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Current Affairs 28 March 2019 Digest 6: India, African Union sign MoU in healthcare; Comoros President re-elected with landslide win

India and the African Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish an India-Africa health sciences collaborative platform. The agreement aims to formalise this partnership by establishing a framework.

Mar 28, 2019 16:14 IST
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Story 1- India, African Union sign MoU on strengthening cooperation in the healthcare sector

India and the African Union on March 27, 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish an India-Africa health sciences collaborative platform.

In order to carry forward the strategic vision of India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) III through a structured and concrete partnership in the health sector, the Ministry of External Affairs partnered with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and had jointly organised the first India-Africa Health Sciences Meet in 2016 in New Delhi.

Key Highlights

The ICMR had taken up the mandate to initiate and strengthen the cooperation in the health sector in a structured and organised manner by establishing an India-Africa Health Sciences Collaborative Platform.

The agreement aims to formalise this partnership by establishing a framework. It will pave the way for cooperation in research and development, capacity building, health services, pharmaceutical trade and manufacturing capabilities for drugs and diagnostics.

The programme would focus on training and strengthening capacity of health professionals, researchers, regulators and industry staff, support research collaborations for developing preventive tools and improved diagnostics for diseases which are regional priorities in India and Africa.

Significance

The key focus would be on indigenous development of safe, affordable and effective drugs, diagnostics and vaccines towards addressing specific common regional disease burden and nurturing an ecosystem that has a strong impact on transforming the health standards of the population.

This MoU is a major step to help enrich global health research and stitch it to the regional needs of India and Africa.

Story 2- Comoros President Azali re-elected with a landslide victory

Comoros President Azali Assoumani was re-elected on March 26, 2019 by a landslide, as per results published by the electoral commission of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Azali, who first took office in 2016, won 60.77 per cent of the votes, way ahead of his closest rival Mahamoudou Ahamada, who garnered only 14.62 percent of the ballots cast. The polls in the nation had sparked tensions with the opposition making accusations of fraud.

Where is Comoros situated?

Comoros is an island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique, the French region of Mayotte and northwestern Madagascar.

The nation’s capital and largest city is Moroni. The religion of the majority of the population is Sunni Islam.

The sovereign state is an archipelago consisting of three major islands and numerous smaller islands. The major islands include Grande Comore, Moheli and Anjouan.

In addition, the country has a claim on a fourth major island, southeastern-most Mayotte, though Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, has never been administered by an independent Comoros government and continues to be administered by France.

The nation’s largest island, Grande Comore is ringed by beaches and old lava from active Mt. Karthala volcano.

Key Highlights

The 66-year-old president had been tipped to return to power in the island nation of 800,000 people, which is one of the world's poorest and most unstable states.

Counting was marred by tensions, with authorities violently breaking up an opposition protest on March 25.

Twelve people were injured as police fired teargas and rubber bullets at opposition candidates and supporters as they marched through the capital Moroni protesting alleged irregularities.

The opposition alleged that irregularities at several polling stations reported by the electoral commission amounted to a coup and called for public resistance.

Reactions

Ahamada, of the main opposition Juwa party, rejected the results saying we are facing a military coup through a presidential election.

According to the opposition party leader, the most sensible solution would be to organise elections worthy of a civilised country as soon as possible.

Azali's campaign director Houmed Msaidie described opposition claims of election fraud as pathetic, accusing them of creating a climate of panic to invalidate the electoral process.

Background

The Supreme Court had barred some of Azali's major rivals, including former president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, accused of corruption, from running.

Heavily-armed soldiers had been deployed to several key locations in the nation’s capital on March 26 with orders to prevent unrest.

On March 24, almost around a dozen booths were vandalised during polling. These incidents were seized upon by the opposition who alleged election irregularities.

Overall, some 300,000 voters were eligible to vote in the Indian Ocean archipelago, which has a two-round system for electing the president.

The country rotates its presidency between its islands of Anjouan, Grande-Comore and Moheli.

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