Items filtered by date: Friday, 07 July 2017

 

According to, World Health Organization (WHO) report 8.8 million people worldwide died from cancer in 2015. That is nearly 1 in 6 of all global deaths. From this total death toll 30-50%of cancers could be prevented. And the estimated total annual economic cost of cancer was 1.16 trillions USD in 2010.

Thus, the global action plan for the prevention and control of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) 2013-2020 mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes said shares the biggest cause of death worldwide.

According to the 2012 national survey, over 60,749 Ethiopians are estimated to live with cancer. It is a class of disease characterized by an out- of- control cell growth. Over 100 different types of cancer are predicted to exist. The strain of the disease occurs in two different ways: via cancerous cells movement throughout the body, which means invasion, while the cells manage to divide and grow making new blood vessels to feed themselves. It highly affects different parts of our body though repeatedly manifested on breast, skin, lung, sexual bodies and other parts of our body excluding our hairs and nails. Primary prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment as well as palliative care are important to confront the attendant ills of cancer earlier.

Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) Chief Specialized Nurse, Midwife Sister Senait Leake said that cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases that are characterized by, uncontrolled cellular growth, local tissue invasion, and distant metastases.

She underlines the situation of cervical cancer in the country is growing from time to time. Citing, a research done study at Black lion Hospital in 2015 shows new case of cervical cancer has increased over the period of last sixteen years. Based on this study total cancer trends in Ethiopia showed that, the most common malignancy in female was gynecological malignancy (47%) followed by breast carcinoma (26%), study confirmed that out of these gynecological malignancies cervical cancer took the lion share. Despite this fact, very few women receive screening services in Ethiopia.

Cancers that originate in the female reproductive system are called women’s reproductive cancers. It includes cancer of the cervix, breast, ovaries, vagina, vulva and endometrium, she said.

Cervical cancer is an important cause of death throughout the world, especially in less developed countries. Reports of trends in cervical cancer mortality from less developed countries have been limited by poor data quality and inaccurate population estimates. Worldwide 270 000 women die every year. But, 85% of these deaths occur in the developing world Cancer being among causes of the greater number of deaths worldwide it hugely depicts its pressure on the economical, health and social phenomenon.

She underlined the factors associated for high the incidence rate of cervical cancer in Ethiopia. Among this, low level of awareness, lack of effective screening programs, over shadowed by other health priorities (such as AIDS, TB, malaria) and insufficient attention to women’s health.

Presenting about cervical cancer screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions she said that, in developing countries, only less than 5% of eligible women undergo cytology-based screening in a 5-year period. This is because there are too few trained and skilled professionals to implement such a program effectively or healthcare resources are not available to sustain such a program. Moreover, in developing countries, cytology-based services are confined to teaching hospitals or private laboratories in urban areas that are not accessible or affordable to those eligible women.

Currently, there are effective screening and treatment programs that can lead to a significant reduction in the morbidity and mortality associated with this cancer, she noted.

Among these, the single visit approach (SVA) screening method of visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) or Cryotherapy is an alternative sensitive screening method.

She also advises women to have regular cancer screening to reduce the number of people who develop the cancer and reduce the number of people who die from the cancer, or completely eliminate deaths from cancer.

In Ethiopia, the impact of cancer is also posing its challenges.

Presenting an overview of cervical cancer in Ethiopia, Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) Chief Specialized Nurse and Midwife Sister Senait Leake indicated that cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases that are characterized by, uncontrolled cellular growth, local tissue invasion, and distant metastases.

She emphasized that cancers that originate in the female reproductive system are called women’s reproductive cancers. It includes cancer of the cervix, breast, ovaries, vagina, vulva and endometrium.

According to her, cervical cancer is an important cause of death throughout the world, especially in less developed countries. Reports of trends in cervical cancer mortality from less developed countries have been limited by poor data quality and inaccurate population estimates. Worldwide 270 000 women die every year. But, 85% of these deaths occur in the developing world.

Citing the 2009 WHO report, she said that the age-adjusted incidence rate of cervical cancer in Ethiopia is 35.9 per 100,000 patients. Most of these Ethiopians often at an advanced stage by the time they seek screening services. Records illustrate that of the nearly 22 million Ethiopian women over the age of 15, approximately 7,600 are diagnosed with cervical cancer and roughly 6,000 women die of the disease each year.

Up on, the World health Organization cancer figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012. Among men, the 5 most common sites of cancer diagnosed in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectum, stomach, and liver cancer. And among women the 5 most common sites diagnosed were breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer. Around one third of cancer deaths are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use. Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing around 20% of global cancer deaths and around 70% of global lung cancer deaths.

