Wed. Jan 22nd, 2020

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Nigeria’s Mental Health Crisis

Nigeria's Mental Health Crisis

One in four Nigerians – some 50 million people – are suffering from some sort of mental illness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The 10th of October is observed as World Mental Health Day and researchers find that the country is nowhere near equipped to tackle the problem. There are only eight neuropsychiatric hospitals in Nigeria. With dire budget and staffing shortfalls prompting doctors to go on strike, leave the country, or quit the medical profession altogether, the prognosis looks as grim for psychiatric care at Yaba hospital as it does for Nigeria’s healthcare system as a whole. The seventh-largest country in the world, Nigeria has Africa’s highest rate of depression, and ranks fifth in the world in the frequency of suicide, according to WHO. There are less than 150 psychiatrists in this country of 200 million, and WHO estimates that fewer than 10 percent of mentally ill Nigerians have access to the care they need. 


Tunisia’s Elections Take an Interesting Turn

Tunisia's Elections

One of the two candidates in the runoff to become Tunisia’s president was released from prison on Wednesday, just four days before the vote. As he stepped from the prison on Wednesday night, the candidate, Nabil Karoui, was greeted by the cheers of his supporters, who had gathered outside, with some waving flags with his face on them. Mr. Karoui, leader of the secular Qalb Tounes, or Heart of Tunisia party, had been arrested on Aug. 23, as part of an investigation into money laundering and tax fraud. Mr. Karoui has said the allegations amounted to a politically motivated smear campaign. He’s called for a the election to be delayed for a week so he can campaign.


Progress Report on Containing the Ebola Virus in the DRC

Ebola Virus report

The World Health Organization reports progress in containing the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, but says many challenges to its elimination remain.  WHO reports the number of cases in the outbreak now stands at 3,207, including 2,144 deaths. The executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, says he is largely optimistic that aid workers are getting control of the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo.  But, he says, it is impossible to say the outbreak is over. In fact, the virus has come full circle.  Ryan notes the disease has moved from Butembo and other urban areas to the remote, rural town of Mangina, the epicenter of the outbreak.  He says the virus is back where it began when the Ebola outbreak was declared August 1, 2018.


What’s On the Minds of Girls Living in Kibera?

Living in Kibera

Girls in Kenya’s biggest slum are breaking their silence about parental and sexual abuse, thanks to “talking boxes” placed in schools where they can share their secrets. The metal boxes have been installed in 50 schools across the vast slum by a UN-funded non-governmental organisation, Polycom Development. Girls write down their problems or questions on pieces of paper and post them through a slot in the boxes, which are often placed outside bathrooms or in other discreet locations to give them more privacy, especially in mixed-gender schools. A 2010 report by rights group Amnesty International indicates violence against women and girls is endemic in slums, and is linked to the lack of access to sanitation and public security. Another report released in 2014 by the African Population and Health Research Centre shows in Kenya about 30% of young people aged between 10 and 24 are urban slum dwellers.


AfDB President Up for Re-election

AfDB President

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Akinwumi Adesina for re-election as the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).“We have gone some way climbing the steep mountainside of Africa’s development, yet there’s still much way to go until we reach the mountaintop,” he said. Adesina said he worked hard during his four years as president of the AfDB and intends to keep up the good work. The former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria also shed light on some of the achievements the organization has recorded so far, which includes “providing 70 million people with improved agricultural technologies to achieve food security.” Upon his inauguration as the 8th elected leader of the Bank Group, Adesina set down a new five-point agenda, popularly known as the High 5s. The High 5s include Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the people of Africa.


Equatorial Guinea’s Economy Under Threat

Equatorial Guinea’s Economy

New currency controls enforced by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) could ruin the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea, a small West African member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, derives more than 90% of its foreign revenues from its oil and gas industry. The BEAC rules introduced in June are aimed at bringing order to a monetary bloc awash with petrodollars which, owing to lax controls, often end up in offshore bank accounts after bypassing local economies completely. Businesses say the restrictions are causing dire currency shortages and delaying transactions. The minister, Gabriel Obiang Lima, said they were jeopardizing investments by multinational energy companies in Equatorial Guinea’s oilfields.


Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill 

Uganda's Gay Bill

Uganda plans to enact a law that would impose the death penalty on homosexuals, saying the legislation would curb a rise in unnatural sex in the east African nation. The bill, which is supported by President Yoweri Museveni, will be re-introduced in parliament in the coming weeks and is expected to be voted on before the end of the year. Campaigners are optimistic it would pass with the necessary two-thirds of members present – a shortfall in numbers killed a similar bill in 2014 – as the government had lobbied legislators ahead of its re-introduction.“Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalises the act. We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalised. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”


Ethiopian Airlines is in the Market for a New Fleet

Ethiopian Airlines

The airline is reportedly at the final stages of striking a $1.6 billion deal with European aerospace giant Airbus for the purchase of 20 of its narrow-body A220 jets. This is not the first time Africa’s largest air carrier is looking at purchasing the 100-seat Airbus A220s for its fleet. The airline was considering European jets last year, however, it eventually had decided to go with larger Boeing 737 family aircraft. According to Tewolde, Ethiopian Airlines faced difficulties operating large Boeing 737 MAX, as it had to stop off at a second destination on flights from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to cities including Windhoek in Namibia and the Botswana capital Gaborone for refueling. Operating Airbus A220s will allow direct flights with no additional stops.


One More Sleep Before Zuma Knows his Fate

Jacob Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma, who is the subject of multiple court orders to repay an estimated R26m in legal costs and could lose his Nkandla homestead if he fails to repay his VBS bond, will know on Friday if his corruption trial will go ahead. Three judges at the Pietermaritzburg high court will rule on Zuma’s claims that the case against him has been tainted by undue delay and political interference and must be permanently stayed.


Movie Review: Being Nigerian in the UK in the 60s

Inspired by his own experiences, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s drama about black children adopted by white UK families is gruelling but intensely heartfelt. It’s an intensely personal, autobiographical work from actor-turned-director, where he was “farmed”, or adopted, as many children with a Nigerian background were in the 60s and 70s, with white, working-class families in the UK. A little like Shola Amoo’s recent The Last Tree, Farming touches on the alienated experience of fostering and the culture shock of going back to Nigeria.