Items filtered by date: Sunday, 03 December 2017

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later.

Director-General of World Health Organization Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the report that for many years, the global response to malaria was considered one of the world’s great public health achievements. The WHO reported time and again on the massive roll-out of effective disease-cutting tools, and on impressive reductions in cases and deaths. Last December, we noted a troubling shift in the trajectory of this disease. The data showed that less than half of countries with ongoing transmission were on track to reach critical targets for reductions in the death and disease caused by malaria.

The WHO African Region continues to bear the brunt of the global burden of malaria. In 2015, 88 per cent of global cases and 90 per cent of global deaths occurred in the African Region. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of malaria cases declined by 42 per cent while the malaria death rate declined by 66 per cent in the African Region.

The World malaria report 2017 shows that this worrying trend continues. Although there are some bright spots in the data, the overall decline in the global malaria burden has unquestionably leveled off. And, in some countries and regions, we are beginning to see reversals in the gains achieved.

In 2016, 91 countries reported a total of 216 million cases of malaria, an increase of 5 million cases over the previous year. The global tally of malaria deaths reached 445 000 deaths, about the same number reported in 2015.

According to Dr Tedros, although malaria case incidence has fallen globally since 2010, the rate of decline has stalled and even reversed in some regions since 2014. Mortality rates have followed a similar pattern. The WHO African Region continues to account for about 90% of malaria cases and deaths worldwide. Fifteen countries – all but one in sub-Saharan Africa – carry 80% of the global malaria burden. Clearly, if we are to get the global malaria response back on track, supporting the most heavily affected countries in this region must be our primary focus.

“Extending health care to all As WHO Director-General, achieving universal health coverage is my top priority. This is based on the moral conviction that all people should be guaranteed access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, regardless of where they live or their financial status.”

“To this end, how have countries fared in delivering services that prevent, diagnose and treat malaria for all in need? While we have made important headway, the pace of progress must be greatly accelerated if we are to reach our global malaria targets for 2020 and beyond.”

In 2016, just over half (54%) of people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa were sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net – the primary prevention method. This level of coverage represents a considerable increase since 2010 but is far from the goal of universal access.

Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 29 per cent reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2010. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 90 per cent of malaria cases and 92 per cent of malaria deaths.

This reduction is due to improved availability and use of insecticide-treated nets, diagnosis-based treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy, engagement of communities in malaria control, and strengthening capacity in vector control for malaria.

Malaria continues to have a severe socioeconomic impact on our populations. It is one of the causes of household poverty because it results in absenteeism from the daily activities of productive living and income generation. Malaria also continues to prevent many school children from attending school due to illness, diminishing their capacity to realize their full potential.

In this regard, the 2017 World Malaria Report highlights the need for strong leadership, greater funding commitments and expansion of life-saving tools to eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030. The Report, a global assessment of progress in the fight against malaria, shows that while malaria incidence and mortality rates remain far lower than 2010 levels, progress is beginning to stall.

African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) recently released that malaria cases have increased across the African continent, with 194 million cases reported in 2016, up from 191 million in 2015. Malaria mortality rates decreased by 2,000 during the same period. Four countries in Africa recorded a 250,000 case increase in 2016, compared to 2015: Rwanda, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger. Meanwhile, a total of eight countries in Africa recorded a greater than 20% increase in cases in 2016 compared to 2015.

“This year’s World Malaria Report warns that we could lose the tremendous gains made in reducing malaria sickness and death in Africa unless we do more to save lives from this preventable and treatable disease.

According to ALMA, last year in Africa, malaria killed 407,000 people and robbed us of USD 12 billion in lost productivity, investment and associated health care costs. For every $1 we invest in malaria control and elimination we yield a $36 return for our economies.

Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance Joy Phumaphi said: Getting back on track to reach our goal of a malaria-free Africa by 2030 will require our leaders to prioritize funding, scale up access to life-saving malaria interventions and new tools and strengthen health systems. In addition, the international community must sustain their commitments to these efforts.

Meanwhile, there are some bright spots. Madagascar, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and the Gambia registered reductions in the number of malaria cases last year. Madagascar reported the most significant decline among these countries, with 856,000 fewer cases of malaria in 2016.

“As African leaders, we must use the release of the World Malaria Report 2017 to energize our collective effort in the fight against one of our continent’s most devastating diseases. This year’s report is a reminder of what will happen if our commitments wane.”

On the other hand, King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland and Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance said that commendable progress has been made by Madagascar, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and the Gambia saving our families, communities and countries from this disease. We can learn from their achievements to replicate their success across the continent.

In addition, African countries are making strides in collecting data on malaria cases and deaths. In 2016, 37 of 46 countries in the World Health Organization African Region indicated that at least 80% of public health facilities had reported data on malaria through their national health information system.

Dr. Tewodros also highlighted that a minimum investment of USD 6.5 billion will be required annually by 2020 in order to meet the 2030 targets of the WHO global malaria strategy. The USD 2.7 billion invested in 2016 represents less than half of that amount. Of particular concern is that, since 2014, investments in malaria control have, on average, declined in many high-burden countries.

“The choice before us is clear. If we continue with a “business as usual” approach – employing the same level of resources and the same interventions – we will face near-certain increases in malaria cases and deaths.”

It is our hope that countries and the global health community choose another approach, resulting in a boost in funding for malaria programmes, expanded access to effective interventions and greater investment in the research and development of new tools.

“Countries must be in the driver’s seat; they alone are ultimately responsible for the health of their citizens. Universal health coverage is indeed a political choice – one that takes courage, compassion and long-term vision.”

Dr. Tewodros concluded that after spending many years fighting the scourge of malaria in Ethiopia, I know that we are up against a tough adversary. But I am also convinced that this is a winnable battle. With robust financial resources and political leadership, we can – and will – swing the pendulum back towards a malaria-free world.

 

BY ZELALEM GIRMA

Published in Society
Sunday, 03 December 2017 01:21

Cultural mourning practices in Wolaita

As happiness and sadness are two faces of the same coin, human beings manifest them in various ways every so often. They way how they demonstrate their condolences and other related aspects vary from place to place based on the culture of individuals. Obviously, through the passage of time, the means how different people put across their grief and bliss vary in view of the fact that there is no specific formula which governs us from time to time.

