News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
Subscribe to our RSS feed
RSS logo

Latest news




A mass vaccination campaign began on 9 September in Muyinga province, northeastern Burundi, to curb the spread of meningitis that has already claimed the lives of 46 people in the country. A statement issued on September 10 by the World Health Organsation (WHO) said that of a total of 549 cases countrywide, 272 were in Muyinga Province.

The entire campaign would target a total of 440,000 people in Muyinga, Ruyigi, Cankuzo, Ngozi and Kirundo provinces, WHO said. "This is a lethal disease if not treated and it is the esponsibility of us all, not only in Burundi but in the region, to prevent what can develop into a major regional crisis affecting mainly children," said Sara Johansson, communications officer for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). She added that 70 percent of the deaths to date were children under 15 years old. (Source: IRIN)

Central African Republic

The cost of HIV/AIDS drugs in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been reduced from US $1,000 to $37 for some patients, following negotiations with foreign pharmaceutical laboratories. The move, facilitated by UNAIDS, came during an HIV/AIDS triple therapy programme, officially inaugurated on 4 September by Health Minister Joseph Kalite.

However, a quantity of medication sufficient for only 100 people will be made available during the first year, in accordance with an agreement reached with pharmaceutical companies. " [We signed an accord with Merck Sharp and Domes [USA] in July 2001, with Smith Kline UK] and CIPLA (India) in October 2001," Dr Jean Bertrand Wata, Director of the Tripletherapy Centre and national coordinator of HIV/AIDS drugs access programme, said. (Source: IRIN)


Human rights NGOs in the Republic of Congo (RoC) are leading a campaign to urge the Brazzaville government to ratify the International Criminal Court (ICC), which formally came into existence on 1 July 2002 after having been ratified by 60 countries. Although the RoC signed the Rome Statute of the ICC on 17 July 1998, it has yet to ratify it.

"Four years have passed since the signing in Rome. It leads one to think that the government is not interested in having the nation join the ICC," said Alide Bouangui, a legal officer at the Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme. The group has focused on bringing journalists and NGO leaders together in an effort to lead a well-coordinated advocacy campaign in favour of the ICC. (Source: IRIN)


Jean-Pierre Bemba, leader of the Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC), has said the presidency of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should be re-opened for discussion. He was responding to President Joseph Kabila's non-recognition of the Sun City accord, reached at the end of the inter-Congolese dialogue in South Africa earlier this year. Under that agreement, Kabila would remain as president, while Bemba would serve as prime minister in a transitional government.

"If Joseph Kabila revokes the Sun City agreement, he is thereby bringing into question his status as president," Bemba told Voice of America radio on 10 September Nevertheless, Bemba - a former rebel leader - said he had ruled out the resumption of war against Kinshasa.

"We are engaged in a peace process, in the search for the establishment of new institutions and leaders," he said. "It is a process that must continue and the MLC will of course take part in these negotiations if invited by the facilitator." (Source: IRIN)


Presidents Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Paul Kagame of Rwanda are due to meet US President George W. Bush later this week in New York, the Congolese and Rwandan governments have announced. On 13 September, the two presidents and other central African leaders are to discuss measures aimed at combating global terrorism, conflict resolution and peacekeeping in the region, and how the US can support the African Union and NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

On 14 September, a smaller meeting including Kabila, Kagame, Bush, South African President Thabo Mbeki and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, will be held to examine ways in which the US government can support the DRC peace process. (Source: IRIN)


French President Jacques Chirac has pledged that his country will reduce by 40 percent the bilateral debt owed it by the West African nation of Mali, news organisations reported on 11 September. The pledge was made during a meeting between Chirac and the President of Mali, Amadou Toumani Toure, who is on his first official visit to France since his election in May. With Mali's debt to France standing at some 200 million euros, the 40 percent cut would still leave 120 millions euros to be paid by the West African country to its former colonial ruler. (Source: IRIN)


A meningitis outbreak is threatening 2 million people in Rwanda, amid concerns that the disease may spread to the capital Kigali, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement issued on 10 September. "The spread of the disease to Kigali City would be potentially catastrophic," warned UNICEF representative Theophane Nikyema. "We desperately need funding in order to quickly bring in the vaccines necessary to protect people from meningitis."

" In conjunction with Rwanda's health ministry, Medecins Sans Frontieres, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO), we are appealing for US $2 million to support a targeted vaccination programme for those most atrisk. "Ideally the entire country needs to be vaccinated," Gerald Dyer, Programme Coordinator with UNICEF said.

UNICEF had already provided 665,000 doses of vaccine and a further 250,000 doses arrived in Kigali on September 9. A total of 683 cases had been confirmed with 83 deaths, UNICEF said. (Source: IRIN


The much-postponed Somali reconciliation conference, brokered by the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has been rescheduled to convene on 15 October in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret, a Kenyan foreign ministry official said no 11 September. On 6 September, Kenyan Foreign Minister Marsden Madoka told an IGAD Council of Ministers meeting in Nairobi that the conference should open on 30 September.

"It is now agreed that the conference will take place no later than 15 October," said the Kenyan official. Delegates were expected to arrive on 12 October for registration. At least 300 delegates from the various groups are expected to participate, an IGAD source told IRIN on Wednesday. However, the number of delegates allocated to each group had not yet been decided.

The conference, which is expected to bring together the Transitional National Government and other Somali groups, was originally scheduled to take place in April, but has been repeatedly postponed. (Source: IRIN)


Ten people have died out of 350 new cases of cholera in southern Zimbabwe since the beginning of August, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on 11 September. In the districts of Zaka and Bikita, 61 new cases of the waterborne disease - associated with poor sanitation - have been reported since the beginning of September. Last year, 650 cases were reported throughout the country and 14 people died.

"The current situation is being made worse because of the drought, and in the rural areas sanitation is very poor," UNICEF Resident Representative Festo Kavishe said. The situation had been compounded by a protracted health workers' strike, and an overall shortage of health personnel, Kavishe explained. An unexpected setback was also the initial reluctance of a religious sect in the area to take anti-cholera medication, opting for healing prayers instead, he said. (Source: IRIN)

Contact the editor by clicking here Editor