MISCELLANY

A series of some 10 earth tremors including one estimated at 5.9 on the Richter scale hit northern Tanzania between July 12 and 18. They were close to the Ol Doinyo Lengai mountain, an active volcano on the floor of the Rift Valley The last major eruption was in 1966. No major damage was reported, but several of the tremors caused panic in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, when buildings shook violently. Workers were evacuated from several high-rise buildings in Nairobi as uncertainty spread. The tremors also affected Arusha where the building housing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was evacuated on 17 July – IRIN.

Former US President Bill Clinton has launched a pilot scheme on the use of the highly effective Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACT) against malaria for 450,000 initially in two districts of Maswa and Kongwa. The program is to be implemented jointly by Tanzania and the Clinton Foundation to ensure that the medicine is also available 95 percent cheaper. – Guardian.

British High Commissioner Philip Parham was quoted in Majira as saying that it was the Tanzania government that was responsible for the pensions of Second World War veterans. Talking at a wreath laying ceremony at the Askari Monument in the city centre, he said that Her Majesty’s Government continued to give assistance to Tanzania – this year the amount of general budget support being TShs 265 billion. “Government is free to utilise the money in any way it sees fit, including paying the war veterans their pensions.” A former King’s African Rifle’s officer, David Nickol (87) said further assistance is given annually by the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Servicemen’s Legion (RCESL).

A cricket team from Britain was due to arrive in Zanzibar in September to play several friendly matches, according to Deputy British High Commissioner, Tony Brennan. He said the UK had already given assistance in money and equipment for sports. He said the British cricketers would also look into the possibility of preparing cricket pitches.

On April 26 President Kikwete pardoned some 4,000 prisoners as part of celebrations to mark the 43rd anniversary of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Prisoners pardoned included those who had served at least a quarter of their jail terms; had been jailed at the President’s pleasure; had been in prison for not less than 10 years; or were suffering from HIV/Aids, tuberculosis or cancer. Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and people with physical or mental disabilities were also freed.

Environmental activists have been protesting against government plans to re-introduce Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) in the fight against malaria. Tanzania has declared its intention to re-introduce DDT as a solution to malaria control.
Meanwhile, in Zanzibar, where DDT use is not allowed, health practitioners have pointed to their success in cutting malaria numbers. “We have few or no cases in many hospitals or clinics in Zanzibar. The big drop has prompted us to reduce malaria therapy stocks by donating to our friends on the mainland where malaria is still a big problem,” the Zanzibar Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Sultan Mugheiry, said. Mugheiry attributed the islands’ success to increased awareness in seeking early treatment, accurate diagnosis and combination therapy, and the ongoing campaign to use insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). “Since September 2005 we have distributed more than 300,000 treated mosquito nets to mainly pregnant mothers and children below five years of age. Our recent estimate shows that 82 percent of Zanzibar children below the age of five, and 62 percent of nurturing or pregnant mothers, sleep under nets,” Mugheiry said. Ninety percent of residential homes, he added, had been sprayed with chemicals against mosquitoes, and the ministry has started to spray larvae sites.

Vunjo MP Aloyce Kimaro said Tanzanian porters and guides, who routinely assist tourists in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, receive peanuts despite the huge amount of foreign exchange generated in the process. In 2004, 2005 and 2006 expeditions on the mountain earned the country about TShs 10bn, TShs 14.2bn, and TShs 14bn, respectively, but very little went to these poor youths, he said.

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