November 17, 2005

Vaccination campaign reached about 8.2 million / Giant Cahora Bassa dam reclaimed

This year's national vaccination campaign against measles and polio reached about 8.2 million children, Mozambican Health Minister Ivo Garrido has announced. According to the UNICEF, Garrido specified that 8.189.159 children under the age of 15 received the anti- measles vaccine. 4.391.090 children received the first dose of polio vaccine, and 4.305.987 received the second dose. In addition, 3.398.535 children received Vitamin A supplements.
The main purpose of the campaign was a drive to eradicate measles from Mozambique, but the authorities took the opportunity to add a further round in the continuing polio vaccinations and to provide vitamin A. The target group for the measles vaccination was children aged from nine months to 14 years. The latest estimate is that 8.476.450 Mozambicans (43.6 per cent of the total population) fall into this age group. The campaign cost about 8.5 million US$, which came from the state budget, the common fund for donors to the health sector, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.
Mozambique has concluded an agreement with Portugal to reclaim the giant Cahora Bassa dam and guarantee economic independence as well as control of one of the major sources of electricity in southern Africa. The new arrangement gives Mozambique 85 percent of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric (HCB) project while Portugal will retain 15 percent. The project has a capacity to produce 2.000 megawatts of electricity and is one of the main suppliers of power to the Southern African Power Pool. The dam currently produces below its capacity and about 60 percent of the production is bought by South Africa's ESKOM. It was constructed in the 1960s by a consortium of South African, Italian, and German investors headed by the Anglo American Trust. Since construction ended in 1974 Portugal has retained control of the dam. Mozambique will, however, need to pay US$950 million to the Portuguese government as compensation for the post civil-war reconstruction and maintenance of the dam. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo / Southern African Features, Harare)

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