© Afreepress (Lomé, the 1st June 2016)-Every 21st June, Togo celebrates the national day of tree. It is an opportunity given to all citizen to plant at least one tree in their house, farm or even along roads. This year, “Save a soul for Christ Ministry International’ joined the move by planting thousands of trees on about eighteen hectares in the Doglobo, a village located about hundred kilometers from Lome the capital city.
For a total amount of 20,000,000 CFA, this project’s aim is to fight against global warming. It started two months ago with a training to parents and church members on advantages of environment protection. Pastor Philippe Ametepe, the leader of the Church, explains that the Church of Christ should not behave as if the global warming concerns only those outside over there. It concerns everybody because when it doesn’t rain, everybody endures warm and things in farms will not produce as expected, he adds.
The “Salvation” Child Development Center is one of the Compassion assisted projects of in Tsevie (about 60 km from Lomé) and it currently has 239 sponsored children. This center operates through the Compassion Sponsorship Program and expect to deliver children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Those children in the Program are fed, loved, taken care of and their health is taken in charge by the Center assisted by Compassion International.
© Afreepress (Lomé, the 21st March 2016)-Compassion International is an NGO which fights against poverty in children’s life. Last medical checkups in child development centers in Yoto region showed that more than 20% of children suffer from dental diseases. Thus, a campaign was organized to address the issue. From March 18toApril 12, 2016, all beneficiaries in the region and their parents will be sensitized on dental care. A free consultation is organized and the launching ceremony of this campaign took placed on the 18thMarch at the Methodist church of Tabligbo. The theme of the campaign goes: ‘’It all begins here. A healthy mouth, a healthy body.’’
In his speech, Pastor AdamaHerve of the Methodist Church of Tabligbo, hosting the ceremony, talked about the importance of hygiene especially, dental hygiene. He also encouraged the population of the region try their utmost to be consulted because good breath brings people together.MaxwellWOGOMEBU,Compassion’s Program Manager, representing Compassion’s country director, emphasized on the fact that it is always good to observe dental hygiene practices. He mentioned the reason why compassion decided to set in place the dental care event. According to Mr. Wogomebu, dental care impacts people physically, emotionally and keep on influencing their growth and how they enjoy theirs lives. He talked about the target of the campaign which is childrenwho are in child development centers, their parents and whosoever wants to be consulted. He drew the attention of the participants on the fact that in rural areas, it is very difficult to find dentists and even when there is one, people rarely go to him because they don’t have the means to afford treatments.
This four-week campaign is held the 14 child development centers in Yoto region. About 3500 children and 4000 parents and tutors are expected to be consulted during that period. Free dental screening will be made and all the participants will receive hygiene kits such as toothpaste and brushes.The total cost of this campaign turns around 25 million FCFA, about $50,000 USD.
Currently in Togo, Compassion International enrolls about 37,000 children in its holistic programs. It partners with 150 church partners all over Togo.
© Afreepress (Lomé, the 9th December 2015)-Since September, Compassion International and its partner churches in the district of Vogan started a great sensitization on HIV/AIDS. The objective of this campaign is to raise the population awareness on AIDS and helped them have their screening for free. On the World Aids’ Day, the results of the campaign were delivered to the authorities of the district. About 50 chiefs, political and administrative leaders of the district participated in that meeting. According to the district director of health, about 17.000 people tested themselves to see whether they are HIV Positive or not.
At Hahotoe, two Child Development Centers gathered to organize a parade which did a full tour of the town to inform the population about the importance of HIV screening. For this occasion, health workers from the district hospital were sent to the Child Development Centers to help people do their testing for free. Before the beginning of the testing, the health workers held an informative meeting during which they explained to people the different ways of HIV contamination: sexual encounter, sanguine exposure and transmission from mother to child. Then they gave advices about how to prevent HIV and how to help those who are already HIV-positive. After that, the detection tests started.