There are a number of cultural mourning practices such as Qaretaa, baliyaa, pituwaa and gaabaa in which the people of Wolaita bring into play with the aim of expressing their condolences. What is more, there are assortments of musical instruments and costumes used in the cultural morning practices in Woliata.

Qaretaa

In this system, when somebody goes to meet his/her maker, people living in the surrounding area or other places come to express their grief. As it is believed that the family of the dead family or their near relatives will harm themselves during the day, they are well taken care of by a range of people. Everybody stands by the side of the mourners at this specific juncture. Besides, that same day, a lot of discussion concerning the funeral procession and other related aspect is held almost immediately.

All near and distant relatives get themselves involved in the funeral procession. In a little while, they also set a tent for mourners. In the fullness of time, they make the funeral day public through varies means. If the deceased is a well-known person in the area, they openly declare about the funeral procession of the person on the horseback. On the eve of the funeral day, mourners sing mourning songs which is commonly called “Koizeta.” Baliyaa

In the existing culture, Baliyaa and the funeral procession takes place at the same time. However, nowadays, at this moment in time, this reality on the ground has been changed. In fact, the funeral procession can take place rooted in the consensuses of the dead person’s relatives. Even though the relatives partake in the Qaretaa ceremony, it is mandatory to do the same in the baliyaa ceremony.

As a lot of people come from various parts of the area to attend the funeral procession at that specific point, a barrier is placed in front of the mourners for the benefit of preventing possible dangerous which can happen following the hustle and bustle during the funeral procession. The Baliyaa mourners put across their grief on horseback as well as on foot going in and out of the tent three times by saying aye... aye... aye...

In the existing culture, mourners who come from various areas based on their closeness people express their condolences in different ways. Those who come on horseback express their condolences by beating themselves time and again. What is more, mourners who come on foot with a view to expressing their condolences fall deliberately down on earth. Women as well express their condolences by scratching their face by means of thorn. The baliyaa participants do not eat anything earlier than the funeral procession. If the deceased is the inhabitants of the area, he is buried in “Mekanna.” On the contrary, if the deceased is from another area, he is buried in “Gutara.”

After the funeral procession, mourners are provided with different drinks and foods. By the way, if the deceased is very famous, an ox is slaughtered. When mourners come to comfort the deceased family, they give them grain or money.

Pittuwa

More often than not, this system is carried out after the wrapping up of the Baliyaa ceremony. On this particular day, members of the idir get gathered at the residential house of the decease family. Moreover, they clean the residential house and compound of the person who departed this life. The boys on their part take down a tent. After they eat and drink, they return to their respective homes.

 

BY ADDISALEM MULAT

 

 

 

Published in Society
Sunday, 03 December 2017 01:19

Nurturing Ethiopian youths' creative knack

Currently, it is estimated that youths cover about70 percents of Ethiopian population which in a way means that most citizens are productive. Many youths have managed to become effective in the entrepreneurship sector. Although they are facing economical and technological challenges, they are still surprising us with their creativity.

“A month ago, clients of our organization have been receiving information manually. That is through letters shoveled into suggestion boxes. But now, there is a 65-inche screen that directs customer where to find the offices, experts and meeting halls including necessary phone numbers. This way it has become easy to carry across information for service seekers including illiterate people as well as the visually and hearing impaired using videos, photos, audio works, written instruction, and sign languages. Currently clients can get accurate information through the efforts of our innovative youths” said Gebre Giorgis Abriha, Communication Director at the Ethiopian Broadcast Authority.

Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority organization is one user of their innovative works. Giving his comment regarding the other technological machine the communication director further mentioned that the organization uses an audio digital recorder which helps to receive the comment of customers immediately after they get the service. The concerned officials will get the comment right away. This innovative work makes the organization’s communication with its clients easier. The technology is a brain child of six youth’s innovation within their small enterprise.

Not only this innovative machine but also other creative machineries are invented by youth Webeshet Gebreegiziaber and his other five colleagues in Addis. They spend most of their time engaged in innovative activities. Webeshet, the general manager of the enterprise mentioned that “To foster good governance and support the society our invention is playing a vital role.”

Positive feedback may lead the innovators to be inspired for their job. If the society acknowledge and pat them on the back, they will be ready and strong to confront the challenge that they might face in the future. According to Webeshet, government bodies are supporting them to settle at this level. Presently, they have market linkages with a number of organizations. Their enterprise has 6 employees and they are intending to employ about 40 contractual workers and they hope to expand more down the road.

The emphasis that has been placed on Science, Technology and Innovation Centers is not enough. Pertinent bodies which are engaged in the aforementioned areas are building science centers everywhere for development of the sector. Tarekegn Abdujebal, Executive Director at the Ethiopian Youth Federation said that the innovative works are making an upswing by the year. Such a trend surely helps the nation curtail the out flow of hard currency discouraging the import of some materials. “But there are some gaps,” he said adding “there is a call for facilitating Science Centers like other countries.”

To shift the agriculture led-economy to industry-driven one, the country still needs to work a lot on science and technology. Now, the situation is becoming better for youths to develop their Science and Technological knowledge according to Ermias Matias, Executive Director at the Addis Ababa Youths Federation. Forums of recognition are created to pat innovative students on the back just before they disperse to various universities across the state.

Youths' creative ability is not confined to Addis alone. Most youths in various states are trying to innovate something new by analyzing their environmental, cultural natural and other situations. Alazar Yehualashet has created a new garbage system; collecting garbage and burying it till the garbage collecting vehicles arrive. Research is being conducted over this technology, for which he got a patent right. This invention will turn into innovation this year.

Appreciation go a long way to boost such type of innovative works. As to him, the mayor of Adama City Administration is giving due attention for this project. Moreover, the city administration has already ordered for about 32 machineries before the invention-to-innovation-turning work kick starts. “This will motivate me to do better than my best and come up with another machine,” Alazar said.

It is known that the higher education institutions especially the Addis Ababa and Adama Science and Technology Universities are playing a decisive role in the sector. Leaders of youth associations and the innovators also noted that the government is conferring focal attention on innovative works these days.

After lauding the government's gesture, they stressed the significance of the furtherance of the support for the innovators. The support could be by developing their skills, backing them up with equipment and injecting capital into their endeavors.

