Current Affairs - May, 2019
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Algeria and Argentina as ‘Malaria-Free’ countries after no cases of indigenous transmission of disease were recorded.
- Background: The Malaria parasite was first discovered in humans in Algeria by a French physician named Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran in 1880. By 1960s, Malaria became Nigeria’s primary health challenge, with reporting almost 80,000 cases each year. The country then started it steps towards responding to disease. On the other hand, Argentina began is elimination efforts in 1970s.
- About: The indigenous transmission of disease was last reported from Algeria in 2013, while last case of Argentina was recorded in 2010.
- Algeria became second country in Africa to be declared malaria-free, after Mauritius, which was certified in 1973.
- Argentina became second country in South America to be certified malaria free after Paraguay, which was certified in June 2018.
- The certificates will be presented to both countries on sidelines of the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Steps Taken: by both nations include-
- Improved surveillance which helped every last case of malaria to be rapidly identified and treated.
- Free diagnosis and treatment of patients ensured that no one was left behind. This helped to prevent, detect and cure the disease.
- The trained health workers were deployed to spray homes with insecticides and to also diagnose disease through microscopy.
WHO and Malaria
As per the WHO’s World malaria report 2018:
- Malaria remains one of world’s leading killers of decade. In 2017, Malaria accounted for about 219 million cases from 87 countries and more than 400,000 deaths. Of total count over 60% of fatalities was among children under 5 years of age and had caused 266,000 deaths worldwide.
- In 2017, the African region recorded 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths thus had highest share of global malaria burden.
- Four countries in African continent accounted for nearly 50% of all malaria cases worldwide, namely Nigeria (25%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC 11%), Mozambique (5%), and Uganda (4%)
WHO Malaria-Free Certification Criteria: The Country under consideration has to prove that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of malaria for at least 3 consecutive years. Till date a total of 36 countries have received WHO’s malaria free certification.
- It is mosquito-borne infectious disease.
- Cause: by infectious Plasmodium type parasitic protozoans (group of single-celled microorganisms).
- Transmission: on biting of infected female Anopheles mosquito.
- Mosquirix or (RTS,S) is World’s first vaccine against a parasitic disease.
Month:Current Affairs - May, 2019 Categories: International
Tags: 72nd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) • Algeria • Argentina • female Anopheles • Geneva • Malaria • Malaria Free Countries • Mosquirix • Plasmodium • RTS S • Switzerland • WHO Malaria-Free Certification • World Health Organization (WHO) • World malaria report 2018
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed an agreement to electrify railway tracks in India under Railways Track Electrification Project. As per agreement ADB will provide $750 million (equivalent in Indian Rupee) long-term financing to Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC).
About ADB Loan Agreement
- It is the largest single non-sovereign loan ever committed by ADB to a member country.
- The proceeds of loan amount will be utilized by Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) to fund Railways Track Electrification Project.
- About Project: It was launched as part of Railways broad modernization program which will help India’s railway sector to shift from dependence on fossil fuels towards electric power.
- The electrification assets will be leased to Indian Railways (country’s national railway system) under a long-term lease agreement.
- IRFC will use loaned amount to install electric traction equipment along 3,378 km of existing railway lines, so as to enable migration of passenger and freight traffic from diesel to electric traction.
- Significance: This is a flagship project to demonstrate ADB’s strategy of supporting the key state-owned enterprises in strategic sectors and also reflects a major push by ADB’s private sector operations into transport infrastructure, and particularly railways.
About Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC)
- It is financing arm of Indian Railways that was set up in 1986.
- It works toward mobilizing funds from domestic and international capital markets.
- It is complete government owned entity and is registered as Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC).
About Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- It is regional development bank and multilateral lending agency. It was established on 19 December 1966 and is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
- It is an official United Nations (UN) Observer.
- Objective: It envisions inclusive, resilient, prosperous, and sustainable Asia and Pacific, and aims towards sustaining efforts to eradicate extreme poverty in region.
- Members: In 1966 ADB was started with 31 member countries. At present there are 68 member nation which includes 49 from Asia-Pacific region (including India) and 19 from outside. It is collectively owned by its members.
- Members Votes: It is closely modeled on World Bank (WB) and has similar weighted voting system to it, like votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions to bank. As of 2016 United States and Japan hold largest proportion of shares.
- To promote social and economic development by financially assisting its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants and equity investments
- Finance: It gives finance assistance to both sovereign countries and to private entities. It also provides soft loans to poorer countries and hard loans to middle-income countries.
- Its lending is mostly concentrated in five operational areas namely finance sector development, environment, climate Change and disaster management, education, regional cooperation integration and private sector lending.
Month:Current Affairs - May, 2019 Categories: Business, Economy & Banking
Tags: ADB • Asian Development Bank (ADB) • Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) • IRFC • Non-Banking Finance Company • Railways Track Electrification Project • UN • United Nations • World Bank