Many people were actually scared at the idea of knowing their serologic status. Thank God, psychologists were there to help all those people. The project director of the Baptist Church of Hahotoe, Kodjo ALOGNON explained briefly but yet clearly, the reason why the detection tests were organized. He said that Hahotoe is a mining city and accordingly to UN, mining cities are places where there is always higher percentage of HIV-positives. Mr. ALONGNON also added that Hahotoe is an area where poverty is endemic. So “mining town + poverty” equals higher risks of getting HIV through prostitution.
In the afternoon, at Vogan, in the meeting room of the town hall, a conference entitled:“Objective: Zero. Zero new HIV infection. Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS related death”. The meeting started by some few words from the regional overseer of the Church of the Assemblies of God in Vogan, Pastor Koffi DEGBE who thanked partners that gathered to organize the event.
Then, Dr. Viwatin Jeanine AMEDEGNATO who is the child survival program specialist at compassion International Togo did a brief summary in which she presented the actions of compassion International and also the evolution of HIV in Togo especially in Vogan district. After that, the prefect of Vogan, Mr. Kokou LEGUEDE explained the importance of Compassion’s work and thanked the district hospital for its collaboration. He also renewed his wish to see all the people of Vogan working together to eradicate HIV from Togo. The last presentation was done by Dr. AGBETIAFAN Koffi. He is the district director of Health in Vogan. He said that in 2014, there was a decrease of HIV infection of about 35%. He also added that last year, 15 million of HIV positives were under treatment. Since 2000, more than 30million new infections and 8 million deaths were avoided. The WHO objective is that in the next 15 years, HIV should be eradicated.
In 2014, in Togo, some 37000 people are under antiretroviral. The wish of the Togolese government is that till year 2020, we should be able to have a generation without HIV and by year 2030, we should have Zero HIV positive in Togo.
The population of Vogan and surroundings really appreciated this action of Compassion International because it helped them know their serologic status and how to behave whether they are HIV positive or not. This activity was done thanks to Compassion’s donors around the world.
In 2013 China and Africa celebrated a golden jubilee of health care cooperation, a fiftieth anniversary marked by fruitful sharing of knowledge, ambitious sanitary programs, countless material, technical and financial donations and sincere collaboration – the fruit of sustained commitment by both parties. In 2012, China and Africa made a number of new commitments during the Forum on the China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) conference in Beijing, notably for the improvement of access to health care in Africa, commitments that both parties aimed to implement through a three-year Action Plan (2013-2015). 2014 was another crucial year for Chinese sanitary assistance to West Africa.
By Fousseni SAIBOU
China-Africa cooperation, now older than fifty years is better than ever before.
Formerly dominated by the Western presence, this cooperation took a decisive turning point from the year 2009 with the economic boom of China, which has now become the second world economic power after United States of America. The volume of Sino- African trade in 2013 for the first time exceeded 200 billion US dollars, from only 250 million dollars in 1965. This makes China the leading commercial partner of the black continent. Africa and China owe the dynamism of their cooperation to win-win partnership, which they have always aimed to develop between them.
China is not the only one to take advantage of this partnership as some people may think. Africa too wins at it. Thanks to this partnership, Africa not only has a safe outlet for its raw materials, but also benefits from Chinese development aid in several domains such as infrastructure, health, human resources, agriculture, culture. China indeed has had an aid policy towards Africa since the middle of the 1950s. This aid has since 1976 seen a gradual increase. For example, it jumped from 44 million dollars in 2005 to 88 million in 2009.
At the end of this Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting in 2012, China made a commitment to increase its aid for Africa. Health is one of the sectors benefitting from Chinese assistance. Almost all the African partner countries have already received support from China in this domain and West Africa is the largest beneficiary of the last three years (2013-2015).
Fighting Ebola: Strengthened sanitary cooperation in West Africa
2014 was a very painful year for countries of West Africa due to the sudden appearance of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were the most affected countries; 99 % of the affected persons come from these three neighboring countries. By July 2015 the Ebola virus had infected 25 699 people and caused 11 000 deaths. This record exceeds by far that of all the epidemics declared in Central and East Africa between 1976 and 2015 (2 500 contaminations and 1 600 deaths). Overwhelmed and unable to deal with this unprecedented sanitary disaster in West Africa, countries in the region, especially the most affected ones, have no choice but to request outside help. Many countries offered their assistance but among them China was the largest contributor. Its reaction was spontaneous with a contribution of 120 million dollars of financial, technical, material and human resources assistance to the three most affected countries and to ten other countries of the sub-region. This was an historic effort. China transported by charter flight a mobile laboratory to Sierra Leone. Liberia benefited from an Ebola treatment center equipped with 100 beds, and a plane was chartered by China to bring provisions to these countries.
