Saturday, 14 March 2009

Gates funds intelligent aid to farmers

A donation of £17 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enable an Edinburgh-based charity to set out this year to halt the spread of some of the most virulent livestock diseases in the developing world, armed with a war chest of vaccines and medicines.

In Galvmed's sights are 13 feared killers, including avian influenza, swine fever and Rift Valley fever, which in 2007 claimed 325 human lives in Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia, along with the deaths of tens of thousand of animals.

The charity's first campaign, which is already underway, is aimed at East Coast Fever a disease endemic in 11 African countries, and responsible for the deaths of 1.1 million cattle every year. The combined value of this devastation is estimated at $168 million, a loss carried by many inhabitants of some of the poorest nations on Earth.

Conditions could be undeniably difficult, said Hameed Nuru, a Botswanan vet who is the charity's director of policy and external affairs. Even in war-zones it was important that livestock was protected to ensure that many farmers were not thrown even deeper into poverty.

“We have to include livestock issues in the aid package, and look at how to give people a start, to rebuild. This is a difference between what we are doing and the aid which is given because people have to eat, because it is emergency. We see it in holistic terms: give a man a fish, he eats for one meal, teach him how to fish and he eats for his lifetime.” said Dr Nuru.

The full story is here: Galvmed

I haven't posted here for a couple of weeks but over that time, one or two vaguely amusing stories have made into the paper. The argument over parking charges in Tobermory, for example.

If you're only on this site because you're a spaced-out PR executive from Seattle, you possibly won't know that Tobermory is the principal 'town' (population 700) on a Scottish island called Mull, beautiful, calm, peaceful, the kind of place where traffic policemen and parking attendants are unknown and unnecessary. Until some bureaucrat in a faraway office decides: "What they need is a parking attendant..."

More here: Tobermory.

In the next story I get to sit in a very fast car while it is driven very fast around a test track. It's a very fuel efficent vehicle and could yet save the planet, but I can exclusively reveal that it doesn't provide a cure for motion sickness. Here it is: Hybrid.

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