It's thanks to your incredible support that we were able to continue our fight against landmines and tuberculosis in late 2018 and early 2019 - we've certainly been kept busy and great progress has been made.
From the 24th to 27th of October 2018, we attend the 49th World Conference on Lung Health of International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Health (The Union) in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Hague Union conference welcomed more than 4,000 delegates from around the world, and united researchers and health professionals committed to Lung Health and to the fight against tuberculosis (TB). It was inspired by emerging science as well as the recent political commitments made at the UN High-Level Meeting on TB.
Our contribution showed that in 2017, after opening the new Dar es Salaam lab and introducing same-day TB testing of the samples, 81% of the newly diagnosed TB patients started TB treatment, compared to 71% in the year before. These results support that the combination of our faster diagnostic service and patient tracking are key in achieving higher treatment initiation rates among TB patients in Tanzania.
This month, we reached the landmark of having re-tested over a quarter of a million patients with signs and symptoms of tuberculosis (TB), across sites, since the APOPO TB-detection research program began in 2007.
Our programs work within government health systems to support over 100 partner clinics in Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia in their fight against TB. According to estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), about half of the TB patients in these countries are ‘missed’. Some remain untested or unreported because of social or economic barriers that prevent them from accessing healthcare at their local clinics. Yet even when patients are able to overcome these barriers, the quality of health systems varies and there are limitations to the available diagnostic tools at clinics, resulting in some patients being sent home undiagnosed and without treatment.
Globally, the WHO estimates that just over a third of the 10 million TB patients were “missed”, which translates to 3.6 million people each year who have not received a diagnosis or appropriate treatment. To improve detection, diagnosis and treatment rates, WHO, the Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund launched a new initiative in 2018 which set the target of providing quality care to 40 million people with TB from 2018 to 2022.
On 17th December 2018, we met with the Cambodia Mine Action Center's (CMAC) Director-General and His Excellency Heng Ratana in Phnom Penh to sign a memorandum of understanding for the continuation of APOPO’s Mine Detection Rat and CMAC mine clearance operations in Siem Reap province in 2019.
His Excellency Heng Ratana explained that CMAC has been integrating mine detection rats into its programs since 2015 and has achieved remarkable results. He hopes this partnership will enable clearing over 1,500,000 m2 in 2019.
As part of an integrated capacity, mine detection animals will significantly increase productivity and allow the return of much-needed land back to affected communities more quickly and cost-effectively.
On 16th January 2019 we, along with our partner CMAC, were thrilled to announce the completion of a minefield in Dai Ao village of the Sre Noi Commune in Varin District. A handover ceremony was held to release 520,257 square meters of land back to the community that was cleared in the second half of 2018.
The land was officially handed back to the villagers of Dai Ao who were living in and around the large minefield, until APOPO arrived and started clearing the land, metre by metre. In a country where poverty is widespread, cultivating land is an important source of income. When the ground is contaminated with landmines this can create an impossible choice. All too often, the urgent need to support growing families means using dangerous ground is necessary.
The clearance was carried out using 3 different teams that worked tirelessly together for 6 months – a vegetation cutting machine team to prepare the land before the rat teams go on, a landmine detection rat (MDR) team of 8 handlers and 12 rats, a manual demining team using metal detectors to confirm rat findings and prepare boxes for the rats. They found and safely destroyed 187 landmines and 120 unexploded remnants of war (UXO).
Thank you for your incredible support through 2018 and into 2019. With your continued support we'll be able to bring safety and good health to the people we serve.
It’s almost Giving Tuesday - this year it falls on November 27th (tomorrow). One day of the year dedicated to celebrating generosity and giving back. This year, we ask that you use Giving Tuesday to support APOPO in our big push to clear Cambodia of as many landmines as possible.
"My name is Bundoeth and I have been the headmaster of our local primary school for four years. There are 128 children at this school. The school is situated in the middle of what used to be live minefields, on the edge of the main road from Siem Reap."
We meet many Cambodians like Bundoeth; people who must consider the threat of stepping on a landmine just to do their job and complete daily tasks that we take for granted.
"Many of my pupils have parents, siblings, or grandparents who have been maimed or killed due to leftover landmines from the war"
Whether it is going to school, popping out to the supermarket, farming to feed your family or running a small business too many people are putting themselves in harm's way just to survive.