On the eve of the eightieth round National Science, Technology and Innovation prize handling event, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne said “Once upon a time, the people of Ethiopian built Axum, Lalibela, the Fasiledes castle and Gegol walls as well as gave science and technology for the other world”. He also stressed the need to work hard,keeping pace with the global community. Reinecessance is with in the domain of reality to Ethiopia..

 

 

BY GENET FEKADE

Published in Development
Sunday, 03 December 2017 01:14

Keeping peace parallel to building a nation

 

It is crystal clear that the Ethiopian national defense force has matchless role in safeguarding the sovereignty and the constitution of the nation and thus it has been successfully accomplishing its missions by defending the country from anti-peace elements. The Ethiopian solders have been taking part in a variety of development activities simultaneously building the nation. Hence, success is always on their side.

Since the demise of the Derg regime through the strenuous struggle of all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia, citizens have zoomed their full attention to ensuring tranquility, democracy as well as advancement across the country at whatever cost. The nation entirely channeled its military expenditure completely on development with the purpose of eradicating poverty once and for all from every nook and cranny of the country.

In a way that is easily perceived, victory has been crowning the Ethiopian national defense force over different enemies wherever it is deployed. The Ethiopian soldiers always turn out the talk of the entire world following their effective war strategies.

The Ethiopian defense force has been assembling and manufacturing armored cars, buses, military armaments, ammunition, tractors, public transport vehicles and other related military hardware.

The incumbent has been determined to enhance the capacity of the defense force in a way that does not hold back the growth schema of the nation. At this point in time, Ethiopia possesses quite a lot of defense industrial organizations, which manufacture and refurbish an assortment of arsenals. The Ministry of Defense has been undertaking multifaceted-capacity-building program with the intention of transforming the defense force into an up-to-the-minute and highly-developed force. The defense force as well has been improving its quality and competence with a view to lucratively achieving its legitimate authorization.

After Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), the Ethiopian national defense force infrastructure development sector which used to be manufactured by the national construction engineering and Kaliti construction and construction equipment producing agency have been made to be embraced under the umbrella of the National Defense Force Enterprise. It was established according to act number 185/2002 of the council of ministers with a capital of 276 million Birr.

Likewise, by collecting the different input producing materials which were found in the aforementioned construction enterprises was made to focus on manufacturing input products for the defense force with a capital of 128 million Birr. It was established according to act number 186/2002 of the Council of Ministers.

In the same way, the Defense Design Works Agency is established according to act number 187/2002 in the council of ministers with a capital of 11 million Birr.

After the legal establishment of the three development organizations, the defense force infrastructure development sector has embraced different construction industries locally called MEKOE, MEKODED and MEGGMED under them.

The Defense Force Construction Enterprise has been producing valuable professionals now and then making use of contemporary construction machinery. Furthermore, it is being competitive across the country following its quality products which win markets— without doubt the attention of all and sundry. The enterprise as well has been constructing roads, handling irrigation schemes and building dams with reasonable charges apart from playing vital role in the construction sector of the country. By the same token, the enterprise is contributing its share in the development endeavors which have been taking place in different parts of the country.

The Defense Force Construction Enterprise has been successfully discharging its duties and responsibilities by constructing health institutions, bridges, recreation centers, officer service providers and what have.

Health centers construction

The Defense Force construction enterprise has played a midwifery role in building standard referral hospitals in Dire Dawa and Shire. It as well has seen to the coming into being of a similar hospital in Mekelle and Bahirdar. Up on seeing the light of day they will give service to the army and the community residing in the area.

Hotel construction

At this point in time, the enterprise has been building a three star hotel in Mekelle for the defense foundation which enables the army as well as the community to get a good service.

Road construction

MKOD has constructed a lot of asphalt roads, gravel roads and the rest in different parts of the country. At the moment, the Mekelle-Abiadi 64 KM asphalt road and the Awash-Mille 73 kilometer asphalt overlay have been successfully carried out. The Agula-Berhale 75 kilometer and Berhale-Dalule construction have become operational at this point in time. In spite of the fact that this area is very hot, the residents of the area have managed to complete the road construction through their determination and hard work. Above and beyond, the enterprise has created a lot of job opportunities for several unemployed segment of the society residing in the area.

Recently, the Dichetu-Halafi-Beliho 80 kilometer road construction work had been signed with the Ethiopian Road Authority which is the first cement concrete-rigid pavement.

Housing development

The organization has built a number of condominium houses in Addis Ababa, Bahirdar, Awash Arba, Harare, Debrezeit, Mekelle, Shire, and the rest extensively. This helps the army lead its life properly and appropriately without difficulty. It as well allows them carryout their duties and responsibilities.

Office building constriction

The enterprise in various defense institutions and the Addis Ababa City administration has constructed a lot of office buildings. By the way, most of them have been transferred to beneficiaries. Moreover, a lot of building works are underway. For example, the defense force head office, information and network security office, the defense force metal and engineering calibration center and the rest are in the pipeline.

In the same way, a three-storey building in all sub cities of Addis Ababa, the Addis Ababa post office building and more than twenty broadcasting stations in the peripheries of Addis have been transferred.

Irrigation development construction sector

Previously, 2,920 hectares of irrigation had been transferred to beneficiaries in the Ethiopian Somali state and West Gode. At the present time, in Afar State Tendaho sugar development irrigation work is under completion. This enables the inhabitants of the area who fully depends on cattle rearing to improve their lives. In fact, they help the inhabitants lead a better life making use of agriculture and other related aspects. Furthermore, in Tigray state, Kilite Awilalo and Bgirndaho areas the construction of earth dam is nearing completion.

Construction of educational training institutes In light of strengthening the defense army, the Defense Force Construction Enterprise has been building training centers which plays pivotal role to the army. Among them, Jan Meda, Mekelle Staff College and Engineering College expansion projects could be mentioned as an example. In addition to fulfilling the necessary requirement for the army, the Defense Force Construction enterprise is playing major role in adding value to the construction sector. It is creating a sense of belonging along this line. The enterprise as well is constructing roads, buildings, roads, irrigations, bridges, among others.

Likewise, the Defense Force construction enterprise has been doing a lot of support to the community by creating a lot of job opportunities and introducing new technologies.

