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On 19 April, the inaugural Women in Focus Awards took place in Geneva, Switzerland celebrating the crucial role women play in the ongoing fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases, a role which often goes unrecognized and unrewarded.
The Women in Focus Leadership Award was presented in dedication to the memory ofDr Likezo Mubila, a Zambian public health expert who sadly passed away at home in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2011.
Dr Likezo Mubila was dedicated to the fight against neglected tropical diseases. These are diseases that affect the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world, mainly in Africa. She worked for the Department of Biology at the University of Zambia prior to joining the World Health Organization's Regional Office for Africa in 2001 as the focal point for lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis, three of five most prevalent NTDs in Africa. Today, many countries in Africa, are reaching elimination targets and moving their populations out of poverty, towards the path of prosperity. Togo recently joined the growing list of countries that have eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health programme, becoming the first country in Saharan Africa to eliminate LF.
It is through the personal dedication and the groundwork that Dr Mubila laid, in the establishment of the NTD program at WHO AFRO, that we are now seeing such tremendous progress in the fight against NTDs in Africa. We owe much of this progress to Dr Mubila and we are delighted to be honoring her contribution through the launch of this award.
Edridah Muheki from Uganda was delighted to be the first ever recipient of the Women in Focus Leadership award in honour of Likezo Mubila. On receiving her award she said:
“I am so encouraged by this recognition and feel highly appreciated. This is such an amazing incentive because it mirrors the teamwork we have built in Uganda as an NTD family. I am very grateful to have been nominated and to the people who decided I should win.”
As 2017 marks the 5th anniversary of the World Health Organization’s roadmap on NTDs and the London Declaration, the awards celebrate this milestone by shining a light on the inspirational women helping to control, eliminate and eradicate 10 neglected tropical diseases.
Dr. Julie Jacobson, Chair of the stakeholders working group of Uniting to Combat NTDs), says: “The Women in Focus Awards shine a light on women from all over the world who are working in their local communities, making a remarkable impact on tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases just as Dr Likezo Mubila did. One in seven people on the planet suffer from these diseases. That’s more than the entire population of Europe. Every day women all around the world are making crucial contributions to help defeat them and this is our chance to celebrate and acknowledge their vital role
Posted by The Globe Newspaper at 13:01
“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words,” said Roman playwright Plautus more than 2 000 years ago. Jo’burgers love to do just that – celebrate any and every occasion with something bubbly, a glass of wine or a delicious cocktail and scintillating company, somewhere special.
The combination of the perfect drinks offering and exceptional settings is something Tsogo Sun prides itself in particular on three unbeatable spots – the Island Bar on the pool deck of Southern Sun Hyde Park, the San Deck at Sandton Sun Hotel, and the Skye Bar on the 9th floor of the Holiday Inn Sandton. All three venues are becoming favourite sundowner destinations on Jozi’s vibrant social scene, where the panoramic views, glorious Highveld climate, magnificent African sunsets, and the glittering city night lights add unrivaled atmosphere to every occasion.
The Island Bar at Southern Sun Hyde Park is a trendy and vibrant place around a sparkling pool or comfortable indoor lounge seating, from which to enjoy the stunning view through wall to wall windows. The varied menu offering includes trendy cocktails, light lunchtime snacks, including their renowned sushi and sashimi, and indulgent sundowners. Guests who simply can’t tear themselves away from the view also have the opportunity of dining in Lucé, where the finest Italian cuisine is presented by Executive Chef Gareth Jordaan and his talented team, with unique flair, amidst hearty and wholesome flavours.
The San Deck at Sandton Sun is a sophisticated yet trendy outdoor venue that boasts views of the surrounding Sandton skyline topped by unforgettable African sunsets. With three large fire pits, lounge seating, live music, and a DJ on weekends, it’s perfect for informal get-togethers and special social occasions, serving light meals throughout the day. San Deck is also a participating auction wines restaurant, offering South Africa’s exclusive and finest wines, paired with leading executive chef Garth Shnier’s exceptional culinary creations.
