Four central African nations UN agencies launch major polio vaccination effort

The campaign, which aims to vaccinate 16 million children in just five days, is a result of an unprecedented alliance that involves close coordination among Angola, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Gabon. It is part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is spearheaded by two UN agencies — the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) — and Rotary International and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The “synchronized” polio National Immunization Days in the region were launched today in Kinshasa by DRC President Joseph Kabila, who was joined at a special ceremony by senior representatives of Angola, Congo and Gabon, as well as WHO Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland. “Your efforts are leading us to a historical milestone in international public health – the global eradication of the poliovirus,” stressed Dr Brundtland. “Your success in the coming days in reaching every child with oral polio vaccine will be key in stopping transmission of this virus on the African continent, and around the world.”Tens of thousands of health workers and volunteers will be travelling door-to-door, boat-to-boat, market-to-market and camp-to-camp, vaccinating every child under five. Over 86,000 health workers will be delivering vaccines in the DRC alone. The UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known by its French acronym MONUC, is providing logistical support to fly polio vaccines around the country, while medical teams are providing technical support locally.Careful coordination of the immunization activities between countries will allow identifying and immunizing children in especially remote regions, densely-populated and conflict-affected areas and refugee camps, UN officials said. Local health authorities are making special efforts at key border points to try to reach an additional 127,000 children, 90,000 of whom are in otherwise inaccessible areas of Angola. The central African region is considered one of the last bastions of the wild poliovirus. Polio, a highly infectious disease, mainly affects children under three years of age, invading their nervous system. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, while between 5 and 10 per cent of those infected with polio die when their breathing muscles are paralyzed. read more

Elderly and disabled at risk in inadequate housing human rights watchdog finds

Disabled older people are being let down and this is a stark reminder that urgent action is needed,  which is the least they deserve in a compassionate society.George McNamara, director of policy and public affairs at Independent Age The report’s executive summary, seen by the Telegraph, said that some people were forced into “eating, sleeping and bathing in one room” and to rely on family members to carry them between rooms and up stairs.Local authorities told the Commission that developers are “reluctant to build accessible houses, as they see them as less profitable”, and often failed to comply with accessibility standards. “The Government’s drive to increase house building is very welcome, but clearly there is much more to do for those with these special requirements.”Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said councils needed “greater planning powers and resources to hold developers to account”. “Housing is too often unavailable, unaffordable, and not appropriate for everyone that needs it. This includes the availability of homes suitable for older people and people in vulnerable circumstances,” she said.A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Our new planning rules make clear that councils must take the needs of elderly and disabled people into account when planning new homes in their area.“We’re also providing councils with almost £1 billion over the next two years to adapt properties for disabled and older people so they can live independently and safely.” Despite this, just three per cent of councils took enforcement action against developers who failed to meet these standards, the Commission found.  The report also said that people were forced to wait an average of 22 weeks between application and the installation of home adaptations necessary to live safely and independently, with some waiting for more than a year.The Commission’s report said that better housing would help ease the health and social care crisis as it found that poor housing led to an “increased need for social care” and “avoidable hospital admissions”.Responding to the report, charities warned that the lack of suitable housing was exacerbating the NHS crisis as elderly and disabled people were forced to stay in hospital for longer due to a lack of safe accommodation.Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK said: “Providing accessible homes must be seen as core to reducing pressure on social care and the NHS.  “Disabled older people are being let down and this is a stark reminder that urgent action is needed,  which is the least they deserve in a compassionate society.”Rob Wilson, former Government minister for civil society, said: “This isn’t a new problem, but this is a timely report and reminder that disabled people face enormous challenges with getting appropriate housing.”Almost every local authority area faces the same difficulty in getting enough wheelchair accessible houses built. Britain’s planning rules are fueling a housing “crisis” for the elderly and disabled which is forcing the frail to live in dangerous conditions, a leaked report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission seen by the Telegraph has found.The Commission’s report, due to be released next month, found a “severe shortage of accessible and adaptable housing” with only seven per cent of homes in England offering minimal accessibility features.It warns that local councils are failing to build enough accessible homes to meet demand and were not taking action against developers who failed to comply with regulations. The Commission, a human rights watchdog, said that at least ten per cent of all future housing should be built with a growing elderly and disabled population in mind and that local authorities must reduce the bureaucratic hurdles for adapting homes.The report comes at a time of a growing social care crisis in Britain with many elderly and frail people stuck in hospitals, unable to be discharged due to inadequate housing. At the same time, younger Britons are struggling to get on to the housing ladder with older people unable to downsize due to a lack of suitable properties.Following an inquiry into the state of housing for disabled people in Britain, the Commission reported that the “acute housing crisis“ was leaving elderly and disabled people in unsafe homes and leading to accidents and hospital admissions. “If these recommendations are implemented they will help many more older and disabled people to receive care and support at home.”She added: “It’s vital that we build safe, accessible, high quality homes that work for all generations and that don’t undermine our ability to stay independent as we get older.”George McNamara, director of policy and public affairs at Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said: “These are some of the most vulnerable people but they’re forgotten when it comes to housing policy. They are being discriminated against by a system that doesn’t work for them.”This issue is only going to become more important as our population ages and people have a greater need for specialist housing that addresses all their health and care needs.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Cameco pushing back the water

