Angola + 4 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 24 February

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NAMIBIA: Border unrest affects immunization
Insecurity along Namibia's northern border with Angola has affected polio immunization efforts and sparked fears about a renewed polio outbreak in the country, 'The Namibian' said on Thursday.

Director of Primary Health Care, Maggy Nghatanga said: "The fighting will contribute negatively to the immunization programme. We visited Rundu three weeks ago and our health workers are really frightened to go into remote areas for the immunization of the children." She said that long established health services between Divundu and Kongolo in the north had been closed because of the insecurity in the region.

Nghatanga said that at present Namibia was polio free and that Angolan children entering the country were immunised before being sent to the Osire refugee camp. She said that last year a 65 percent immunization figure was recorded, but "insecurity in the northeast would worsen these figures."

NAMIBIA: Citizens want more protection

Citizens of Gciriku in eastern Kavango have demanded that the Namibian Government restore security in their area, news reports said on Thursday.

About 500 people on Wednesday marched to the Gciriku tribal office at Ndiyona, 100 km east of Rundu in northern Namibia, calling for urgent action to end cross-border raids by suspected UNITA rebels. According to 'The Namibian' the Gciriku area, which stretches for 90 km along the Kavango river, has borne the brunt of the attacks over the past three months.

The village representatives were quoted as saying the government decision to let the Angolan army mount attacks against UNITA from Namibian soil has led to the increase in attacks by "bandits".

In parliament this week, Prime Minister Hage Geingob defended Government's decision to provide logistical support to Angolan government forces. "The lie is being perpetuated that Namibia has become insecure because of our logistical support to FAA (government forces)," Geingob said. He rejecting a call by the Council of Churches in Namibia to use dialogue as a means of ending the Angolan conflict.

MALAWI: TB kills two a day

Tuberculosis (TB) kills about two people daily in Malawi, statistics from the National TB Control Programme said on Thursday.

The statistics show that at least 22,000 cases were recorded each year, half of these in urban areas because of overcrowding. The high prevalence of TB has been blamed on HIV/AIDS. According to the statistics, 66 out of every 100 TB patients in hospitals were HIV positive. An estimated one million Malawians are thought to be infected with the HIV virus.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: More torrential rain

More torrential rain fell in South Africa's Northern Province on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring dozens more, the South African Press Association (SAPA) said.

According to SAPA, houses collapsed at Louis Trichardt and Thohoyandou near the country's border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. South African health officials this week expressed concern over a possible increase in water-borne diseases in the northern parts of the country.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the United States said it was sending two disaster experts to Mozambique to assess the situation after the country issued an urgent appeal for aid to deal with massive flooding. State Department spokesman James Rubin, said the US embassy in Mozambique had already disbursed US $25,000 in emergency relief funds to deal with the crisis and that Washington was prepared to release more.

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