News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
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African church leaders said on Friday that they would make available in church-supported health facilities, drugs used to lessen the severity of HIV/AIDS infection and become more involved in fighting the stigmatisation of those living with the virus.

"We will make treatment available at church-supported mission hospitals, clinics, dispensaries and health posts," the Rt Rev Nyansanko Ni-Nku, the president of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), told a news conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, following a three-day meeting of 200 Protestant church leaders from 39 African countries.

The meeting discussed how Christian congregations can respond more effectively to the AIDS pandemic in the continent.

Ni-Nku said that the church would "facilitate the availability" of Anti-Retroviral (ARVs) treatment. "Most of the people in Africa are among the poorest of the poor [and] live on about a dollar a day, so, however cheap the ARVs become, for some people they will still remain very difficult to access," he said. "Our goal would be, if we really want to save the population of Africa, that they [ARVs] should be given freely."

He added: "Given that congregational members of the AACC member churches amount to a conservative estimate of 120 million Christians in Africa, we resolve that every congregation should be a centre for health, healing and treatment. We will make our congregations and health facilities havens of compassion."

Discrimination against those living with the virus, Ni-Nku said, would be considered a sin by the AACC. Source: PLUSNEWS


The health ministry has launched a programme to distribute free anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) to people living with AIDS through 26 centres in district and regional referral hospitals across the

Health Minister Brig Jim Muhwezi told PlusNews on Friday that arrangements were being made to expand the distribution outlets to reach more people. "The first consignment is worth US $1.3 million while another lot worth $1.7 million will follow," said Muhwezi.

Uganda has an estimated 100,000 people in immediate need of ARVs, but only 10,000 of them have had access to them, mainly through private suppliers. The new programme, which was launched on Friday, aims to immediately reach another 2,700 people, especially the poor and civil servants.

"The Joint Clinical Research Centre [a government institution specializing in HIV/AIDs research] is working on a programme to increase the number of centres so that patients can access them [and] for monitoring purposes," the minister added.

According to the health ministry, the country's main hospital at Mulago hill in the capital, Kampala, will initially get 300 doses. The regional referral hospitals allocated the drugs are: Arua, Gulu, Fort Portal, Jinja, Kabale, Masaka, Mbale, Mbarara, Soroti, Lira and Hoima. Each will initially receive 150 doses, except Arua and Masaka, which will get 100 each.

Parallel to hospital allocations, 150 doses are being given to civil servants. Four other district hospitals - Kaabong, Rakai, Sembabule, Kalangala and three missionary hospitals, Lacor, Kalongo and Nyakibale, will get 50, each while the Bombo and Mbuya military hospitals will each
be given 100 doses, while the police force and prisons department will each receive 50 doses.

Muhwezi said a number of private clinics had also been certified to distribute the drugs, but at these private outlets, patients would have to pay for them. (Source: PLUSNEWS)


THE Libyan government will build modern rental shops at Old Kampala Muslem Council as part of the national Muslem project.

The development is meant to generate sustainable funds for all other projects undertaken by the council, Sheikh Edrisa Kasenene, the secretary general said in an interview recently.

Kasenene said the Mufti's official residence, national mosque, training centre and conference hall would also be built.


A Rwandan court sentenced the country's former president, Pasteur Bizimungu, to 15 years in prison on Monday for embezzling state funds, disseminating literature to incite public violence and forming a militia group that threatened state security.

"The court finds Bizimungu guilty of three charges," Fred Mulindwa, the president of the Court of First Instance in Kigali, said. Each charge carried a maximum sentence of five years. Bizimungu's former minister and close ally, Charles Ntakirutinka, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.

However, Bizimungu was acquitted of the charge of illegally possessing a firearm. The court also ordered that government refund him the US $10,000 confiscated during his arrest.

Bizimungu's trial started in April after nearly one-and-a-half years in detention but the prosecution accused him of deliberately stalling his trial by filing appeals for the dismissal of the charges and for bail.


RSF is deeply concerned over the recent wave of charges and sentences of journalists whose reports have made local authorities uncomfortable. Among those listed by the organisation are Kamel Gaci, a reporter with the daily "Le Soir d'Algérie" ("Algeria's Evening"), and G. Lotfi, a Djelfa-based correspondent for the daily "Liberté" ("Freedom").

Gaci has been charged with "failure to report a fugitive", following the publication of his interview with an escaped convict in the columns of "Le Soir d'Algérie". The fugitive, who happens to be a former police officer, contacted Gaci through the newspaper two weeks after his escape from El Khemis prison, saying he wanted to tell his story. The journalist notified the authorities of his interview with the fugitive, but did not say where it was to take place. The day after the article's publication, the Bedjaïa Prosecutor's Office brought charges against Gaci. The court granted the journalist a conditional release, placing him under judicial surveillance pending the verdict of his trial, in the upcoming weeks.


Liberia has no time or money to conduct a population census before elections in October 2005 that are due to return the country to democracy after a long and bitter civil war, Frances Johnson-Morris, the head of the National Elections Commission, said on Monday.

Johnson-Morris, a former judge and human rights activist, said it would take nearly two years to prepare the ground properly for a new census and the United Nations and other donors had made clear that they were not prepared to fund such an exercise.

"It is now clear to us that census will not be possible before elections," Johnson-Morris told a press conference in Monrovia. "The time is short, while the finance and resources that would require the holding of a census are not available," she added.

The last proper census was carried out in 1984 and showed a population of 2.5 million people. Several political parties and pro-democracy groups have called for a fresh census before Liberia goes to the polls again in 15 months time so that the boundaries of electoral constituencies can be demarcated fairly.


Lesotho is heading for its third consecutive year of food shortages, as preliminary results of the latest crop assessment forecasts a harvest of less than half of the previous year.

World Food Programme (WFP) deputy representative in Lesotho, Mads Lofvall, told IRIN on Tuesday that the latest figures indicated that "more longer term interventions are needed to address the underlying food security issues".

In its latest situation report, WFP pointed out that "preliminary results of a mid-season assessment by FAO [Food and Agriculture Organisation] and WFP in February/March indicated that maize, wheat and sorghum production this year is expected to be only about 41,000 mt, down by more than half from the already reduced harvest of 2003".

Following last year's poor harvest the government of Lesotho appealed for food aid for 600,000 people.

The impact of yet another bad crop on households in the tiny mountain kingdom would be severe. "It has been decided that we need to go for an extension ... of the current EMOP [emergency operation] until the end of the year, so we can incorporate the findings of the current round of food crop assessments," Lofvall said.

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