Daily Archives: December 6, 2017

Six Arrested and Held in Zambia for Illicit Sale of HIV and Antimalarial Products

Investigation by USAID Inspector General Leads to Joint Law Enforcement Action   

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Last week, authorities in Zambia arrested and held six individuals, including two pharmacy owners, involved in the illicit sale of HIV and malaria test kits in Lusaka, the country’s capital. The arrests took place using evidence gathered during a 5 month-long investigation by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

In the weeks prior to the arrests, OIG carried out joint investigative work with the Zambia National Task Force (ZNTF).  The task force consists of the Zambia Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Zambia Medical Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Zambia police.

“We coordinate closely with international partners to thwart the work of criminals who prey upon the U.S. Government-supported global health supply chain,” said Jonathan Schofield, OIG’s Special Agent in Charge overseeing global health investigations.  “Our recent work with partners in the U.S. Embassy in Zambia and ZNTF has stopped several offenders who exploited international aid for personal gain.  We continue to obtain additional information on ways the supply chain was compromised, allowing it to be repaired, strengthened, and better positioned to serve the people of Zambia in the future.”

The U.S. Government provides HIV and malaria test kits, along with other health commodities, under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative, and through contributions to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  The commodities, provided in Zambia and around the world, are intended to be distributed to beneficiaries without charge.

Last week’s arrests stem from a proactive initiative that OIG began in Lusaka in June 2017.  OIG visited pharmacies across the city to determine if U.S. Government-funded products were being sold for profit.  During these visits, OIG quickly identified individuals involved in the illegal sale of stolen HIV and malaria test kits, which were later confirmed to have been provided through U.S. Government and The Global Fund programs.  OIG shared evidence from its investigation with members of the ZNTF, triggering joint investigative efforts that led the ZNTF, assisted by OIG, to detain 13 individuals involved in illegally selling the test kits.

Following the arrests, six individuals are considered the main targets of the investigation and remain in jail.  Zambian authorities released an additional seven individuals after they secured bail on the condition that they return for further questioning.

OIG conducts independent investigations and audits to make U.S. foreign assistance programs more efficient, effective, and accountable.  Promoting integrity in the global health supply chain stands among OIG’s top investigative priorities and OIG operates worldwide to investigate complaints of fraud and misconduct in global health programs.  This work includes its “Make A Difference” (MAD) campaign and hotline to protect the integrity of antimalarial programs overseas.  The campaign operates in Malawi, Benin, and Nigeria and publicly calls for citizens to oppose theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial commodities and to recognize the dangers they present.

More information can be found on OIG’s web site, which also provides instructions for using the office’s hotlines to report fraud, waste, and abuse.

First Tracker Designed for Bifacial Module & Certified by CPP, SkySmart Made its Debut in Global Market

SHANGHAI, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Due to its high energy yield advantage, bifacial modules are becoming widely accepted by the solar PV market. Responding to the trend, Arctech Solar recently launched its innovative SkySmart tracking system. SkySmart is the world’s first tracker that is specially designed for bifacial modules, and it is also certified by CPP.

SkySmart: Single Row, Double Performance

Compared to standard tracking systems, there are six significant advantages of SkySmart.

  • SkySmart owns the industrial record N-S slope 20%, equivalent to 11.3 degrees
  • The number of foundations have been reduced
  • SkySmart tracking system has a double pitch risk-free drive-through cleaning advantage
  • SkySmart is compatible with all commercially available PV modules
  • SkySmart is a self-powered system with Li-ion battery as a backup
  • SkySmart is the world’s first supplier to apply LoRa-wireless communication technology to trackers

Including technical indicators mentioned above, when compared with standard tracking systems, what is particularly worth mentioning here is that SkySmart can maximize the value of bifacial modules with Artech Solar’s patented 4 point/6 point bifacial module fast mounting fixing method. It is a key design that differentiates SkySmart from other manufacturers in the solar PV industry. The newly patented installation method will help clients effectively reduce the module backside shading, accelerates project installation and increases the energy yield.

To know more about SkySmart datasheet at: http://www.arctechsolar.com/index.php/product/downloadcenter

About Arctech Solar

Arctech Solar is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and solution providers of solar tracking and racking systems. Through 8 years of development, Arctech Solar has set up manufacturing bases in Kunshan and Changzhou in China and has also set up subsidiaries and service centers in many regional markets such as America, Japan, India and Europe other than China. As of January 2017, Arctech Solar has cumulatively installed 10GW and completed almost 600 projects in more than 10 countries. With a production capacity of 6GW and 3GW in fixed mounting structure and tracker fields respectively (a total annual capacity of 9GW), Arctech Solar has grown into a reliable partner in the Global PV Tracking and Racking market.