Cancer’s impact is also stronger in the developing countries.

More than 60% of world’s total new annual cases occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. These regions account for 70% of the world’s cancer deaths.

Cancer, also called malignancy, is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Symptoms vary depending on the type. Cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery.

To sum up, Smoking cigarette, drinking alcohol, practicing unhealthy diet, physical inactivity or negligence in doing physical exercise, environmental risk factors such as radiation as well as exposure to some industrial chemicals like insecticides are among the leading attributable factors for growing death due to cancer.

Let us keep ourselves free from cancer and cancerous diseases through fulfilling these foods in our diets and following the basic preconditions of protecting cancer.

 

BY TEWODROS KASSA

 

 

 

Published in Society

Girmay kidane is a school principal at Misrak Goh secondary school. He has taught for the last 35 years. Teaching is his life. Though his parents were pushing him to be a medical student, his soul was pulling him to the teaching world. For Girmay teaching is not only a means of earning a living. It is all about life.

Without passion a given teacher cannot be successful in his career says Girmay. Unlike other professions, teaching deals with the mind of youth. If we sow good seeds of knowledge, we will reap sweet seeds. If we sow weed the result is obvious.

As to Girmay, quality education needs the commitments of every teacher at all cycle. Quality of education also needs quality lifestyle of teachers. There have been several economic constraints. Housing, transportation and throes are some of them. Recently, seeing this challenges the government has taken encouraging initiatives. Free transportation service in Addis Ababa, access to house and others are some of the incentives provided to teachers.

Solomon Woldesenbet, is a teacher at Kokobe Tsebeha Preparatory school. He had been in teaching profession for the last 37 years. He shares Girmay`s stand concerning with commitment towards one`s career. For Him, education is a foundation for every economic, social and political life of a particular country. The kind of education sustained in a country determines the future of that particular country. In this regard, the role of committed, ethical and responsible teachers is key in transforming the overall activities of the nation.

“Education needs passion. A person who doesn't have passion to teaching cannot survive in the profession. He/ she needs to have commitment to that particular profession. He needs the passion not only for himself but also to the sake of students he teach.”

Seconding Girmay’s view, Solomon said: “What makes teaching different from other profession is that it deals with the mind of a person. A teacher is dealing with fresh mind that can be used for constructive of destructive purpose. For this reason, commitment and love to the profession are a must.”

Concerning to quality education Solomon said: “Quality education is a shared responsibility of every citizen. It is not the sole responsibility of teachers in primary school or secondary or Higher Learning Institutions. It is a shared responsibility of every Ethiopians.”

Ministry of Education State Minister, Dr. Samuel Kefele for his part asserts that the government has been working unceasingly to ensure quality education at all level. Ensuring quality is shared responsibility. However, teachers are the one who has lion's share. They are the one who are directly responsible to this.

“Ensuring quality and its relevance is a must go program. Unless we ensure the relevance of our programs our industrialization process will face challenges. Unless we ensure the quality of education there is no way that products made in Ethiopia will be competitive at a global level.”

For this reason the government of Ethiopia in general and the Ministry of Education in particular are working aggressively to ensure education relevance and quality. “There is no compromise with quality; there is no other option for survival.”

The past two decades have witnessed that schools are expanding all over the country. Access to education has risen. Millions of citizens have now access to education. Hundred thousands of teachers are engaged in this process. Over 38,000 schools and educational institutions are found all over the country. This is a massive achievement by any of standards be it in the Africa or the world. We have to maintain this pace by ensuring quality education and investing in our teachers. Every teacher that is found at all level has to be appreciated and supported.

Ethiopia is a country that aspires to achieve middle income status. This vision cannot be achieved without the active participation of its citizens. In this regard, the role of teachers is high. Teachers at all level- from the Kinder Garden to Higher Educational Institutions- are responsible in producing committed and responsible citizens. Quality education determines the future of the country. Quality is all about having quality teaching and learning process.

If the country has responsible and committed teachers who teaches with passion it is possible to expect industrious citizens that work to build strong nation. It is possible to see responsible citizens that are always happy to apply their knowledge free of any reward.

Here, it must be remembered that quality life style of a given teacher determines the quality of education. A teacher who has social and economic burdens may not be concerned about the quality of education, thus the incentive packages needs to be distributed to all teachers.

