10 pupils killed, seven injured in school fire in NW Tanzania: official

At least 10 pupils have been killed and seven others injured after a fire burnt a dormitory to ashes at a primary school in Tanzania’s northwest region of Kagera, an official said on Monday.

“The 10 victims were burnt beyond recognition and three of the seven injured pupils are in critical condition,” Marco Gaguti, Kagera regional commissioner, told Xinhua when reached by phone.

Gaguti said the fire broke out at around 11 p.m. local time on Sunday razing a dormitory for 74 pupils in Itera village in Kyerwa district. The school is for boys only.

“Most of the pupils trapped in the dormitory were rescued by police, the Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force (TFRF) and neighbors,” said Gaguti who was at the scene of the grisly accident.

Gaguti said the cause of the fire was yet to be established but he has formed a probe committee comprising of members from the police force, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company, the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service and the TFRF.

“We hope the investigative team will be able to establish the cause of the fire,” said Gaguti, adding that the school has been shut down for seven days to pave way for the investigations.

WHO urges rich nations to join vaccine scheme by Friday deadline

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, March 2, 2020. More than $1.1 trillion was wiped off the value of developing-nation stocks and bonds last week as the economic impact of the coronavirus worsened. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Countries should join the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX vaccine facility by a Friday deadline to help ensure that immunizations are fairly and efficiently distributed, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.

So far, 92 lower-income nations are seeking assistance via the COVAX facility, part of the WHO’s ACT Accelerator to boost the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to combat the pandemic. Some 80 higher-income nations have expressed interest, but many must still confirm their intention to join by the end of this week.

“If people in low- and middle-income countries miss out on vaccines, the virus will continue to kill and the economic recovery globally will be delayed,” Tedros told a WHO regional event for Europe that was broadcast virtually.

Merck Foundation’s first Online Summit with African First Ladies to strengthen healthcare capacity and joint response to COVID 19

Merck Foundation First Ladies  Initiative (MFFLI) -VC Summit 2020

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany conducted their first Video Conference Summit of Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative (MFFLI) on 31st August 2020 to define and follow up on different joint programs that aims to advance public healthcare sector capacity and strengthen the response to COVID 19 in their countries.

The MFFLI VC Summit 2020 was hosted by Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother and One of 100 Most Influential African (2019 & 2020) and attended by 13 African First Ladies, who are Ambassadors of Merck More than a MotherH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe; H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia; H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU, The First Lady of Niger; H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia; H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique; H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H. E. FATOUMATTA BAHBARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of Angola.

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg HaverkampChairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG and the Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees emphasized, “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been greater than many expected across the globe. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in improving access to equitable and quality healthcare which is  Merck foundation’s  strategy since 2012, even before the pandemic started.”

Watch Dr. Rasha Kelej’s speech during the Merck Foundation First Ladies  Initiative (MFFLI) -VC Summit 2020

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation explained, “I am very proud of our valuable partnership with the African First ladies as ‘Merck more than a Mother Ambassadors’. We have always believed in the importance of building healthcare capacity through providing training to healthcare providers in many medical specialties. This has been our strategy since we stared in 2012 in partnership with African First Ladies and Ministries of Health, much before the pandemic started. As a response to COVID 19 pandemic, we adopted online medical education strategy through providing more than 350  African doctors with one-year online diploma and two-year online master degree in many specialties such as: Respiratory Medicines and Acute medicines, Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, and Sexual and Reproductive Medicines. This is in addition to more than 500 African and Asian doctors who benefited from our original clinical training programs in Diabetes & Cardiovascular, Oncology, Fertility specialists, and embryology in India, Egypt, Kenya and Malaysia which will resume after the lockdown ends”.

The MFFLI VC Summit, special edition aims to share experiences, discuss challenges, and define solutions to further strengthen healthcare capacity to better respond to this global pandemic in Africa.

The African First Ladies shared the experiences of working closely with Merck Foundation in their respective countries with special focus on the programs to build healthcare capacity and the response to COVID -19.

H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am very happy to see Merck Foundation’s strong commitment to advance the public healthcare sector across Africa. This is very critical to Zimbabwe, in the light of current pressure on our healthcare sector. More than 117 local doctors are enrolled in these training programs which will transform our healthcare sector”.

