Daily Archives: June 21, 2016

Eighteen Countries have Partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $100M Data for Health Initiative

Partners with Governments Committed to Improving Health Data to Address Greatest Public Health Needs

Initiative has the potential to impact the lives of one billion people

NEW YORK, June 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced partnerships with the first 18 countries that will receive critical technical assistance and catalytic funding for new tools and systems to help nations gather accurate data about the health of their citizens. Launched in partnership  with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade just over one year ago, Data for Health is a four-year, $100 million initiative aimed at improving health data in low- and middle-income countries spanning Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. The first 18 partner countries, reaching nearly one billion people, in the Data for Health program include:

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Brazil
  3. China (emphasis in Shanghai)
  4. Ecuador
  5. Ghana
  6. India (emphasis in Mumbai)
  7. Indonesia
  8. Malawi
  9. Morocco
  10. Myanmar
  11. Papua New Guinea
  12. Peru
  13. Philippines
  14. Rwanda
  15. Solomon Islands
  16. Sri Lanka
  17. Tanzania
  18. Zambia

“Improving the availability and accuracy of global health data is one of the greatest opportunities we have to help people live longer, healthier lives. The more we know about causes of death and illness, the better we can target resources and measure progress,” said Michael R. Bloomberg.

Examples of Progress in Data for Health Partner Countries:

Many partner countries have identified gaps in comprehensive national birth and death data systems, making it difficult for public health leaders to address urgent health challenges. Without accurate data, country governments are unable to make informed decisions about public health priorities and programs, but this is a problem that can be solved. Roughly two-thirds of all deaths in the world—about 35 million a year—are unrecorded, according to the World Health Organization. And among the one third of deaths that do have a death certificate, about three-quarters lack a specific cause of death, meaning that public-health leaders often don’t know what diseases people may be dying of prematurely.

Working together with government leaders who are committed to improving their public health data, the Data for Health initiative is informed by each country’s priorities and how the program can help them reach their goals. For example, in its first year:

  • Brazil: In Brazil, where scientists have offered the first direct proof that the Zika virus causes birth defects, the Data for Health partnership created an integrated database that links information on birth, congenital malformations, lab reports, mosquito infestations, and treatments. The government of Brazil has been using these data analytics in its response to the outbreak, and has made the data available to the public in order to expedite solutions to this growing threat.
  • Solomon Islands: In the Solomon Islands, a nation of hundreds of islands in the South Pacific, the Data for Health partnership is working with the government to re-design death certificates so that doctors are required to give more specific and pertinent information in line with global best practice. The recording of death and birth certificates is critical because without it, governments, donors, and non-governmental organizations can not accurately target resources to prevent deaths and diseases, and have no way to measure whether their efforts are working.
  • Rwanda: For the first time in its history, the Ministry of Health in Rwanda will systematically collect information on deaths outside of the hospital setting. This is a critical step toward understanding leading causes of death in Rwanda, where an estimated 95% of all deaths occur outside of hospitals.

Tactics to Address the Gap: The Data For Health Initiative:

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the government of Australia are working together in collaboration with public health experts including the CDC Foundation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Vital Strategies, University of Melbourne, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the World Health Organization.

In each country, the Data for Health initiative is guided by government priorities, and focused on finding innovative ways to help countries improve how data are collected and used. Once a country partnership is formed and priority areas have been collectively identified, two Data for Health-funded experts with experience in health data collection and analytics are provided to the government to support the work. In addition to funding in-country staff, Data for Health shares global best practices by connecting country staff with global networks.