All these means deployed by China hugely contributed to pushing back the Ebola epidemic in the most affected countries and to avoid its spreading to other countries of the sub-region. The example of Cote d’Ivoire, immediate neighbor of Liberia is a case in point. There has been no known reported case in the whole country until today. During a visit to China in November 2014, the Ivoirian Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles Koffi Diby acknowledged that the sincere, rapid and effective assistance of China is one of the important factors that enabled his country to be spared by the epidemic. The end of the epidemic was declared in Liberia on 3 September 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO). The other two countries will not take long to recover. In Sierra Leone, no new case has been reported in the four weeks between September and October 2015. And the national center for the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone hopes by late November to be able to totally eradicate the virus.
The Ebola epidemic caused 6.2 billion dollars of losses in the affected countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have started to think of their reconstruction and recovery, and China promised to assist them in this process. On 10 July 2015 in New York during the summit of donors organized by the UN, China, through its permanent representative Liu Jieyi made a commitment to supply the multi-partner response fund with 5 million US dollars. The Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, reaffirmed China’s commitment to them during his visit to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea in August 2015. He confirmed that China will assist Sierra Leone to set up a treatment and research center on tropical diseases. The Chinese Ebola treatment unit in Liberia will continue to serve the local population.
The appearance of the Ebola epidemic revealed the weaknesses of health care systems in African countries, especially the most affected ones, e.g. (lack of qualified personnel, and adequate equipment, low subsidies for public hospitals, and dilapidated and limited health care infrastructure). In this light China has stated its commitment to continue to support Africa in general in many areas, and in the health care sector, it is going to contribute to the implementation of systems to fight diseases and improve capacities to respond to public sanitary crises.
This strong commitment of the Chinese government in the fight against the Ebola epidemic has aroused the admiration of the international community and in particular the affected countries, and particularly contributed to the strengthening of China-West Africa cooperation.
Equipping hospitals with ultramodern devices for the welfare of communities
In half a century China has constructed thirty hospitals and around thirty malaria treatment centers throughout the African continent. Togo has the privilege to benefit from two health care centers thanks to this cooperation. These are the Lomé Commune Regional hospital built in 2010 and the Regional hospital of Kara built in 1994.
New premises of the regional hospital Lomé Commune built and equipped by China in 2010.
Construction and equipping of the Regional Hospital of Lomé Commune cost the Chinese government 13.7 million dollars. In 2013 the center received additional equipment amounting to 600 900 dollars.
Equipment donated by China to Regional Hospital Lomé Commune.
"China has done a lot for our health care center" declared Sir Sadikou Yakoubou, Manager of the Regional Hospital Lomé Commune.
Mr Komi Gozo and his family use the services of the Regional Hospital of Lomé Commune regularly. He is happy with the health care benefits there. When we approached him he exclaimed: “I thank China for this jewel she brought to our community. To get medical treatment we are no longer obliged to make long distances, or to go to private hospitals and clinics where treatments are very expensive to us. I got rid of my hernia thanks to the operation which I had in this Chinese hospital. I would advise everyone to come here”.
Every year, the Chinese government supplies these two Togolese hospitals with a set of anti-malaria medicines, as well as other diverse medicin and medical equipment amounting to of 87 050 dollars free of charge.
Benin too benefits from the same support. The army training hospital of Parakou, situated in the northern part of the country 500 km from Cotonou, officially delivered to the Beninese authorities on 3 April 2014,is one of the China’s contributions. This hospital has been operational for two years, but with only some areas of specialization. The installation of specialists and equipment by the Beninese state has not yet been completed.
