NEWS/OPINIONS

Sep. 24, 2022

The United States is providing nearly $327 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help the people of Afghanistan. This funding includes nearly $119 million through the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and nearly $208 million through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, bringing the total U.S. humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and neighboring countries to more than $1.1 billion since the Taliban takeover one year ago in August 2021. The United States remains committed to the Afghan people and continues to call on other members of the international community to adhere to pledges made during the March 31 High-Level Pledging Event on Supporting the Humanitarian Response in Afghanistan.

This assistance from the United States will continue to support the scaled-up humanitarian response in Afghanistan and neighboring countries through international humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations Population Fund, International Organization for Migration, and other implementing partners in the region. This funding will provide emergency cash, shelter, healthcare, and reintegration assistance to internally displaced persons and returnees; as well as protection, life-saving reproductive and maternal health, and gender-based violence prevention and response services. Funding will also continue to support multisectoral assistance to Afghans in neighboring countries, including health and nutrition services to Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan, particularly COVID-19 screening and vaccination services.

Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan is enduring. We provide assistance to people in need, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, disability status, religion, or profession. We welcome the contributions of other donors toward this international response and urge others to generously support Afghanistan’s humanitarian needs and maintain support for the Afghan people.

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Sep. 24, 2022

You know that Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke is attacking our pro-life governor Greg Abbott on the abortion issue. That means Beto is attacking unborn babies.


And you know that Governor Abbott has been the most important line of defense for unborn babies from the abortion industry in Texas.

Beto and the abortion industry have placed a target on our pro-life governor's back. They want him out of office and replaced by Beto. And they are spending MILLIONS of dollars to do it.

It's time to fight back! The General Election is only a few weeks away.


Please donate $5, $25, $250, or more to defend unborn babies by defending and re-electing Governor Abbott and the other pro-life candidates.

Just click HERE.


Beto and his allies in the abortion industry hate Governor Abbott:

  • Governor Abbott signed the trigger law to completely protect unborn babies from abortion beginning at conception, the Human Life Protection Act. All 23 Texas abortion facilities have stopped killing babies indefinitely.

  • Governor Abbott approved $100,000,000 for the state's highly successful Alternatives to Abortion program, helping women for three years after the birth of their babies.

 

Beto wants to repeal the Human Life Protection Act. He wants to make abortion legal and available throughout pregnancy, right up to the moment of birth. He and his allies in the abortion industry want to defeat Governor Abbott and every member of the legislature who voted for these pro-life measures.

Nothing is more frightening that that!


Please make a donation today. For every $100, we will get 14 "PRO-LIFE, PRO-ABBOTT" signs in yards across our state.



Please help us today, and we can immediately get your donation to work defending Greg Abbott and other pro-life candidates!

Sep. 24, 2022

A suite of leading global energy majors to the likes of Kosmos Energy; Chevron; ExxonMobil and bp have driven exploration and production on the African continent for years, with the aim of unlocking the true potential of Africa’s oil and gas resources. Now, these very majors are looking at partnering with regional players in pursuit of energy diversification and monetization.

 

As an energy player, are you interested in connecting with international majors? Are you looking at strengthening your own footprint across key basins in Africa? If so, African Energy Week 2022 is the place to be.

 

By registering and attending the event this October, you will be able to meet and directly engage with the world’s top energy majors, placing your brand among the leading international oil companies active across the continent.

 

Join African Energy Week on October 18-22 and let’s make energy poverty history one partnership at a time.

 

REGISTER NOW

https://aecweek.com/

Sep. 24, 2022


Centers will foster and improve innovation to better prevent, control and respond to microbial threats



Today, CDC announced 5-year awards to five state public health departments. The awards will establish the Pathogen Genomics Centers of Excellence (PGCoE) network. The PGCoE network is intended to foster and improve innovation and technical capacity in pathogen genomics, molecular epidemiology, and bioinformatics to better prevent, control. and respond to microbial threats of public health importance.



The five recipients are the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, and the Washington State Department of Health, each partnered with one or more academic institutions.



Combined, the PGCOEs will serve as a network to: perform a landscape analysis of gaps, needs and opportunities for genomics in the United States public health system; pilot and implement genomics technologies and applications for public health; and prepare for and respond to infectious disease threats.



“The collaboration with our public health and academic partners to conduct and analyze SARS-CoV-2 genomic data has been critical to our COVID-19 response over the past couple years.” said Dr. Christopher R. Braden, Acting Director, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “Building upon that experience by establishing the Pathogen Genomics Centers of Excellence, a collaboration among state health departments and educational institutions, will help us ensure that public health is innovative, robust, and resilient in the future.”



A total of $1.7 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) is helping to support current and future genomic surveillance. These funds include $400 million for innovation, and approximately $90M of this amount will support the PGCoE network over the next 5 years.



“The Centers of Excellence present such an exciting opportunity,” said CAPT (USPHS) Ellie Click, M.D., Ph.D., CDC’s Lead for Extramural Innovation in the Office of Advanced Molecular Detection. “Over the last few years, the collective response to COVID-19 fostered a huge amount of creativity and collaboration between academia and public health in pathogen genomics. The Centers of Excellence will serve as a platform for ongoing partnership and innovation to inform how we tackle infectious disease threats.”



