Tanzania’s President John Magufuli dead at 61, vice president announces

By Reuters Staff

Breaking—Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, one of Africa’s most prominent coronavirus sceptics, has died aged 61, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Wednesday after a more than two-week absence from public life that led to speculation about his health.

Magufuli, had not been seen in public since Feb. 27, sparking rumours that he had contracted COVID-19. Officials denied on March 12 that he had fallen ill. He was Tanzania’s first president to die while in office.

“Dear Tanzanians, it is sad to announce that today 17 March 2021 around 6 p.m. we lost our brave leader, President John Magufuli who died from heart illness at Mzena hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was getting treatment,” the vice president said on state broadcaster TBC.

She said burial arrangements were under way and announced 14 days of mourning and the flying of flags at half staff.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said on Friday that he had spoken to Magufuli, and blamed the narrative of the president’s ailment on some “hateful” Tanzanians living abroad.

S. Sudan spends zero percent (0%) on health services: report

Analysis released by the Oxfam International |Photo: Oxfam Intl

October 10, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, spends zero percent on health services, according to a new report released on Friday by the Oxfam International.

“One of lowest health spending and only half their population covered by essential health services: a shocking two-thirds of citizens in South Sudan were not covered by essential health services.”

“Armed conflict and state fragility hinder governments’ commitment to fighting Inequality,” said Oxfam Pan Africa, an advocacy Programme seeking to reduce Inequality in the region.

The report exclusively obtained by the South Sudan Herald, ranked South Sudan 158th (Bottom) the lowest in Commitment to Reducing Inequality in the region.

The report highlights that the state spends 2.2% of the national budget on education – the lowest amount in the whole world on education.

The finding indicates that South Sudan’s civil servants are the lowest paid (57%) in the region.

“South Sudan is one of the few countries in the world with no minimum wage.”

Earlier this year, the UNICEF reported that some 2.2 million children in South Sudan lack access to quality education.

The analysis revealed that the South Sudanese government spends a substantial amount of money on debt serving and the military.

“Lowest spending on Index on social protection, health and education combined – just 12% -; instead it spends huge sums on debt servicing (47%) and the military (18%). In other words, more than 3 x on military and ed, SP and health combined.”

‘‘Governments must act now to end health & economic inequalities that are making the poorest people the worst hit by the pandemic. There’s an urgent need to invest in fairer, more resilient societies for us all,” said Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam Pan Africa Director.

The advocacy group said that “Sub-Saharan Africa has only 1 country (South Africa) in the top 50 in commitment to reducing inequality index and the continent accounts for 3 in 5 of the countries at the bottom of the list.”

Breaking: Trump to be transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center

Donald J. Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump
Donald J. Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump |Photo: File

Oct 3, 2020 (Thessherald)–President Donald Trump will be taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and remain there for several days, according to the White House.

In a statement, the White House said Trump “remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day.”

“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” the White House said. “President Trump appreciates the outpouring of support for both he and the First Lady.”

Trump has had a fever since Friday morning, a person familiar with the matter said, though the fever remains consistent with the White House’s description of “mild symptoms.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Trump’s physician wrote in a memo he “remains fatigued but in good spirits.”

“He’s being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we’ll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to next best steps,” Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley wrote.

He said Trump had been administered a Regeneron polyclonal antibody cocktail and has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.

The memo also said first lady Melania Trump remains well with only a mild cough and headache, and the remainder of the first family is well and have tested negative.

The President disclosed in the early morning hours on Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for coronavirus.

People who spoke to him on Friday morning described him in high spirits, and said he was inquiring about business of the day.

Originally published by CNN: https://cnn.it/30vVPSF

S. Sudan leaders use AirDoctor cards as method to prevent COVID-19

May 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit and other high-ranking government officials have been spotted using ECO AirDoctor cards made in Japan as an alternative way to prevent themselves from contracting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The use of Airdoctor cards or virus removing cards has raised serous concerns among the citizens.

“As of now, there are rumors going around Juba that our nation’s top apparatchiks are wearing the newly distributed ‘virus removing card’ as a COVID19 repellent on their chests. It looks like a name tag usually given at workshops or official functions,” said one concerned citizen.

Last week, a government official, Hon. Paul Dhel Gum criticized the use of the Airdoctor, arguing that the product has not been approved by medical professionals.

“Lately a group of people in Juba are moving around with Air Doctor hanging around their necks. This product is reported to have been supplied by a foreign businessman operating in Juba and the source of production is China. The product produces chlorine dioxide gas with the ability to reduce virus, germs, bacteria, mold and bad odor but also volatile organic chemical and toxic. Due to its toxicity, Food and Drugs Administration(FDA) didn’t approve the use of this substance as a virus repellent.”