In Benin China supports three other health care centers with medical teams, medicine and equipment. For example China equipped the departmental hospitalof Lokossa with a scanner, which unfortunately has since broken down. Mr Gafarou Wassi, head of the division for Africa, Asia and the Middle East of the cooperation department of the Ministry of Health of Benin, pointed to the lack of spare parts and trained technicians for undertaking maintenance.
China made a commitment during the FOCAC conference in 2012 to continue equipping hospitals it had constructed in Africa in order to insure their sustainable development and to attain the modernization of hospitals and laboratories. The General Hospital of Gagnoa located in the Mid-West of Cote d’Ivoire, inaugurated on4March 2013 by President Alassane Ouattara and Zhang Guoqinq, the Ambassador of China in Cote d’Ivoire, is indicative of this commitment.
Zhang Guoqing and Alassane Ouattara during the inauguration ceremony of the General Hospital of Gagnoa, Cote d’Ivoire, in March 2013.
The full extent of this infrastructure investment in Gagnoa is estimated to be around 14 million US dollars, of which China provided 10 million dollars and Cote d’Ivoire 4 million dollars. This hospital has several units (emergency, resuscitation, pediatrics, surgery, obstetric gynecology, medical imaging, and related technical unit) 104 beds all equipped with ultra modern materials.
General hospital in Gagnoa, Cote d’Ivoire, inaugurated in March 2013.
Since April 2015, Mr Médji BAMBA has been Mayor of the town of Gagnoa, capital of the region of Goh. When we met he said that the existence of this Chinese hospital in his town is very strategic “The department has 50 000 inhabitants. This population uses the services of this hospital. And the specificity of this hospital is the fact that its technical capacity is efficient and updated. Considering the Middle East region of Cote d’Ivoire within a radius of 150 to 200 km, in case of emergency of any kind, they now bring patients here instead of sending them to Abidjan. In case of bad accidents this technical capacity can intervene. This too means this hospital is vital for the region and even the sub-region.’’
Equipment donated by China to the general hospital of Gagnoa, Cote d’Ivoire.
The gyneco-obstetrics department was experiencing a strong influx on the day of our visit. The persons in charge of the center had to make use of beds from the surgery section to accommodate all the patients. The strong interest of the population in the services of the hospital is undoubtedly due to the technical capacity of the center and to the multiple sessions for raising awareness that the Director of the Hospital, Dr Meité Djoussoufou, and his team conduct periodically.
Appoline DOUCOURE, 40 years old, is a beans seller at the market of Gagnoa. Since the hospital opened she and her four children are no longer practicing self-medication because with this hospital they get can obtain good treatment and are healthier than ever before, as she is very happy to point out. Hence she can better run her business and increase her income.
Mobilizing human resources
In August 2013 China and Africa celebrated fifty years of health care cooperation. The first Chinese medical team was sent to Africa (Algeria) in 1963. In all 20 000 Chinese health care professionals have worked in public hospitals in 45 African countries. They have been able to treat more than 230 million patients in various domains such as surgery, traumatology, general medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, ophthalmology, acupuncture, anesthesia, radiology, biology and pharmacy.
1 500 Chinese medical doctors were expected in Africa between 2013 and 2015 in agreement with the framework of commitments made by China during the FOCAC conference in 2012. With regard to the human resources China deployed within the framework of the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, this quota could be exceeded significantly. Complete units of about 1 000 anti-epidemic experts and medical professionals of the Chinese army were sent to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Parallel to this commitment against Ebola, China medical missions to other West African countries. Togo for example welcomed the 21st mission on 11 September 2015. These multiple medical missions in West Africa allowed hospitals there to improve their performance. Eleven Chinese medical missions went to the regional hospital of Kara. The first nine missions realized 73 775 consultations, 44 754 hospitalizations, 4 489 surgical operations, 20 565 radiology and 9 988 acupunctures.
Ophthalmologic consultation session
Apart from malaria, China also contributes to the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, bilharziasis and many other pathologies in West Africa. Reproductive healthand vaccination are also not neglected. China recently made a contribution of 5 million US dollars to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and is also contributing to research for producing vaccines against several diseases, notably Ebola.
