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Revital Healthcare (EPZ) Limited becomes the world’s first manufacturer of a respiratory device that supports neonates and infants with breathing problems without the need for electricity.

The Kilifi County-based firm has once again put Kenya on the global map with this latest respiratory facility.

The Vayu Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) system provides blended oxygen to infants without the use of electricity.

 It is considerably cheaper, portable, has components that are re-usable after sterilization, and could be used at any hospital in any part of the country, compared to the normal CPAP systems in the market.

Already, the firm has shipped 120 units to Ukraine as a donation to the troubled country in conjunction with UNITAD.

 Speaking while unveiling the respirator kit, Revital Healthcare Vayu bCPAP project officer Ms. Krupali Shah said newborn babies were the world’s most vulnerable population, among these are premature babies with underdeveloped lungs or acute respiratory illnesses.

Shah said such babies may need to be placed in incubators where there may or may not be controlled the oxygen provided to them, which may lead to various other conditions like blindness, lung damage, brain damage or even death.

 According to the World Health Organization, respiratory distress is a leading cause of global child mortality, with nearly 1.1 million neonates dying annually because of preterm birth complications in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

County Health Executive Charles Dadu disclosed that over 1,000 cases of neonatal complications are recorded in the 120 functional delivery rooms annually.

 “Out of these, 40 per cent (about 400) die out of the complications and the Vayu bCPAP system will help reduce the mortality rate,” said Dadu.

The health executive said after the adoption of the respiratory kit in the hospitals, 10 babies’ lives were saved.

 Speaking during the ceremony, Maternal and Child Health Ambassador Dorothy Nyong’o, the Kisumu county First Lady, said in Kenya, two out of 10 children who present difficulty in breathing will die because of lack of adequate equipment to save their lives.

Mrs. Nyong’o said Kisumu County has only five Vayu Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) machines which were concentrated at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching Referral Hospital.

Revital Healthcare has partnered with US firm Vayu Global Health Innovations to manufacture the devices locally and help reduce child mortality in local Kenyan hospitals.

Already, the devices are in use at the Kenyatta National Hospital, Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital and Kilifi county referral hospital, in Kenya, the Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania and over 15 other countries globally.

CPAP systems exist in the market already but these use electricity thus limiting use to specific hospitals and are expensive, with one costing at least $1,500 (approximately Sh175, 000). KNA

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "The nightmare of war has been going on for too long. We ask the belligerents to return to reason", exhort the Bishops of CENCO (National Episcopal Conference of the Congo), in a statement in which they express their concern about "the deterioration of the security conditions in the province of North Kivu (in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo)", in particular in the territories of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo, following the intensification of fighting between the FARDC (Armed Forces Congolese) and the M23 rebels, who are causing many losses of human lives on both sides.


The M23 is a rebel group that resumed hostilities in 2021 after having laid down their arms in December 2013. The resumption of the M23 offensive is increasing tensions between the DRC and Rwanda, accused by Kinshasa of supporting the Congolese rebels. In turn, Kigali accuses the DRC of providing aid to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLRDLR), a Rwandan rebel group based in North Kivu. Tensions between the two countries increased when the Rwandan government denounced the kidnapping of two soldiers by the FDLR, accusing Kinshasa of being complicit in the kidnapping.

Thanks to the mediation of Angola, the two soldiers, who had apparently been captured by the regular Congolese army, were released. In the statement sent to Agenzia Fides, CENCO underlines how instability in North Kivu is fueling regional tensions, stating that it is "astonished because the fighting occurs a few weeks after the Nairobi meetings, in which the Heads of State of the Great Lakes region and the armed groups pledged to unite their efforts to establish peace in the east of the DRC".