 

BY LEULSEGED WORKU

Published in Society

Climate change and development goals cannot be pursued separately. Their interrelatedness finally has been recognized by including climate change as an SDG. "SDG No. 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change" highlights an important milestone as the issue was not addressed through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Eyes are on the Paris climate talks later this year where the new international agreements aimed at keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius will be determined. A warming climate will affect the availability of freshwater, food security and energy, among other necessities.

“Companies need to show governance by making their stance about climate change clear from lobbying for climate change causes to joining meaningful pledges.”

This is already being observed globally with countries experiencing changes in rainfall, more flooding, droughts, intense rain and more frequent heat waves. A common responsibility falls on all states to protect the environment, while recognizing the different circumstances each state faces in their ability to tackle the problem. This responsibility should be extended to companies where action needs to be taken in accordance with circumstances and potential.

SDG No. 13 has set out a number of global targets which countries need to take ownership of and define the specific responsibilities and targets befalling them. Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries. Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning. Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning. Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly 100 billion USD annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible. Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.

The role of business is ramping up, but it is currently not enough. Many types of risks face businesses, including climate change policy risk, reputational risk and market risks. It is in business' best interest to act fast to reduce this and seize opportunities such as new investments or new revenue streams. HSBC already has realized the potential of this field and has created new that can be invested in through the bank. Further benefits are outlined in report, which states that 2 trillion USD savings will be generated if we move towards a low-carbon economy.

There are many interrelated actions companies can take and are already taking to respond to SDG No. 13.Lowering emissions is a thing of the past.

The new target? Becoming net positive. One champion in this area is Dell, which aims to become net positive by having the consumers do 10 times more good than their footprint. Their plan includes 21 objectives for 2020, including waste-free packaging, reducing their carbon footprint by 50 percent and cutting the energy intensity of their product portfolio by 80 percent.

We cannot manage what we cannot measure. More sophisticated measurement systems and metrics are needed for businesses to be able to monitor, evaluate and report on the impacts of climate change at all levels of a company's operations. McGrath Group is using U.K.’s first system for assessing CO2 emissions during the waste management process. However, Science magazine’s article stresses the importance of going beyond measurement in isolation and at a larger scale.

Climate-resilient supply chains are needed in terms of reducing emissions as well as implementing high levels of adaptation to possible future climate risks. Companies also should set high expectations and targets with their suppliers. Thanks to ambitious environmental program, it has announced savings of 325 million USD in 2014 and a 31 percent improvement in carbon efficiency. There is a common responsibility falling on all states to protect the environment. This responsibility should be extended to companies. The development of radically innovative technology and processes will continue to be one of the crucial solutions to not just mitigate climate change effects, but even reverse them.

Biomimicry is one such fascinating field. Examples include solar cells inspired by leaves or companies such as Whale Power, which studies whale fin design to improve the efficiency of wind turbines. Companies need to show governance by making their stance about climate change clear. This ranges from lobbying for climate change causes to joining meaningful pledges.

There is good news in this field recently with 13 large U.S. corporations joining a series of climate change pledges worth 140 billion USD in green investments, or Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund excluding four companies from its investment portfolio due to concern around the companies' creating severe environmental damage. There is a need to cooperate by bringing together mutually beneficial partnerships between the private, public and voluntary sectors, such as the private-public partnership among Pepsico, the U.N. World Food Program and the United States Agency for International Development to promote long-term nutritional and economic security in Ethiopia by increasing chickpea production.

In closing, to tackle SDG No. 13, one element stands out as being absolutely crucial to goal achievement: urgency.

(Retrieved on July 6, 2017from www.greenbiz.com.)

 

BY LAURA PEREZ

Published in Development
Friday, 07 July 2017 19:02

Building drought resilience community

Isike Abdukerim, has learned new farming and irrigation practices that help him grow crops even when there's drought.

 

Like farmers everywhere, farmers in eastern Ethiopia’s Oromia Region look to the sky for the two elements they need most: sun and water. Ethiopia gets a lot of sun, but has not had much rain this year. In fact, some areas have not seen rain for two years.

Since 85 percent of nation depends on rain-fed agriculture, rain is everything—the key to life. A poor harvest locks farmers into a vicious cycle. Without crops—one of two main sources of income—there is no food on the table.

“The biggest problem is the lack of rain,” says Isike Abdukerim, who farms a small plot of land and used to have a small herd of livestock.

Animals are the other most valuable asset for families here. If sold in good condition, they can yield enough money to feed a family for some time.

“Because of this drought, we don’t have any feed for our cattle so I had to sell the animals,” says Isike.

Vast grazing areas look deceptively fertile with a soft green veil stretched over the land. But the grass yields no nutrition, too short for emaciated animals to grip. Instead, their hooves kick up red dust plumes with every step they take.