H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, First Lady of Zambia & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “We are proud of our partnership with Merck Foundation, which started in 2019. In a very short period, we have been able to reshape the healthcare landscape of Zambia by providing our doctors and nurses with specialty training in the fields of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory, Acute medicines, Sexual and Reproductive medicines, Fertility and Embryology. All of these fields are very critical and were lacking in our country. This will contribute to our battle against coronavirus and other diseases”.

H.E. FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother expressed, “I am extremely elated with our partnership with Merck Foundation, as together, we are making history in Sierra Leone by providing training for the First Oncologists in the country to establish the first skilled cancer care team. Also, our doctors are being trained in the fields of diabetes and fertility care. We will scale up the program to more fields together with Merck Foundation very soon”.

H.E. AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU, The First Lady of Niger & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am happy to be part of this prestigious platform. Since the Merck Foundation launch in 2017, together we have made a significant impact on our healthcare sector, through establishing a strong platform of Health experts in very critical fields such as; Diabetes, Oncology and Fertility care in Niger”.

H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother said, “I am very happy to see that Merck Foundation is strongly committed to advancing the public healthcare sector across Africa. This is very critical to our countries in light of the current medical and public concerns. This is very important for Namibia as we have a very limited number of local specialists in the public sector, we are very happy to enroll  21 Namibian doctors in online diplomas in many fields, including 8 in  sexual and reproductive medicines which is very important for women health”.

H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother explained, “Together with Merck Foundation, I am fully committed to will work closely to introduce innovative ideas that will engage different sectors to create a culture shift with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and make a great impact in a short time.”

H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother said, “I am looking forward to starting our important long term partnership with Merck Foundation. I am willing to capitalize on the valuable programs of Merck Foundation, by scaling them up nationwide to contribute to the social and economic development of Malawi”.

H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother elaborated, “We launched the innovative programs of Merck Foundation at the beginning of 2019, to build healthcare capacity and break the infertility stigma. To share with you that since then and in a very short time we have been able to provide and enroll many of our healthcare providers with specialty training in the fields of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory, Acute medicines, Sexual and Reproductive medicines, Fertility specialists and Embryology training”.

H.E. FATOUMATTA BAHBARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother said, “I am delighted to share the magnificent outcomes of my long term partnership with Merck Foundation. Together we have been able to empower infertile women through access to information, education, health, and change of mindset. Also, we have enrolled 25 Gambian doctors in One-year online diploma and one-year master degree in many medical specialties”.

H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother emphasized, “I am very proud to work closely with Merck Foundation to advance healthcare sector and empower infertile women in my country. We also initiated in my country, an important project “Empowering Berna“ where we established small businesses for infertile women and train them to run their businesses so they can have income and become independent. Their lives have been transformed since then”.

H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of Burundi & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother expressed, “I am very happy to be appointed the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother last week. I am excited about the work that has been done in my country so far and looking forward to taking this partnership to new heights”.

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana & Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother highlighted, “Merck Foundation’s strategy of building healthcare capacity is more relevant now than ever. More than 34 doctors were enrolled to different specialties, I will closely work with Merck Foundation and our Ministry of Health to ensure the success of this program to be able to improve our people’s health and wellbeing”.

H.E. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of Angola expressed, “I am very proud and happy to be a part of MFFLI VC Summit and look forward to a long-term partnership with Merck Foundation. We will closely work together on all their initiatives to build healthcare capacity and empower girls in education”.

About Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative Summit – MFFLI

MFFLI is a Merck Foundation platform of African First Ladies and “Merck More Than a Mother” Ambassadors established with the aim to discuss challenges, define solutions, measure impact and share experience to ensure continuous improvement and exchange variable aspects of different cultures in order to localize and/or standardize specific messages that can raise awareness and create a culture shift across Africa with regards to the below objectives:

  • Breaking the Stigma around infertile couples in general and infertile women in particular.
  • Empowering Girls and Women in Education in general and in STEM in particular.
  • Improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions.