 

BY ADDISALEM MULAT

 

 

Published in Development

Our today's guest is Frehiwot Worku, Secretary General of Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS). She has been serving at ERCS since July 2010/2011. Before she joined the ERCS, she had been working for Ethiopian Airlines for more than 21 years. Having started from a junior position, she had progressed consistently to higher and most responsible positions within the airlines. As a result, she had served at different positions starting from college trainee up to executive vice president position, in various fields ranging from marketing, personnel management and to auditing. She left the airline in 2010 while she was serving as executive vice president corporate services. Out of the 21 years, She served at Vice President positions for 13 years.

Frehiwot was born and grew up here in Addis. She learned in various private schools following her father’s travel around the country. To name a few, she was educated at Betelhem School in Addis and in Harer, and Agazian school. She then joined Shemelis Habte, Gondar Fasiledes, and Teferi Mekonnen Comprehensive Schools for her secondary education. Then she left for USA to pursue her studies for first and second degrees. Completing here post graduate program (Master's degree) in Business Administration from Golden Gate University of San Francisco California, she came back home and started working at the airlines. She is married and a mother of three sons and a daughter.

Frehiwot has demonstrated an extraordinary achievement in leadership through working in challenging and continuously changing environments in the last 27 years. Besides serving as Secretary General at ERCS, currently she has served as the Ethiopian Employer's Federation Vice President and as Board Member of the Private Organization Employees Social Security Administration Authority.

Frehiwot is an accomplished woman leader who balances her family life and office tasks successfully. She can be a good role-model for several women who want to flourish in leadership roles in organizations and their family lives. Realizing her holistic achievements, The Ethiopian Herald made a short stay with her with the intention of letting her share experiences for our readers. Excerpts:

Why did you decide to leave the Ethiopian Airlines and join the Ethiopian Red Cross Society?

It has something to do with my per-existing interest. When I was young, I was thinking to spend my life in helping others. My father was a doctor and I was planning to be a medical person as well with the intention of helping others. I cannot tolerate to see people suffer. When I was at the airlines, I was organizing to help some orphans, people with HIV/ AIDS. When I left the airline, I was planning to establish an NGO and maximize my contribution in helping the helpless. Nevertheless when I was trying to do that, I found myself unfamiliar to several systems in the country. As I told you I studied in USA and joined the airline upon my return. The systems in the airline are international so I have no difficulty adjusting. Trying to work in other systems was not as easy.

Then I made a decision to work in a humanitarian organization and learn the system. Mean while, I heard that the Ethiopian Red Cross Society was looking for someone. Then I joined here about five years ago. I am happy about my decision to join here since all the leadership experiences I had in the airlines would contribute to this humanitarian organization.

What has helped you to be a good achiever in life and leadership roles?

First, I think my commitment to improve my education has helped me a lot. I believe in the value of education. From the beginning till the end I performed very well. My highest scores in the university also enabled me to join the Ethiopian Airlines right after graduation.

Second, my seriousness in handling my duties and responsibilities. Whatever responsibilities or tasks you give me you surely get it done efficiently. I don’t do what I don’t believe in.

Third, knowing and identifying what I need to achieve in life and pursuing them. I am very dedicated and a risk taker for my purpose.

Last, my persistence in scheduling my days and tasks takes considerable share. In my daily To-do List, I carefully identify the most important tasks from the less important ones and prioritize accordingly. For instance, since my office tasks and family life take most of my time, my social life is very limited. But I do not do the office activities on the expense of my family time. I always struggle to keep the balance. I value my family time to cultivate my marriage and the character of my children. When I am effective at home, I am encouraged and motivated to be fruitful at office.

Do you mean that your marriage has contributed to your success in leadership?

Sure, supportive and stable relationship is very relevant for a woman. Life itself is challenging enough for a woman. If she does not have a supportive husband or friend, life becomes super challenging. For me my husband was my friend, my boyfriend and then became my husband. He is very supportive. He knew my every interest in life. He did not want me to carry out different or difficult house responsibility alone as a woman.

We started living together in the USA. For instance, when I used to cook, he did the cleanings. At that time, we had our first son. When I was carrying out certain activities, he was taking care for our son. For any reason, he encouraged me to advance in my learning. He was supporting me to pursue my interest. It is very relevant to have consistent, relevant, stable relationship partner to be successful in what you plan to do.

On the contrary, I sometimes see some men who are highly threatened when their wives become successful. How many men are comfortable to be married to women who have better job and salary than them? I believe such problems exists in relationship due to lack of proper knowledge and basic purpose in marriage

How can we solve this problem?

As a community, we need to learn; we do not live in the past. The past culture has already passed. Our kids are growing in a different environment. In the old days, the husband was expected to tell his wife what to do and she was expected to be sub-servant to him. Perhaps my generation would compromise, but our children do not accept this.

Next, men must notice that investing in the lives of their women would benefit them first. If a woman is competent and strong enough, and she falls in love with someone, that person has to accept that and enjoy that love. If she has better knowledge, and/or salary, doesn’t matter is she loves him. As long as their relationship is based on love and respect, it is so easy and appropriate for them to live together. She does not have any moral right to order him around neither does he. The relationship depends on mutual respect, mutual love. They should decide on their resources together.

Would you tell us the difficult moments you faced in life and your leadership?

I believe life is always accompanied by challenges. There is no success (progress) without challenges. I believe all the difficult situations I faced are educational. When I was a high school junior, the political situation was full of unrest. Because of my political stance, I was persecuted by the Dergue. In order to save my life, I was forced to terminate my education and went to Gonder to be with my boyfriend (now my husband) till that difficult moment would pass.

When I went to Gonder and leaved in rural areas, I learned a big lesson I could not learn at school or from a book. The very challenging life style of rural areas was very new to me since I had been from a middle class family here in Addis. When I was with my parents, everything was available to me very easily. But everything was changed in an instant when I had to leave home. I did not have anything except the clothes I was wearing. Facing it boldly was the only option I had. All these situations made me strong and determined.

And the very unfortunate situation I faced in my leadership was about five years ago. As soon as I joined ERCS, the organization collected significant amount of money to help the drought affected areas. Some people tried to misuse the money; something very shocking to me. I faced a situation that needed administrative measure. As a result, I had to let go those corrupted individuals. Since I was a new comer to the organization, it was a challenging time for me. I could not trust any one so that I used to do all the activities even typing letters and the like on my own. Every body in the organization considered me as a devil that appeared on them magically. Fortunately, this situation did not destroy me; rather it made me stronger and more committed, and sharpened my leadership skills.

What makes a committed, skillful woman leader? Tell us from your experiences.