The network also represents an unprecedented opportunity to expand and deepen collaboration between U.S. public health agencies and universities to form a national resource that will advance genomic surveillance. This goal will be accomplished by funding these five Centers of Excellence:



The Georgia Department of Public Health will partner with six academic institutions: University of Georgia, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Emory University, Augusta University, Georgia State University, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will partner with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as lead academic partner. Other partners from Massachusetts and Connecticut include Boston University, Mass General Brigham hospital network, Yale University, Fathom Information Design, and Theiagen Genomics. In addition, it will serve as lead CoE for education with Harvard Medical School, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness (MassCPR).
The Minnesota Department of Health will have the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic as primary partners
The Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services will partner with the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Virginia.
The Washington State Department of Health will partner with the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, and the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory as well as with Public Health – Seattle & King County.


Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC has worked with public health laboratories, academic and clinical laboratories, national organizations (e.g., Association of Public Health Laboratories), and large private sector diagnostic networks to establish and expand a comprehensive genomic surveillance effort focused on large-scale sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.



Academic partners have mobilized scientific resources and built collaborative partnerships to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These partnerships have led to innovative applications of genomic epidemiology in public health. The PGCoE network will build on these collaborations for SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens of public health concern in the future.





Sep. 24, 2022

Ministry of Public Health, Qatar and WHO collaborating to implement public health security measures as FIFA World Cup approaches
https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/ministry-of-public-health--qatar-and-who-collaborating-to-implement-public-health-security-measures-as-fifa-world-cup-approaches

24 September 2022 - An estimated 1.5 million fans are expected to visit Qatar to attend this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. To ensure the safety of players, officials, fans and local residents throughout the tournament, health officials at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and World Health Organization (WHO) have put a broad set of measures in place to mitigate any potential public health risks.

The efforts are part of the three-year Sport for Health partnership between the MoPH and WHO. Along with health promotion, the partnership’s health security pillar plays an essential role in ensuring the health and well-being of the participants in mega sporting events . This includes risk assessment, mass gathering protocols inside and outside stadiums, event-based surveillance to protect people from infectious disease outbreaks and risk communications.

“Mega sports events like the World Cup are attended by significant numbers of people which has the potential to strain public health and response resources of the host nation or community. Preparation is critical to any effective health security plan and Qatar’s health-care sector has undergone remarkable transformation in recent years,” said Dr Hamad Al Romaihi, Director of the Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control Department at the MoPH.

“Qatar’s health-care sector has significantly grown and expanded throughout the last decade. In the public sector alone, we have opened ten new hospitals and 16 new primary health centers since 2010, significantly boosting capacity across the system. This transformation has also been seen in our emergency medical services, with an expanded national Ambulance Service and the opening of the region’s largest Trauma and Emergency Center in 2019.”

“Another significant area of development has been our workforce. We have placed great importance on building a strong, highly skilled team of health-care professionals across the system to lead the delivery of high-quality care to Qatar’s population. All football fans visiting Qatar for the FIFA World Cup can be reassured that, if needed, they will receive health-care services from Hamid Medical Centre teams on par with the very highest international standards,” added Dr Al Romaihi.

Through the Sport for Health partnership, WHO is supporting the Qatar MoPH through provision of technical guidance in applying the risk-based approach when planning for high-visibility events and enhancing response capacities, including outbreak management. Technical assistance will complement Qatar's public health expertise with the latest best practice and experience gained from recent mega sporting events, including but not limited to the Beijing Winter Olympics held earlier this year.

Qatar’s health-care teams have gained significant experience in delivering services for major events and gatherings in Qatar. In recent years Qatar’s health-care workforce has been involved in large-scale tournaments hosted in Doha, including the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup; the IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019; and the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup™.

FIFA has already accumulated experience of organising football under pandemic conditions. It responded quickly to the pandemic, setting up a Task Force in collaboration with stakeholders to oversee the World Cup qualifying competition. Robust protocols were put in place, in line with WHO recommendations, to protect the players and these were refined over time to ensure the safe return of spectators.

Qatar, meanwhile, achieved one of the world’s lowest COVID-19 mortality rates and highest vaccination rates, thanks to its science-led approach, helped by the development of its health-care system.

“Lessons learned during last year’s Arab Cup have shown us that mass gatherings can be successfully delivered if properly managed but they can never be zero risk. Still, associated risk can be decreased by applying tailored, event-specific precautionary measures to the venues, the participants, and the context in which the event takes place, within a general reinforcement of surveillance and public health measures implemented in the host country,” says Dr Rayana Ahmad Bou Haka, WHO’s Representative to Qatar.

”Now our plan is to build on best practices and recommendations from the FIFA Arab Cup™ in late 2021, and strengthen health emergency preparedness and ensure maintenance of precautionary measures for containing infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to keep people safe and healthy,” added Dr Bou Haka.

The MoPH and WHO have collaborated this year to run a series of training workshops and simulated exercises ahead of the World Cup. “When we support these kinds of simulation exercises, we typically think up and present something that might be likely to happen. When we do this, we always want to make sure that the simulated crisis is big enough to actually stress the system, something like a mass casualty event. This sort of exercise will identify areas requiring further strengthening,” said Gillian Dacey, who runs simulation exercises for WHO.

WHO supports and encourages the use of simulation exercises as part of emergency preparedness planning because over the years, it’s become clear that structures need to not only be in place, but also properly functioning, in order to effectively respond to health emergencies.

The unique Sport for Health partnership aims to create a blueprint to protect and promote health at future mass gatherings. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ represents a unique opportunity to develop a new approach to organizing mega sports events factoring in lessons learnt from the pandemic and reinforcing sports and health as a pathway for recovery.