Ethiopia is in the midst of the worst drought in half a century. Two failed rainy seasons in 2015, and poor rains in early 2016, have led to severely reduced harvests. The cause: a combination of climate change and an El Nino current in the Pacific Ocean. The result: food is running dangerously short.

“This drought makes it difficult to respond because the entire country is experiencing it,” says Haileyesus Lemlan, who coordinates Catholic Relief Services (CRS) programs in Oromia. “People are able to cope differently from area to area, but everyone’s affected to a certain degree. You can find the truth of drought inside people’s homes.”

Inside Isike’s home, we could find a large white sack of grain and a tin of cooking oil. Both came as emergency assistance to safeguard the loss of life offered by development partners. The supply covers providing for 2.8 million citizens through the Joint Emergency Operation Program in the area.

“The food aid helps my family better withstand the drought,” Isike says, but adds, "It’s not enough.”_

As the major emergency response was put in place by CRS and its partners and in collaboration with the Ethiopian government to cope up the impacts of the drought and survive, communities are emerging withstanding the impact applying the mechanism tailored by the project.

Along with lifesaving food aid, CRS is taking the long view, addressing the hardships of locals face this year and into a future when the impact of climate change will be felt time and again.

To help farmers like Isike build their resilience so they can withstand more frequent, prolonged droughts, hotter temperatures and environmental degradation, CRS has begun training communities to take matters into their own hands.

Through Residential Environmental Assessment Program (REAP), a three-year project funded by the U.S. government through the U.S. Agency for International Development, CRS helps people adapt new practices and technologies to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change. The project addresses natural resource management, health and nutrition, farming practices and early warning weather forecasts. It also provides opportunities for people to earn an income.

Isike was trained to be his district’s early warning coordinator, its central forecaster. He regularly receives and collects local weather data, then shares it via his cell phone to a select group of people, who in turn share it widely with their networks in emergency meetings and through word of mouth. The system allows farmers in extremely remote areas without electricity or telecommunications to make decisions based on real-time weather information.

“Current predictions, in part also based on our indigenous knowledge about things like wind direction, suggest there won’t be any rain in the coming months,” Isike says.

So Isike, along with others in his community, got the tools, seeds and training needed to make a keyhole garden, an elevated plot where he can grow vegetables. Using locally available materials—different layers of soil, rock and sand, and only small amounts of water—this type of raised-bed garden can provide year-round crops.

“With only a little water, I can harvest vegetables all year,” he says, standing next to one of his two gardens, which looks lush against the gray, rocky backdrop.

“The main advantage of the gardens is the ability to grow vegetables even during drought,” he says, which helps him as a father of nine children. “Having vegetables has a good benefit for my family. Vegetables prevent diseases and malnutrition, and provide a more balanced diet.”

CRS’ focus on nutrition and improved health—especially for pregnant women, mothers and children under age 5—is part of an integrated approach. In addition to providing the seeds, tools and training to cultivate different crops, community leaders learn the importance of nutrition and how to prepare nutritious meals.

“Before the keyhole gardens, making vegetables a part of our diet was not known in this area,” Isike says. Today, there are 102 keyhole gardens in his community of 10 small villages._

While rain will remain critical for these farmers—whose lives hinge on the bounty of the next harvest—food aid combined with the more nutritious vegetables will at least carry them through the lean season of April to August and take an important step toward adapting to climate change.

(Retrieved on 5/7/2016 from www.crs.org)

 

BY KIM POZNIAK

 

 

Published in Development
Friday, 07 July 2017 18:58

Feminism is still a timely issue

 

If you ask someone about the issue of the rights of women in Ethiopia that is, if you inquire about whether they are equally treated as men and that the issue of so called ‘gender inequality’ or disparity is timely, they may shrug their shoulders implying their surprise and suggesting that you may need to catch up with certain facts and figures. They would, probably with a bit of irritation suggest that it cannot be a hot issue any more these days. Rather they would argue to the contrary that nowadays it is often men that need to be more assertive and have their rights respected or protected, instead of women because there seems to lack a mechanism to that effect. They would insist there are so many more opportunities for women in the employment sphere, for instance, and that in many instances the ads say ‘women are encouraged to apply’ or ‘we would prefer female candidates’ and the like. This appears to be an ‘indication’ that if a male and a female candidate present themselves for a post, with more or less equivalent qualification and experience, the company or agency would very easily opt to take the female one!