Though education is basic in developing leaders, there are also several situation to create a leader. I have acquired leadership trainings, but experiences and challenges have sharpened my skills better. That means leaders may emerge from situations. I am also eager to take whatever responsibility comes on my way. When there is a need to do it, I am a person who can carry out responsibility. When I was serving at the airlines it was a transition period, I was taking responsibility to accomplish seemingly difficult things. It is usual that in time of transition period, people are afraid to be in the positions that involve a lot challenges; but I was taking responsibility to fix situations. I do them with full passion and concern. Whatever they give me they can be sure that it would be done. I think my willingness to meet these challenges has reinforced my progress on the leadership ladder.

I believe communities should start recognizing and valuing the wisdom and capacities of women, and engage them to be valuable contributors professionally. At the same token, it is the right time for woman to challenge themselves to take more and more leadership roles to contribute to the improvement of the lives and livelihoods of their society.

What would you advice other women who want to learn from you?

They, especially the young women, ought to carefully identify and know what they want to achieve in life. For instance, I wanted relatively better education and then get employed in a competitive organization. Once they know their purpose in life, they wisely invest their time and energy in the relevant assignments. For example, I do not spend my time for less important social affairs. I used to invest my life in my studies when I was a student and when I work I invest my full energy and time on my work. And they have to have determination in life. Success is always available when we discover our purposes and pursue them with determination.

Moreover, women leaders should be very careful to balance their roles at office with home responsibility. They must be careful not pursue leadership roles at office at the expense of their family duties. Women who lead their homes can effectively lead organizations.

 

BY WAKUMA KUDAMA

(Photo Gebabo Gebre)

 

 

Published in Herald-Guest

 

Yun Mo Ahn: South Korean Artist in a Butterfly Tour project

 

YUN-MO HAN is a South Korean Artist who flew to Ethiopia last week to showcase an art gallery under the theme 'Become a Butterfly.'

The gallery aimed at raising the global community's awareness on Autism, which is a global health concern that begs for joint intervention.

Dropping in for the show was a spectacular moment attended by many autistic students and guests of honor. It was held at Addis Fine Art around Bole, where lots of butterfly paper crafts having motley colors were posted on a clean, beautiful and white wall. Amazing and eye-catching artistic pieces were displayed here and there..

Mentioning his world-tour project, Artist YUN-MO HAN said that he first met friends with Autism some seven years back. “ Even if often they are unable to communicate well using verbal languages,it is a delight to feast one's eyes on their mesmeric works.. He further noted “ Though they do not give vent to their feelings with words they could express their thoughts through visual art. ”

Following this experience the idea of organizing picture tours crisscrossing the world took shape in his mind. preferring Ethiopia as the first nation in Africa's tour plans. He affirmed that “I really want to come back again to Ethiopia and organize an art gallery in the future as I am pleased by what I see in the nation. The nation has really climbed rungs of development more than I expected.”

“Autism is not only for Koreans but also a matter of human kind that goes beyond differences in language, ethnicity or skin color,” he explained adding “We decided to go one more step closer to the world in order to meet more and different people.”

The artist further noted that this World-Tour project served the first flutter of the butterfly effect and it is a good opportunity to realize love for humanity, an utmost goal for mankind as we go to every corner of the global world with a long term plan and meet many children with developmental disorder with thousands and tens of thousands of beautiful butterfly illustrations.

During the occasion Ethiopian National Association on Intellectual Disability Deputy Board President Mihret Nigusse, said that the program is organized for children and youths with autism and developmental disorder with the aim of expressing the message that these parts of the society can fly like a butterfly in every corner and sector if they are included in all development packages.

As children that fall in this group have talents they have messages that they want to convey. She further said “Such a program was held at Brussels for the first time and this is Africa's pilot project of the artist YUN-MO HAN.”

Ethiopian National Association on Intellectual Disability Acting Direct Yeshewaget Kibret said on her part that the program that harnesses art is aimed at displaying the talents and creativity of people with intellectual disability and autism .

The tour program accommodates children and youths across the world and creating communication about intellectual disability and autism and give the required support to them and create opportunities that will facilitate their participation at all levels. She stressed “Every body is responsible to give support to these children as this is a global concern.”

It was in joint collaboration with the Ethiopian National Association on Disability, Nehemia Autism Center, Korea Disability Arts and Culture center, MCST and Global Citizenship Forum organized the event.

 

BY YARED GEBREMEDEN AND MISAEL LEMMA

 

 

Published in Art-Culture
Sunday, 03 December 2017 00:59

The Young Ethiopian Film and Music Director

On one occasion in a certain book discussion I learnt that art is a mirror which reflects a number of things for the most part when artists win our hearts as well as minds through their works. To make sure to what extent this fact is true, I made up my mind to do something in a little while. At the end of the day, I figured out the truth when I came across various artists demonstrating their works effectively in various places and times.

The intended target of this writer is to show that the success journey of one of the Ethiopian artists who has passed through many ups and downs targeting at making his dream come true. Indeed, there are some artists who have been urged to interrupt their studies for the love of living their dreams. In fact, my focus is talking about one of the renowned artists named Addisu Alemayheu (Yappi Mafi). He is among one of the artists who interrupted his university studies for the love of joining the art world. Taking into account a number of things revolving around his personal and professional life into account, I have made up my mind to make the all-rounded artist to make him the art and culture column guest. Excerpts:

Tell us a little about yourself.

 

My name is Addisu (Yappi). I was an outshining student till I joined university. Though I had a good grade in the university, I was forced to interrupt my education given that I was not able to find the field of my interest that I was dreaming for long. This being the case, I interrupted my studies and ended up joining the art world in next to no time. I have been getting myself engaged in a range of art works since then. At the moment, I am a rapper, dancer, film and music director, and what not. Without exaggeration, I have been successfully carrying out my duties and responsibilities as far as this and throwing in my share.

How and when did you get yourself involved in music and film directing?

 

In fact, five years ago, I engaged in directing music and films. At the time I got involved in the profession,most of my works were not exhibited. However when the work of Dawit entitled “Kemigelegel Meskel” was released for the first time, I was showered with constructive feedback. I have the nerve to say, it was the time that most professionals got convinced about the indispensability of director in a film or music seeing that it adds color to their works. I was really giving due weight and attention every so often along this line. If truth be told, I did not imagine that I would end up being successful in my first work within the shortest time possible.

