five centuries? Is it because of the high fertility rate of their men or because of the cold weather which forces them to spend lots of time inside with only one activity left … copulation!
For many people concerned about overpopulation, Africa takes the centre of attention because of the recent growth of its population. But the concept of overpopulation is a fraud and a convenient ideology, because it ignores impact per capita (per one person) and focuses on simple numerics.
In reality, the USA consumes 25% of the world’s resources while its population is only 5% of the total. The west as a block – the USA and Europe – represents slightly less than 15% of the world’s population, but its consumption far outstrips most of the rest of the world, with one study finding that the US, Europe and Japan together suck up 80% of the world’s natural resources.
Africa, as a whole, has a population smaller than China, and a total GDP which is half that of a small country like France. Considering that it’s an already overpopulated continent, it’s surprising that many European countries give incentives to families to make more babies. And, for an already underpopulated continent, Africa is crowded with western overpopulation experts giving money to NGOs and governments to stop population growth. In the meantime, China is abandoning its one child policy to boost its population.
It is only in Africa that we talk about having population reduction funded by western NGOs and governments. Is it because Africa does not have resources to feed 2 billion people? No. It’s because some other nations want those resources for their own people instead.
I hope you won’t bite on this new covert war on the poor – another distraction from the real culprits. The world is overpopulated, so let’s have less rich people. That should be the real agenda.
Mawuna Remarque Koutonin is the editor of SiliconAfrica.com and a social activist for Africa Renaissance. Follow @siliconafrica on Twitter.
Guinea’s President Alpha Conde on Saturday appointed mining executive Mamady Youla as the country’s prime minister, citing the need to boost the country’s economy by creating more jobs, and said a new government will be named within days.
Youla, 54, an economist, had been serving as general manager of Guinea Alumina Corp Ltd., a bauxite and alumina development company.
“The appointment of Mamady Youla, a high Guinean executive of the private sector, confirms the new impulse given by President Conde to support job creation and the training, and to strengthen Guinean companies,” the office of the presidency said an e-mailed statement.
Youla’s ties to business could give a new dynamism to the economy in Guinea, the world’s largest exporter of bauxite and holder of about 25 percent of the world’s proven reserves of the ore, the main source of aluminum, as well as sizable deposits of iron ore, gold and diamonds.
“Authorities in Guinea did not know how to accelerate investments when the economic situation was favorable,” Youla told Bloomberg News in an interview in Conakry, the Guinean capital, in September.
The statement from Conde office said Youla’s appointment was aimed at strengthening the confidence of Guinea’s economic partners, improving the business climate and accelerating major mining, energy and agricultural projects.
Conde won a second five-year term in the West African nation in October, a result widely disputed by the country’s opposition parties. That election was only the second democratic one in Guinea since 1958, following one in 2010 that was marred by widespread violence and several deaths.
Despite contributing only a fraction of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, Africa is being hit hardest by the effects of climate change. Now armed with a common approach, African leaders are pushing for a more equitable and prosperous deal in Paris.
Photo Credit: Global Risk Insights
As the UN Climate Summit in Paris enters its final week and negotiations are ramped up, leaders from developing nations will continue to push for a more equitable deal. Already officials at the conference have cleared a major hurdle, producing a draft accord on Saturday 5 December. That leaves a week for ministers to clinch a historic agreement, with many optimistic that the Paris Summit can erase the disappointment of past talks, including Copenhagen in 2009, which ended in failure and frustration.
Yet even with a blueprint being reached, major sticking points, not least between developed and developing states, must be overcome if a positive and more equitable outcome is to be reached. That will not be easy.
Africa, small island developing nations (SIDS), and other least developed countries (LDC’s), have all argued that their contribution to climate change has been minimal. Unsurprisingly, they demand favourable concessions when it comes to the prickly issues of climate finance, new targets for countries based on carbon dioxide stock taking, and the overall responsibilities of developed versus developing countries. These issues are referred to in the draft agreement but remain unresolved.