Be that as it may, it would not be very difficult to prove that this issue of ‘gender equality’ or ‘equal treatment of women with men’ or ‘equal opportunities’ of women as men is not as we or most of us actually would very optimistically like to believe or assume it is. It would rather be described as a ‘work on progress.’

We need to be just a bit more reasonable and honest than what we actually are to admit that women have not yet ‘attained’ such podium of equality or fairness and that despite any extent of progress registered in the sphere, there are still considerable distances to go before we assert that they are equal to men or have achieved the status of equality.

In the end, it would rather be a risk to believe and equally make others believe that the issue of equality of women with men is a settled and done issue. This would lead to complacency and dismiss the issue.

Undeniably, no one expects the treatment that women were reserved a hundred years ago to apply to today’s reality or society, including in the remotest of communities. Old habits may be hard to die, traditions may be resistant to change, but it is difficult to find completely insulated communities from the influence of the entire world and not feel the pressure of changing times, the pressure of female emancipation or empowerment. Similarly, no one expects that colored people in the United States are treated the way they were treated a hundred years ago. There has been tremendous progress albeit with immense sacrifice and suffering, the concerned bodies would add. It is more or less the same story when it comes to the issue of women as well.

A lot has been achieved, lots of legislation that provide for the equal treatment of women with men have been passed even though the implementation may have left a lot to be desired just as there have been several legislations in the US for instance regarding the equal treatment of minorities such as African Americans and people of other races, Hispanics, people of a particular sexual orientation, beliefs etc when it comes to enjoying equal opportunities.

In many multiethnic, multi-religious, multilingual societies including ours as an instance, the issue of equal treatment of all heterogeneous people becomes a delicate, sensitive and at times thorny issue. There might still be people on the other side of the equation. There might still be die-hards of the old school, the ‘ancient regime’, if you like, that are still reluctant to accept the new modern order where rights are entitled to me as they are to you. There are still people who believe that ‘blacks are inferior to whites’ and have their own prejudices when it comes to employment, to renting their house or marrying their daughters to a colored person. At times, this feeling may not be overtly expressed but the behaviour may show it. One can see or feel the prejudice lurking underneath, may be at the sub-conscious level and some day it transpires or shouts when a crisis of some kind materializes.

The issue of equality of women with men has even more physical and psychological roots that date back since times immemorial. Men and women have always lived together and they have always had need of the other, and you see that may be the racial divide is not as deep rooted and glaring as the gender issue.

There are societies that may not have seen people of a different colour or race, and hence for them it could even be a novelty or a surprise when they discover that there are people of other races other languages and other ethnic lineages. The same cannot be said of women because there are women in every society and the issue becomes one of physical difference and hence the establishment of a certain hierarchy begins to establish for the sake of survival and other natural phenomena.

History books, anthropological researches teach us that once up on a time the roles of women and men were well distinct and demarcated and there was no way of transgressing as they were almost unanimously abided by. Just as giving birth to a baby and rearing children was the ‘natural gift of God’ bestowed exclusively upon women, it was thought that the less challenging and less physical things must be reserved to them as at the same time men on the other hand should take the upper hand in the more physical and burdensome activities where strength would play a huge role.

To a certain extent for years and years such demarcation was well received and accepted, but nowadays there is practically no difference between what a woman can do and what men do excluding the purely physiological duties such as bearing children. In a certain way, the gaps have now been filled or narrowed so tightly that the difference has almost disappeared in physical terms; but it has not disappeared and continues to linger in the minds of people who still entertain the attitude, the mentality, that women are ‘less’ than men in some respects and there is this tendency to justify many wrongs committed in this respect.

For years and years, the belief has lived on and it has become practically impossible to eradicate such frame of mind from societies. In many ways, it has become part of our cultural makeup, part of our language in the form of idiomatic expressions, dictums and proverbs, and the paradox is that it has become an accepted norm in many societies even by women themselves.

Haven’t you ever heard of women who want to glorify the ‘physicality’ of their husbands or partners and expect that the ‘men of their choice’ should somehow treat them hard when they are or should be jealous of their mates? There have been several discussions on this issue of gender disparity and the treatment of women by their partners etc in several radio or TV shows and the response of the audience has been mixed. Although it could probably be dismissed as a shameful exception, there have been women who called on the phone to state their pleasure to experience when the man is enraged and takes them up physically when he is overwhelmed by his jealousy or is any way angry about something that does not go his way! They argue that if men are not ‘men’ and treat us as ‘women’, we portray them as weak and feminine! The outrage of those who beg to differ, even among men, is of course understandable and widespread. There should not be any accepted difference between men and women in any respect that can do any harm to their personality and rights except in the areas where it is natural and in an agreed set up where there is what one could call “division of labour”.