Training, research and experience sharing priorities for both sides
Within the framework of their partnership, 19 Chinese universities are collaborating with 29 universities in 23 African countries. Hundreds of Chinese professors are active in African universities. Chinese medical doctors trained their West African counterparts on the ground during their various missions on the continent.
This training provided by China culminated in 2014, when then Ebola epidemic was at its most critical stage in West Africa. About 13.000 health care workers were trained by these doctors sent by China in the affected countries. The Chinese staff, in synergy with these trained African health care workers were able to detect more than 4 900 samples of the Ebola virus and treated 900 patients. This achievement corresponds to one of China’s commitments to Africa in the FOCAC Action Plan for 2013-2015, i.e. training three thousand nurses and one thousand doctors in Africa.
Medical team made up of Chinese and Togolese doctors.
Apart from this training, China grants internships to hospital staff and post-doctoral internships to doctoral researchers of the sub-region for long periods. It also facilitates them in their careers by supplying them with equipment for research at the end of their internships. For example since 2013 China has welcomed three waves of trainees of the General Hospital of Gagnoa. The last one, composed of five persons, returned from China in October 2015.
Acupuncture is a medical practice which is very developed in China. Its experimental use for several years in Africa is improving health conditions for West African communities.
Acupuncture operation in the REGIONAL HOSPITAL Lome Commune.
According to Doctor Raymonde GOUDOU COFFIE, president of the assembly of the ministers for health of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the successful example of China regarding the use of both traditional and modern medicine in health care is a way forward to be explored for Africa.
Permanent assessment: Sino-African sanitary cooperation
For their joint objective for greater quality healthcare, China and Africa made a commitment to strengthen their exchanges in the medical domain. The FOCAC 2012 Action Plan earmarked the development of a high-level China-Africa seminar on sanitary development. And this promise has been kept, given that on 26-28 March 2015 the fifth edition of the Sino-African Seminar on Sanitary Cooperation took place in Beijing, China. This seminar, organized jointly by the Research Center on Public Health at Tsinghua University and the import-export Chamber of Commerce of sanitary and medical products from China gathered more than 350 dignitaries and senior health officials from China and Africa, including from government, academia, the private sector and international organizations. The objective was to think about the opportunities and the challenges of Sino-African health cooperation. A final document entitled "Strategic Recommendations of Beijing" was adopted by the participants. The document proposes strategies to strengthen intercontinental cooperation in view of attaining a sustainable impact, and it emphasizes universal health coverage and access to basic medicine.
This event was preceded by the first conference of the Ministers of Health that took place on 15-18 August 2015, likewise in Beijing. This conference aimed to coordinate new efforts needed to support long term progress in health care in Africa, and to prepare the future directions of China-Africa health cooperation. This gathering coincided with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Chinese medical mission to Africa. Representatives of all countries present adjudged the preceding fifty years of the Chinese medical presence in Africa satisfactory, and now the objective was to redefine the partnership by taking the priorities of the continent into account. This meeting gave birth to the Beijing Declaration, in which Chinese and African leaders proclaimed a new era of health cooperation defining a road map to jointly solve the main difficulties that African countries are still faced with, in particular the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, bilharziasis, reproductive health and vaccination. The second edition of this forum of Ministers for Health took place from October 2015 in Cape Town South Africa.
Doctor Robert Zanou, assistant manager of programming the Ministry of Health of Benin took part in this meeting. " We used to say that health has a cost. No! Health has no cost, but health has to be an investment. So African countries need to now know that they have to invest enough in health so that the rates of the diseases known as people diseases, such as AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis etc. can be reduced. They largely focused on that”, he declared.
At the end of this meeting, China has once more taken on new commitments for the next three years. Its most important announcement was the construction of 100 new hospitals on the continent.
All these ambitious projects initiated by China will help West African countries to reach the goal of universal health coverage. However, in some fields challenges still remain that need to be addressed.