Hon. Paul urged members of the public and those who imported those uncertified products to use local remedies provided by the Madagascar government instead.

“To those who approved the procurement of this product, it would have been better to try the Madagascar herbals and start trying it on the current 290 confirmed cases.
Lets assume that the current Air Doctor protect and prevent the virus, how many people the government intend to protect when its only selective group of individuals provided with Air Doctor leaving the population at the mercy of deadly virus. Covid-19 is a threat to all of us that require our collective responsibility than the current segregative measures,” he said.

What’s Air Doctor?

According to medical researchers, Air Doctor is an effective but not certified product that protects individuals from getting infected by producing chlorine dioxide gas. It fights against all kinds of infections including viruses, germs, bacteria and mold.

CPA Launches Online Polls on Household Resilience and Response To COVID-19 Pandemic

Online Baseline Assessments

May 2, 2020 (Thessherald)–A Juba-based civil society group, The Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) has launched an online baseline assessment to establish perceived levels of Household Resilience and how communities are coping and responding to the current global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) requests your participation in the attached survey. The survey is designed to gather information about current levels of household resiliency in the face of the global COVID19 pandemic.

Here is a link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeNVRhhGQ3VLhwV5MoZDcgXdwRGtWC15fr_SCyyxtKwhzAWdw/viewform?usp=sf_link

The group emphasized in a statement that the current polls seek to obtain a complete picture of the current situation and the best ways in which citizens can remain safe if the government responds and decides to declare a nationwide lockdown.

“Our aim is to learn about household assets, support, and access to needed supplies such that families can stay safe and well during any potential virus outbreak, or in the event that the Government of South Sudan implements restrictions on citizens, as has been done in neighboring countries like Uganda and Kenya and the rest of the world,” CPA explains.

“Our aim is to share this information with Government institutions like the Ministry of Health and its partners organizations operating in South Sudan i. e. World Health Organization, UNICEF, Centers for Disease Control, Dr John Garang Infectious Disease Unit and South Sudan Youth Fight Against COVID-19 or other Civil Society Organizations to bolster the national response plan in South Sudan.”

The statement noted that the survey is geared towards helping civil society organizations collect quality data to support health workers and other front-line responders to make an informed decision while combating the spread of the virus.

“Your voluntary participation enables the Center for Peace and Advocacy to gather the best, comprehensive data to support our fellow South Sudanese during the COVID19 pandemic.”

“All responses are confidential and anonymous. This survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.”

If you have questions about the survey, our data collection procedures, or any other facet of the survey, you are welcome to contact the Center for Peace and Advocacy by phone +211924538137 email cpasouthsudan@gmail.com , or through our website http://southsudancpa.org/.

Juba University calls for medical practitioners to register as volunteers in the fight against COVID-19

April 25, 2020 (Thessherald)-The University of Juba University has requested medical students, health professionals, and nurses to come out and register as volunteers to help combat the current global COVID-19 pandemic.

“University of Juba COVID-19 Pandemic Response High Level Committee April 24th 2020 Call for Registration of Volunteers. The University of Juba COVID-19 Pandemic Response Committee is looking for individuals to express interest as volunteers in the fight against COVID-19.”

The Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 says it is specifically looking for individuals who have knowledge and experiences in the medical field to make voluntary efforts in the fight against the disease.

“We are particularly interested in University of Juba students, medical doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, biochemists, and any other staff who is available to volunteer.”

Your assignment may include helping out in one or a number of the following areas, depending on your skills and preferences:

—1. The Communications Subcommittee in the sensitization and mobilisation of the Community on COVID-19. This may include giving out information, responding to public concerns and directing the concerned to the appropriate units or departments.

—2. The Prevention Subcommittee in the distribution of medical supplies like hand sanitizers, masks, PPE etc. This may include the setting up of makeshift holding up and treatment centres.

—3. The Intervention Subcommittee in taking care of the affected and offering guidance to their loved ones. This may need mostly, though not exclusively, medical personnel.

—4. The Multidisciplinary Subeommittee in the collection, gathering and analysis of vital data that is either out there or that shall be generated Registration Forms are available from Monday 27th 2020 from the Department of Admission, Academic Registry, University of Juba, between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm, Monday to Friday. Altermatively, you may wish to email your interest to: uojareg@gmail.com

—You will be given the relevant training and where necessary the equipment needed before being deployed.

South Sudan purchases 60 ventilators in the battle against COVID-19

April 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–The High-Level Tasked Force on COVID-19 announced on Friday that a consignment of medical supplies, including some 60 hospital-grade ventilators procured by South Sudan, is expected to arrive in the capital, Juba, over the weekend.

“The High-Level Taskforce was informed that a charter plane carrying equipment and supplies, including 60 ventilators, purchased by the government of the Republic of South Sudan will arrive in the country over this weekend.”