In families, there may be well established norms and division of chores and there should not be any problems with that. The problem emerges when one tries to impose one’s force or influence on the other, and in a subtle but unjust manner any ways.

As a matter of fact, the difference between men and women, in the way they are treated, begins at home in very early days when we still live in a kid’s world. In our context, the girls are expected to help with household chores whereas the boys are allowed to have more time to play outside, or go to school more regularly, and may be allowed to study until late in the evening etc. while the girls are deprived of such ‘privilege’. Although such ways of doing things are in diminution by the day, and today’s parents are more gender conscious and do take care of such sensibilities, there are still people, particularly in the rural and remote settings where ‘the equal treatment of women with men’ has a long way to go before one can qualify it’s ‘ a past story’ or something that belongs to history books.

‘Affirmative action’ has been a key idea or phrase imported from abroad and introduced here and roaming around in our society for quite a while. It was meant to undo the past injustices and misgivings and try and rectify them. One way of trying to eliminate the long established and diehard cases of discrimination and prejudice against women vis-à-vis men should be the preparation of the level playing field for all so that they can reap the fruits of their endeavours equally.

The achievements have been substantial but not radical and comprehensive as it should have been. And by the way, this is not true of only countries such as Ethiopia but also in the most advanced states as well.

Reports show that there are still remnants of old prejudices and bias with regards to what women are allowed to achieve as compared to men. Nobody denies that tremendous progress has been made in the so-called First World when it compares to the less developed countries particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Third World. The status of women vis-à-vis men may vary from country to country and even in a given country from one community to another one.

In the case of our country, for instance, we can very easily see the issue from the perspective of the remote areas in certain communities and the ones in the urban settings; and there is a big difference even between how we regard or treat women in many urban areas as compared to the situation in the capital city.

In metropolis, the emancipation of women (and even that of men) or one should say their enlightenment, when it comes to how they view women, has changed so much that they definitely differ if you compare them to the residents of less advanced urban areas where the influence of traditional values is still rife and commands a lot of respect. To find a woman mayor is still very uncommon in Ethiopia and when you find one such person as the Mayor of Adama, it becomes a sort of news. To find a well-qualified woman football coach is still very rare and hence when you see that a certain Meseret Mane has successfully led Dire Dawa City club climb to the premier league and kept it there comfortably, people tend to applaud as a demonstration that no one can keep women from achieving what men can.

The issue then becomes at what cost does a woman beat all the barriers along her way and succeed just as men or even achieve more?

At what cost should women engage themselves to excel in a certain profession and reach the zeniths of success as do men? Some women such as Dr. Eleni Gebremedhin Zewdie, former CEO of the very successful ECX in Ethiopia, succeed very easily because they also have the full support and encouragement of their family, the facilities, the ideal environment etc. But can you imagine a girl in the remote rural areas reaching all the levels of success that she may dream looking at these very successful women in the various professions? Who gives them the right support and encouragement at the right time? Who gives them all the time they need to study and learn things and succeed in school competing not only with men in any case because of what time they are given to drill and study but also comparing to girls from well off families and may be urban families?

The level playing ground or the field is not equal to all women. You cannot help admiring girls like Yetnebersh Negussie who leads an NGO that works on disabilities and yet although she is visually impaired, she has made it to the highest of academic levels by graduating with Master of Laws and now rather delivering motivational speeches to people so that they in turn can succeed. The idea is as long as one exerts the maximum efforts with perseverance, success cannot remain a utopia for any one, not only women but even women with disabilities. She says disability is not inability.

The gender gap hence exists and we cannot deny it, but there has been a lot of progress and we cannot deny that either. There remains a lot to get the stage of saying that it has been resolved or it is an old and outdated idea or phenomenon.

But what about the violence and abuse women are subjected to just by mere virtue of their being ‘women’? The so called ‘gender based violence’ is a chapter apart when we treat the gender gap in general. There are so many issues on this specific topic that it would take more than a ‘piece’ like this to address it adequately. But continuing our bird’s eye view on these and related issues we can highlight the main features of the issue especially from the perspective of our society or communities.

 

BY FITSUM GETACHEW

Published in Editorial-View-Point
Friday, 07 July 2017 18:56

Tapping the untapped tourism potential

 

For over half a century, tourism has been constantly expanding at a slower pace. Today this trend appears to be irreversible. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts, there will be over 1.6 billion international tourist arrivals worldwide in 2020.