How is directing?

To begin with, a director's role lies in understanding in advance the feelings, ideas and thoughts of the general public (their heartbeats) and putting them into practice. Hence, I first make an effort to understand in detail the messages the author or songwriter would like to convey to the general public. What is more, I come up with various effective mechanisms summoning my maximum effort with a view to finding my way into the favor of the general public. What is more, I endeavor to make the general public understand the intended message of the songwriter coming up with a creative work which makes people visualize things tuning to the voice of the vocalists.

More often than not, I strive to bring songwriters to the limelight for the reason that most of them are criticized for not able to please the audience as anticipated. As a consequence, I endeavor to understand the exact feelings of the songwriters more than anything else under the sun and convey to the audience. I put a lot of efforts in to my work to make it a hit. Most people express appreciation for my work. Drawn by my creativity, most professionals want their works to be organized by me.

What challenges did you face so far, if any?

 

As a matter of fact, passing through various twists and turns in life is mandatory. The deep philosophies anchored in culture cannot be easily measured. First it was difficult for me to change the beat of Tigrigna into modern way. Mostly, the dancing style is circular. At a loss what to do, I began designing new techniques which takes the culture to a new height of success. I was not really interested to stick to the existing style. I came up with some techniques which make everybody to partake in the dance wherever they may be provided all movements are dances. I allowed dancers the freedom to display their grooving style as they wish though it was difficult to convince the community as well as dancers.

How many music and films did you compose to this point?

 

Most of the Tigrigna modern songs have been successfully directed by me. For example, the work of Dawit Nega entitled “Wezamei” is directed by me. In actual fact, in the beginning, many were not happy in the work. However after the release of the album, it became a blockbuster in no time . It has been admired by most people ever since. It is really difficult to put exact figures. I have also the talent to produce film scripts. Also,I am good at directing. For example, we can talk about Markeza film which is performed in two languages: Amharic and Tigrigna and released for public view. To be honest, even if there are many authors, actors and actresses across the country, they could not get the chance. Most people want to watch films in other local languages. Hence, I produced this film with the purpose of highlighting that garbing attention producing films is with in the domain of reality.

I have a cultural Hip Hop music to be released in the near future. The composer of the music is Tesema Mamo. Everything concerning the music revolves around our own culture. I have got more than thirty works to this point.

Some say that some dancers partaking either in traditional or modern dances suffer from addiction. What is your take on this?

 

Such a conclusion is entirely far from the truth. For example, in the recently launched Geez Band most dancers had been enthusiastically portraying their talent. In fact, most of them have proved to be free from addiction. If you take me for instance, I am averse to addiction. I as well is director of modern dance and music. As to me, giving in to addiction depends on the personality of individuals not on the profession. Indeed, this reality on the ground may be subjected to the person who you spend your time with. Addiction is not inborn.

I am neither a smoker or drinker. Examplary,I managed to make them change their attitude taking their problems into account.

How and why was the Ge’ez Band established?

As for me, places where youngsters spend their time are very limited. Therefore, it is very important to alleviate this problem. Mostly, it is believed that there is no professional who could organize Tigrigana in modern way or other languages. However, it is possible to do all we can in a way which attracts the attention of everyone irrespective of age and sex. Most foreigners do not have an inkling about the music wealth of Ethiopia as the works are not choreographed. By the way, the intended target of the band is allowing foreigners play our music.

We heard that you are making most professionals in your walk of life very famous. How much is that true?

 

It is very true. We can take as an example Artist Teshale. He is a highly experienced person. But he did not not know how to acquaint his works in an interesting way with the general public. Consequently, making such artists people known publicly injecting our own creativity and making them beneficiary will be our priority. Now, he is getting himself ready to release a new album on account of the effort of my colleagues and myself. There is a big gap between the past and the present generation. But at this point in time, it is very difficult to for an artist warm his/her way in to the cherished corner of the audience . As a result, I do a lot to achieve the intended target. However, this is a personal work. People work for their respective countries.

Most of your songs are different from the normal Tigrigna beat. This makes you different. Where did you bring the style from?

 

As expressing one's ideas, thoughts and feelings swiftly cannot be done in a few words using say Amharic or Tigriagan languages, I do most of my Hip Hop works in English language. It is also difficult to find the beats in Tigrigna and Amharic languages. At the moment, I am producing Hip Hop songs using the aforesaid languages. I am endeavoring to make the song more interesting than ever before. Hence, in the Hip Hop song in which I am going to release in the near future, I would use the Tigrigna drum beat.

In what ways do you help others?

 

More often than not, I do not bat an eye to extend a helping hand if anyone asks me to learn or needs my help. I am always ready to teach people since I too learn from others. I do not hesitate to contribute what I have especially whenever I am invited in different schools. I give all I have with pleasure.I give what I have for others without any wavering.

What is your future plan?

 

I do not want to live only for the reason that I have to live on the planet earth. I do want to contribute all what I have for the generation to come working day and night. It is crystal clear that I was born for one mission and I came to this earth to carry out my duties and responsibilities. I would like to do all I could no matter what the cost may be. The other thing is making an effort to harvest the fruit of success in a short time in the new album and taking the Ge’ez Band to a new height of success.

Translated from Addis Zemen

 

BY ADDISALEM MULAT

 

 

Published in Art-Culture

 

The first edition of the Great Ethiopian Run was held on November 25, 2001 with ten thousand participants. Comparing it to the celebrated great runs of other countries, the number may have seemed not impressive. But for Ethiopia it was considered a great event, and a great beginning. Every one was excited and if we look back at it today, Haile and those who collaborated with him could very well feel proud of it. Today, the Great Ethiopian Run is noted as one of the yearly great road runs one should not miss.

Organizing successfully a huge sporting event such as the Great Ethiopian Run is not easy and at its seventeenth chapter, Haile and company do know better how to do it than in 2001. Today, having learnt from years of experience and having reached the 44 thousand mark of participants, one can observe that it has come a long way and it has consolidated its mark with better organisation and better results.

As the years progressed and the event became an established traditional rendez-vous for thousands of people, it attracts more and more people, more publicity, and more sponsorship and the winners are awarded better prizes.

The Great Ethiopian Run is now a souvenir for many, a moment to cherish with others, watch it ‘live’ on TV or take part in it physically. It is a moment of fun and excitement, a festival. It has become more and more popular, more and more colourful and eventful. With more sponsors and philanthropic organisations taking part, there are no limits to what it can attain.

