Tuesday, January 30, 2007

TB in Africa

Drug Resistant TB: Health emergency in Africa

The WHO (the UN’s World Health Organization) has now declared a health emergency for Africa because of the increase in Drug resistant TBPartly due to HIV and increased urban development, cases of TB has quadrupled in Africa since 1990. Half a million people in Africa, and two million people in the world die of TB each year. And eight of the nine countries with the highest number of cases announce they are short of funding for treating tuberculosis.

Drug resistant TB is especially a problem, since common medicines don’t work, and the older medicines have more side effects. The only way to keep such cases from spreading might be to mandate isolation from the community, bringing up civil rights issues.

However, for ordinary TB, the way to eliminate or lower case rates requires a combination of several things.

One, improve nutrition. Most cases are in malnourished people.

Two: fight HIV. HIV patients cannot eliminate TB bacteria, even when treated, and this may contribute to both the spread of TB and the increase in drug resistance

Three: BCG vaccine. This grants partial immunity, by allowing the person to have their white cells sensitive to TB…so if they are exposed to TB, they do not develop the highly fatal “miliary” version of TB, and are less likely to develop full blown TB

Four: Restart screening immigrants for TB. My sons and my husband needed normal chest X rays to enter the USA…and I was required to have a normal Chest X ray to get permanent residency in the Philippines. Another priority should be to go back to yearly screening of all health care workers/daycare workers/teachers and require those working in restaurants and other food handlers. This last group includes many undocumented aliens, who have a higher risk for TB.

Five: increase funding, in a combination with HIV treatment. The bad news is that corruption is rampant, but funding churches and other NGO’s to run public health are where you should send your money.

Six: the best way to eliminate TB is to treat all TB skin test positive people, and/or screen them with yearly chest X rays. Alas, in countries where 90 percent of people are TB skin test positive, this is impossible.

Western countries need to be aware of the problem. You see, if you aren’t a doctor/healthcare provide/EMT/policeman, you don’t inject drugs, you are faithful to your partner, your chances of catching HIV are small.

But a single case of TB can spread it to hundreds, and all you need is to catch it is to have your chef or patient or the guy sitting next to you on the subway to cough to give you the disease.
cross posted to http://www.bloggernews.net/14229

© 2007 Blogger News Network |

Drug resistant TB on the rise on Africa

Presumably a problem in Zim

Security forces in Zim seek accord with civil protesters

summary: Docs still on strike, next the teachers.

Police ask strike leaders to let them know when they plan to protest.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Barclay's millions help prop up Mugabe

"...Barclays bank is helping to bankroll President Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, providing millions of pounds of support for his vilified land reforms, The Observer can reveal. Mugabe's opponents describe the bank's activities as a 'disgrace' and an 'insult' to the millions who have suffered human rights abuses.

Barclays is the most high-profile of three British-based financial institutions, which, in total, have provided more than $1bn in direct and indirect funding to Mugabe's administration. The other two companies are Standard Chartered Bank and the insurance firm Old Mutual. According to influential newsletter Africa Confidential, that first disclosed the Barclays' loans, the British organisations provide an economic lifeline keeping Mugabe's regime afloat....

One of the most controversial of Barclays' Zimbabwe loans is the £30m it provides to a state-sponsored agricultural 'facility' aiming to sustain land reforms that saw Mugabe seize white-owned farmland and drive more than 100,000 black workers from their homes. The government has expelled more than a million opposition supporters from Harare and Bulawayo, dumping them in the countryside.....

Barclays says it has had customers in Zimbabwe for decades and abandoning them now would make matters worse. A spokesman said: 'We have been in Zimbabwe since 1912 and have 1,000 employees serving 150,000 retail, business and corporate customers in the country. We are committed to continuing to provide a service to those customers in what is clearly a difficult operating environment. As with all other banks and businesses, Barclays is required to comply with the regulations of the Reserve Bank. This involves participating from time to time in the purchase of treasury bills and government bonds.'....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Severe hunger looms for Zimbabwe

"...Zimbabwe is facing a food deficit of hundreds of thousands of tonnes - a third of its requirements - an international monitoring agency warns.

The Famine Early Warning System says the cereal balance sheet projects a shortfall in maize - the staple food - of some 850,000 tonnes.

By December only 152,600 tonnes had been delivered, meaning widespread hunger looks set to continue.

The monitors say Zimbabwe's lack of foreign currency is a key problem.


The Zimbabwean government has refused to allow outside agencies to carry out crop assessments but the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) used satellite images.

