Friday, May 07, 2004

Prime Minister’s Commission for Africa Part 2

I am sorry I have been unable to update this blog any sooner but I have been a little occupied with a few things over the last two days.

Continuing with the rant on the Prime Ministers Commission for Africa I have to start by saying that having read the profiles of all the commissioners I am very impressed by Dr. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka. Dr. Tibaijuka holds a Doctorate of Science in Agricultural Economics from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala. From 1993 to 1998, when she joined UNCTAD, Dr. Tibaijuka was Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. During this period Dr. Tibaijuka was also a member of the Tanzanian Government delegation to several United Nations Summits. At these conferences, Dr. Tibaijuka was an active member of the Civil Society and NGO Forums. At the World Food Summit in Rome, Dr. Tibaijuka was elected Coordinator for Eastern Africa in the Network for Food Security, Trade and Sustainable Development (COASAD). Dr. Tibaijuka has also been a Board Member of UNESCO's International Scientific Advisory Board since November 1997. Dr. Tibaijuka is the founding Chairperson of the Tanzanian National Women's Council (BAWATA), an independent, non-politically aligned, organisation advocating for women's rights to land, inheritance and social services. Dr. Tibaijuka is also founding Chairperson of the Barbro Johansson Girls Education Trust, which is dedicated to promoting high standards of education amongst girls in Tanzania and in Africa. Dr. Tibaijuka is also the convener of Tanzania's Local Entrepreneurs Initiative (TALE), a voluntary group mobilising and assisting Tanzanians to form joint venture companies with overseas investors. Dr. Tibaijuka has been a Board Member of the Tanzania Economic Policy Development and Management Foundation and is a Director of a number of private companies dedicated to encouraging entrepreneurship and efficiency in the marketing of agricultural commodities. Dr Tibaijuka speaks English, Swahili, Haya, Swedish and some French. She is a widow and has four children. How does someone manage all that in a lifetime? Where do they get the enthusiasm? Where do they get the dedication? Where does the energy come from?

The bulk of my last rant was concentrated on how I believe African countries can be helped by the more developed countries to deal with the aids crisis but apart from aids other illnesses such as Yellow Fever (eventually leads to death), Hepatitis A (recovery takes about 2 months), Malaria, Polio (eventually leads to death), Tetanus, Typhoid etc also cause major problems in Africa. If an economically active person in the population contracts one of these illnesses the family will naturally see their income fall as this person will be unable to work for sometime which could easily lead to them loosing their job, I know that would have been the case where I worked. Then their costs will rise, as they have to pay for the medical treatment that their relative receives.

A way of trying to reduce the cases of these illnesses is to educate the population. For example just informing the local population that the Hepatitis A virus is picked up from contaminated food and water or teaching the local population that they should avoid unpeeled fruit, badly cooked meat, untreated milk etc and that they should purify water or make sure it is clean.

Again I am sorry but I am out of time but I have to go for now. I will try continuing with this rant later. Unfortunately it will not be tomorrow as Mark and me are off to London for A Europe for Citizens: Our Role organised by Charter 88 and the New Politics Network.

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