Press Contact:
Sabrina Lyu

Photo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/615497/SkySmart.jpg

Ex-mineworkers benefit from health service centre

Former miners will benefit from a centre which will provide integrated services for Tuberculosis (TB) and occupational lung disease assessments, as well as administrative services for compensation.

Mineral Resources Deputy Minister Godfrey Oliphant officially opened the Kuruman One Stop Health Service centre in the Northern Cape on Tuesday.

The centre is a collaboration by various stakeholders led by government and supported by captains of the mining industry, organised labour and current and ex-mineworker associations with the aim to de-centralise services to claimants and beneficiaries.

The centre is also part of the Department of Health’s ongoing service roll-out campaign to current and ex-mineworkers following the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi’s national launch of the Ku-Riha project in Carletonville, Gauteng province in 2015.

The service centres enable government to trace eligible previous and current mineworkers who have not claimed their compensation benefits over the last 30 years after they contracted occupational lung disease during the time they were employed at mines, the Department of Mineral Resources said.

Deputy Minister Oliphant said there was initially about R1.5 billion available for the compensation of 106 000 unpaid beneficiaries.

Since the launch of One Stop Health Service Centres, the number of unpaid beneficiaries increased by 8320.

Deputy Minister Oliphant encouraged ex-mineworkers to visit the service centres as well as the mobile centres in order to check the status of their claims and if they are eligible for compensation.

The Deputy Minister has reiterated that government, together with various stakeholders, will continue to work together to provide health care services to improve the living and working conditions of current and ex-mineworkers.

Source: South African Government News Agency

More Than 200 Nations Promise to Stop Ocean Plastic Waste

NAIROBI More than 200 countries signed a U.N. resolution in Nairobi on Wednesday to eliminate plastic pollution in the sea, a move some delegates hoped would pave the way to a legally binding treaty.

If current pollution rates continue, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, said the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) which organized the meeting.

Eight million tons of plastic – bottles, packaging and other waste – are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, UNEP added.

“There is very strong language in this resolution,” Norway’s environment minister, Vidar Helgesen, told Reuters.

“We now have an agreement to explore a legally binding instrument and other measures and that will be done at the international level over the next 18 months.”

Norway, which initiated the resolution, has seen the evidence of the damage the pollution causes first hand, he said.

“We found micro plastics inside mussels, which is something we like to eat,” Helgesen added. “In January this year, a fairly rare species of whale was stranded on a beach because of exhaustion and they simply had to kill it. In its tummy they found 30 plastic bags.”

China is the biggest producer of plastic waste but has started making efforts to cut down, UNEP head Erik Solheim said.

“If there is one nation changing at the moment more than anyone else, it’s China … the speed and determination of the government to change is enormous,” said Solheim.

Solheim eventually wants to see governments ban and redesign some packaging.

“Let’s abolish products that we do not need … if you go to tourist places like Bali, a huge amount of the plastic picked from the oceans are actually straws.”

Under the resolution, countries agreed to start monitoring the amount of plastic they put into the ocean.

“While this is not a treaty, significant progress is being made … 39 governments announced new commitments to reduce the amount of plastic going into the sea,” said the chief of public advocacy at UNEP, Sam Barrat. “Chile, Oman, Sri Lanka and South Africa today … announced measures including plastic bag bans, new marine reserves and drives to increase recycling.”

Source: Voice of America

Tourism hosts Hospitality Youth Training Programme graduate learners, 12 Dec

Gauteng Learners Graduate from Hospitality Youth Training Programme

The Department of Tourism will host a graduation ceremony to honour learners from Krugersdorp in the Gauteng Province who participated in the Hospitality Youth Training Programme.

Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe, will officiate the ceremony where two hundred (200) learners will receive CATHSSETA accredited National Certificates in Food and Beverages Services (NQF level 4), and National Certificates in Accommodation Services (NQF Level 2).

In the 2014/2015 financial year, the Department of Tourism approved the training of two thousand learners from across the country. The learners enrolled in a 12-month learnership programme comprised of 30% theory and 70% practical training. Learners were placed at various hospitality establishments within the province for workplace training.

The graduation ceremony will conclude with an Imbizo, affording the Deputy Minister and the Executive from Mogale City an opportunity to engage with the community on the tourism opportunities that are available in the sector for the youth, women and entrepreneurs.

Source: Government of South Africa