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Mali: Donkeys deliver vaccines as diseases spike with violence

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Reuters DAKAR –

With spiraling ethnic violence exposing more children in Mali to fatal diseases, health workers are using donkeys and boats to deliver life-saving vaccines, charities said on Wednesday.

In the central Mopti region – where 157 people died in one attack last month – suspected measles cases rose five-fold in one year to 98 in 2018, U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said, due to a four-fold jump in unvaccinated children to 70,000.

Motorcycles, which health workers used to reach remote villages, have been banned to reduce militant activity, forcing them to use traditional means like horses, it said.

“The problem of vaccination is directly linked to the current conflict,” said Patrick Irenge, medical coordinator for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which is using cars and boats as mobile clinics to reach cut off communities.

“If there is a lull in the violence, a small window that opens, we organize a vaccination campaign.”

Last month’s massacre was the deadliest to date in a conflict between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders which has displaced tens of thousands of civilians in the West African country since it escalated last year.

Pneumonia is one of the top killers of children in Mali and it can be prevented with vaccines – as can measles – but it is too dangerous for many parents to venture out with children.

“Transport is difficult because we don’t have the means to rent a vehicle or a horse cart,” said Aissata Barry, a 34-year-old mother in the village of Kankelena, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the nearest health center in the town of Sofara.

“There are rapists on the road. That’s what we’re afraid of,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone, adding that one of her neighbors was raped two weeks ago.

Mamadou Kasse, a local health worker who vaccinated Barry’s children, said the number of children he can reach each day has fallen since he swapped his motorbike for an eight-hour ride in a donkey cart with a cooler full of vaccines.

Reporting by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit news.trust.org

24 Hours Across Africa

U.S: Alabama challenges bill banning abortion.

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Massive supporters toke over the street early hours of day to match against the law of ban of abortion cases.

The groups chanted that they will challenge the bill and hopes that the ruling will favor the conservative majority, to overturn the 1973 ruling legalizing abortion.

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Sixteen other states are seeking to impose new restrictions on abortion.

Alabama’s Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth said: “Roe must be challenged, and I am proud that Alabama is leading the way.”

Eric Johnston, who founded the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition that helped draft the bill, told NPR: “The dynamic has changed.

“The judges have changed, a lot of changes over that time, and so I think we’re at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step

Report disclosed that the development has cause alot of controversy and 22 Senators voted against including an exception for rape or incest in Alabama’s new draconian abortion lawout.

The bill would allow abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk.

Doctors could face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for actually carrying out the procedure.

A woman who has an abortion would not be held criminally liable.

The bill’s text says more abortions have been carried out in the US since the 1973 Roe v Wade decision than people killed in “German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined”.

The law – the strictest in the US – now goes to Republican Governor Kay Ivey for approval.


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Health & Lifestyle

Museveni Vows to Increase Lunch Allowances for Nurses in Uganda

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To mark the International Nurses Day  in Uganda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reiterate his promise to increase lunch allowances for health workers in the country.

He made this promise while speaking at the national celebrations for the International Day for Nurses and Midwives held at Kyamate secondary school playground in Ntungamo municipality on Sunday.

The promise came as a response to calls by the president of Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union, Justus Cherop Chillingati who said the Shs 2000 allowance should be increased to Shs 15,000.

The president also revealed that the nurses will also be helped to focus on specialised training in a bid to improve service delivery.

Museveni further called on the nurses to focus on service delivery above self, saying that the economy is still growing and cannot accommodate all their demands. He revealed that issues such as roads and extension of electricity are also key and consume a big percentage of the national budget.

The International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated worldwide on every May 12. The celebrations were held under the theme “Nurses a voice to lead – health is a human right”.


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