April 28, 2006

Breaking news on Global Fund

Round 6 was passed by the Global Fund board an 30 minutes ago. I could imagine Burundians that are getting low cost ACT (Artemisin Combination Treatment) for malaria are happy. Even so the 6700 HIV infected people that are on ARV’s. They would have died if the Global Fund would have decided not to go for a Round 6. Also check this posting on the subject a few days ago:
April 28, 2006

Abortions in Kenya, embryos and a pill?

According to statistics from Kenya’s Ministry of Health 700 abortions are performed every day in the country on girls aged between 15 and 19 who might (financially) not be able to raise a child, did not use a condom and regretted or girls who were offered extra money if they would have sex without a condom by men. On top of that there are hundreds of rape cases and cases of domestic sexual violence each month. This in a country where abortion is illegal. That is why a lot of abortions are taking place in secret in health centers, hospitals (if you are lucky) and a lot of them under much worse circumstances. I once head a story of a girl that had to lie down why people were hitting and pushing her on the stomach. Another known method is
April 28, 2006

Angelique Kidjo on stage in Kenya

… and it was great. Music unites people and can bring messages across that we journalists can’t. But can somebody tell me why the dancefloor at Angelique’s concert was divided (by a guarded fence) in a VIP area and in an area for the common people? I am sure Angelique did not want it halfway the concert she left the stage and came to the audience (picture, under the umbrella), illustrating her message that she believes that: “human beings in the basis are good.” Later on she invited the audience to come and dance with on the stage “Because it’s fun” (picture: Angelique is the one with the white short hair in the middle)
April 25, 2006

No, it's not Aids, It's Malaria

That kills more people in Africa than any other disease…. Only in Africa more than 2 million people… Just back from Burundi for reports on malaria. More than 80 percent of the Burundi people are at risk to get malaria each year. I visited health centers and was talking to many Burundians, being dependent on donor money for their free malaria treatment. Other than a lot of people in the West might think, malaria is still the killer number one in Sub Saharan Africa. It kills more people than AIDS does. Three years ago the Burundi government decided to introduce a very efective ACT treatment as First Line of defence. Death figures went down dramatically. ‘But now part of the treatment program is at risk, which means thousands of people will die in stead of live.’, says Minister of Health
April 10, 2006

Finally! Rain… and it has many faces

Bar owners see the surface of their terrace reduced… to 30 percent of the normal… Waiters and guards are happy… “Now we can assist clients with umbrellas and get an extra tip so we can pay our bus fare tonight…” Farmers smile…”Finally…but the cows that did not die will die because they start drinking, the animals are not used to water anymore…” Villagers are sad… “The roads are swept away…” Expats in Landcruisers are angry… “Holy cow: Still no proper system to keep roads free of excess water…” City council of Nairobi is happy… “Mmhhh might be a good opportunity to raise some extra donor funds to repair our sewage systems…” Tourists cry… “This is not the weather we paid for, the brochures promised us something else…” Europeans are surprised…”I thought it was so dry and dusty in Africa…” Taxi
April 10, 2006

African Youth: Get up Stand Up

Over the years that I have been here, my respect for the young generation of Africans has been growing. Being young in a country where not everybody has the same chance and some people are more special than others has its own challenges. Africa is full with talented, well educated young people, but they don’t get jobs because a lot of elder people hold on to their positions. I meet a lot of young people who don’t believe that they can really make a difference. Look at politics in Kenya for example: you will find people in the government who were there already twenty years ago. Young people don’t get a chance. As a consequence, a lot of youngsters engage in illegal activities like drug dealing, robbery, prostitution. A lot of them are often maintaining their families this way. Others
April 7, 2006

Preparing trip to Burundi

Preparing a trip to Burundi. Going there for reports on malaria. On the 25th of April it’s Africa Malaria Day. Yearly almost three million people are still dying of this disease, most of them young children and women. Between 300 and 500 million get the disease each year. Kenyan government is considering to use DDT in the battle against the malaria mosquito. Almost 50.000 Kenyans are being killed by the disease each year. Since a year Uganda has already been using DDT, because research shows that it is more effective than any other pesticide. And what about the next generation of children, being born with handicaps caused by this poison that is forbidden almost everywhere in the world?