The committee welcomes the recent pledge of USD 3.9 Million committed by the Africa Development Bank (AFDB) of US $ 3.9 million to support the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The High-Level Taskforce welcomes the pledge by the Africa Development Bank (AFDB) of just over USD 3.9 Million to support the government’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection in the country.”

“The High-Level Taskforce resolves that South Sudanese students on government scholarships in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, shall remain in Ethiopia as agreed earlier by the governments of the two sisterly countries. South The High-Level Taskforce reiterates that South Sudanese citizens, including students, must abide by the laws of their host countries.”

Since the past few weeks, South Sudan has made headlines after international media reported that the country has only four ventilators.

It is believed that the government has spent one and a half million dollars on those newly purchased ventilators as each device costs about 25,000 dollars.

AU Peace and Security Council Discuss Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in Africa

Press Statement

April 18, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Peace and Security Council of the African Union called on member States to further enhance their cross-border cooperation to deny terrorists and armed groups, criminal networks, and traffickers the opportunity to exploit the current COVID-19 situation to perpetuate their activities.

The council related this in a communiqué issued following its virtual meeting held to discuss the impact of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak on peace and security in Africa on April 14.

Given the nature of the virus and its negative impact on AU peace and security activities, the council underscored the urgent need to mobilize and deploy all necessary efforts, within the spirit of international solidarity, in order to effectively mitigate, contain the spread and defeat COVID-19.

Further emphasizing the importance of solidarity among Africans, the Council called on member states to draw lessons learned from the recent successful fight against the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in parts of the Continent.

The Council also reiterated the call for all belligerents to fully embrace and uphold the Global Ceasefire in order to facilitate efforts being deployed against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council welcomed the establishment of the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund in order to mobilize the required financial resources for Africa’s fight against the pandemic.

The Council also appealed to the bilateral and international development partners, to consider debt cancellation and relief to those African countries with fragile economies.

The Council paid special tribute to Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed and Mr. Jack Ma, for their personal efforts and commitment in mobilizing material support for the fight against COVID-19 within the Continent.

The Council also commended the Ethiopian Airlines and the World Food Programme (WFP), for delivering donated medical equipment to all Member States.

The Council affirmed its unflinching support to the relentless efforts being deployed by WHO, particularly its Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in providing timely information, technical guidance and material assistance towards efforts to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The Peace and Security Council also commended the Africa CDC, member states and all private sector entities, partner countries, international institutions and philanthropist organizations for mobilizing resources and taking swift measures to mitigate the impact of the virus.

A severe coronavirus outbreak across South Sudan would have disastrous consequences for millions of vulnerable civilians, UN experts note

GENEVA/JUBA (8 April 2020) – As the first two cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Sudan were confirmed on 5 and 7 April respectively, members of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan urged the recently formed Transitional Government of National Unity to step up efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

As of last week, Government officials had already begun implementing certain precautionary measures including a nationwide curfew, limiting social gatherings, and closing down some establishments.

“One cannot realistically talk about strict social distancing in a country where nearly one and a half million internally displaced persons are living in tents, often inches apart from one other, and subsisting on rapidly diminishing humanitarian aid,” explained Commission Chairperson Yasmin Sooka. “Internally displaced persons are at a heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their limited access to basic services such as healthcare, water, hygiene and sanitation, food, and adequate housing.

Those displaced are also often made to travel for hours or days to reach healthcare facilities, and their leading cause of death has therefore most often been preventable,” she added.
Despite the many legal guarantees in both international and domestic law concerning the right to health, the availability of health services in South Sudan remains extremely constrained for all residents, with women and children among the worst affected by the shortage. Approximately 90 per cent of health facilities countrywide are being run by international organisations, the Commission noted.

“We have documented how numerous healthcare workers have been killed or displaced over the past six years of conflict,” said Commissioner Andrew Clapham. “Fighting has also resulted in staggering levels of malnutrition across South Sudan, due in part to the deliberate use of starvation as a method of warfare, which is acutely seen with respect to elderly persons most vulnerable to the spread of this virus.

It is imperative that all efforts in the public health response to COVID-19 be made without adverse distinction based on ethnicity, age, sex, religion or belief, or any other arbitrary status, and any measures taken remain guided by the principles of legality, proportion, precaution, and non-discrimination,” he added.

Presently throughout Africa, at least 51 of the continent’s 54 countries have confirmed cases of COVID-19. As the rapid spread of the virus gains ground, the Commission further urged parties to the conflict to scale up their efforts to quell on-going violence, including incidents of intercommunal violence.