Technology transfer lagging behind
Infrastructure constructed by Chinese companies in Africa, e.g. roads, hospitals, stadiums, and administrative structures, should be an opportunity for the African workers hired for these projects to learn Chinese knowhow. It must be the same for African doctors who regularly collaborate with Chinese experts through medical missions, training, and internships. It is undeniable that Africa benefits from all these actions from China, which contribute to its development, but Africa would benefit more if technology transfer was written into China-Africa partnership agreements, and there were really implemented. Otherwise African countries cannot reach the level of development to which they all aspire.
This technology transfer seems unfortunately to be lagging, especially in health care matters, and this contributing to maintaining Africa in a permanent dependent state to China. This is particularly apparent with pharmaceuticals and the medical treatment of non-transmittable diseases, mainly cancer. In the Beijing Declaration, which marked the end of the activities of the 1st forum of the China-Africa Ministers for Health in 2013, the representatives of Africa insisted on technology transfer, which according to them is the only way to guarantee medical autonomy of Africa. So it is important that Africa succeeds in producing generic medicines on its own to make them more accessible to people, and therefore ensure their better health.
In 2013 Cote d’Ivoire succeeded in completing its first kidney transplant, a medical revolution in this country. China can also assist other countries of the sub-region to take the same important steps in medicine, i.e. the transplantation of vital organs, via technology transfer.
“The important thing is to be able to solve all health problems in Africa. Because it is very expensive if we must move abroad to get treated. The ideal thing would be that China allows her technology to be set up in West Africa’’, said Doctor ETIEN Yao Toussaint, a general practitioner at the Gagnoa Hospital.
To facilitate this technology transfer, some hospital managers proposed promotion of telemedicine, i.e. the use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide clinical health care at a distance, in health care infrastructure constructed by China in Africa.
Hepatitis forgotten by China-Africa healthcare cooperation
Over the last few years West Africa has experienced a decline in HIV/AIDS prevalence and a reduction of mortality rates connected with malaria and tuberculosis. This was achieved largely due to efforts by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and by China, which annually mobilizes huge financial resources to fight against these three diseases. All this attention dedicated to the fight against these diseases, however, means that certain other dangerous diseases have been largely forgotten, namely hepatitis which causes cancer and liver cirrhosis in Africa.
Hepatitis B (VHB) remains the most widespread in West Africa with a prevalence of 10-15 % of the population. The lack of reliable figures in West Africa shows the little interest afforded to this pandemic, which many experts consider as very acute. Despite the existence of a vaccine, Hepatitis B remains a silent pandemic which continues to decimate working populations and children, but it does not really seem to moving their leaders. Only some few countries such as Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal have national programs to fight hepatitis. Countries such as Togo recently made some effort to introducing hepatitis vaccines into their extended program of child vaccination. Yet for many people the cause is hopeless; a majority of infected patients die without being able to obtain treatment, because treatment is too expensive. In Senegal for example, one year of antiretroviral medicine for Hepatitis B costs approximately 4 000 US dollars, while half of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. Only those who have the double infection of HIV/VHB enjoy the antiretroviral drugs free of charge.
Some non-governmental organizations and associations have pointed out that if particular attention is not dedicated to this pandemic in the same way as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, West Africa risks an unprecedented disaster in a few years’ time. To save West Africa from hepatitis, China and her African partners have a big challenge to take up toward insuring free access to the vaccine for Hepatitis B, in making access to antiretroviral drugs free by implementing national programs and by setting up centers for research and treatment.
They can also intensify awareness among the population and organize regular high-level meetings on the state of progress of the fight against it in West Africa within the framework of a new Sino-African agreemen.
“Any aid in this domain would be welcomed, because only some pathologies are accounted for by the European partners. There are some other diseases such as Hepatitis B which are more dangerous than AIDS and can be stopped if we find a partner’’, Doctor ETIEN Yao Toussaint pointed out.
Hospitals in West Africa have many other serious problems, such as the acute lack of kidney dialysis equipment. In Togo and in Cote d’Ivoire, patients suffering from kidney failure are obliged to move to the capital to again access to hemodialysis. The mayor of Gagnoa is concerned about this situation, and calls on the Chinese government to equip the hospital of his town with a dialysis unit. ’’We also need that our hospital be improved through more equipment, such as that of the hemodialysis. A dialysis unit needs to be set up to help the hospital be more effective, for everything is concentrated in Abidjan. In Gagnoa, for example if it happens that you suffer from this disease, your life expectancy is only two months’’, he said.