The Skye Bar at Holiday Inn Sandton on Rivonia Road is a luxurious and ultra-comfortable venue with a relaxed ambience, also offering panoramic views of Sandton and beyond. It features an inspiring cocktail menu and is a popular place to catch up with friends, enjoy a romantic night out, or entertain corporate colleagues.
Says Priya Naidoo, Tsogo Sun’s GM, Group Communications, “Johannesburg often surprises visitors with its beauty, its friendly ambience, and its celebrated and world-class food and drinks culture. Tsogo Sun is capturing all this and more in our memorable drinks destinations – where locals and visitors alike can enjoy the very best that Jozi has to offer.”
Tsogo Sun’s portfolio includes over 90 hotels and 14 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa, the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi. For more information, visit tsogosun.com, follow on Twitter and Instagram @TsogoSun or like on Facebook /TsogoSun.
Posted by The Globe Newspaper at 12:50
Saturday, 4 March 2017
Late one night last September, the teenager had been walking back to his parents' home from work, a seven-mile trip from Benecia to Vallejo, Calif.
Duncan had been making the long commute on foot each day since July, after the timing belt and an engine valve on his 2001 Volvo had broken. Without enough money for repairs, he at first got a few rides from friends and co-workers - but soon decided he would try to walk to avoid burdening others.
"To me, it was like a challenge to see if I was willing to do whatever it takes to get to work," Duncan, now 19, told The Washington Post then.
Day by day the walk became easier, and gradually he thought little of the two-hour-and-15-minute journey each way. He would have no way of knowing that his daily routine would first prompt a surprise gift from the local police - then inspire thousands of people to give far more.
But to Cpl. Kirk Keffer of the Benicia Police Department, who was patrolling that area that September night, the sight of a lone pedestrian in that part of town after 11 p.m. was startling.
"Usually in the industrial area there's no foot traffic, so it was kind of weird to see someone walking around on foot," Keffer told The Post then.
He stopped his patrol car and called out to Duncan to ask if he was OK.
Duncan admitted later that he was nervous.
"I thought, OK, um, did I do anything wrong?" he said in September. "Is he going to put me in cuffs? I didn't do anything bad."
Duncan explained to Keffer he was walking seven miles home, just as he did every day. Shocked, Keffer cleared out the passenger seat in his patrol car and offered Duncan a ride home.
On the ride home, Keffer got to know the teenager: Duncan had just graduated from Jesse Bethel High School in 2015. He had gotten a job at Pro-Form Laboratories in May, where he worked on the packaging line from 3 p.m. until about midnight. He was saving money for college and enjoyed being around his co-workers, he said - but really wanted to be an officer with the California Highway Patrol, to follow in the footsteps of some relatives who were in law enforcement.
By the time Keffer pulled up to Duncan's parents' house that night - all of 15 minutes later, by car - the police officer was impressed. He commended Duncan on his work ethic, dropped him off and drove back to the station.
Still, he couldn't get Duncan's commute out of his head. Keffer mentioned his interaction to his shift supervisor, who, like Keffer, happened to be a board member of the Benicia Police Officers' Association.
"So I hit him up and say, 'I just had this contact with this young man,' " Keffer said then. " 'He's walking five hours a day, and I think it should be rewarded. What if we help him out?' "
They emailed the rest of the board to seek approval to buy a bicycle. It was, he said, one of the fastest votes they've ever taken: Within an hour, enough board members wrote back in agreement. And so, the following day, Keffer visited Wheels in Motion, a local bike shop, to pick out a $500 bike with a reliable gearing system that could handle Benicia's steep hills. The bike shop's owner loved the teen's story so much that he also donated a lighting system, brake light and helmet.
Keffer and some other Benecia police offers surprised Duncan after work a few days later.