Leftover landmines and explosives threaten more than a third of the world’s countries, including Cambodia, which has the highest number of amputees per capita in the world. These weapons remain active long after hostilities have ended, causing terror, killing indiscriminately and hampering the development of vulnerable communities.
Tomorrow, between 00:00:00 ET and 23:59:59 ET you can help us Clear Cambodia.
Remember, just $10 can clear 30 square meters of land for local people removing the threat of loss of life or severe injury.
With your generous help, we can Clear Cambodia.
It's thanks to your incredible support that we were able to continue our fight against landmines and tuberculosis in July, August and September 2018 - we've certainly been kept busy and great progress has been made.
In September 2018, some three years in the making, APOPO received its registration from Angola’s Ministry of Justice which permits APOPO to conduct its humanitarian demining activities independently in Angola. This credential was the first step toward independent registration and licensing with all relevant authorities in Angola which will make way for APOPO’s access to new funding streams and a range of potential partnerships.
As APOPO is the only operator with animals, namely mine detection rats (MDR), in the country, humanitarian mine action in Angola would benefit from increased animal detection capacity nationwide in the challenge for completion and an Angola free of landmines. APOPO’s MDR are too light to detonate the landmines and are very quick at finding them, making them a good tool for accelerating detection and clearance.
This quarter saw great advances in the fight against TB as heads of state and world leaders got together for the first ever UN annual General Assembly high-level meeting dedicated to fighting tuberculosis (TB). Attendees signed a political declaration with commitments to increase funding, support for research and agreed for more collaboration across sectors and member states in order to end TB by 2030.
Every year around the world, 10.4 million new people fall ill with tuberculosis, and 4.1 million of them fail to be diagnosed, treated or reported by health systems. By any standard, the 4,600 people who die of TB every day is an unacceptable level of human suffering and economic burden. Tuberculosis is contagious and airborne. Despite being curable, TB remains the leading cause of death from an infectious disease and the leading killer of people living with HIV. The disease represents a global health security threat and results in high economic and financial burdens to the TB-patients and their families.
This month, APOPO hosted two representatives from Angola’s national demining authority the National Intersectorial Commission for Humanitarian Demining and Assistance (CNIDAH), for the independent, external double-blind testing of 16 freshly trained and newly imported mine detection rats (MDR).
The two days of testing were held in a former minefield previously cleared by APOPO with the assistance of now retired MDR. The test area had been specially prepared by CNIDAH the month prior with deactivated landmines planted for the MDR and their handlers to find.
The accreditation is “double-blind” because the MDR and the handlers are unaware of the locations of the targets, which are known only to CNIDAH who have them marked on a map. Each of 16 MDR were subjected to a search of 200 square metres, and all 16 of the MDR correctly indicated the targets within a one-meter radius of the target, with not a single one missed. This reflects the high level of mine detection skill of the MDR and their handlers as well as the quality of the breeding and training at APOPO’s Headquarters and training centre in Morogoro, Tanzania.
“I credit APOPO’s training team in Tanzania for preparing a fine group of detection rats, which quickly acclimatised to our premises in Uíge, and demonstrated strong positive behaviour that is easy for handlers to recognise." Zacarias - MDR Supervisor.
“I was excited to meet the 16 new MDRs at the airport in Luanda after having waited anxiously for them since they departed APOPO’s headquarters in early May. They have impressively proved themselves as Angola’s next team of mine detection rats to take on our next tasked minefields in Angola. With accreditation now out of the way, as soon as we have the certificate from CNIDAH in Luanda, APOPO will immediately deploy the MDR to an ongoing task in Uíge Province located in the district of Quitexe. The minefield was a former military position and camp, and once free from all hazards, the area will used for expansion of the nearby village and for agriculture." Alfredo - MDR Supervisor.
APOPO sincerely thanks our wonderful donors and partners for making APOPO’s life-saving work in Angola possible.
With Mother's Day fast approaching, why not send a donation in honor of your Mom?
From 1st to 13th May 2018, GlobalGiving will match 100% of all new, recurring donations received by APOPO.
The donations we receive go towards empowering mothers across the globe - mothers like Gloria who strive day in, day out to look after their families through incredible adversities and hardship.
Gloria is a widowed grandmother, smallholder, and head of her family. For years she struggled with having to farm land contaminated with unexploded landmines in order to provide food for her family. With APOPO's help, Gloria and her family are now able to farm a large area of land previously off-limits to them - they're able to farm safely, in the knowledge that they won't lose life or limb to a landmine.
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