“Armed conflict in South Sudan remains on-going, and we echo the urgent call made by UN Secretary General António Guterres on 23 March for an immediate global ceasefire. It is now more vital than ever that warring parties demonstrate resolute leadership by disseminating timely information, involving local communities in the public health response, encouraging a shared national identity, and supporting communities to work together in order to fend off what could be a disastrous spread of COVID-19 transmission,” said Commissioner Barney Afako.

In this unprecedented period of fear and turmoil, many governments have resorted to securitizing public emergency responses to the COVID-19 crisis rather than implementing a rights-based response – one which would require a framework that places human rights and the rule of law at the forefront of the response, the Commission underscored.

The Commission also called upon the Transitional Government of National Unity to ensure that any restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms had a clear legal basis, described in specific terms so that civilians were made aware of how their rights were being curtailed, under which law(s), and precisely what they are, and are not, permitted to do.

Any limitation or restriction imposed must be subject to judicial review, it mentioned.
The Commission further noted with concern how, following the first confirmed case of COVID-19, anti-United Nations sentiment began circulating on social media, including multiple instances in which individuals purporting to be South Sudanese posted comments inciting others to violence against UN staff members for allegedly bringing the virus to South Sudan. The Commission also expressed concern at the role being played by the National Security Service in the restrictions being placed on the UN and its personnel, and the impact this may have on the ability of the UN to carry out its work.

“It is most regrettable that South Sudan has joined the list of countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commission Chairperson Yasmin Sooka. “Even so, Government officials must deescalate such sentiments immediately and make clear that any further incitement to violence or attacks against humanitarian staff will be met with firm consequences,” she stated.

Originally published by UN 

Full Text: Communication from the Presidency On COVID-19

Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, the First Vice President and Deputy Chairman of the High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 Pandemic /Photo: File

April 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–The High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 Pandemic Tuesday, 7th April 2020 Juba, South Sudan The High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 Pandemic held its 17th Meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday 7th April 2020 under the Chairmanship of H. E. Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, the First Vice President and Deputy Chairman of the High-Level Taskforce on COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Taskforce considered the following items on the Agenda:

1-Overview of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation in South Sudan, the Region and the Globe.

2- Presentations: University of Juba COVID-19 Response Committee.

3–Securityport Solutions.

The High-Level Taskforce listened to a presentation from the Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba on the preliminary report of the University’s COVID-19 Coordination Committee Preparedness and Response Strategies. And following thorough reflection on the recommendations of the University’s COVID-19 Committee;

The High-Level Taskforce welcomes the recommendations of the University Committee on COVID-19, particularly on the involvement of all sectors of the society in the awareness creation in the community.

The High-Level Taskforce resolves to co-opt two members of the University of Juba into the membership of the High-Level Taskforce.

The High-Level Taskforce also exchanged views with the leadership of the United Nations on the Procedures for the UN Internal Flights in South Sudan to deliver Essential Services.

After thoughtful discussions:

  • The High-Level Taskforce resolves to approve low-risk cargo flights, movement of essential staff, medical evacuations and risk mitigation measures.
  • The High-Level Taskforce directs the UNMISS to seek approval from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry for the United Nation’s Environmental Company prior to commencement of their fumigation operations at the Juba International Airport.
  • The High-Level Taskforce directs the UNMISS to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to establish a porthealth at the UNMISS Terminal at Juba International Airport.
  • The High-Level Taskforce further listened to a presentation from the Securiport Solutions on the Epidemic Control System (ECS) including its application in mitigating COVID-19 Pandemic.

And after careful deliberations:

The High-Level Taskforce resolves to refer the matter to the relevant government institutions for further scrutiny and recommendations. On Requests for Special Permission to entre or leave the country, the High-Level Taskforce resolves to:

  1. Grant special permission permit to evacuate the Administrative Attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda to Kampala via Nimule Crossing on the Diplomatic vehicle with the Registration Number CD 3 SSD.
  2. Grant special permission to repatriate the remains of a South Sudanese national from Khartoum to Aweil on land via Mairam.
  3. Grant special landing permission for Food Cargo Aircraft No. 5Y-PYR operated by Africa Inland Mission (AIM AIR) to land in Juba and Torit on the 7th April 2020.
  4. Grants special landing permission to American Embassy to fly Ethiopian Airline Aircrafts to Juba International Airport to evacuate foreign nationals from South Sudan on 10h, 17th and 24th April; and 1st May 2020. In the event that any of these flights are unable to operate on the requested dates, the Embassy must submit another request for landing permission for consideration.
  5. Grants a South Sudanese national to travel to Kenya on land. The High-Level Taskforce urges the South Sudanese Citizens to refrain from indulging in hate speech and xenophobic activities targeting nationals of other countries.

COVID-19 Virus Pandemic is a human calamity without regards to race. The High-Level Taskforce on Coronavirus (COVID- 19) Pandemic remains seized of the situation.

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