The Great Run is also a wonderful occ asion for new athletes to emerge and shine. Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba, Berhane Adere and Sileshi Sehen, are just a few among those who shined in the Run and then exploded in the international arena.

The yearly get together of the Great E thiopian Run has also travelled to the regions with several categories such as the Children Chapter and the Women’s Chapter. It has indeed become a movement helping raise awareness for child rights and women equality rights. There is no doubt that the Great Ethiopian Run has placed its roots deep in the country and even in the psyche of the population. The movement is bound to expand and grow. It is in a way a good contribution for the development efforts of the country striving to come out of poverty and reach the middle income countries in a few years.

When it first began, the Great Ethiopian Run was unprecedented even at the sub-Saharan level. Haile pioneered it and in sixteen years, it has grown exponentially. It is now an established annual event not to miss.

All in all, it is now better placed to raise huge sums for any sort of charitable endeavour or involve masses and organizations with several noble causes. It attracts new athletes and is an inspiration even for little kids. As a movement with multiple social ramifications, it is rising up to becoming an engine of development as well.

The first Great Ethiopian Run had principally one cause: the campaign against HIV/AIDS, and the motto was ‘Value Your Life’. It was a response to the then alarming spread of HIV. Today, the situation may not be as severe as then, but with recent surveys showing some risk of relapse, ruling out the need to revisit the campaign may be unlikely.

In fact from being the talk of a nation involving practically everyone to the recent total eclipse of the whole issue, as if it were completely resolved, there was the fertile ground for the virus to re-emerge. The impact of the first Great Ethiopian Run was brilliant with the message well conveyed, loud and clear. A reversal of the achievement in this regard was found to be a concern of the authorities of the Ministry of Health and the UNAIDS. The target of eradicating the virus from the earth by 2030 does not seem to materialize. Hence the project called 90-90-90 was designed. By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained_anti-retroviral therapy, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression. Apparently, with a new generation of youths who have not had enough exposure about the risks of HIV, they being too young during the intense campaigns carried out years back, a new call may be advisable.

The marking of World AIDS Day will in this sense be of help. We may need to pull up our sleeves and begin to intensify our campaign of sensitization and stop the relapse. The recent complacency has created some anxiety among campaigners with the risk of reversing the achievements of the past.

December 1, the ‘World AIDS Day’ is around and new mottos and slogans will as usual characterize it with new scientific developments, new experiences across the world shared among those who live with the virus as well as those who try and contribute to the fight. With presentations of research papers, discussions will follow and progress reported. Lessons and recommendations will also be part of the menu.

Participation in sports collectively such as in the Great Ethiopian Run helps to stimulate an entire population to engage in physical exercise and that means having a healthy population. In fact the famous Latin dictum says “mens sana in corpore sano”, meaning ‘the mind is healthy only if the body is healthy’.

One other very important objective the Great Ethiopian Run was meant to address and did succeed in the endeavour was the issue of the image of Ethiopia. This is now even more important because with the growing attention and recognition the Great Run has been acquiring, its influence on the image building of the country has become substantial.

For too many years, Ethiopia has not been having fair treatment or coverage by the foreign media. All negative epithets were attributed to it. This had to change and is now changing with activities such as the Great Run and the recent socio-economic achievements of the country. The Run opens a window of opportunity to showcase that Ethiopia is not as it is portrayed by a certain media.

The recent successes not only in the economic sphere but also in the political, diplomatic and cultural arena mean that the country is now in a new rising trajectory. One can observe that even from the images that the Great Run portrays and the scores of journalists who come here to report. Addis can exhibit its most recent expansion and modernization facets along the itinerary of the Great Run.

The changes that the city has undergone from the first Great Run to the 17th one could easily be observed. The facilities such as sky rising hotels, sophisticated infrastructure and other amenities mean that tourists can jot down Addis on their list of next destination. The shining successes of the national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, become an extra incentive to fly to Ethiopia and tour. The various UNESCO acclaimed and registered cultural heritage sites and the intangible heritages add to the package.

Diplomatically, Ethiopia is also well recognized as an island of peace and stability in a volatile surrounding where there is constant turmoil. Welcoming the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing dangerous zones and contributing to peace making and peacekeeping has also helped Ethiopia write its name on the golden books of the UN and the AU. This makes it an influential reality in Africa. It hosts the biggest conferences of the continent every year and few countries in the world match the kind of diplomatic representation Addis Ababa enjoys. Hence, the diplomatic clout of Ethiopia is not negligible. In fact, it is on the rise.

It is inevitable that all these factors do contribute to the image and stature of the country, and eventually to its rising role in international affairs. Economically, with the fast expansion of industrial parks that specialize in textile and manufacturing, it is bound to be the biggest African hub in the sector, the largest economy in the sub-region. Foreign direct investment as well is on a record high with huge and reputed international companies eying the country as their next preferred investment destination. Cheap and clean energy, expanding infrastructure such as roads and railroads, easy access to seaports and cheap and abundant workforce as well as peace and stability qualifies it with comparative advantage in the choice of investment.

The expansion of environmentally friendly parks means that Ethiopia is doing its part in reducing gas emissions and fighting climate change. This is an incentive for foreign companies because the growth and progress of Ethiopia will contribute to the growth and progress of Africa as well. With a huge population of about a hundred million, mostly youths, Ethiopia is being recognized as a reality worth emulating, worth watching.

Hence among all these factors that contribute to this huge package, the Great Ethiopian Run can be taken as another one. Ethiopia now has one more gem to the kind of tourist attractions it is already credited with. Ultimately, it all adds up to help the country earn more of the foreign exchange income that the expanding economy needs to continue on the new trajectory.

 

BY Fitsum Getachew

Published in Editorial-View-Point
Sunday, 03 December 2017 00:49

Fairly harnessing common resources

 

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a flagship project Ethiopians are striving to actualize in a bid to root out poverty imbued with effectively and fairly harnessing resources at hand. This developmental feat was Ethiopians' long-cherished dream. This push to shape one's destiny reasonably harnessing nature-endowed resources is not subject to compromise. Nations,Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia are owners of the dam. It is a license that shows citizens' right to break away from the fetters of debilitating poverty rolling sleeves for fate-upturning developmental thrust. That is why all that run the gamut from high-ranking government officials to vendors are contributing their share for the construction of the dam.

