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India launches India-Africa ICT Expo 2015 in Kenya

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Nairobi: Ahead of the India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in October, India launched the first India-Africa ICT Expo here in the Kenyan capital under the theme of ‘India: Your Partner for Technology Next’.

The event, on September 28-29, was launched in conjunction with Information Technology Authority of Kenya, Telecom Export Promotion Council (TEPC) of India, and National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

The event, inaugurated by Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary of Kenya and Rakesh Garg, Secretary Telecom of India, was attended by various officials and business leaders from India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Sudan.

“We have got a lot of experience in policies, networks/technology, skill development and innovative solutions using ICT to share with Africa,” said Garg.

“We see opportunities for cooperation and our government is keen to encourage business activities between India and Africa,” Garg said.

Over 300 technology companies from India and Africa are showing their latest products and solutions at this expo-cum-conference. The cost of the event is one crore, partially sponsored by Indian government.

“Africa is one of the fastest growing ICT market and we see opportunity to build high-capacity and resilient broadband network infrastructure along with innovative IT solutions,” Sanjay Nayak, vice chairman of TEPC and MD Tejas Networks, said.

“Indian companies have an advantage in African markets, since they already have the experience of successfully tackling similar business challenges, competitive pressures and harsh operating environment in India,” Nayak said.

The expo is a platform to build synergy among India and African countries to showcase innovative and diversified products and services. It is a platform to discuss solutions to regulatory business, according to Akansha Tete, director of global trade development at NASSCOM India.

“As digitalisation and mobility continue to transform business operations and everyday life, the expo presents the latest technologies that help companies to evolve and maintain a competitive edge in the communication and digital world,” she said.

This cements the relationship between India and Africa in the development of ICT, Julius Torach, deputy director of ICT ministry Uganda, said.

“For example, we have had telecommunications project from Tele Medicine and Tele Education implemented in Uganda. We have had delegations going to India on business process outsourcing (BPO) linkages. This kind of environment gives us an opportunity to promote trade relations between India and Africa,” Torach said.

“We are much closer to India not only geographically but in terms of challenges as well and we need to enhance our relationship in terms of ICT. We need relevant Indian solutions for our development,” Hassen Mashinda, PhD, director general of Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, said.

“As India and Africa witness exponential growth in the telecommunication and information technology segments, trade partnership is bound to gain in the field of ICT,” he added.

The organisers are planning to make the Indo-Africa ICT Expo an annual programme by hosting it in different parts of Africa and India.

(By Hadra Ahmad, IANS)

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Kenya’s First Breast Milk Bank to Combat Newborn Mortality

There are misconceptions and concerns about hygiene and the spread of disease to newborns in the use of donated milk. Murage noted that all donors' health would checked at the hospital and that the milk would be pasteurized.

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Kenya, newborn Mortality
A lab technician at the Mothers' Milk Bank of New England in Newtonville, Mass., pours donated breast milk into another flask to prepare for pasteurization. Kenya will soon be getting Africa's second bank for donated breast milk. VOA

Joshua Okumu’s wife, Mary Mwanja, died during childbirth 18 years ago at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi. But their daughter survived.

When he picked up his newborn baby at the nursery, grief-stricken and shocked, Okumu was not entirely sure how to feed her.

Kenya, newborn Mortality
Plans are underway to bring a human milk bank to Nairobi as a joint effort between the Kenya Ministry of Health and PATH. The bank will be housed in Pumwani Maternity Hospital. VOA

“So when I reached home, I started feeding her with a packet of milk called Tuzo,” he said. “By that time, Tuzo was not diluted like nowadays. So, that is what I was using to feed the small baby when I took her from the hospital. If the mum was there it would have been healthier to be fed by her mum.”

For Kenyan widowers like Okumu, there will soon be another option: human donor milk.

Pumwani is getting Kenya’s first breast milk bank, which will be only the second of its kind on the continent. The other one is in South Africa.

The bank is a joint initiative by Kenya’s Ministry of Health and PATH, a U.S.-based nonprofit health organization. It will open in September for donations and offer free breast milk by prescription for babies who cannot get it from their mothers.

Newborn Mortality in kenya
Dr. Elizabeth Kimani Murage, head of maternal and child well-being at the African Population and Health Research Center. VOA

‘Next best option’

Dr. Elizabeth Kimani Murage, head of maternal and child well-being at the African Population and Health Research Center, is behind the project.

“The World Health Organization recommends that if the mother’s own breast milk is not available for the baby for any reason, the best next option would be the donor milk,” she said. “So the recommendation is to make donor milk available to such vulnerable babies.”

The milk bank aims to help orphaned and malnourished babies get the nutrients essential to healthy development.

Murage said mother’s milk has an enormous impact on child survival, especially during the first month of life.

Kenya, newborn Mortality
The Pumwani Maternity Hospital’s policy on breastfeeding is displayed on this bronze plate. VOA

“Despite improvements in infant mortality, neonatal mortality is reducing at a very slow rate, so those are the children we want to target,” she said. “According to the Every Newborn Action Plan [from the World Health Organization and UNICEF], we should actually reduce neonatal mortality to 12 deaths per 1,000 live births. But, you see, we are very far [from that goal]. We are at 22.”

There are misconceptions and concerns about hygiene and the spread of disease to newborns in the use of donated milk. Murage noted that all donors’ health would checked at the hospital and that the milk would be pasteurized to ensure that only safe and healthful breast milk is given to babies in need. (VOA)