Women take ‘top three spots’ in Norway government

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, left, walks with newly-appointed Minister for EEA and EU Affairs, Marit Berger Rosland, second left, Minister of Defense, Frank Bakke-Jensen, second right, and Foreign Affairs Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide outside the Norwegian Castle on October 20, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2017
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Women take ‘top three spots’ in Norway government

OSLO: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Friday announced a cabinet reshuffle putting women in “the top three spots” of government.
Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide was named the country’s new foreign minister to replace her male colleague Borge Brende, who is stepping down to take over as president of the World Economic Forum.
Soreide, 41, is the first woman to become the top diplomat in NATO member Norway.
She joins Solberg and Finance Minister Siv Jensen in holding “the top three spots” in the right-wing government, according to the expression used by Norwegian media.
“We’re not the first in the world but it is a page in Norway’s history that is being written,” Solberg said at a press conference.
The Philippines, Switzerland and Liberia have already had such a constellation, she noted.
Like its Scandinavian neighbors, Norway is a pioneer when it comes to gender equality: back in 1986, the Labour government of female prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland had almost as many women cabinet members as men, with eight out of 18.
Solberg also announced that Frank Bakke-Jensen would be taking over as defense minister, while his European affairs portfolio would be handed to newcomer Marit Berger Rosland — a woman.
In power since 2013, the right-wing won a narrow victory in legislative elections on September 11.
According to Norwegian media, Solberg could announce another government reshuffle by the end of the year if the small center-right Liberal Party joins the minority coalition, currently made up of Solberg’s Conservatives and Jensen’s anti-immigration Progress Party.


South Sudan vaccinates health teams in Ebola epidemic

Updated 10 December 2018
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South Sudan vaccinates health teams in Ebola epidemic

  • The ministry of health’s vaccination campaign, with cooperation from the WHO, will target health care and frontline workers in the high-risk states of Juba, Yei, Yambio and Nimule

NAIROBI: South Sudan will vaccinate key health workers against Ebola close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, which faces a new epidemic, the World Health Organization said Monday.
The ministry of health’s vaccination campaign, with cooperation from the WHO, will target health care and frontline workers in the high-risk states of Juba, Yei, Yambio and Nimule, the UN agency said in a statement.
South Sudan is one of several countries bordering the vast DRC, where the new outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease had since August claimed 271 lives by December 6, according to Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga.
A total of 2,160 doses of the experimental vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV have been allocated to South Sudan for a program starting on December 19. This trial vaccine is not yet licensed but is considered safe and provided “under the compassionate-use guidelines in response to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC,” the WHO said.
Like neighboring Uganda, where similar measures have been taken for health personnel, South Sudan has declared a state of alert because of the risk that Ebola may be carried into its territory. At present, no cases have been reported, according the WHO.
The experimental vaccine first went on trial during the terrible epidemic of Ebola that ravaged parts of West Africa between the end of 2013 and 2016, at a cost of more than 11,300 lives. The disease spreads through contact with bodily fluids from other people or infected animals.
The vaccine was created by Canadian public health specialists at the National Microbiology Laboratory and is considered highly effective by the WHO, but it works only against the Ebola virus-Zaire strain, confirmed in the outbreak in the DRC.
South Sudan has been torn by civil war for five years in a conflict that has left nearly 400,000 dead. More than four million people — about a third of the population — have fled.
The main belligerents signed a peace accord in September, but the work of humanitarian organizations remains complicated and dangerous.
Participants in the vaccination program have been trained on rVSV-ZEBOV and undertaken a simulation exercise. Meanwhile, the Ebola preparedness contingency plan covers measures ranging from screening travelers, community engagement and provision for safe and dignified funerals, the WHO said.