African Overview

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Source: | The Dawn News | December 27, 2016

Angola declared the end of the yellow fever
After an intense campaign in which 18 million people (70% of the country’s population) were immunized, Angola announced the eradication of yellow fever.
Health Minister Luis Gomes announced last Friday that six months ago no suspected cases of the disease were reported.
Gomes said that the outbreak detected in December 2015 in the Viana area – located in Luanda, the capital – was “the largest produced in Africa in an urban area”. It should be recalled that it spread to 16 of the 18 Angolan provinces (crossing even the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo) and was associated with a malaria epidemic which put the country on the highest alert. According to the official information, 381 people died because of this.

Photo Credit: Ken Karuri with AFP
Photo Credit: Ken Karuri with AFP

For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) congratulated Angola for the health success and the fight against the epidemic that it considered “the largest one in continent in 30 years”:

The vaccination campaign consisted of two stages. The first one allowed to declare the Angolan territory free of the disease on June 23. To prevent a resurgence and ensure eradication, the government launched a new campaign in October covering 12 municipalities in 10 provinces.

Madagascar annually loses $ 1.5 billion due to malnutrition

An United Nations report revealed that Madagascar loses every year the equivalent of 14.5% of its GDP ($ 1.5 billion) as a result of malnutrition.

The study, developed jointly by the World Food Program (WFP) and various local institutions, highlighted that 47 per cent of Malagasy children under the age of five are stunted because of this problem.

He also noted that this situation is exacerbated by the climate crisis in the island state. The WFP said that Madagascar “is facing a drought wave exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon, which has affected its food production, especially in the south”.

During 2016, WFP provided assistance to one million people through the direct distribution of food, cash and medical treatment to cases of acute malnutrition.

Nigerian army releases hundreds of hostages from Boko Haram

Nigeria’s armed forces carried out a massive operation against the Islamist group Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest, the insurgency’s base of operations. There they rescued 1880 women, children kidnapped and 564 members of the organization were arrested.

Operation commander Lucky Irabor announced that the construction of routes in the area was begun to facilitate the movement of troops and to maintain the advance of the soldiers over the territory.

During the action the main camp of Boko Haram, located in the forest, was also assaulted and taken over by the army.

Soldiers from the Nigerian military assisting the people rescued from Boko Haram camps in Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Soldiers from the Nigerian military assisting the people rescued from Boko Haram camps in Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

It should be noted that according to a report from the United Nations, the Nigerian State must pay more than one billion dollars to provide humanitarian assistance to the population of the north of the country during 2017.

Since 2009 Boko Haram has been carrying out  kidnappings and armed attacks on the populations of the Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. It has also expanded its operations to the neighboring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger. It is estimated that in these years it killed about 20 thousand people and caused the displacement of approximately 2.6 million.

The organization gained global relevance in 2014 after abducting more than 200 students in the town of Chibok.

Death toll from botched circumcision rises to 28 in South Africa

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) — The death toll from botched circumcision has risen to 28 in South Africa since the summer initiation season began, authorities said on Wednesday.
Among the deaths, 21 were reported in the Eastern Cape Province, which has the highest rate of initiation-related deaths every year, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (DCGTA) said in its latest update on the initiation deaths.

In the corresponding period last year, the Eastern Cape reported 17 deaths.

The rise in initiation-related deaths in Eastern Cape “is unacceptable”, DCGTA spokesperson Legadima Leso said.

Most of the deaths were reported in bogus initiation schools, according to the DCGTA.

A “Zero Deaths” campaign, launched by the DCGTA in cooperation with local communities, is in full swing.

Government-dispatched teams currently are monitoring the situation across the country during the initiation season.

According to tradition in many African countries, young males have to be circumcised as the passage to adulthood.

In 2015, during winter and summer initiation seasons, approximately 101 initiates lost their lives, and in the last 10 years there has been an estimated 1,000 penile amputations after the ritual went wrong.

Ethiopian running legend Miruts Yifter dies at 72, says family

Miruts Yifter, an Ethiopian running legend who inspired world-class athletes like Haile Gebreselassie, has died in Canada at age 72, his family and Ethiopian Athletics Federation officials told the Associated Press on Friday.

The athlete known widely by the nickname “Miruts the Shifter” won two gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics at age 40 and won bronze medals earlier at the 1972 Munich Games.

“Miruts has been everything to me and my athletics career,” said Haile Gebreselassie, the double Olympic 10,000-meter champion, who struggled with his tears while talking to the AP by phone. “When I started running, I just wanted to be like him. He is the reason for who I’m now and for what I have achieved.”

Miruts’ son, Biniam Miruts, said his father had been suffering from respiratory problems.

File Photo
File Photo

Miruts Yifter was the subject of much criticism during Ethiopia’s former military regime, especially for not winning gold medals at the Munich Games, and he was thrown into jail upon his return home. He was soon released but left Ethiopia in 2000 for Canada.

Family members said he was never accorded the dignity and privileges he deserved in Ethiopia, and they called on all Ethiopians to give him a heroic welcome when his body arrives for burial in Addis Ababa next week.

Miruts has seven children, most of whom live outside Ethiopia.

Haile recalled listening to the radio as a little boy during Mirut’s victory in Moscow.

“I used to doubt that he was a human being after all for achieving what he achieved back then,” he said Friday. “For me, he is the best-ever athlete Ethiopia ever had after the great Abebe Bikila.”

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