"We would like to acknowledge your hard work and dedication for what you do and setting the example for kids your age," Keffer said they told him. "Hopefully this'll make your trip easier."
Duncan said he was bowled over by the gift, but also stymied by the attention. Several local news stations wanted him on their shows. Normally reserved, he shyly agreed to talk to all of them - "I was so nervous; I've never been on TV" - but couldn't help but think: They want to interview me for walking?
This newspaper interviewed him. CNN came calling.
His commute was cut down to an hour. That, as far as most people were concerned, was where his story came to a happy ending.
But the police officers weren't done with Duncan. A few days after The Post's story ran, the police association started a GoFundMe account to raise money for the teenager to repair his car.
They set their initial goal at $5,000.
Within a day or two, donors had met the limit. So they moved the goal to $10,000. Then, a few days after that, to $25,000.
The donations kept rolling in.
"The community just had an outpouring of love for him," Keffer said Tuesday. "It was something the community needed, something positive at the time."
They moved the goal one last time.
"We have now raised the goal to $50,000 with hopes that Jourdan can use this gift to help him achieve his dreams beyond fixing his car," the association posted in an update on the GoFundMe account about a month after it was started. "Fund his educational aspirations and dreams."
It has raised more than $42,000.
If Duncan was shocked by the bike, he was nearly speechless at the GoFundMe donations that continued pouring in last fall.
"I never imagined that it would go from $5,000 to $20,000 to $40,000," Duncan said Tuesday. "It's just amazing."
According to Keffer, Duncan's friends half-jokingly suggested that he take the money and buy a BMW. His father said he should stick to a reliable car, such as a Honda.
At some point, Duncan consulted Keffer.
"It's your money," he said he told the teen. "I would never tell you not to, but just do what you want."
Duncan soon spotted a 2003 Volkswagen Passat for sale on Craigslist. It was gray, with 112,000 miles on it and "seemed like my type of car," he said. He went to check it out.
"It was in perfect condition," Duncan said. He bought it for $2,900.
Keffer was proud of his decision.
"Just something sensible, something he can maintain. He owns it outright," Keffer said. "He kept the money in the bank . . . It feels good to know that Jourdan trusts me."
In January, Duncan also started his first semester at Solano Community College. His first month, he was overwhelmed with how different it was from high school.
"I was so used to kids my age and everything," he said. "Here, they carry themselves more with pride, with care and everything. It just made me feel like, okay, I have to step up to the plate."
Duncan's class schedule keeps him busy most days, but he has continued to work his night shift at Pro-Form Laboratories. The car, he said, is what makes it possible to zip between his classes at two of Solano's campuses - in Fairfield and Vallejo - and his job in Benicia.
Duncan's ultimate goal is to transfer to a four-year college, major in engineering and then try out for the police academy. And every so often, he still stops by the Benicia police headquarters to catch up with Keffer.
"I'm just super proud of him. He could have went so many different ways with that money," Keffer said. "He stopped and asked for my opinion, which meant a lot. . . . He's got a bright future ahead of him. I just hope that he continues down this path."
Posted by The Globe Newspaper at 07:24
Monday, 27 February 2017
Development in Africa has been held back by the limitations of traditional infrastructure in power and mobile networks. Rural areas are the worst affected. A case in point is Rwanda,
Encouraging, though, is that Rwanda is a country that has demonstrated its understanding of the benefit of connectivity, in particular as regards social and economic growth. According to Dr. Vanu Bose, President and CEO of Vanu, Inc., “Rwanda is the leading country in Africa in terms of their vision for the use and deployment of Information and Communications Technologies, and they want no citizen to be left behind.”
Through its innovative approach to finding technology solutions, Vanu Inc. USA has established a subsidiary, Vanu Rwanda, which has deployed a solution that provides remote populations with the same levels of connectivity enjoyed by citizens in the world’s most developed markets. To date there are ten sites on air and, by the end of 2017, there will be a total of 376 sites covering approximately one million people in unserved areas of rural Rwanda. With Vanu Inc’s service, Rwanda will be the most connected country in Africa.
