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The East African : Dec 12th 2015
24 BEHIND THE HEADLINES Food shortage, hunger in South Sudan 2 charged over ‘Marsh Pride’ poisoning Rand welcomes new boss with fall Israeli held for espionage now freed The EastAfrican OUTLOOK DECEMBER 12-18,2015 T I T B I T S The News: A sizeable number of South Sudanese are staring at severe food shortages and hunger, after two years of fighting. The Lowdown: The International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the South Sudan Red Cross say the number runs into hundreds of thousands, further complicating the humanitarian situation in a country, where, despite the signing of a peace agreement, people remain in need of food and health care. The two years of war has resulted in death and suffering, with people being separated from their families as they seek safety across the border. The News: Two herdsmen have been charged after allegedly poisoning a famous pride of lions in Narok, southwest Kenya, a wildlife official said. The Lowdown: The dead lions, from the famous Marsh Pride, were featured on the BBC wildlife programme Big Cat Diary. According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, the lions are thought to have killed the herdsmen’s cows when they entered the reserve. This is not the first case of the human-wildlife conflict that characterises the relationship between the Maasai herdsmen and the lions, often ending in the loss of not just livestock and wildlife but also human lives. The News: The South African rand fell with the dismissal of Nhlanhla Nene from the Finance Ministry. The Lowdown: President Jacob Zuma appointed little-known David van Rooyen the new finance minister much to the disapproval of economists who dismissed the appointee as having little policy experience. But the ruling party has countered the accusation, saying Van Rooyen is qualified and has held a number of leadership positions in the ANC. The rand was trading at R16.34 to the euro, down 2.74 per cent, and R22.5 against the pound sterling, down 2.5 per cent. It was down 1.39pc against the dollar at R14.83. The ≥eal bu≥den of foodbo≥ne diseases Africa has the highest burden of foodborne diseases per head of population, with more than 91 million people falling ill and 137,000 dying from it each year. This is one of the key findings of WHO’s “Estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases” – the most comprehensive report to date on the impact of contaminated food on health and well-being. According to the report, diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for more than half of all foodborne diseases globally. THE GLOBAL BURDEN The burden of foodborne diseases caused by 31 agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals): Each year as many as 600 million (1 in 10 people in the world), fall ill after consuming contaminated food. 30pc Almost one third of all deaths from foodborne diseases are in children under the age of 5 years. AFRICA 91m More than 91 million people fall ill and 137, 000 die each year due to food borne diseases. Diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for 70 per cent of foodborne diseases in the Africa Of these, 420, 000 people die, including 125, 000 children under the age of 5 years. Norovirus Campylobacter AGENTS OF ILLNESS Until now, estimates of foodborne diseases were vague and imprecise. This concealed the true human costs of contaminated food. This report sets the record straight,” Margaret Chan, DirectorGeneral of WHO. Key global causes of diarrhoeal diseases: E. coli 548 m people fall ill due to diarrhoeal disease agents. Of these, 230,000 people die. 124 million people fall ill due to food contaminated with viruses while 34,000 people die from the same. AGENTS Bacteria causes 349 million illnesses and 187,000 deaths in people. While 763,000 become sick after being infected with cholera and 25,000 die from it. Non-typhoidal Salmonella Non-typhoidal salmonella (pathogens that cause stomach flu), which can be caused by contaminated eggs and poultry, causes the most deaths, killing 32 000 a year in the region (more than half of the global deaths from the disease). 10 per cent of the overall foodborne disease burden in this region is caused by the pork tapeworm. Chemical hazards, specifically cyanide and aflatoxin, cause one quarter of deaths from foodborne diseases in the Region. Konzo, a particular form of paralysis caused by cyanide in cassava, is unique to the African region, resulting in death in 1 in 5 people affected. Compiled by Elizabeth Merab SOURCE: WHO ESTIMATES OF THE GLOBAL BURDEN OF FOODBORNE DISEASES Graphic: Felix Miring’u Protozoa also leads to 67 million illnesses and 6000 deaths. While 13 million people fall ill due to parasitic worms infection, with 45,000 dying. Hepatitis A virus which causes liver disease is responsible for 14 million illnesses and 28,000 deaths. Chemicals and toxins account for 218,000 illnesses and 19,000 deaths. Of these, 21,000 reported illnesses is as a result of consuming aflatoxin infested crops which also account for 20,000 deaths. The News: Egypt has released an Israeli Arab, charged and sentenced to a 15-year jail term 15 years ago. The Lowdown: In 2000, Ouda Tarabin, 34, from the Bedouin community, entered Egypt illegally and was charged in a military court, “without being told what he was accused of.” Tarabin, who was received by the Israeli prime minister, has maintained his innocence over the years. Coincidentally and though Tarabin had served his sentence in full, Israeli authorities said that they had released two Egyptian prisoners but did not give further details, fuelling rumours of a prisoner swap between the two states.
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