Although developing countries still share the minimal ratio of the international tourist flows, their performances are improving at a faster rate than the global average. Currently, tourism provides real potential for the economic and social progress. It generates valuable foreign currency exchange and government revenues through taxation. It as well could be a major source of employment.

In countries like Ethiopia, a melting pot of over 80 nations,nationalities and peoples, the tourism sector has a significant contribution to the economy. Ethiopia showcases an amalgam of cultures, it is a land where various ethnic groups and religious people are living in harmony with their distinctive cultural practices.

The number of tourists that is coming to see firsthand the majestic natural wonders of Ethiopia is blessed with like the Blue Nile fall, the live volcano of Eretale and Sof Omer cave as well as the man made tourist attraction sites, about whose architectural grandeur the country boasts of, like the Aksum Obelisk and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela is increasing from time to time.

The smokeless industry in general and culture tourism in particular are exhibiting an upward spiral in the country. This could be gauged or figured out from the various fruitful strides being made in the sector.

The country's positive image and improved promotion mechanisms have increased the number of tourists and it has reached more than 900 thousand. This sector has been generating billions of Birr revenue to the country, and is expected to generate seven billion USD annually till the end of GTP II Period.

Data shows that, tourists who visited Addis Ababa over the last nine months spent 1.9 billion USD, an amount which surpasses the tourism earning of same period last year. About 782, 000 tourists visited the city during the stated period. The increment both in the tourists’ inflow and spending is attributable to the effective activities exerted in concert with stakeholders. Above all, peace and stability is a significant factor for this enhancement and effective international and regional conferences the city hosted so far.

The number of tourists visiting Addis Ababa has been increasing year after year. For instance, about 782,000, 750,000 and 711,000 tourists visited the city in 2016, 2015 and 2014 attracting revenues close to 665.5 million USD, 1.6 billion USD and 1.9 billion USD respectively.

The city is also expanding its infrastructure and Hotels. Currently, over 110 standardized hotels are under service. A number of star hotels are also under construction.

Hence, the government should continue enhancing the tourism sector to unleash the potentials of the country’s natural, historic, cultural and other attractions in a sustainable and globally competitive manner. All concerned bodies should maximize their efforts in boosting Ethiopia’s benefit from its untapped tourism potential and resources.

Indeed, the Development Bank of Ethiopia has agreed to provide loan for investors who are interested to enter into the tourism sector. Encouraging results have also been attained after the government started implementing its Tourism Policy and Strategy. Thus, the tourism sector should be developed to be competitive in the global market. Attention must also be given to national parks, historical sites, diverse cultural heritages and other tourism potentials as well.

In GTP II, the Ethiopian Tourism Organization need to keep enhancing the tourism marketing development, capacity building, development of new and old tourist destinations, and strengthening cooperation and integration with stakeholders.

In this respect, the private sector has a key role in playing a vital part in the country's economic growth and development. As they enhance people's lives and help them escape from poverty, private sectors should be encouraged as a critical stakeholder in economic development.

As it was once said by Prime Minster Hailemariam Dessalegn, “The contribution of the private sector in the tourism sector should be stepped up to exploit the nation's potential. The country has done little to promote its historical and natural heritages which are unique to the world.”

Indeed, in spite of the fact the country has got untapped tourism potential little has been used so far. In this regard, all stakeholders have responsibility to promote nation's untapped potential.

 

 

Published in Editorial-View-Point

Horizon Plantations Plc has undertaken expansion works at a cost of 1.1 billion Birr, according to the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

The Company, which was privatized five years ago, has created employment opportunities for 60,000 people.

Asebe Kebede, corporate communication assistant head at the Ministry, told Fana Broadcasting Corporate that a delegation led by Public Enterprises Minister Dr. Girma Amente paid a three-day visit last week to the company’s Bebeka, Wushwush and Gumero plantations.

According to him, the company has carried out expansion worth 1.1 billion Birr.

It purchased coffee beans milling and drying machines, replaced old coffee trees planted on 3,100 hectares of land as well as introduced drip-irrigation practice at Bebeka plantation.

Moreover, it planted coffee seedlings on 375 hectares of land and replaced old coffee trees on 62 hectares of land at Limu plantation.

Horizon Plantations Plc has begun exporting turmeric and black pepper in addition to coffee, it was noted.

 

 

Published in National-News

Horizon Plantations Plc has undertaken expansion works at a cost of 1.1 billion Birr, according to the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

The Company, which was privatized five years ago, has created employment opportunities for 60,000 people.

