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Farmers on the verge of East Cost fever get reprieve
A chance discovery in Kenya could give relief to millions of farmers. Who have been losing their cattle to East Coast fever.
Researchers at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya and Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh.
In Scotland have identified a genetic marker. That predicts whether an individual cow is likely to survive infection with East Coast fever.
In its findings published last week in PLOS Genetics, the team says the allele (the variant of a given gene).
They identified is not necessarily the specific gene that limits the growth. Of the animal’s cells when they are infected by the parasite. Protecting them from the illness.
“For breeding, it doesn’t actually matter,” says Roslin’s David Wragg. “You just need a way of saying, ‘This animal is a good one to breed from’. Because its offspring are likely to survive the disease.”
“Tests showed the marker does this very well. With only one out of 20 animals with two copies of the allele succumbing to the disease.”
The scientists said further research to pin down the exact gene(s) responsible. And their mechanism of action will enable scientists to edit the DNA. Of cattle to make them disease tolerant.
This new information presents an opportunity. To craft breeding programmes that could develop cattle strains. With resilience against the disease.
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Even though a vaccine for East Coast fever exists. And usually gives cattle lifelong immunity, making it is a “complex affair”.
That involves making a kind of ‘tick smoothie’. By crushing up hundreds of thousands of infected ticks in an industrial blender.
Which is time-consuming, is expensive costing up to 20 times more than other common livestock vaccines and can cause disease if mishandled.
Manufacturing and distribution issues
“There are a lot of manufacturing and distribution issues. Associated with this vaccine. It is a difficult vaccine to produce.
It is difficult and expensive to store and to deliver. And it must be administered by a skilled person,” Vish Nene, co-leader of the ILRI Animal and Human Health Programme said.
The other option is regularly dipping animals in acaricides. Pesticides that kill ticks. But this is also labor-intensive, polluting.
To control this disease
“We are struggling to control this disease,” says Phil Toye, principal scientist in animal health at ILRI.
“If the cattle are susceptible, without treatment, you can lose 100 percent of your herd in two or three weeks.”
Read more at https://thebigissue.co.ke
President Kenyatta Set To Open New Chancery In Switzerland
President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to open a new chancery in the Swiss Capital of Bern. To enhance trade tries between Kenya and Switzerland.
Speaking ahead of President Kenyatta’s official visit to Switzerland, Ambassador Andrew Kihurani said.
The opening of the new chancery will invigorate the growing bilateral trade. Which has been on the upward trend with Kenya’s exports standing at Kshs 4.8 billion.
Imports from Switzerland
While imports from Switzerland standing at Kshs 8 billion annually. “Another primary issue we engage in is promotion of trade.
You may be aware that there’s significant bilateral trade between the two countries. Kenya is Switzerland’s 16th biggest trading partner in Africa,” Amb. Kihurani said.
The Kenyan Ambassador pointed out that, despite the balance of trade being tilted in favor of Switzerland, Kenya has continued to increase its export of coffee, tea and horticultural produce.
Bilateral trade in 2021
He added that bilateral trade in 2021 was extensive. With Kenya being Switzerland’s major source of cut flowers.
Imports from Switzerland to Kenya include herbicides, fungicides, chemicals, paints, machinery and pharmaceuticals.
“So our mandate is to be able to see how to enhance that trade. Between the two countries. Not only in terms of the volume but also in terms of the breadth.
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Other different items
To see what other different items we can be able to trade between the two countries,” he added.
Ambassador Kihurani further said that the two nations have had significant cooperation in the tourism sector.
Noting that Kenya used to receive over 9,000 tourists annually from Switzerland prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ongoing Covid19 vaccination process
He expressed hope that the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination process will revive the tourism sector with Kenya receiving an increasing number of tourists from Switzerland.
“Switzerland has done about 70% of vaccination of its population. And of course in Kenya we are continuing to increase the level of vaccinations.
We expect the level of tourism will start growing once again. And it is the responsibility of this embassy to enhance growth of that tourism exchange,” said Amb. Kihurani.
Kenya envoy to Switzerland
The Kenyan envoy to Switzerland also noted that President Kenyatta will visit Geneva. He is scheduled to address the World Health Assembly on May 22.
