HHS releases draft of national vaccine plan

first_imgDec 4, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday released a draft of its national vaccine strategy, which, once finalized, will serve as the federal government’s game plan for guiding its policy decisions on infectious disease vaccine.The 85-page report, dated Nov 26, is intended to update the nation’s vaccine plan, which was mandated by Congress and first released in 1994, according to the report.In a letter accompanying the draft, Joxel Garcia, MD, MBA, assistant secretary for health at HHS, wrote that the next step involves extensive input on the plan from the public, the vaccine industry, and other stakeholders. He added that HHS’s goal is to finalize the plan by late 2009.”This input will also enable us to develop an implementation plan with discrete activities and measurable milestones,” wrote Garcia, who is also director of the HHS’s National Vaccine Program.Though the efforts across several federal departments mostly or fully achieved all of the 1994 vaccine plan goals, many of the same challenges remain, the report said. For example, vaccine shortages still crop up, and immunization rates for high-risk groups fall below their ideal levels.”Additionally, emerging and pandemic infections and bioterrorist threats pose new challenges for vaccine development and regulation, manufacturing, vaccine delivery, and access in the US and abroad,” the report notes. It also states a need to pursue a cross-protective vaccine for influenza.The draft plan was coordinated by the National Vaccine Program Office and reflects the input of several federal agencies. The plan addresses five broad goals:Develop new and better vaccinesEnhance vaccine and immunization safetyAssist the public, providers, and policy makers with vaccine decisionsEnsure vaccine supply and uptake of existing vaccinesBoost global efforts to curb vaccine-preventable disease and deathsThe report acknowledged that specifics about pandemic vaccines and countermeasures for biological attacks are included in other federal plans. However, the draft plan spells out the need to organize, practice, and evaluate mass vaccination activities for disease outbreaks, biological attacks, and pandemic-related scenarios for the workforce and members of the public. It also includes efforts to ensure vaccine supplies and look for health problems related to vaccines.The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is holding workshops with stakeholders and other groups to discuss each of the plan’s goals. The IOM hosted its first meeting on Dec 1 in Irvine, Calif., to discuss the plan’s first goal, the development of new and better vaccines.After completing the workshops, the IOM said it would prepare a report detailing conclusions and priority recommendations.See also:HHS draft national vaccine planBackground on IOM participation in vaccine plan feedbacklast_img read more

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Multi-asset a ‘clear growth opportunity’, State Street survey shows

first_imgAndrew Wilson, head of asset manager solutions for the UK at State Street, said: “An overwhelming majority see growth coming from multi-asset solutions, and changes in investor demand in general.”Multi-asset was cited by 67% as the investment strategy type that will most drive growth over the next three years.The next most favoured strategy was traditional actively managed equity, at 17% of the respondents, although there were regional variations: for example, multi-asset was cited as the key growth area by 80% of Australian firms, whereas only 53% of UK firms agreed – here, 30% believe traditional actively managed equity will be the greatest source of growth.Clients are moving to outcome-orientated solutions – cash-plus, inflation-plus or specific income stream-generation, for example – rather than traditional beta-focused products, Wilson observed.“The shift from DFB to DC is certainly part of the explanation for this,” he added.However, 74% of managers said few firms are “currently equipped to thrive when offering multi-asset solutions”.This is reflected in a strong focus on risk management, with 36% planning significant investment in data integration, 39% in performance analytics and 48% in risk analytics.Addressing talent gaps will be a focus on moderate or significant investment for 53% of managers, while 64% will be investing in skills training.This investment will happen against a difficult background for revenue and profit growth – despite the anticipated growth in assets under management.“Increasing pressure on fees and the rising cost of both talent and regulation is squeezing margins, leading to a lot of activity to improve operating efficiencies,” Wilson said.More than half of those surveyed saw significant opportunities to deliver this from within their organisations, while 28% looked to acquisition as a major opportunity to improve operating efficiency.Europe is ripe for a consolidation of fund products, Wilson suggested.The survey of 300 senior executives at asset management firms – split evenly between North America, Europe and Asia Pacific – was conducted during April and May 2014 by the Financial Times Group’s FT Remark, on behalf of State Street. Asset managers are bullish on the growth of their businesses and expect that growth to be driven by competition over more home-market demand for outcomes-based investment solutions such as multi-asset products, according to a global survey unveiled by State Street in London.Just over half of the 300 managers surveyed believe growth for their business will be strongly positive over the next 12 months.While 47% plan to expand into new countries or regions over the next three years, three-quarters see their existing country markets as the greatest growth opportunity – with 85% citing regulatory barriers as the number-one challenge when expanding into new markets.North American managers expect most growth in existing products and markets, whereas European managers see the greatest opportunities in new products and markets – although Germany-based managers were the least likely to be looking abroad for growth.last_img read more