Strategies of special focus include:

  • Improving Death Certification to Understand Cause of Death – In countries that have prioritized better documentation of causes of death, we will help improve systems for training medical staff, which will lead to more data on why and where people are dying. In addition, we will help make high-quality birth and death certificates a standard practice in more countries. The initiative will create state of the art manuals, global curricula, and improve upon existing electronic birth and death registration software.
  • Training to Analyze Data for Health Policy Decisions – To improve public health policy, we are supporting training and technological enhancements that make it easier for policy makers to use available data in their decision-making.
  • Using Mobile Phones for National Health Surveys – Some participating countries are seeking a better understanding of the effect of non-communicable diseases but in many cases data is still collected through in-person surveys, which are time and resource intensive, especially in remote regions. Introducing mobile phone data collection eliminates the need for field operations, potentially reducing the time to carry out a survey from two years to less than six months.

Michael R. Bloomberg continued, “By coordinating global efforts, working with committed countries, and highlighting innovative practices that can be replicated around the world, Data for Health can benefit billions of people.”

About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat: Bloombergdotorg and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

MEC Qedani Mahlangu launches paediatric surgery outpatient clinic

The Gauteng Health MEC, Ms Qedani Mahlangu will on Thursday, 23 June 2016 preside over the launch of a world-class paediatric surgery outpatient clinic, which will include a sleep-over facility at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

The facility will be built in partnership with international healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Surgeons for Little Lives, a local non-profit organisation focused on saving the lives of sick children.

The two storey clinic is designed to support 2 000 outpatients and 300 inpatients per month and will cater for infants and children up to the age of 10 years presenting with paediatric surgical conditions.

This will include a clinic on the lower level and a maternal sleep-over facility on the upper level, allowing mothers to “live-in” at the hospital for the duration of their child’s hospitalisation, which they currently are not able to do, due to lack of “sleep-in” facility.

This project is part of GSK’s South Africa Community Partnership Programme and supports the company’s overall objective to strengthen the healthcare system in South Africa while playing a bigger role in the local community.

Source: Government of South Africa.

Gauteng Police condemns criminality involved in the protest held at various areas around Tshwane

Gauteng police are condemning the criminality involved during the protest held at various areas around Tshwane since Sunday.

Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lt General Deliwe De Lange said anyone found committing crime will be arrested immediately. Already cases of murder, malicious damage to property, intimidation have been opened.

So far, the province has established a joint operation centre that will manage pilicing in these areas. The centre will consist of roleplayers from all law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders. All police members including those who are on rest days have been mobilised and will assist with policing in these areas. These members will also include members from the divisions at head office.

Police are appealing to community members to remain calm and not to be involved in criminal activities.

Source: Government of South Africa.

Joint statement read by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the conclusion of the Presidential Labour Working Group Meeting convened by President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria

This morning we held the Labour Working Group Meeting convened by President Jacob Zuma.

The meeting was attended by all Labour Federations including COSATU, FEDUSA and NACTU.

The meeting received shared information on the global economic outlook, challenges and interventions introduced by South Africa to weather the storms occasioned by the persisting global economic crisis.

The Department of Trade and Industry briefed the meeting on the progress made in the implementation of the 9 Point Plan, a programme introduced by government 2 years ago to give expression with priorities set out in the National Development Plan.

Organised labour also tabled issues of concerns and alternative solutions to the challenges confronting our country.

The meeting agreed on the need to:

Reaffirm commitment to work together to overcome challenges facing South Africa as we have recently done in the past year or so. We need to build on partnership and solidarity forged in 2008 when Social Partners crafted a pact which protected workers from the global economic crisis. There is clear evidence that when all social partners work together, putting South Africa first, our resilience is fortified.

We need to recognise that SA operates in a context of global low growth and weak confidence – this affects our ability to trade with the outside world and has an impact on the fiscus as well, as we collect lower taxes due to declining revenues and profitability.

We face the challenge of high administrative prices like broadband costs and port tariffs which are higher than those of our global peers.

Going Forward

The meeting reiterated the need to forge partnership with a new strategic posture that helps us reimage the economy of South Africa in a manner that is responsive to the current challenges whilst taking forward progressive socio-economic policies.

There was an agreement to create a ten person task team that will deal with some of the urgent matters identified by the meeting whose primary task will include doing work towards the Jobs Summit which will involve all stakeholders in society.