Cote d’Ivoire relocates elephants to save dwindling population

A wild elephant is prepared to be transported as part of operations carried out by authorities to catch and relocate wild elephants who have upset farming communities, in Guitry, Ivory Coast Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (AP Photo)

An elephant named Hamed by residents in a southern region of Cote d’Ivoire has been captured and relocated to the zoo in Abidjan as he awaits transfer to a park where authorities hope he will have non-human company instead.

Authorities are catching and relocating wild elephants that have disrupted farming communities, in a bid to save the animals’ dwindling population in the West African nation.

Hamed had made his way from Azagny National Park to the region of Guitry, where he lived for some years until he started to destroy farmers’ land and scare residents.

“At the beginning, like any elephant, we thought that he was the emblem of Ivory Coast and should be honored,” said resident Eric Serge. “But a moment came and he began to be very aggressive, and the whole population began to worry about his presence.”

Col. Jerome Ake, the country’s deputy director-general of forests and wildlife, said the elephant will go “where there will be no more nuisance.”

Guitry’s leader, Patrice Loua, called the operation encouraging.

Cote d’Ivoire once was home to more than 1,100 elephants in various habitats. Now, experts estimate only 300 remain, living in small groups or isolation and vulnerable to poachers seeking their tusks for ivory.

The country is considering adopting a law to preserve the animals’ population.

رشا قلج: آثار جائحة كورونا أكبر مما توقعنا

عقدت مجموعة من قرينات رؤساء دول إفريقية اجتماعا أون لاين من خلال تقنية الفيديو كونفرانس، حيث شاركت في الاجتماع الدكتورة رشا قلج المصرية الأكثر تأثيرا في القارة السمراء.

ووجهت السيدات الإفريقيات والتي بلغ عددهن 13 سيدة، التهنئة إلى الدكتورة رشا قلج لاختيارها ضمن قائمة السيدات الأكثر تأثيرا في إفريقيا لعام 2020، وهي المرة الثانية التي تحصل فيها على هذا اللقب بعد اختيارها عام 2019، وذلك من قبل مجلة “نيو أفريكان” البريطانية. 


وقالت رشا قلج: “فخورة جدًا بشراكتنا القيمة مع السيدات الأفريقيات الأوائل حيث أعطى وجودهن دفعة قوية للعمل سريعا على تلبية احتياجات القطاع الصحي وتوفير التدريب اللازم للأطقم الطبية ونؤمن دائمًا بأهمية بناء قدرات الرعاية الصحية من خلال التعاون المشترك”.


وأضافت “قلج” خلال الاجتماع أن آثار جائحة كورونا كانت أكبر مما توقعه الكثيرون في جميع أنحاء العالم، وسلط الوباء الضوء على أهمية الاستثمار في تحسين الوصول إلى رعاية صحية منصفة وعالية الجودة، مؤكدة أنها استراتيجية تعمل عليها منذ عام 2012، وذلك من خلال توفير التدريب لمقدمي الرعاية الصحية في العديد من التخصصات الطبية.


وشهد الاجتماع كل من أوكسيليا ميناجوا السيدة الأولى لزيمبابوي، والدكتورة إستر لونجو السيدة الأولى لزامبيا، فاطمة مادا بيو السيدة الأولى لسيراليون، اساتا مهامادو سيدة النيجر الأولى، مونيكا جينجوس السيدة الأولى لناميبيا، اسايرو نايوسي سيدة موزمبيق الأولى، مونيكا شاكويرا السيدة الأولى لملاوي، ريبيكا أكوفو أدو سيدة غانا الأولى، فاطومات بهباروا السيدة الأولى في جامبيا، بريجيت تواديرا السيدة الأولى لجمهورية إفريقيا الوسطى، السيدة أنجيلين نداييشيمي السيدة الأولى لبوروندي، نيو جان ماسيزي سيدة بوتسوانا الأولى، آنا دياس لوريناو السيدة الأولى لأنجولا.

Floods kill at least 13 and injure 19 in Burkina Faso

LORUM, BURKINA FASO – SEPTEMBER 14: People walk through the flooded road after heavy rain caused flood in Lorum, Burkina Faso on September 14, 2016. (Photo by Zekeriya Gunes/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Floods in Burkina Faso have left at least 13 people dead and 19 others injured following days of heavy rains across the country, including the capital, the government said on Wednesday.