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Gyan’s fitness, a concern for Ghana coach

first_imgAsamoah Gyan’s availability for Ghana’s World Cup qualifier against Zambia on Friday remains a major concern for Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah.The striker is racing against time to be fit for the fitness ahead of the final second round qualifier at the Baba Yara Stadium.Gyan limped off during the team’s training session on Tuesday at the Accra Sports Stadium, coming just after goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey was withdrawn from the Black Stars squad due to injury.Appiah is not prepared to take any risk with Gyan, explaining that he needs to put forward a strong team against the Chipolopolos.“We cannot not risk Gyan or take chances by fielding a weak team,” said Appiah, who will monitor Gyan’s condition to enable him make a quick decision.“He is our captain and a very good player for us but if he is not fit, we don’t take that risk in such a situation. We know Ghanaians will want to see him on Friday, but seriously, we will cannot take such chances.” Ghana need only to avoid defeat against the Chipolopolo at the Baba Yara Stadium to secure a place in the play-off round for World Cup qualifying.last_img read more

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Lincoln Riley on Jalen Hurts starting at Oklahoma: ‘If he wins the job, then we’ll talk about that’

first_imgNow with the Sooners, Hurts will be competing with redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai and true freshman Spencer Rattler for the job.”One of them’s got to go win it,” Riley said. “We’ve got an interesting dynamic in there with Jalen as an older, more experienced guy that’s been through a lot of battles, and we’ve got some very young, talented players in there with a chance to make a name for themselves. It’s really, truly, ‘May the best man win.'”Riley has a knack for quarterback transfers after Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray won consecutive Heisman trophies with the team before both were back-to-back top overall NFL draft selections. Lincoln Riley has 4.6 million reasons not to leave Oklahoma for NFL NCAA changes transfer guidelines after increase in immediate eligibility waivers Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks cleared in Title IX investigation, rejoins team, report says “He’s gotta win the job first,” Riley said at Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium, via ESPN. “If he wins the job, then we’ll talk about that.”Hurts will be playing as a graduate transfer after spending three seasons with the Crimson Tide. He put together a 26-2 record as their starter but did not start in 2018, giving way to Tua Tagovailoa. Related News Hurts has completed 62.9% of his passes and thrown for 48 touchdowns, along with 12 interceptions, during his collegiate career. He has also added 23 rushing touchdowns.”My past success, the things I have done and achieved, those don’t help us win any games (at Oklahoma) in the fall,” Hurts previously said in his first media appearance after announcing his transfer. “I think the biggest thing for us is creating an identity for ourselves, finding out who we are as a team and then, ultimately, playing ball and getting things done in all phases of the organization this year.” Jalen Hurts’ future at Oklahoma isn’t set in stone.After transferring from Alabama, where he had 28 career starts, to Oklahoma in order to be the Sooners starting quarterback, coach Lincoln Riley said Hurts still has to earn his place under center.last_img read more