Important decisions are expected at the FOCAC Summit in December 2015. According to local and traditional health care authorities in Benin, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, China and Africa have to seize this occasion to reflect on the diverse health problems in Africa and especially on how to fight against the three root causes of the epidemics in West Africa, namely poverty, unhealthiness and illiteracy.
© Afreepress (Lomé, the 29th April 2015)-President Faure Gnassingbe defied all odds to make history by winning Togo’s presidential elections with a wide margin that has confounded his rivals into disbelief.
According to provisional results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday night, Faure Gnassingbe swept the polls in four out of five economic regions of Togo.
“Based upon these results, the national electoral commission hereby observed that Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe is therefore elected on basis of provisional results that will be subjected to the constitutional court for confirmation,” chairman of the Togo Electoral Commission said.
Provisional results declared by the chairman of Togo’s electoral commissioner Issifou Taffa Tabiou gave Faure Gnassingbe of the ruling UNIR party 1.214. 267 votes about 58.75 per cent against 722.347 votes about 34.95 per cent by his closest opposition coalition rival Jean-Pierre Fabre.
Veteran opposition leader, Aimé Gogué of Democratic Alliance for integral development , ADDI party came third with 63.678 votes about 3.8 per cent.
Ex-army officer Gerry Taama of NET party followed with a dismal score of 21.886 votes about 1.6 per cent with Tchassona Traoré of MCD Party at the bottom of the league table with 20.386 votes about 0.99 per cent. In all over 3.5 (3.509. 258) voters registered for the presidential elections but 2.1million (2.105051) electors cast their votes and the number of suffrage is 2. 066.997.
The turnout was 55 per cent.
“I will like to congratulate the Chairmen of all the local electoral commissions and their members for the security that characterized the centralization process and also for accepting despite the three sleepless nights to do al they can in order to comply with today’s exercise”, the electoral commissioner said.
AU and Ecowas electoral observer missions identified a few anomalies in Saturday’s polls but both concluded that “voting, counting and compilation of results were done openly and peacefully without any major incidents”.
They two observer missions also urged all candidates to exclusively resort to legal means for the settlement of any dispute arising from this polls.
The provisional election results will have to be validated by Togo’s Constitutional Court after all disputes have been reviewed.
The Togo multi-party constitution requires the INEC to submit the provisional results to the Togo Constitutional Court within eight days after the declaration of provisional results.
The Constitutional Court will then proceed to examine all election petitions deposited by aggrieved candidates for redress before to pronounce the definite election results within thirty days.
Thousands of ruling party supporters broke into jubilation in the northern sector of Lome. “I am very happy because this victory is clear without any allegations of fraud so nobody is going to demonstrate”, a ruling party militant declared.
These presidential elections offered Faure Gnassingbe the unique opportunity to rule Togo for a third term despite
But Francis Pedro Amouzun, vice-chairman of the electoral commission and also representative of Jean Pierre Fabre expressed dissatisfaction at the proceeding that led to the release of the provisional results.
“We held discussions with the Ghanaian and Ivorian heads of state and we were told that we should all what it takes to respect the deadline provided for by the electoral code. I was surprised when I switched on my TV set to get to know that the chairman of the electoral commission was about to give the provisional results, despite claims by some opposition candidates that there were ballot boxes stuffing in some electoral districts in the northern parts of the country”, the vice-chairman said.
The Togo multi-party constitution requires the electoral commission to submit the provisional results to the Togo Constitutional Court within eight days after the declaration of provisional results.
The Constitutional Court will then proceed to examine all election petitions deposited by aggrieved candidates for redress before to pronounce definitely election results within thirty days.
AU and Ecowas electoral observer missions identified a few anomalies in Saturday’s polls but both concluded that “voting, counting and compilation of results were done openly and peacefully without any major incidents”.
