News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
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The lives of thousands of villagers in the remote, mountainous region of Qohaito, in southern Eritrea, have been transformed by a unique project to rebuild the footpaths they depend upon. The six footpaths - which cover 64 km in total - are often the only means of travelling through the stunning, but inaccessible countryside.

Children use the footpaths to travel to school, farmers to reach their grazing areas. For many they are the only way to health centres and local markets. The idea to rebuild the footpaths came from the villagers themselves. "We went through a lengthy consultation process," said Willa Addis, programme manager of Concern Worldwide, which funded the project along with UNDP's Post-War Emergency Rehabilitation (PoWER) programme. "We expected them to ask us to help them with water, education or health, but they said that their footpaths were their main priority. They live in such a remote area, some farmers are actually cut off from their own lands," she said. [Full story at:] (Source: IRIN)


The Government has been accused of lack of preparedness for the current malaria epidemic, which has claimed 294 lives in the past 40 days. Majority died in Kenya’s highland areas west of the Rift Valley. A further 158 000 cases were reported since last month.

The director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Dr Davy Koech said that Kenya’s health officials were caught unprepared. He said the “outbreak of malaria is predictable, preventable, treatable and curable”.

Fr Francesco Spagnolo, a Catholic priest in one of the hardest hit areas of Kisii, told CISA that “prevention was not properly done. I am surprised that the epidemic could not be prepared for, given that malaria is a regular occurrence.” The priest, a member of the Camillian Fathers, is the Administrator of Tabaka Mission Hospital, located in Kisii Diocese within Kenya’s western highlands.

Fr Spagnolo said that malaria peaks in June-July every year, and is now also reaching higher levels in the month of January. In June, he said, Tabaka recorded 1157 cases, 21 of whom died.

Sources say that until a few weeks ago, government hospitals in the region had no drugs, and were referring patients to commercial chemists and pharmacists.

Dr Koech said disproportionate attention was being accorded to HIV/AIDS and condoms at the expense of curable diseases. He said KEMRI had studied malaria and advised the government accordingly.

The Ministry of Health announced on Thursday that it had bought drugs worth Sh40 million (US$ 500 000) to fight the outbreak. Officials blamed the epidemic on recent rains. (Source: CISA)


A stand-off caused by women protesters at a major oil facility of Chevron-Texaco in Nigeria entered the fourth day on 11 July, with the women demanding talks with the head of the company's operations in the country. Police and army boats patrolled the waters off the Escravos export terminal, but the situation in the facility remained unchanged as the blockade of the air strip, the helicopter pad and the dock continued. Local newspapers said more women had joined the original 150 that on 8 July initiated demands for jobs for their children, swelling the number to about 2,000.

More than 700 expatriate and Nigerian employees of the Chevron-Texaco were trapped in the facility surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, swamps and creeks. Aircraft have been unable to land and boats cannot dock. Company officials have continued negotiations with the protesters and leaders of their nearby Arutan and Ugborodo communities.

"Talks have continued but the situation has not changed from yesterday," Wole Agunbiade, spokesman at the company's headquarters in Lagos, told reporters.

Officials said the security forces were under strict orders not to attack the unarmed women to avoid complicating what already appears a very delicate situation. But the Nigerian government and Chevron-Texaco would be concerned about the likely adverse impact on oil exports if the situation was not resolved quickly.

Most of the crude oil produced by Chevron-Texaco in Nigeria is exported from the Escravos terminal. The company's US $400 million Escravos Gas Plant is also located at the facility.

Disruptions of oil operations are common in the Niger Delta oil region, where impoverished local people accuse oil companies and their government partners of neglect despite the huge oil wealth pumped from their land. But this is the first such action taken exclusively by women.

"We will no longer take this nonsense, this is the beginning of the trouble they have been looking for," Anunu Uwawah, a leader of the protesters, was quoted as saying by the Punch newspaper.

Chevron-Texaco operates a joint venture in which the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation holds the majority stake.

Southern Africa

The Southern Africa region food crisis is threatening more than 13 million people with starvation in the coming months. Caritas Australia’s Africa Programme Coordinator Wendy Ngoma stressed the need for food assistance from the international community without which there will be a humanitarian crisis.

The food crisis is a result of: Natural causes excessive rains followed by severe drought, and a predicted third drought season. The high prevalence of HIV in these regions means that people are either too sick themselves or too busy taking care of the sick to cultivate their land.

Late and insufficient distribution of seed, tools and fertilizers have resulted in low yields. Also seed meant for planting has been consumed for food.

Poor governance, and mismanagement of resources. Governments unresponsive to the needs of the people. Inadequate food reserves and a shortfall in food supplies. Even though there was a good harvest in Malawi the country had only a marginal surplus for its maize needs.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) indicates that 3.22 million metric tonnes of food will be required for the region. Four governments (Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe) have already declared national disasters.

Although emergency food is absolutely critical it is only a short-term solution. Governments in the Southern Africa region need to address some of the man-made reasons for the food crisis and put in place measures to prevent future natural disasters.

For more information and donations visit Postal address: Caritas Australia, 19 MacKenzie St., North Sydney, 2060 Australia. E-mail (CARITAS AUSTRALIA)


Muslim troops have razed the beautiful Catholic Mission Church of Our Lady of sorrows and used the bricks to build mosques and military fortifications. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) which has been fighting the Khartoum government forces captured the city of Kapoeta on June 9, after that the National Islamic Front seized mission property, about 3 km from Kapoeta and transformed it into a military command post.

Torit Diocese spokesman Jervasio Okot told MISNA that this was one of the advance posts frequently used by President Omar Hassan el-Bashir as a residence.

Bashir prays at the mosque built with the bricks from the Catholic Church, it is here that he also plans strategies of war through murder, torture Islamization and Arabization of the ‘abid’ or slave.

The mission parish was founded in 1935 by the Comboni Missionaries. The structure was kept intact for over 10 years of the war but now it is deserted.

Okot said on visiting the site that the only sacred place left intact is the altar and tabernacle. The altar is being used as a kitchen. Cigarette butts and charred wood are lying all over and on the altar are written insults against Christians in Arabic. (Source: ZENIT)


The 2 July UN AIDS report showed that almost 30 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are already infected with HIV/AIDS. Zambia has one of the world’s highest infection rates with 20% country-wide and 31% in Livingstone, the tourist resort at the Victoria Falls. Despite the desperate statistics Zambia has devised a project of hope.

A programme to train taxi drivers, fishermen, soldiers, truck drivers, teenagers and prostitutes to act as sex teachers and mentors to reach out to the most vulnerable groups of people.

Taxi drivers were the ones to take up the challenge with enthusiasm. They plan to set up outdoor videos on sex education and screening programmes. Open discussion groups, promotion of voluntary testing and counselling. “Everyone is a winner in the testing,” says nurse Precious Mafo, who runs the Maramba clinic's testing centre.

Those who test negative are obviously happy and encouraged to avoid infection. Those who test positive are counselled on positive measures, good diet and habits. (Source: ANB-BIA)

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