The government plans to import 565,000 tonnes of cereal - 60% of the projected deficit.

"It remains doubtful that Zimbabwe will be able to meet their import goals," FEWS said. .."

China and neocolonialism

"....China's relationship with Africa, fuelled largely by its insatiable appetite for energy and raw materials, has come into focus again ahead of the upcoming visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to eight African countries: Cameroon, Liberia, Sudan, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Seychelles.

Europe isn't alone in feeling uneasy about the inequality of the Chinese-African relationship.

Hu's South African host, President Thabo Mbeki, also recently warned of the possible 'colonization' of Africa.

The 'potential danger' he said in December was of the emergence of 'an unequal relationship,' similar to that which existed in the past between African colonies and the colonial powers.

'China can not only just come here and dig for raw materials and then go away and sell us manufactured goods,' he said, in calling for greater Chinese investment to build up local manufacturing capability.

China's trade with Africa increased ten-fold between 1995 and 2005, from 4 to 40 billion dollars, a figure Chinese President Hu Jintao has pledged to double by 2010.

'The world has been put on notice that Africa is no longer the basket case that everybody had historically thought it was,' Former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn said in November.

China, for one, has been taking note. While the West has dithered in the face of corruption, human rights violations and civil war in Africa, Chinese officials have been scurrying about securing access to the continent's abundant natural resources.

When criticized over its inaction on human rights, China is quick to point out that Washington supports governments with dodgy human rights records in other parts of the world.

Zimbabwe's autocratic President Robert Mugabe has led calls for Africa to 'look East' for investment. Isolated by the West over human rights abuses and grappling with hyperinflation, the autocratic leader is desperate for foreign investment, which China is only too happy to provide.

Zimbabwe has worldwide the second-largest deposits of platinum after South Africa, a precious metal much in demand in China.

In Zambia - another country on Hu's itinerary - China has invested heavily in copper mining, most recently inking a deal for a 200-million-dollar copper smelter in the resource-rich but impoverished country.

At the Beijing summit it also shook with South Africa on a 50-50 joint venture between Sinosteel Corporation and Samancor Chrome to build a ferrochrome mine and smelter, costing China 2 billion dollars.

But the biggest prize for the Chinese in Africa remains oil - the Chinese car market is the fastest-growing the world - which it sources from Angola, Nigeria and Sudan. ...."

Friday, January 26, 2007

16000 arrested in December

and I missed the story due to the Asian internet being down (from the Taiwan earthquake cutting the undersea cable)..here it is from Strategy Page...

On December 29, 2006 the Zimbabwean government said its police had arrested 16,000 people for smuggling "precious minerals" and the crime of "illegal mining."

The "police sweep" began in November 2006. Yes, a lot of illegal jewel and gold smuggling goes on, but the arrests of 16,000 people suggests Mugabe's regime seized an opportunity to make a statement to the opposition....

So why question the operation? Because other sources have reported that impoverished Zimbabweans had turned to "panning for gold" as a means of supporting themselves.

This crackdown also followed the crack down against people accused of "hoarding" cash when Zimbabwe revalued its currency.

Another reason to believe the general "crack down" theory: On December 20, 2006, Mugabe said that his government will "crush" it opponents and dissenters.

The Zimbabwe military is also hassling private (non-state controlled) mobile phone companies. The Zimbabwean government essentially wants to monitor all international calls.

This goes along with my previous link to the gov't confiscating short wave radios from rural teachers, to keep them from learning news from alternative sources.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Uneven rains might mean poor harvest

The U.S.-based Famine Early Warning System issued a warning this week saying that despite an early start to Zimbabwe's rainy season the maize crop may turn out "below average" because rains were unevenly distributed and may not last the season.

"Rains began up to six weeks early, before many farmers were prepared for planting," FEWSNET said. "In some areas, the early start (of rains) was a false one, followed by dry periods of up to 20 days, and farmers had to wait for rains to resume in order to replant." The organization said rainfall "was not well timed or well distributed," and added that the forecast for the remainder of the season "is not favorable."

FEWSNET also said the winter wheat crop harvest, after being delayed by shortages of fuel and the early rains, could fall short of expectations. It said the wheat harvest probably wouldn't exceed 135,000 metric tonnes, and that Zimbabwe thus might be obliged to import some 265,000 tonnes to meet its annual requirements.

The food security monitoring organization said some 1.4 million Zimbabweans living in rural areas were in a situation of food insecurity during the current "hunger season," while many living in the cities cannot afford maize meal though it is available.