Considerate, Ethiopians are constructing the dam taking justness into account. As it is by themselves citizens are bringing the dam into life, it will see completion irrigated by an unstinting citizens' support. Also as it is by the sweat of their brow Ethiopians are playing a midwifery role to the dam, this path-breaking project,63 percent through, also epitomizes Africans' capability of actualizing Mega projects by themselves. GERD is also a showcase of Ethiopians' sovereignty. Backed by an all-out support the dam is coming into life. As such it had thwarted the dependency syndrome previously affecting preceding generations. It has a significant contribution to the avowed-war against poverty. Creating the passion of “It is possible!”GERD has also provoked the passion of Ethiopians to accomplish something great. That is why it has taken aboard many. Aside from helping Ethiopia circumventing poverty,it as well helps riparian countries benefit from the hydro power the dam generates. It is in line with the principle of win-win approach and regional growth Ethiopia set the ball of the dam rolling. Accordingly,unflinchingly, it will press ahead with the determination of its. Ethiopia firmly believes that the dam,which holds promise to the future, creates no significant harm on lower riparian countries. This is a scientifically-substantiated fact. Generating power, the dam will make riparian countries and others beneficiaries of hydro power. It will allow lower riparian countries enjoy a regulated and regular flow of water. Experts and also politicians, those who are true to their conscience, know this undeniable fact.

With the intention of deflecting attention from inner political tension some Egyptian leaders,who do not want to see a strong, stable, prosperous and influence-commanding Ethiopia, cry foul about the dam. In their media outlets, they propagate anti-development outlooks that run-counter to scientific mindset. It is a deaf ear Ethiopians turn to such outlook divorced from modern trends

Recently, the 17th tripartite discussion was held among water ministries of Ethiopia,Sudan and Egypt. It was an impact assessment meeting on GERD. “How to fill the dam? and release water” were tabled for discussion. The meeting was meant to set a directive how the formerly elected two companies of France go about to conduct the study. Participants could not reach at a consensus since Egyptian representatives ,dragging a leg, displayed bent to protract discussions. They want the 1929 &1959 colonial Nile Waters treaties to be the ideals of the extra impact-assessment study. But Ethiopia and Sudan could not accept such claims. Egyptian representatives' outmoded stance clashes with a fair utilization of resources. Colonial agreements could hardly be fair. Nor could they be binding in this modern era. No one could dictate to Ethiopia to abide by colonial deals. Entertaining such a motive sounds untoward.

GERD is materializing taking into account international laws and equitable utilization of common resources. True to its name the grand dam epitomizes Ethiopia's Renaissance. Ethiopia wants to make a leap from agriculture-led economy to an industry-driven one. As such it needs it badly. Here it is important to note that the per capital income of Ethiopians is 800 USD while that of Egypt is 3514 USD.

“Do not use your resources! Sit idle with empty stomach simply staring at your resources!” is out of tune.

Forefathers paying all necessary sacrifices had bequeathed to this generation an independent nation. Ethiopians today have embarked on a historic chapter that narrates bequeathing poverty-unshackled country to the coming generation. That is why Ethiopians have placed focus on GERD to discharge historic responsibilities. Till the dam sees the day's light, Ethiopians will work day and night.

 

Published in Editorial-View-Point

 

On the eve of the World AIDS Day (December 1)Johnson & Johnson and partners announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies together with a consortium of global partners have initiated the first efficacy study for an investigational mosaic HIV-1 preventive vaccine in NEW BRUNSWICK, United States of America on November 30.

As indicated in the press release, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and National Institutes of Health are joining forces with Johnson & Johnson to advance the potential prevention option, which is designed to be a “global vaccine” that could prevent a wide range of viral strains responsible for the HIV pandemic.

“Developing a vaccine against HIV is a top priority and our best hope for a world without AIDS. Finding an effective HIV vaccine to protect people at risk has been a major scientific challenge, but today there is new optimism that we can get there,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson.

He further said: “That’s why we’re joining forces with the world’s leading HIV researchers and global health advocates to help advance our experimental vaccine. Working together, our ultimate goal is to support efforts to relegate HIV to the limbo of history.”

The new, large-scale study also known as “Imbokodo” will evaluate whether the investigational Janssen vaccine regimen is safe and able to reduce the incidence of HIV infection among 2,600 women in sub-Saharan Africa. Although there have been great advances in HIV treatment and prevention in recent years, nearly two million people still become infected with HIV every year. According to UNAIDS, women and girls account for nearly 60 percent of people living with HIV in eastern and southern Africa.

Professor Glenda Gray, CEO and President of the South African Medical Research Council and chair of the Imbokodo study said “The Imbokodo study is a result of an undeterred public-private partnership committed to responding to our formidable foe HIV”.

She also stated: “Africa’s leadership role in bringing an end to the epidemic is documented in its ground breaking scientific research and evident in the dedicated contribution of its people.”_

As noted in the press release, the initiation of Imbokodo means that, for the first time in over a decade, two vaccine efficacy studies are taking place at the same time. Another study, HVTN 702, is currently underway in South Africa to evaluate a different vaccine candidate. Historically, the search for an HIV vaccine has been challenging due in part to the unique properties of the virus – including its ability to mutate rapidly and its global genetic diversity with multiple strains and subtypes prevalent in different parts of the world.

“Having a preventive vaccine would be a vital tool in a comprehensive global strategy to end the HIV pandemic,” said Johan Van Hoof, M.D., Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. and Therapeutic Area Head, R&D, Infectious Diseases & Vaccines. “Our investigational vaccine is based on mosaic antigens that have been engineered using genes from a wide range of different HIV subtypes. The ultimate goal is to deliver a ‘global vaccine’ that could be deployed in any geographic region to help protect vulnerable populations at risk of infection.”

As could be learned from the press release, HIV/AIDS continues to be one of the world’s most pressing global health challenges. In 2016, an estimated 37 million people were living with HIV-1 globally, and 1.8 million people became newly infected with the virus. An estimated 790,000 new HIV infections occurred in eastern and southern Africa in 2016, where the new efficacy study is being conducted. In the United States, an estimated 1.1 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2014, and nearly 40,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2015.

 

BY Betelehm Bedelu

Published in National-News
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