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Kenya to host conference on promoting women’s health in Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) --  Kenya will next week host a pan-African conference organized by an umbrella body for female medics to discuss innovative ways to promote maternal health in the continent, organizers said on Saturday.

Christine Sadia, president of Kenya Medical Women Association (KMWA), said the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) Africa Regional Conference that kicks off on Monday will be attended by more than 2,000 female doctors from Africa and other parts of the world.

“We are going to harmonize the voices of women in medicine to identify solutions to women’s health issues, which have become crucial in shaping global, regional and national discourses in helping meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Sadia told reporters in Nairobi.

She revealed that the theme of the conference is “Accelerating Women’s Health Agenda: priorities and opportunities through UN SDGs and African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.”

The voice of women in medicine is crucial in advocating and identifying solutions to women’s health agenda through SDGs, Sadia said.

She said the conference will look at how different African countries were making progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to respond more effectively to the shifting burden of disease, end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

The keynote speaker at the conference will be Joyce Banda, the former Malawian president and founder of Joyce Banda Foundation.

Other speakers will include Bettina Pfleiderer, global president of Medical Women’s International Association and an AU official.



Kenya to host African forum to review progress towards polio eradication

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) will next week host a pan-African conference to review progress made towards elimination of polio in the continent, the UN health agency said on Friday evening.

The Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication (ARCC) meeting to be held in Nairobi from Nov. 12-16 will review progress the continent has made towards being certified free from the debilitating viral ailment.

During this meeting, seven countries including Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa will submit report on efforts being made to eradicate polio.

The host country Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Namibia are expected to submit evidence indicating they remained free from wild polio virus.

Nigeria remains the only wild poliovirus endemic African country while efforts have been intensified to contain its spread in vulnerable countries like Niger, Kenya, Somalia and DRC.

Rudi Eggers, WHO representative in Kenya, hailed the progress African countries have made towards polio eradication but stressed that enhanced vigilance is key to prevent it from recurring.

“Countries across Africa are taking great strides towards polio eradication. However, this is a virus that is very good at hiding, and if we miss it, that would have grave consequences for eradication efforts,” said Rudi.

WHO says the world is on the verge of polio eradication while the disease is endemic to only three countries namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

The African region in particular has made great strides towards halting the transmission of wild polio virus since 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was established.

WHO has partnered with African governments to scale up polio vaccination, surveillance and hygiene education as means to contain the highly contagious viral disease that leads to paralysis of affected patients.


Pan-African science body unveils fellowships to boost research based growth

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Nairobi-based Africa Academy of Sciences (AAS) said it will award post-doctoral fellowships to seven early career researchers in the continent to help them come up with solutions that promote sustainable development.

AAS said in a statement issued on Friday evening that the young African scientists will benefit from financial support to pursue advanced studies in disciplines that promote sustainable development like health and environment.

“The trainees will receive funding to tackle antimicrobial resistance, discover drugs for cancer and skin diseases, contribute knowledge to conserve woodlands and develop low cost alloys used for military and civic applications, aircraft, bicycles and medical devices,” said AAS.

It revealed that the young researchers drawn from Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda will benefit from three to six months academic visits and mentorships at institutions outside their native countries.

The new capacity development support for early career African scientists was unveiled ahead of World Science Day for Peace and Development that was observed on November 10.



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