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AfDB Urges Investors Stay

first_imgThe African Development Bank (AfDB) has passionately urged investors and businesses not to abandon their investments in Liberia and other countries affected by the deadly Ebola virus outbreak. The president of the Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuka on Wednesday, August 27, warned of dire economic upshot should investors pull out of economies affected by the virus. He called for rethink by foreign investors and businesses that have already folded up and left. Dr. Kaberuka, a national of Rwanda, arrived in Liberia on a one-day official visit on Wednesday as guest of the Liberian government. Speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia in a joint news conference with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and World Health Organization (WHO) regional director Dr. Luis Gomez Sambo, the AfDB boss announced a US$60 million emergency grant for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to purchase equipment, train health workers [local and international] to fight the Ebola epidemic. He said the money will be implemented by the WHO to fight the epidemic. The AfDB boss urged investors and business people not to panic and make the embarrassing Ebola situation in Liberia and the Mano River Union (MRU) region worse. “I am here to show that there is no need to have any concerns about coming to Liberia. Investors are not to be afraid of Ebola because all they need to do is follow the health procedures. I will like to call upon them [investors] and business people not to panic and make the embarrassing Ebola situation worse,” he said. About 1,400 people have died of the Ebola virus with over 2, 200 cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The Ebola epidemics have slowed economic growth in the MRU region as foreign investors shut down their businesses and flee for safety. The Liberian economy was already receding prior to the outbreak of the virus and is now said to be worst hit by the epidemic. The country’s tourism sector is down and hotels are no longer receiving clienteles due to Ebola. Also worse hit is the domestic [Liberian own] small medium enterprises most of whom have shut down and can no longer pay their debts and their staff due to Ebola. Banks are also affected as debt to equity ratio widens amid default on loan payment by borrowers. The AfDB president assured the government of the Bank’s commitment to helping to revamp the economic after Ebola is eliminated. “We have to think about post-Ebola because there is economic impact after the virus has been eliminated. We have to think ahead about what we can do together to stabilize the economy to get it working again–to help with the balance of payment, to ensure that investors coming in their numbers can invest so that jobs can be created,” he said. Dr. Kaberuka also assured AfDB came to Liberia to render its support during the epidemic and beyond the epidemic.“I am here as a sign of solidarity for the people of Liberia at the time of enormous challenges. We are working very closely with the government to ensure that Ebola can be eliminated,” he said. For his part, WHO regional director Dr. Luis Gomez Sambo pledged WHO’s commitment to fighting and eliminating the Ebola virus in Liberia. Dr. Sambo assured the Liberian government and the public of his organization’s preparedness to deal with the Ebola crisis. In her intervention, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf thanked the AfDB through Dr. Kaberuka and the WHO through Dr. Sambo for helping the Liberian government tackle and defeat the Ebola virus. She also thanked friendly nations including Ivory, Senegal and others, for lifting flight restrictions on Liberia. “I am very pleased to announce that the Ivorian Government has lifted its restrictions on Liberia and that the Senegalese government has also urged SN Brussels to resume flight to Monrovia on August 28,” the President declared.   Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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The Politics of Forgetting: the United States of Africa

