Award ceremony will bring scientists together to address issues affecting Africa and the current Ebola epidemic
The 2014 International UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea Prize for Research in Life Sciences has been awarded to two scientists and one research institution in recognition of their efforts to improve the quality of human life.
The Prize recipients are Professor Hossein Baharvand, from Iran, a Specialist in Stem Cells and Developmental Biology at the Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology and the Head of Department of Developmental Biology at Iran’s University of Science and Culture, whose stem cell research has led numerous applications in regenerative medicine; Andre Bationo, from Burkina-Faso, a specialist in soil chemistry whose work has led to improved techniques for agricultural production in Africa; and the Instituto de Medicina Tropical von Humboldt (IMT) at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia of Peru. The Institute was founded in 1968 with the mission of promoting education and research on the most prevalent tropical diseases in Peru. From its founding, it has performed high quality research that has contributed to controlling diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, leishmaniasis, leptospirosis, HIV-AIDS and others.
During the announcement, the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) highlighted the Prize’s objective of mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development and fostering capacity-building in science and innovation. This is the second year the prize has been awarded. It was established by the government of Equatorial Guinea to reward projects and activities of individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations for scientific research in the life sciences, with a view to improving the quality of human life. UNESCO’s Director General, Irina Bokova, announced the recipients on August 26 and said they will be presented next month in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Next month in Equatorial Guinea, a scientific round table will address issues of particular concern to Africa and the world as a whole, including the management of the current Ebola epidemic, the African traditional pharmacopoeia and its potential integration into public health systems among other issues.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Friday, August 22, 2014
Country provides basic infrastructure to contribute to the national economic Growth
The government of Equatorial Guinea has built basic infrastructure in the country over the past 20 years such as social housing, roads, electricity, health and education facilities, and water accessibility, said Equatorial Guinea’s Health Secretary of State, Maria del Carmen Andeme Ela.
Secretary of State Andeme Ela recently highlighted important actions the government has undertaken to improve social welfare for its citizens at the Equatorial Guinea Economic Forum, held at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., on August 8.
She also said, “citizens have access to government sponsored vaccines and medicine to fight malaria and other diseases. We have worked to improve services for reproductive and child health including early detection of risk pregnancies, which has reduced infant mortality and maternal mortality.”
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has had support from development partners and due to the country’s progressive economic growth, it has been able to provide free public health services.
As a next step to improve the social welfare of its citizens, the government is working to provide access to health services via a health card, update regulations in the pharmaceutical sector, and provide an extensive program of human resource development at all levels.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Indicators of Public Health are Steadily Improving
Equatorial Guinea’s infant mortality rate has decreased from 111 in 1994 to 65 per one thousand in 2011, said the country’s Health Secretary of State, Maria del Carmen Andeme Ela. She also reported that the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care from skilled health personnel has increase from 61% in 2000 to 91.3% this year.
Secretary of State Andeme Ela recently discussed the national health system and programs available in the country at the Equatorial Guinea Economic Forum, held at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., on August 8. The economic forum aimed to highlight the strategic commitment of Equatorial Guinea to economic diversification and encourage investment by American companies.
The government of Equatorial Guinea has heavily invested in the country’s health sector as part of UN Millennium health goals and the country’s Horizon 2020 development plan. Secretary Andeme Ela highlighted how the country’s social-health profile are steadily improving. She said that births attended by skilled health personnel have increased from 52% in 2000 to 70% in 2014.
She also cited improvements in the country’s health infrastructure, which now includes 2 regional hospitals, 5 provincial hospitals, 11 district hospitals, 45 health centers, 2 regional centers for blood transfusions, 4 provincial centers for transfusions, 2 reference medical centers (La Paz) and 7 polyclinics (3 private), various medical offices and pharmacies throughout the country.
During her presentation, Secretary Andeme Ela also outlined the national health programs the country is currently undertaking, such as the vaccination program, the fight against malaria, programs to provide essential medications and oral healthcare, diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS, the fight against non-infectious diseases, efforts to control tuberculosis, leprosy and trypanosomes, the fight against river blindness and filariosis, and promotion of health and reproductive health.