They two observer missions also urged all candidates to exclusively resort to legal means for the settlement of any dispute arising from this polls.
It will be recalled that the Gnassingbé family has been ruling since 1967 in Togo. But this time around many challenges are awaiting the man who will preside over the political destiny for the next five years in Togo. These challenges include the stormy crisis in the health and education sectors as well as the constitutional and institutional reforms. Faure Gnassingbe will rule Togo for another third term, despite calls by some opposition parties and civil rights organizations to return to the country’s 1992 constitution which limits the mandate of any Togolese head of state to only two terms.
Blamé Ekoue, Lomé
© Afreepress (Lomé, the 25th April 2015)-Togo remained poised to regain its rightful place in the arena of modern democratic nations as 3.5 million voters turned out massively to cast their votes to freely elect a new Head of State of their choice who will preside over their political destiny for the next five years.
Voting in Lomé and other parts of the country has been peaceful and calm even though there were sign of undercurrents of tension along some of the voters who looked nervous.
Obviously the message of the nightmare of the political violence of the 2005 presidential elections has not been lost on them.
During the 2005 presidential elections, more than 500 Togolese were killed during skirmishes with Togolese security forces according to some investigations.
This time around Special Election Security Force made up of 8000 gendarmes and policemen are monitoring the security aspects of the polls.
In Lome many determined voters got to the polling stations as early as five o’clock in the morning, one hour ahead of the official voting which started at 6, o’clock a.m local time.
At the Immaculée Conception Nyekonakpoe Primary School and CEG Kodjoviakopé polling stations, located in one of the opposition strongholds, the queues which were slim at first began to grow bigger and longer as more voters started milling in their numbers into the polling centres after polling started on schedule.
At the Immaculée conception Primary School in Lome, some voters expressed their aspirations and political expectations in diverse ways when I offered them my microphone.
“I have come to cast my vote. It is my civic duties and I have to perform it”, said Loic Afognon.
Unlike during past elections voting materials arrived this time around on schedule.
Against the background of widespread fears that the polls may be marred by violence, voting has proceeded in an orderly peaceful and calm manner with less aggressive but serious looking potential voters standing in long queues patiently hardly exchanging banter with one another.
President Faure Gnassingbe cast his vote Gnassinggé Eyadema Camp early this morning at 8 o clock while Jean-Pierre Fabreconsidetred like the main challenger to the out-going head of state did so at the Kodjoviakopé Secondary School polling station at 9 o’clock.
Togo’s minister for territorial administration, Mr Gilgert Bawara, expressed hope that the voting will be carried out peacefully in over 8944 polling stations throughout the five regions of Togo.
“Hopefully, everything will go on peacefully and I hope that things will be peaceful until the proclamation of the results regardless of the outcome of the polls”, Mr Bawara said at the press briefing held this afternoon in Lomé.
He expressed the wish that for the first time , Togo’s presidential elections will be democratic , transparent and peaceful with the results acceptable to all candidates.
He also said that “at this stage I cannot have the appropriate figure about the turn out. However, we have all notice that Togolese turned out massively to cast their votes”.
Out of the formidable pack of five presidential candidates, to-day’s elections appear to have become a close contest between President Faure Gnassingbe of the ruling UNIR party and Jean-Pierre Fabre , candidate of opposition coalition known as CAP 2015.
Counting is expected to start immediately but Togo’s Electoral commission says that results will be expected until 72 hours.
More than 500 international observers from the AU, Ecowas Francophonie and WAEMU will monitor the polls together with 30 000 local observers.
Togo closed its land borders with neighbouring Ghana, Burkina Faso and Benin Republic yesterday night at 9 PM as the country holds today its presidential elections leaving many travelers stranded at the entry points.
A communiqué released by Togo’s ministry for territorial administration said the borders will to be re-opened on Sunday after today’s polls at 6 A.M.
Many persons including journalists and traders who were not aware of the decision to close the borders on Friday night have been stranded at the Aflao Border.
Beer bars and restaurants also remained closed until voting officially ends today at 4 P.M.
Blamé Ekoué reporting from Lomé, Togo