first_img– A call to accomplish the idea of continental self-interest for AfricaBy Jerry Kai-Lewis ([email protected]; [email protected]) It was almost 98 years ago in 1919 that Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr., under his United Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, launched his Black Star Line, a steam ship company that was part of his programs aimed at improving the conditions of those of African ancestry. At its peak in 1920, the UNIA-ACL claimed 4 million members. Despite Garvey’s controversial mail fraud charge, trial, conviction, jailing and deportation back to Jamaica by the US Government, his UNIA-ACL was the first Black movement that showed great potential at mobilization efforts by people of African descent.Considered a prophet by the Rastafarians for accurately predicting the coronation of a Black king in Africa (Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia) that would be the deliverer of those of the Diaspora, Garvey also influenced the formation of Pan-Africanism, the OAU (now AU), and, the United States of Africa. He was the first to ever mention the United States of Africa in a 1924 poem saying: Hail! United States of Africa – free! Hail! Motherland most bright, divinely fair! State in perfect sisterhood united. Born of truth, mighty thou shalt ever be.Shortly before Garvey’s death in 1940, his call was heeded by a young Ghanaian who graduated from Lincoln University, a Black school in Pennsylvania USA, and was smitten with the idea of a United States of Africa – Kwame Nkrumah. During his years in office, and after the formation of the OAU in 1963, Nkrumah, then Ghanaian president and father of the continent’s Pan Africanist movement, echoed Garvey’s call to unite the continent into a single political and economic bloc. As a sign of his dedication to the idea of a US of Africa, Nkrumah bought the Black Star Line, got it back on the seas and placed the name “Black Star” on everything from street signs to the center of Ghana’s red, yellow and green flag. “The emergence of such a mighty stabilizing force in this strife-torn world should be regarded…not as the shadowy dream of a visionary, but as a practical proposition which the peoples of Africa can and should translate into reality…We must act now. Tomorrow may be too late,” said Nkrumah. Yet the then 31-nation OAU didn’t heed Nkrumah’s call. Instead, Balkanization (politically unstable countries) and South Americanization (politically and economically weak and dictator-ridden countries without organic ties to one another) became the order of leadership in most countries continent-wide. Between 1963 and 2002, the continent suffered: countless coups, dictatorships and civil wars; a severe brain drain, financial mismanagement and corruption; and the displacement and deaths of millions of Africans due to war, poverty and disease. Also, during this time, regional economic blocs, ECOWAS, OERS, UDEAC, OERM, EACM, CEAO, CEDEAO* and UEA, were formed.According to another champion of the Pan African cause, Cheikh Anta Diop, a lot of these groupings failed as they were born, the Union of East Africa (Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya) being a good example. “All of them are giants with feet of clay engaged in trying to square the circle: to achieve meaningful economic unity without political union. No one wants to make the necessary sacrifice to achieve political unity. All hope to gain the benefits of economic integration without sacrificing the selfish interests of their governing groups on the altar of African unity. That is the fundamental contradiction lying at the base of all these ephemeral constructions and unions,” said Diop in his seminal work, Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural Basis for a Federated State.While these economic groupings were good starts, Diop contended that the reason why they would not work is because they were not legally binding.“The days of the nineteenth-century dwarf states are gone. Our main security and development problems can be solved only on a continental scale and preferably within a federal framework,” said Diop. Within a federated state, which involved a real surrender of sovereignty, the rules governing such a set up was irreversible, hence legally binding. With parts or all of their sovereignty transferred to a continental parliament, the borders marking these dwarf states proliferating the continent would have, in effect, become mere administrative lines. That would have solved the border disputes, still a legacy of the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 when Africa was partitioned by European powers, which plagued the continent in the early years of independence. Morocco was not part of the now AU as a result, and is not a part of ECOWAS because of this.Not willing to sacrifice their national interests for the sake of continental unity, most of the leaders at independence regarded their national coffers as personal bank accounts. The lust for more money and power saw them doing any and everything in their power, from the banning of political parties, jailing and killing political dissidents, to encouraging tribal conflicts, just to hang on to the highest office in the land, even for life.Forced to see the continent’s weak standing in this age of globalization where their wishes are ignored by bigger economies and blocs, the African countries, who trade more with other countries than with each other, decided in 2002 to form the African Union with the aim of greater integration. So after 39 years of making Africa the laughing stock of the world’s peoples, some of the dictators, their handpicked successors and a few democratically elected presidents were showing signs of seriously turning Garvey’s and Nkrumah’s call for a single economic, political and military Africa into reality. While many observers saw this drive, set for accomplishment by 2015, as the last ditch effort of washed out political icons, it is nonetheless still a possible and viable venture, a win-win situation for an economic, military and political power long in the making. But where should we start in order to get on the Black Star Line?It took 39 years from Garvey’s poem to the formation of the OAU. It took another 39 years after that for the formation of the AU. So, the talk of a U.S of Africa by 2015, while it was encouraging never sat well with me – maybe because it was way below the 39 year cycle and the fact that most of our leaders have been known for making bombastic speeches and accomplishing very little, if anything at all. Our way forward is something that most of our political ideologists have surprisingly overlooked for half a century. The advent of a forced and borrowed western style of democracy overlooked the fact that African empires had set up strong political foundations where the separation of power were their strongest points. Instead of restoring the African democratic principles, a principle under which tribalism and blatant corruption, the reasons for all the civil wars and coups that have plagued the continent since independence was impossible, the post-colonial state maintained western political hegemony over Africa.“African law must therefore be rescued from the non-law or ‘Customary Law’ to which it has been relegated because colonialism made it mimic other systems, and pluralism of law must be restored…Although colonial domination disrupted the process of state building, African societies remain plurinational by nature. The pre-colonial nations – that marked out the identities of these multinational states – survived: even though they were parceled out and often dispersed among several states, it was not impossible to reforge a societal link. Reinstating these nations will make it possible to bring to an end the crisis of national consciousness and identity that is ravaging Africa, and will prevent political manipulation of disputes over nationality,” said Professor Mwayila Tshiyembe of the Pan-African Institute of Geopolitics.The first step should be for our leaders to recognize that the state/continent is made up nations/tribes that have to work together for the common good of the state/continent, while simultaneously allowing individuals to be proud of their nationalities, religions and other orientations. This set-up was here before colonial domination and a proper restoration of our past makes for a better future. And while our leaders are still arguing over the modalities of coming together, it would take the vision and selfless passion of the Founding Fathers of Pan Africanism to accomplish this idea of continental self-interest. If China and India can rule more than a billion people from different nations/tribes, so can the United States of Africa!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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