Asebe Kebede, corporate communication assistant head at the Ministry, told Fana Broadcasting Corporate that a delegation led by Public Enterprises Minister Dr. Girma Amente paid a three-day visit last week to the company’s Bebeka, Wushwush and Gumero plantations.

According to him, the company has carried out expansion worth 1.1 billion Birr.

It purchased coffee beans milling and drying machines, replaced old coffee trees planted on 3,100 hectares of land as well as introduced drip-irrigation practice at Bebeka plantation.

Moreover, it planted coffee seedlings on 375 hectares of land and replaced old coffee trees on 62 hectares of land at Limu plantation.

Horizon Plantations Plc has begun exporting turmeric and black pepper in addition to coffee, it was noted.

 

 

Friday, 07 July 2017 18:49

HLIs enroling more women

 

An African proverb goes: “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family”. Contrary to the dictum, traditional societies like ours long considered sending women to school as taboo. However, seeing the contribution of woman to socioeconomic transformation, the trend has seen improvements over the past decades.

Women enrolment in Higher Learning Institutions (HLIs) stood at 10 percent two decades ago, says Ambassador Genet Zewde who also served as Minister of Education. For her, the dramatic changes have enabled more women to pursue Higher Learning Education (HLE) besides accessing primary and secondary levels.

Education State Minister Dr. Samuel Kifle completes the missing link stating the current women HLIs enrolment that peaks to 35 per cent.

“Forty-two per cent of the total 116,000 students enrolled this year are women. This is a dramatic change. But, we still have to be sure that they are competitive in their studies,” he said.

There are special packages and programmes designed to make them more competitive which include academic, psychological and financial supports.

As to him, since some girl students are from very poor families, the government has been supporting them economically.

One reason for most girls to conclude their education with distinction grades could be this, he adds.

Selam Eiga, was a coordinator for women students in Asosa University. According to her, the government’s effort is appreciable, but not adequate. There is much to be done when it comes to supporting women students from poor families in terms of finance and other important provisions.

What is more, the affirmative action towards women students seems to have an adverse impact particularly for competent woman.

 

BY LEULSEGED WORKU

Published in National-News

New building of Yekatit 12 hospital medical college

 

The quality and accessibility of health care services have registered a marked progress over the last decade owing to hospital reform activities triggered by the successive implementation of Health Sector Development Plans (HSDP), the sector’s professionals say.

National Hospital Reform Expert with the Ministry of Health (MoH) Abiy Dawit asserts that the reform activities have strengthened hospitals’ management capacities for the move promote all public hospitals to meet operational standards. It brought about positive outcomes in clinical care and patient satisfaction, Abiy underlines.

Previous long queues had been cut short. Patients can now get health care services in a reasonable time, he noted, adding every hospital has ensured clean, safe and comfortable health facility.

St. Peter's TB Specialized Hospital Chief Executive Director Yakob Semaneh also builds on this saying that the reform paved the way for professionals to enter into continous professional development programs. “Professionals of the hospital are organized into ten health posts and receive recurring tutorials.”

In addition, the hospital has also been working to sustain the culture of empathy, respect and care among its professionals.

Debre Berhan Referral Hospital Chief Executive Officer Polis Abebe for his part noted that patients’ call for safe and prompt health care services had previously fallen on deaf ears. The reform activities, however, transformed the services.

“We are providing improved services to 2.8 million people in our catchment area ever since the activity started. Few to mention, neonatal [newborn] intensive care unit has been established. Our maternal health and antennal care [pregnancy follow ups] have stood at 98.1 per cent in 2017.”

Hospitals share best experiences among themselves, Polis noted, highlighting that this and other achievements helped the Hospital to win a five million Birr grant from MoH.

Likewise, Yekatit 12 Hospital Medical College Medical Director Dr. Daniel Abebe has proven the effectiveness of the reform. “Professionals of the institution have clear standards to meet. And the ultimate goal of the standards is improving the health status of its customers.”

One painful process facing patients had been waiting for long hours to get the services, but the innovative and computerized efforts gave it an end. “The hospital provided services to 200, 000 patients in the last nine months from previous year’s same period 160, 000.”

There is also plan to boost the service provision. “Ministry of Health allocated two million USD for the renovation of the hospital as well as construction of delivery and neonatal center.

Yet, the pharmacy services have been made more transparent and accountable through implementing Auditable Pharmacy, while it has installed modern equipment for the disposal of clinical waste.

Despite the encouraging results of the reform, there are still visible constraints pertaining to shortages of inpatient beds and drugs, among other. Thus, the reform process needs to get further momentum.

 

BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME

 

 

Published in National-News
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