5 billion CFA ($9.06 million) will be allocated by the finance ministry to help victims, said Abdoul Karim Sango, a government representative.

Many people had lost their homes, Sango said.

“This rainfall has caused a lot of damage in our country,” he told Reuters.

According to Sango, the minister of Territorial Administration was instructed by the government to house the disaster victims in public buildings.

It was not immediately clear how the floods would impact the country’s fight against militant groups with links to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, but a security source said the rainy season inevitably has an impact on operations.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed and almost a million displaced by the conflict, which is also affecting neighbors Niger and Mali

Kenyan police arrest poacher with 14 kg elephant tusks

EASTLEIGH, NAIROBI, KENYA – 2020/05/11: Police officers patrol the streets of Eastleigh during the demonstration. Eastleigh Residents took to the street to protest restriction of movement in the area due to the widespread case of Covid-19 within the residential area and appealed to the government to provide them with relief food. Kenya has confirmed 672 cases of Covid-19 and 32 deaths. (Photo by Billy Mutai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Security officers in the northwestern Kenya town of Kitale on Thursday arrested a poacher in possession of 14 kilograms of elephant tusks with a market value of 1.4 million shillings (about 14,000 U.S dollars).

Local police commander Ayub Gitonga said the suspected poacher had been on the radar of security agencies amid a spike in poaching of iconic animals in northern Kenya counties.

“We set a trap after we received intelligence reports that the suspect was in possession of the consignment and was looking for a market,” said Gitonga.

He said that poachers have taken advantage of the heavy rains in northern Kenya to sneak into wildlife sanctuaries and kill elephants and other giant land mammals.

“We are working on intelligence information to stamp out the menace and protect wildlife and we urge the public to collaborate with security agents to bring to book those engaged in illegal activities in our national parks,” said Gitonga.

He said police have launched a manhunt for six poachers on the run in the expansive plains dotting Kenya’s northwestern region

Mumbai mayor tests COVID-19 positive

MUMBAI, INDIA NOVEMBER 22: Kishori Pednekar, newly elected Mayor of Mumbai at BMC headquarter, on November 22, 2019 in Mumbai, India. Shiv Sena leader Kishori Pednekar, 56, was formally elected the citys 77th Mayor on Friday morning. Pednekar is a three-time corporator from Lower Parel in South Mumbai. Suhas Wadkar, also from the Sena, was elected deputy mayor of Mumbai. Pednekar started her term with appeals to the people of Mumbai to save water and to municipal officials to focus on pothole-free roads. She also urged Mumbaiites to increase use of BEST buses to reduce congestion on roads and reduce pollution. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar has tested positive for COVID-19, the mayor said in a tweet on Thursday.

Her rapid antigen test came positive while she claimed herself to be asymptomatic.

“As I don’t have any symptoms, I have home quarantined myself as per the doctors’ advice,” the mayor said, appealing to people to take necessary precautions, who came in contact with her.

India’s financial capital is the second worst-hit city by the virus after Delhi, with 7,982 deaths and a total of 160,744 cases, of which 25,659 are currently active.

Angola to reopen schools next month

Angolan authorities have agreed to reopen schools from October, after learning institutions in the country were closed to control the spread of COVID-19, Daily Nation has reported.

Learning activities were cancelled in March after the country recorded the first case of the deadly coronavirus.

According to the report, State Minister and Head of presidential palace Adão de Almeida said the country will continue to observe certain COVID-19 guidelines until October 9 when schools will resume.

The minister announced more restrictions will be enforced from September 9 and that everyone in a public place will be required to wear face masks, observe social distance and have temperature checks.

At the same time, the government agreed to resume domestic flights from September 14 and international flights from September 21.

Schools will be required to adhere to certain protocols including testing of all staff for Covid-19 before the resumption of classes.

Coronavirus deaths in Kenya top 600

country flag and coronavirus test

Kenya has reported eight coronavirus-related deaths within the last 24 hours, raising the country’s death toll to 607, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman announced.

The Health CAS also said that a total of 104 COVID-19 cases were recorded from 2,285 tests, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 35,460.

74 more patients have also recovered from the virus bringing the total number of recoveries in the county to 21,557.