The number of medical and health professionals and technicians in the country is growing significantly, although the country still suffers from a lack of specialists, said Secretary Andame Ela. The Faculty of Medical Sciences at the National University of Equatorial Guinea graduates about 45 medical students and 25 nursing students each year, and the National School of Public Health and Environment graduates about 54 nurses annually. All told, the nation now has more than 300 doctors, more than 350 nurses and similar professionals, and some 2,000 trained medical assistants and technicians. She said that the country had only one Equatoguinean doctor when it gained independence in 1968.
Friday, August 15, 2014
The government of Equatorial Guinea has temporarily suspended the issuance of visas from neighboring countries and cancelled regionals flights by its national air carrier, Ceiba International, as measures to protect the country against the spread of the Ebola virus.
This is one of a number of preventive measures taken by the country after it formed a national commission to lead anti-Ebola efforts.
The government is also preparing to purchase additional ambulatory hospitals (tents), train health personnel assigned to these health units and purchase drugs for palliative treatment, among other initiatives.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
West African Nation takes early, proactive approach steps to contain potential spread of the disease
The government of Equatorial Guinea has created a national health crisis committee as part of its efforts to mount a campaign to prevent the spread of ebola to the country.
The ebola prevention campaign aims to purchase the necessary materials to control the infection and manage cases of infection that might arise, as well as two special ambulances to transfer ebola patients, and two thermographic cameras for the airports in Malabo and Bata. The campaign also plans to acquire 8 ambulatory hospitals (tents), train health personnel assigned to these health units and purchase drugs for palliative treatment.
The government is also considering taking body-temperature readings with laser thermometers at the country’s entry points and with thermographic cameras at airports in Malabo and Bata and creating awareness campaigns for governors, the government delegates and the presidents of neighborhood communities and village councils in order to provide information down to the village level on ways to prevent the transmission of ebola.
The government will also deliver notification forms to the airports, ports and airlines; raise awareness among the population and emphasize how ebola can be transferred from infected animals to humans and from person to person; create massive awareness at the national level on protective measures through television, radio spots, churches, schools, and markets; and organize teams at the national, provincial and district levels to carry out a comprehensive campaign on the prevention of this pandemic in the provinces and districts.
Minister Diosdado Vicente Nsue Milang and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare have been leading the campaign efforts with the cooperation of the Ministry of Information, Press and Radio, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Local Corporations, and the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs.
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Equatorial Guinea has been proactive in implementing awareness campaigns to fight diseases affecting the African continent. Earlier this year, they implemented a comprehensive campaign to immunize the nation’s children against polio. The government worked closely with World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, United Nations (UN),Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others to implement this proactive campaign.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, Gabriel Obiang Lima, recently met with U.S. Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge to discuss the development of important cultural and economic ties between the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the United States of America’s institutions.
“The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy is more than willing to open the doors for any potential investor who is willing to develop the country and contribute to our efforts of diversifying our economy. We want to develop all industries as we have the capacity and the willingness,” said Minister Obiang Lima during the meeting with Congresswoman Fudge.
Minister Obiang Lima invited Congresswoman Fudge and members of the Congressional Black Caucus to visit Equatorial Guinea to see the developments the country is experiencing.
Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Agapito Mba Mokuy, signed an open skies air transport agreement with United States Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, Charles Rivkin aimed at formalizing the liberalization of their bilateral aviation relationship on august 7, 2014.
Equatorial Guinea and the United States initialed the agreement in December 2013, and it has been applied via comity and reciprocity since that time. The open skies air transport agreement goes into effect upon the signing by the two parties. The agreement allows unrestricted air service for the airlines of both countries and eliminates restrictions on the frequency of flights, the type of airplanes that can be used and the prices each airline charges.
The agreement will allow for the strengthening and expansion of trade and tourism links between Equatorial Guinea and the United States, which should benefit both countries. Business travelers and tourists alike will benefit from expanded opportunities for air service and greater price competition by airlines, while commitments to aviation safety and security will be maintained.
Air service to Equatorial Guinea has grown significantly over the last several years. The country currently is served by Air France, Ethiopian, Iberia, Lufthansa, Royal Air Maroc, and Equatorial Guinea’s national carrier, Ceiba International, among others.