South Africa’s Aids action plan

first_img15 March 2007South Africa is finalising an ambitious plan to spend as much as R44.9-billion on halving the rate of new HIV infections in the country by 2011 and providing treatment, care and support to at least 80% of people living with HIV/Aids and their families.A draft of the new five-year National Strategic Aids Plan was discussed by government, business and civil society leaders at a consultative conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday.The final document is expected to be adopted by the South African National Aids Council, which is headed by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, by the end of March.Significant departureThe new plan – drafted in close co-operation with some of the country’s top scientists, actuaries, clinicians, health economists and activists – marks a significant change in South African government policy on the epidemic.The plan places a new emphasis on treatment and prevention, and makes no mention of the dietary recommendations previously cited by the health ministry as key to fighting Aids.It also spells out clear, quantified targets, and places a high priority on monitoring and evaluation. Business Day reports that a special unit is to be set up in the health department to monitor the implementation of the plan, with a mid-term review scheduled for 2009.“There is a new mood and energy in government,” Dr Nomonde Xundu, the department’s chief director for HIV/Aids, told Business Day.Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told Wednesday’s gathering that, if supported by business and civil society, the plan would be “the boldest, most comprehensive strategic plan on Aids in the world.”Massive spendingAccording to Business Day, Treasury calculations contained in the draft plan put the costs at almost R45-billion – far exceeding the R14-billion the government has already allocated to Aids programmes over the next three years – with up to 40% of this earmarked for Aids drugs.Xundu indicated to Business Day that the government was likely to increase its funding, but would also look to the private sector and foreign donors for assistance.Speaking at Wednesday’s conference, Xundu emphasised that prevention remained key to South Africa’s fight against HIV/Aids.“The intention of the plan is to ensure that the large majority of South Africans who are HIV-negative remain negative,” she said, adding that there was a strong focus on reducing the number of new infections among people in the 15- to 24-year age group.Young people’s choices“The future course of the HIV/Aids epidemic [in South Africa] hinges, in many respects, on the behaviour young people adopt and the contextual factors that affect those choices,” Xundu said.The plan also aims to reduce the HIV infection rate among children under the age of five by expanding the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme and providing antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women.On treatment, the aim is to increase the reach of the country’s antiretroviral treatment programme from the current estimated one-quarter of HIV-positive people to at least 80% of people living with HIV/Aids as well as their families.In order to lessen the impact of Aids on familes and communities, the plan also aims to expand community-home-based care and palliative care programmes, as well as social safety network programmes for orphans and vulnerable children.‘Formidable partnership’ needed“Nothing less than a formidable partnership between government and civil society can assist us to achieve our goal of reversing the tide of this pandemic,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said on the release of the first working draft of the plan on World Aids Day in December.“Too many people have been infected and too many have died, but if we work together, Aids can be beaten.”According to that draft of the document, HIV/Aids is one of the main challenges facing South Africa, which had an estimated 5.54-million people – 18.8% of the adult population – living with HIV in 2005.“Although the rate of the increase in HIV prevalence has in past five years slowed down, the country is still to experience reversal of the trends,” the document stated. “There are still too many people living with HIV, too many still getting infected.”According to the document, the “immediate determinant of the spread of HIV relates to behaviours such as unprotected sexual intercourse, multiple sexual partners and some biological factors such as sexually transmitted infections.”However, the “fundamental drivers” of the epidemic in South Africa “are the more deep-rooted institutional problems of poverty, underdevelopment and the low status of women, including gender-based violence, in society.”SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Soybean problems showing up

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologistWe have multiple planting dates in Ohio this year with soybeans in all different growth stages. This can create challenges when management decisions are based on the stage of crop development.For soybeans that are flowering, there was a confirmed report of frogeye leaf spot. If the soybeans in the field are in good health then managing this disease is often cost effective on susceptible varieties. Scouting between R2/R3, if frogeye is easy to find on the newly expanded leaves a fungicide application is warranted. There are many fungicides available with fair to very good efficacy. The one caveat is in Ohio we have identified strains of the fungus that causes frogeye leaf spot that is resistant to strobilurin fungicides, so choose a product that has another mode-of-action.For soybeans that are in the early seedling stages that have continued to get these saturating rains, damping-off is occurring. So these fields will continue to decline until about V2, then the resistance in the plant will take over. So continue to monitor stands in these fields. If stem rot develops at the later stages, then that is from Phytophthora sojae. In these cases, a better variety is needed for the future that has higher levels of quantitative resistance.last_img read more

Microsoft Offers $10,000 Prize for a Better Spell Checker

first_imgTags:#hack#tips Microsoft Research and Bing are sponsoring a contest called the Speller Challenge. The goal: create a spell checker that delivers “the most plausible spelling alternatives for each search query” and deliver the service over a RESTful API. The first prize is $10,000. Registration opens on January 17th 2011.According to the rules:The goal of the Speller Challenge (the “Challenge”) is to build the best speller that proposes the most plausible spelling alternatives for each search query. Spellers are encouraged to take advantage of cloud computing and must be submitted to the Challenge in the form of REST-based Web Services. At the end of the challenge, the entry that you designate as your “primary entry” will be judged according to the evaluation measures described below to determine five (5) winners of the prizes described below.The contest seems to be for students, but it is open to anyone except:Entrants who are younger than 18 years of ageResidents of any of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and SyriaEmployees of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiaryPersons involved in any part of the administration and execution of the competition orImmediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household members of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest.I hope lots of good hackers enter this, because I could always use a better spell checker. klint finley Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac…center_img How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Related Posts Why You Love Online Quizzeslast_img read more

Apple Denies PRISM Knowledge, Explains Releases Of Customer Data

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Apple#cyberwar#nsa#Prism Related Posts Apple today released a statement revealing that it, too, has received requests for consumer data from Federal, state and local authorities in the United States, even as it denied participation in the alleged PRISM program conducted by the NSA.Apple joins Facebook and Microsoft as companies that have made public batch data of requests from U.S authorities.Between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013, Apple saw between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data. Those requests totaled between 9,000 and 10,000 Apple accounts or devices. Apple said the requests ranged from criminal investigations to matters of national security with the most common being local police investigating robberies, searching for missing children or trying to locate patients with Alzheimer’s disease.Apple said:Regardless of the circumstances, our Legal team conducts an evaluation of each request and, only if appropriate, we retrieve and deliver the narrowest possible set of information to the authorities. In fact, from time to time when we see inconsistencies or inaccuracies in a request, we will refuse to fulfill it.Apple insists that it knew nothing of PRISM, the clandestine project by the federal government where it supposedly has the power to access the servers of major tech companies (like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft etc.) for consumer data related to matters of national security.Apple reiterated its stance on protecting its consumer data and said that, “we don’t collect or maintain a mountain of personal details about our customers in the first place.”For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data. Similarly, we do not store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.Last Friday, both Facebook and Microsoft (both of which had negotiated with the Federal government for the right to report on data requests) released data on government requests. Over the last six months, Facebook saw 9,000 to 10,000 requests regarding 18,000 to 19,000 accounts while Microsoft said it saw 6,000 to 7,000 requests, affecting up to 32,000 accounts. Both Google and Twitter have said that the batch data that the government allowed the likes of Apple, Facebook and Microsoft to report is not enough. Google would like to see more detail and volume of the data requests including the ability to separate federal government requests from those of local authorities.  dan rowinskicenter_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more