The meeting agreed on a need to monitor implementation of policies including monitoring of the implementation of Labour Market policies and their impact in the economy and take measures to improve enforcement thus protecting vulnerable workers.

Find practical and intervene effectively in the informal economy that make the business viable.

We agree to focus on improving implementation capacity especially on short term interventions that restore confidence, reduce wastage and increase support for SMMEs as well as measures to promote domestic demand.

Also identify concrete timelines for the work ahead, giving effect to a common narrative and short to medium term goals that we must achieve in the next few months.

There was consensus that we should manage social instability like violent protests in a manner that gives credibility to our narrative of a common purpose and a clear vision.

The meeting was clear that priority must be to protect jobs, create more decent jobs especially for young people and improve working conditions of all workers in order to create a better life for all.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: Developments around violent protests in Tshwane and other areas

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media

This briefing is regrettably about the undemocratic and highly unprecedented scenes we have been witnessing, the outbreak of violent protests in and around the City of Tshwane. Government has noted that the sporadic violent protests are not confined only to the City of Tshwane but in other places in the country.

Government is closely monitoring the situation, just a while ago a delegation comprising Ministers David Mahlobo, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Gauteng Premier David Makhura as well as senior government officials visited Atteridgeville, Hammanskraal and Mamelodi. The destruction of property and chaos we have witnessed is highly unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue.

Government, calls for calm and for people to continue with their normal businesses as government is responding adequately to the situation. We also call on people to be vigilant and avoid any violence related activities. We also call on all people not to allow themselves to be misled by a lot of misinformation circulating on social media and other platforms which are intended to cause confusion and unnecessary panic. We will make the official announcement as and when is necessary.

Government has condemned and continues to condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and the destruction of property which occurred in these areas. Violence, damage to property and infrastructure and infringing on others’ rights and free movement including incitement of others to commit this type of offences will not be tolerated by law enforcement agencies. Those who make themselves guilty of such acts will face the full might of the law.

In this regard, government has increased visible policing of members of the South African Police Service(SAPS) and monitoring of hotspots will continue. The law enforcement agencies are currently hard at work to ensure that calm returns to all areas. Criminal matters arising out of these incidents are being prioritised, among others DPCI and courts will be prioritised so that matters can be dealt with speedily. Approximately about 20 cases are under investigation and so far some arrests have been made and some are in court.

The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster is working in a coordinated manner to ensure that all relevant state institutions respond adequately to the situation.

Government reiterates that violence is not the answer. Our democracy offers many avenues for people or communities to address any grievances. We therefore call on communities to raise grievances within the confines of the law. Those who ultimately decide to exercise their right to protest are advised to do so in a peaceful and orderly manner.

The Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful and unarmed assembly or demonstrations. It also allows for peaceful picketing and the presentation of petitions. Government, however has a responsibility to protect property and to protect those who do not wish to participate in protests or strikes against intimidation and/or threats of violence.

Security personnel will act decisively against individuals who engage in acts of intimidation and incitement or violence. The law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to arrest those who are found to have contravened the law.

Communities and individuals who are unhappy can express their dissatisfaction through a number of constructive platforms. These include public participation forums, Izimbizo, public hearings and other democratic processes. Those who ultimately decide to exercise their right to protest are advised to do so in a non-violent manner.

We have noted the criminal elements who have taken advantage of the situation by disrupting the socio-economic activities which has led to the closure of certain businesses. No public space will be turned into a no-go area. Government reiterates that any form of intimidation or looting by protestors will not be tolerated.

Government would like to thank the law enforcement agencies for their quick reaction to contain the situation and continued assistance in stabilising the affected areas. We would also like to thank all persons in these affected areas who continue to conduct themselves in a responsible and law-abiding manner.

The South African government has and will continue to ensure that all people within our borders is and feel safe.

Source: Government of South Africa.