China sends youth volunteers to help Zim

The agreement signed between the two countries will see the volunteers offering services in the areas of Chinese teaching, sport, training in computer technology, Chinese medical diagnosis and treatment and technology of animal husbandry among others.

The Chinese volunteers arrived in Harare on Tuesday. They had an orientation workshop with Zimbabwean youths and visited the beneficiary institutions in Zimbabwe's capital on Wednesday.

Returning land to white farmers?

This report says yes.

But THIS reports says only black will be allowed to farm.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Teachers flee; radios confiscated

A teacher who claimed to have fled the militias – notorious for harassing and torturing opposition supporters - yesterday told ZimOnline that the militias were conducting violent searches at teachers’ houses beating up teachers and confiscating all the donated short-wave radios.

“The situation is tense in Mash East. The youths and the police have teamed up and act on information provided by ZANU PF supporters in the district.

“People are being rounded up and given lecturers on the dangers of listening to the radios. Those suspected of being behind the distribution are also beaten up," said the teacher who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

At a meeting held in Marondera town last Tuesday, Mashonaland East governor Ray Kaukonde is said to have told state security agents and ZANU PF supporters to be vigilant saying the radios should not be allowed to circulate in the province.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Kaukonde confirmed that the government was confiscating the radios “in the national interest.”

“It is a peaceful exercise (confiscation of radios) in the national interest. Villagers need food not radios or harmful information," said Kaukonde.

“Those radios are propaganda tools so that villagers can listen to hostile stations such as Voice of America and turn against the government.

“The security agents are only confiscating the radios and carrying out awareness campaigns so that villagers can report anyone seen listening to the radios or distributing them,” he said.

Zimbabwe entering an exciting period

Discusses mild change versus abrupt change...

The title reminds me of the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Foreign exchange rate shoots up

"...BULAWAYO – Rates on Zimbabwe’s illegal but thriving foreign currency market shot up by more than 20 percent yesterday ahead of a key central bank monetary policy review statement next week. .....

On Thursday, for example, the Botswana Pula was selling for Z$540, up from $450 the previous day while the South African rand was trading at $500 up from $400.

The dealers were buying the United States dollar for $3 700, up from $3 000 and selling the greenback for $4 000, up from $3 200.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Illegal gold panning now banned


The Zimbabwean government on Wednesday announced an immediate ban on illegal panning for precious minerals as it has become a major threat to Zimbabwe's agriculture and natural resources.

Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema said it has become necessary to immediately put a stop to the illegal mining activities in all the country's ten provinces, adding that more than 600,000 people were now directly involved in the activity,

"As government, we have banned panning activities because we have collectively come to the conclusion that the environmental costs emanating from the panning activities far outweigh the benefits accruing to the panners," he said.

He said the accelerated rate of panning could turn the country to rubble in the next few years if unstopped.

Discovery of minerals such as gold and diamonds has seen people from all walks of life venturing into illegal panning, resulting in destruction of huge tracts of land.

Nhema said panning activities had resulted not only in environmental degradation but also in chemical contamination of water bodies, indiscriminate cutting down of trees and destruction of fragile and sensitive habitats including wetlands and riverine ecosystems...."

Zim ruling party takes election by fault

No one is running against them, so why hold elections?

"...One month before a round of 21 rural council by-elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has announced that the country's ruling party has already locked up 15 rural wards due to the failure of the political opposition to present candidates.

But a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai said the MDC grouping filed nomination papers in all 21 of the wards to be contested, but that those nominations were thrown out by nomination judges in a replay of what happened in the run-up to last October’s rural elections..."

Evil is as evil does

apparantly there is no Marxist murdering tyrant that some people can't defend...LINK....LINK2 to interview...LINK 3 to the group

Martin Luthur King would have defended Mugabe? Well maybe...after all, he defended the Viet Kong and the Kumer Rouge, who we all know were wonderful humanitarians.

And guess what? The group is an offshoot of this Anti War group...who have an amusing article about Bush "invading" the world by multinationals...hmmm...wonder if they ever heard of China? Nahh...neither website mentions China, Singapore, or Malaysia, since globalization and capitalism seems to be helping the poor in those countries...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bush increses african aid

Alas, the internet in Asia is down, so I can't link to the WAPO story for details.

Yahoo is off, our local provider is down( I am using an internet cafe for this) due to cable damage after a major underseas quake off of Taiwan.

I will continue posting when everything is up.
Free hit counters
Free hit counters