"The peoples of the Great Lakes region aspire to lasting peace through better cooperation from which future generations can benefit," the bishops say. "All the more so -they add- as the Congolese people are mobilizing to receive the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in July, who comes as an architect of peace and an apostle of reconciliation. It is neither correct nor honorable to try to deny this people this moment of happiness that will be a source of blessing for the entire DRC", they conclude. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 1/6/2022)

A woman looks over Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi, where thousands are dependent on rations provided by the World Food Programme. Photograph: Angela Jimu/Majority World/Getty Images 
 
Hundreds at Dzaleka camp told they are no longer eligible for food supplies from the World Food Programme.

Mornings are the worst time for Fayness Alpha. Her children wail from hunger most often when they wake up, she says. Alpha was 15 when she first arrived at Dzaleka – a refugee camp in Dowa, 40km from Malawi’s capital Lilongwe – having been forced from her home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by bandit attacks. A decade later, she is married with three children. But, like thousands of others, she is unable to find work in the camp or to leave, rendering her dependent on rations provided by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP). 

But the WFP – underfunded and facing pressure from other emergencies – “re-evaluated” the needs of the camp’s inhabitants. Alpha was among hundreds who found themselves removed from the list for receiving monthly food supplies. Many say this has left them destitute.

“My husband and I are jobless and depend on rations to survive. Ever since we were taken off the list, life has been very hard and we’re just surviving on the grace of God,” says Alpha.

Fayness Alpha has lived in Dzaleka refugee camp for a decade.
Fayness Alpha has lived in Dzaleka refugee camp for a decade. Photograph: Handout

“Life is complicated now, and as you can see my children are crying because of hunger. We’re living a difficult and painful life.” She has appealed to WFP staff to reconsider her situation.

The UN conducted a household “vulnerability profiling exercise” of 10,846 refugee and asylum-seeker households in Dzaleka in 2020. Ranking households by income and need, it determined that 678 had found alternative livelihoods, making them food secure. But many of those who found themselves removed say they are baffled as to why.

Dzaleka was established 25 years ago in response to an increase in the number of people fleeing genocide and wars in Burundi, Rwanda and DRC. With an initial capacity for 10,000 people, the camp now houses about 50,000.

Malawi is again seeing new arrivals of people pushed by conflicts, civil unrest and political and economic instability across the region. About 600 people came after being displaced by Mozambique’s floods in February.I am living in a desperate situation. We might die of hunger, Elie Zagabe

Paul Turnbull, WFP director for Malawi, says the growing number of people in the camp is stretching resources. “In the current economic context, especially with the conflict in Ukraine, funding is very difficult.

“WFP appreciates the support it gets from its funding partners to provide food assistance to refugees in Malawi and elsewhere. The number of refugees in Dzaleka camp has more than doubled since 2013. With limited access to business opportunities, WFP assistance is the primary source of food for most people. Alternative sources of livelihoods in the camp have also been affected by the pandemic,” he says.

Dzaleka refugees camp, Malawi
Dzaleka was intended to house 10,000 people but 50,000 now live there. Photograph: Courtesy of There is Hope

More than half of those removed from the list have appealed to the WFP, including Elie Zagabe, 37, who escaped from war in DRC 16 years ago. He enrolled for community learning and eventually found a job helping out in a primary school. But he earns a minimum amount and believes his family’s food rations have been taken away because of a mistake. 

“I lost my position [on the list] because the two children are seriously sick. Last two weeks, the second-born was very sick and admitted at Dowa clinic with pneumonia. I think this is because of the cold here at the camp. I was with the child at the hospital while my wife was taking care of the other child at home.

 

“The people who were doing the survey didn’t approach me. I found them at my neighbour’s place and I told them to reach my home but they said since they had seen me we could interact right there.” He says others he knows on the same salary have stayed on the list, and his attempt to appeal against the decision has been in vain.

“I’m living in a desperate situation. We sometimes spend the night without food. My children cry of hunger and I have nowhere to turn to. We might die of hunger,” he says.

Of the 325 households who appealed, WFP says 103 are eligible to be “reprofiled” using the same vulnerability questionnaire used in 2020, although this does not guarantee being reinstated on the list.   Dowa, Guardian

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