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Iraq becomes 18th country recognised by WHO for eliminating Trachoma

Iraq has now joined the league of 17 other countries that have eliminated trachoma, a neglected tropical disease and the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced recently.

“Happy to announce that Iraq has eliminated trachoma and become the 50th country recognised by the WHO for eliminating a neglected tropical disease, marking the halfway point towards the 100-country target set for 2030,” Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, tweeted.

Iraq has been officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the 18th country to successfully eliminate trachoma as a public health concern. This achievement also marks Iraq as the fifth nation within the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region to accomplish this milestone. Additionally, the WHO has acknowledged Iraq as the 50th country to eliminate at least one Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) on a global scale. This accomplishment signifies a significant step towards the goal of having 100 countries achieve similar milestones by 2030, as outlined in the 2021-2030 NTD roadmap. This roadmap aims to address and combat 20 different diseases and disease groups through prevention, control, elimination, and eradication efforts.

about Trachoma:

  • It is a contagious bacterial eye infection caused by bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It primarily affects the surface of the eye and the inside of the eyelid.

  • It is transmitted through direct contact with the eye or nose secretions of infected individuals or from fomites and flies or indirectly through contaminated objects like towels or clothes.

  • With time, it causes the eyelashes to be pushed inward into the eye. So with every blink, they brush against the eyeball. This form of trachoma is called trichiasis. If it’s not treated, trichiasis can lead to blindness.

  • The SAFE strategy: It includes Surgery to treat the blinding stage (trachomatous trichiasis); Antibiotics to clear the infection, particularly the antibiotic azithromycin; Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement, particularly improving access to water and sanitation.

Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency in Amhara Region

The primary reason for the declaration of a state of emergency in the Amhara region is the surge in violence between the local ethnic militia, Fano, and the national

army. The clashes have intensified over a disputed plan to integrate regional security forces into the national army. Last year, the government also

attempted to suppress the Amhara militia, which further escalated tensions in the region. The violence has resulted in an unknown number of casualties, causing serious economic, social, and humanitarian damage, prompting the need for immediate intervention.

Implications on the Amhara Region

As violence continues to escalate, the Amhara region has been severely affected. Flights to tourist hotspots like Gondar and Lalibela have been canceled, disrupting the region’s tourism industry. Government officials have fled several towns, leaving a power vacuum, and the internet has been cut, restricting communication and access to information. Moreover, the use of live ammunition and artillery in civilian areas has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis.

Geographic Significance of Amhara

The Amhara region is of great geographic significance to Ethiopia. It is home to Lake Tana, the largest inland body of water in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile River. The region’s highlands receive 80% of Ethiopia’s total annual rainfall, making it the country’s most fertile and climatically hospitable area.

Prime Minister launches Amrit Bharat Station Scheme in 13 railway stations

The 13 railway stations selected for the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme are as follows:

1.Ballari 2.Ghatprabha 3.GokakRoad 4.Bidar 5.Alnavar 6.Gadag 7.Koppal 8.Harihar 9.Arsikere 10.Mangaluru Jn. 11.Wadi 12.Kalaburagi Jn. (Gulbarga) 13.Shahabad

Features of Rejuvenated Stations

The rejuvenated railway stations under the ABSS will offer world-class amenities and facilities. Some of the features that these stations will incorporate include:

  • Roof plaza

  • Shopping zone

  • Food court

  • Children’s play area

  • Segregated entry and exit gates

  • Multi-level parking

  • Lifts and escalators

  • Executive lounge

  • Waiting area

  • Travellator

  • Physically challenged-friendly facilities

With such amenities in place, these railway stations will not only enhance the passenger experience but also become iconic landmarks in the cities they serve. The integration of multi-modal connectivity will further transform these stations into centers of socio-economic activities in their respective regions.

Athidhi Portal

The Kerala government is taking proactive measures to expedite the registration process and introduce a unique identification system for migrant workers in the state. In response to recent sexual crimes allegedly committed by migrant workers against children, the government has initiated the ‘Athidhi portal.’ This user-friendly web portal aims to streamline the registration of “guest workers” and ensure their social security.

Assisting Guest Workers through Help Desks

In an effort to ensure that no guest worker is left out of the portal, the Kerala government is planning to establish help desks at railway stations, where guest workers often arrive in large numbers. These help desks will provide valuable assistance to the workers, guiding them through the registration process and ensuring their inclusion in the system.

Statewide Launch and Worker Registration

The Athidhi portal is scheduled for a statewide launch on August 7, and it is expected to streamline the registration of guest workers across the state. Contractors and employers will play a crucial role in registering the workers in the portal, ensuring that all necessary information is entered accurately. The enrolling officer will then carefully examine the details provided and issue a unique ID to each worker. This identification system will help keep track of the workers and facilitate efficient management of their records.

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