For its part, Africa has laid out a number of proposals that will be keenly debated this week. Now armed with a common position and an expert team of around 200 climate negotiators, both of which were sorely missing in past multilateral talks, including in Montreal in 2005, Africa has submitted three main requests.
First, it asks for $11bn a year from the international community to help it adapt to climate change in the future; having contributed little to the problem, its leaders are loath to pick up the bill.
Second, as it aims to bring electricity to 600 million people across the continent, it is seeking an additional $55bn a year in investments until 2030 in order to help it transform its energy sector, much of which will be powered by renewables.
Finally, it urges countries to reconsider the demands they make of one another; limiting the global temperature rise to 2C by the end of the century may appear more achievable, but African leaders argue a revised target of 1.5 degrees is needed in order to avert climate disaster.
These are tall orders, to be sure. But those in Africa point to the fact that they have too often drawn the short straw when it comes to climate change.
Despite accounting for roughly 15% of the world’s population, the continent contributes less than 2.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions, says James Wan at the Royal African Society. And more often than not, it is Africa that bears the brunt of global warming, with flash flooding and crippling droughts occurring with unfailing frequency.
Until now, the West appeared relatively unmoved by Africa’s desperate plight and moral posturing. But recent forecasts by the World Health Organization paint a devastating picture, not just for Africa.
With a likely drop in country GDP’s across Africa, widespread crop eradication amid falling rainfall, the prospect of millions being pushed back into poverty, deepening security concerns in the region, and the possible spread of disease and climate refugees, African leaders are right that the West can ill-afford to view climate change as a problem of the Global South. Whether they like it or not, the fates of Africa and the rest of the world are indelibly linked.
Beyond such gloom, however, African officials are quick to point out the potential benefits of implementing greener alternatives now. Not only have the majority of African states committed to bigger cuts than other higher-emitting nations, but they have also proposed the prospect of a nascent energy revolution – one that would benefit both Africa and the rest of the world.
As well as possessing much of the world’s most prized natural resources, Africa is home to some of the world’s most promising renewable energy reserves. ‘The potential,’ writes Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, ‘is breathtaking.’ He says the continent can source an additional 10 terawatts of solar energy, 1,3000 gigawatts of wind power, and 15GW of geothermal power. Taken together, that ‘would not just solve Africa’s own energy problems but also those of other countries near and far.’ Energy investment and further cooperation between Africa and the West will be pivotal in turning such dreams into reality.
But add to that the fact that the forests in central Africa, which account for roughly a fifth of the world’s stock, act as one of the greatest carbon sinks in the world, and it is easy to see that Africa, more than ever, can play a crucial role in helping the world reduce its greenhouse emissions.
What does this mean for the Paris Climate Summit and Africa? Despite these lofty ideals and more consensus and cooperation than ever before, a binding resolution calling for a rise of 2C or less seems doubtful.
The past few years have seen countries favour Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), voluntary pledges. These bottom-up pledges will remain the dominant commitment by states this time around, too, not least because of the freedom they confer to those who invoke them.
Without the burden of legal obligations, states can implement initiatives and targets that suit their needs best; the downside, of course, is that there is no one at the end of the line to ensure that they make good on such promises. That means Africa’s pleas to keep any temperature rise below 1.5C will not be heeded.
Climate funding, meanwhile, will remain a thorny issue and it is doubtful Africa will receive the full $11bn per year it wants. A fairer deal for Africa thus seems somewhat out of reach, at least this time around.
Still, some positive signs are emerging: last week, France committed over 2bn euros to renewable energy projects across its former colonies over the next five years. Other projects will no doubt follow, even if they do not meet Africa’s starry-eyed expectations. That is no reason to celebrate, of course.
But for Africa – and all those at Paris – these gradual steps must feel somewhat encouraging after the bitter disappointment of Copenhagen five years ago.
This article was published on Global Risk Insights.