Providing connectivity in rural areas is challenging. But Vanu, an innovator in cellular networks, has developed a technical and business model which addresses the challenges of sustainably delivering connectivity to remote areas. Vanu has licensed spectrum from the Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Organization to provide 100% solar enabled wholesale services to mobile network operators seeking to deliver services directly to hard-to-reach consumers. These innovations make it viable for Vanu Rwanda to support people who spend less than one dollar a month on mobile services.
The first operator to use the Vanu service is Airtel Rwanda. Commenting on the development, Marketing Director for Airtel Rwanda, Moses Abindabizemu, says, “Airtel is committed to reaching rural populations. Vanu has provided us with a solution that works for us because it extends our coverage, increases our market share and generates additional revenue with no capital requirements.” In this model, Vanu covers opex while the carrier gets a share of revenue. Bose explains that this model means that, “Vanu has taken the complexity out of what is an involved situation.
“Our collaboration with Airtel is exciting as it enables us to make communications technology available in a way that can have a transformational impact on the future of Rwanda and the country’s role in today’s information-driven global economy. The service is available to all other carriers in Rwanda who share the same commitment to reach rural areas.”
Vanu is a pioneer in software-based RAN solutions for areas that cannot be served profitably with existing technologies. Vanu has leveraged innovative new technologies that make it affordable to extend the type of mobile coverage enjoyed in developed economies. Recognizing the unique nature of its offering, Vanu Inc has expanded to offer the design, building and operation of these networks as a service. Vanu Inc’s coverage as a service is capable of economically delivering coverage and capacity to these markets for the first time. The provision of connectivity to under-served markets is a crucial means of driving socio-economic growth and providing access to the resources and opportunities of today’s digital economy.
Bose explains the long-term vision of the project: “Although we will soon reach a million people in Rwanda, we are focused on replicating what we have done in Rwanda to reach the next 3 billion people globally who lack the connectivity that so many of us take for granted.”
Posted by The Globe Newspaper at 15:51
Saturday, 14 January 2017
A week before their dad leaves the White House, Malia and Sasha Obama received praise and advice from the daughters of former president George W. Bush as they exit the public spotlight.
"Eight years ago on a cold November day, we greeted you on the steps of the White House. We saw both the light and wariness in your eyes as you gazed at your new home," 35-year-old twins Jenna and Barbara Bush said in an co-written article posted late Thursday on Time Magazine's website.
"In eight years, you have done so much. Seen so much," the Bush daughters wrote.
"We have watched you grow from girls to impressive young women with grace and ease... Now you are about to join another rarified club, one of former First Children."
Malia Obama, 18, is taking a gap year after graduating high school, before she enrols next year at Harvard College.
Younger sister Sasha, 15, has another couple of years of high school ahead, which is the reason the first family have given for remaining in Washington after Obama hands over to President-elect Donald Trump.
The Bush twins offered words of encouragement and advice as the Obama girls prepare to leave White House.
"Enjoy college. As most of the world knows, we did," the Bush twins wrote, in a joking reference to news accounts of the minor scandals that erupted over their alcohol use while in college.
"Explore your passions. Learn who you are. Make mistakes — you are allowed to. Continue to surround yourself with loyal friends who know you, adore you and will fiercely protect you," they wrote.
"Those who judge you don't love you, and their voices shouldn't hold weight. Rather, it's your own hearts that matter."
Jenna and Barbara Bush grew up in Texas and graduated high school in 2000, the year their father was elected president.
The Republican served two terms before being succeeded by Obama.
Barbara Bush is now a health care advocate living in New York, while Jenna Bush Hager is a television correspondent and married mother of two young children.
Posted by The Globe Newspaper at 14:55