He said the address by the President at the World Health Assembly, will outline how Kenya has been at the forefront in championing health issues globally.
“The meeting in Geneva is the World Health Assembly which takes place every year. His Excellency the President shall address the meeting on this particular occasion.
First time to address the assembly
“This will be his first time to address the Assembly. This is important in terms of showing the support that Kenya has.
For issues which will be discussed with Assembly on the issue of health,” he said. The 75th World Health Assembly will kick off. With a high-level segment on May 22.
With speeches from the elected Health Assembly President, Heads of State, special guests and an address by the WHO Director-General.
As well as presentation of the Director-General’s Health Awards. The theme of this year’s World Health Assembly is “Health for Peace, Peace for Health”.
Read more at https://thebigissue.co.ke
President Kenyatta Calls For Tangible Solutions To Africa’s Urbanization
President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for tangible, practical and sustainable solutions. To the challenges facing Africa’s urban areas.
Speaking on 17th May 2022 in the lakeside city of Kisumu. When he officially opened the 9th Edition of Africities summit.
President Kenyatta noted that the summit provides an effective forum for the continent to take stock. Reflect and plan on the best ways of addressing the challenges of urbanization.
This years Africities Summit
This year’s Africities summit held under the theme “The role of intermediary cities of Africa. In the implementation of the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations. And the African Union Agenda 2063” is the first to be hosted in an intermediary city.
“This Year’s theme is most apt, as the summit comes at a critical time when. Africa’s rapid urbanization and the challenges of future cities. Are increasingly coming into sharp focus; more so after the shocks of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the President said.
At the same time, President Kenyatta emphasized the need to scale up the role of intermediary cities. As the next frontiers of African urbanization and development.
“I say so because in Africa, an unprecedented rate of urbanization has propelled intermediary cities to stand at approximately 1,086.
These intermediary cities are home to approximately 174 million people. Representing about 36 percent of the continent’s total urban population. And contributing about 40 percent of the continent’s GDP,” President Kenyatta said.
Accordingly, President Kenyatta said the Africities summit has the task of providing the continent. With a comprehensive and achievable roadmap.
On how intermediary cities can contribute more towards the implementation of the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations. And the African Union Agenda 2063.
The President informed the summit that in Kenya. The National Government has over the last five years been implementing projects.
And programmes geared towards the improvement of the lives of Kenyans. Through the achievement of SDGs.
National Economic Blueprint
“This has been achieved under the auspices of our national Economic blueprint. The Kenya Vision 2030 and its Medium Term Plan – the Big Four Agenda.
The agenda espouses provision of a decent roof over many more heads. At affordable costs, affordable healthcare for all.
Value addition and increase in manufacturing and jobs. And ensuring food security for all Kenyans,” he said.
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He said the Government has also embarked on a slum upgrading programme. Spread across the country, notably in the capital city of Nairobi. And the intermediary cities of Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru.
“These concerted actions have been taken through. The Kenya Devolution Support Programme and the Urban Support Programme.
The Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme and the Kenya Informal Settlements Improvement Programme,” the President said.
Cities and Local Authorities
Noting that cities and local authorities around the world played a key role in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The President said they proved to be an indispensable “ring” in the governance chain and prevention of the pandemic.
Speaking at the panel discussion session of the Africities summit. Former Primer Minister Raila Odinga who is also the African Union (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure Development.
Importance of Infrastructure
Underscored the importance of infrastructure in addressing the challenges of urban areas in Africa.
The former Prime Minister said, as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development.
He acts as the catalyst to ensure infrastructure projects identified by the AU are implemented. On a timely basis to accelerate the continent’s progress.
Defence Cabinet Secretary
Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. Who is also the acting CS for Devolution, Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o and his Kisii counterpart James Ongwae.
Who is also the deputy chairman of the Council of Governors. Spoke at the ongoing summit that has attracted delegates from over 110 countries.
Other speakers included United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) President Christine Mba Ndutume. UCLGA Secretary-General Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi.
African Union Commission
African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, U.S Special Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed.
Who delivered their speeches virtually.