segunda-feira, 4 de julho de 2005

Acontece em Gongene - Pemba



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Questão de saúde !

Anti-Malaria campaign up Horn of Africa
Casting the net wider from a dhow
July 4, 2005 - By Jacques Marais

Gongene, Mozambique: "A person dies every minute of every hour of the day from the deadly bite of the anopheles mosquito".
This is a sobering thought, especially if you live along the east coast of Africa, one of the regions worst hit by this ravaging epidemic.
But there are ways to combat this killer disease, and this is the message the African Rainbow Expedition hopes to convey on their journey towards the Horn of Africa.
The Cape Times joined the expedition crew in Gongene, a small village on the outskirts of Pemba, Mozambique, at the weekend.
This is the capital of the Cabo Delgado Province, and will serve as the springboard for what promises to be both an epic adventure and a focused anti-malaria campaign.
The village is alive with activity, with Frelimo flags fluttering and a troupe of traditional dancers performing to a crowd of mostly young mothers and their children.
A giant of a man, sporting a rambunctious grey beard, walks to the microphone.
"Viva Pemba!", he booms and smiles as the gathering responds enthusiastically by thrusting their fists skyward.
This is Kingsley Holgate, and he's here to wage a personal war against this insidious disease.
"Today I am going to tell you about malaria," he tells the crowd from underneath the spreading branches of a massive msasa tree.
With the help of a team of translators and health experts from Mozambique, US Aid and the World Health Organisation (WHO), he proceeds to explain how best to beat the bite of the bloodsucking anopheles mosquito.
In the most basic of terms, Holgate tells the villagers that the surest way of preventing malaria is to avoid being bitten.
"Mothers and babies are most at risk," he says, holding up a mosquito net, "but something as simple as sleeping under this net can save your life."
This then is how "One Net, One Life" has become the rallying cry of Holgate and his crew of explorers as they prepare to set off on the latest in a long string of adventures.
Unlike many of his previous land-based expeditions, this promises to be a grand maritime adventure.
"We will follow the ancient slave trade routes," he beams, "but this time our vessel will be saving lives instead of destroying them."
The craft they are using is the redoubtable Spirit of Adventure, a solid, traditional Arab dhow built according to age-old techniques in neighbouring Tanzania.
Using only traditional tools and materials, the vessel will be used to transport 10 000 mosquito nets to remote villages along East Africa's wild coastline.
"We plan to bypass most of the larger port centres, focusing on villages and towns which remain beyond the reach of formal health services.
"The dhow itself will serve as a 'Mother Ship'â of sorts, effectively enabling us to access some of the navigable rivers and deltas en route to the Horn of Africa. In shallower waters, we will revert to either our inflatables or to a convoy of Land Rovers following an inland route," Holgate says.
Although the expedition has very much depended on corporate sponsors such as Captain Morgan rum, Land Rover, Grindrod and Yamaha for its viability, the support of organisations such as USAid and the WHO remain imperative.
These NGOs' input not only includes the sharing of research, but adds credibility through ensuring overall measurability.
Every handover of nets, for example, is logged on Global Positioning Satellite systems, while information such as the name of the headman, mortality figures and other details will be recorded.
This will enable WHO and local health departments to follow up on the expedition.
"Believe me when I say that it is personal this time," says Holgate.
"I've had malaria at least 40 times, and my wife Gill around 20 to 25 times.
On my journeys through Africa, this disease has posed a much greater danger than bandits, wild animals or natural disasters.
"His boat is presently negotiating the Quirimbas Archipelago en route to Tanzanian waters, from where it plans to follow the trade winds north.
Kingsley is on board with his wife (the expedition purser) and son Ross, a documentary maker.
"This is a great life," Kingsley grinned on the eve of his departure, "we're not sure what will follow after the African Rainbow Expedition, but one thing is for sure, we will die adventuring."
Do "Cape Times" - edição de 04/07/2005
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