first_imgCameco is proceeding with a phased plan to restore the underground workings at Cigar Lake uranium mine in Canada after a water inflow on October 23, 2006 flooded the project. The first phase of the plan involves drilling holes down to the source of the inflow. Concrete will be pumped through the drill holes and sealed off with grout. Subsequent phases include removing water from underground areas, ground freezing in the area of the inflow, restoring other underground areas and resumption of mine development. Regulatory approval is required for each phase of the remediation plan. Drill crews completed one hole in the area of the rockfall and nearly completed another hole before leaving for the Christmas break. About 18 holes are now planned including four for mine dewatering. The crews resumed working on December 27, 2006 working around the clock, seven days a week. “Drilling through the Athabasca sandstone has been more challenging than anticipated,” said Terry Rogers, Cameco’s Senior Vice-President and COO. “However, the experience we gain in the first few holes is expected to accelerate progress in the future. We will be in a better position to estimate when we expect the first phase to be completed after the first concrete is poured.” Cameco had expected to be pouring concrete in December, as part of the first phase, but that is now expected to occur in January. Cameco will issue another news release in January to update progress and in February 2007 plans to provide preliminary capital cost estimates and timelines for the remediation, as previously indicated. The company continues to work in consultation with international experts to develop a comprehensive remediation plan including contingency options. Based on current plans, Cameco expects the remediation phases mentioned above will fall within the scope of the original environmental assessment of the Cigar Lake project. Cameco is working closely with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Saskatchewan regulatory agencies to achieve timely approvals for the various elements of the plan. The Cigar Lake project is a joint venture owned by Cameco (50%), AREVA Resources Canada (37%), Idemitsu Uranium Exploration Canada (8%) and TEPCO Resources (5%). The project is located in northern Saskatchewan. Cameco, with its head office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the world’s largest uranium producer.last_img read more

EHF CL Barca beat Kolding Szeged win over Montpellier

3. Rhein-Neckar Löwen6312162:153(9)7 ← Previous Story Vardar smash Kielce 34:24 Next Story → EHF CL: First success for Besiktas! FC Barcelona Lassa had difficult 60 minutes against Danish KIF Kolding Kobenhavn 28:25 (11:13), the team who put form on higher level in the last 10 days starting from surprising win over RK Vardar last weekend. Kiril Lazarov (10) and Filip Jicha (7) didn’t let surprise in Blaugrana and aranged the battle for the pole position in Group B against RK Vardar Skopje on November 14 in Barcelona.28- BARCELONA:Pérez de Vargas; Gurbindo, Kopljar, Raúl Entrerríos (3), Sorhaindo (1), Morros, Sigurdsson (1);Jicha (7), Lazarov (10, 5p.), Syprzak (1), Tomás (2), Noddesbo, Jallouz (1), Ariño (2).25 – KIF KOLDING:Hvidt (Asmussen); Enderleit (1), Spellerberg (7,1p), Laen (3), Lars Jorgensen (1), Anderson (8), Landin (4); Viudes(1), Agustiniassen.PICK Szeged beat Montpellier 28:27 with Slovenian playmaker Dean Bombač in the main role (8 goals).RK Vardar beat Vive Tauron Kielce 34:24.STANDINGS: FC Barcelona LassaPick Szeged 5. MOL-Pick Szeged6303162:166(-4)6 1. HC Vardar6501177:149(28)10 7. Montpellier HB6204162:176(-14)4 6. IFK Kristianstad6204175:184(-9)4 2. FC Barcelona Lassa6411180:164(16)9 4. KS Vive Tauron Kielce6222181:177(4)6 8. KIF Kolding Kobenhavn6105149:179(-30)2 read more