Outbreaks of Dengue may be expected to increase in Tanzania

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Tanzania has experienced at least four separate dengue virus (DENV) outbreaks in the past six years and more may be expected as climate change continues to alter the ecologic landscape, according to a study published inPLOS ONE by Clement Mweya of the National Institute for Medical Research, Tanzania and colleagues.

The researchers built an Ecological Niche Model to explore how different bioclimatic scenarios may impact the distribution of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes and co-occurrence of DENV outbreaks in particular regions of Tanzania. The model was constructed using data from the 2014 outbreak in Dar es Salaam on the reported cases of DENV and the density of DENV among Ae. aegypti mosquitoes, as well as 19 bioclimatic variables that predict current and future climate conditions.

The results of the study predict that the current climate scenario is advantageous to infectious Ae. aeygptimosquitos, indicating substantial risk for a DENV epidemic outbreak, particularly in populated coastal areas and areas with previously reported cases. A similar risk pattern was predicted in the 2020 and 2050 climate scenarios, but the model also predicts the risk of a DENV outbreak will likely move further inland toward the center of the country over time, particularly by 2050. However, the authors note that a potential limitation of their study is that the data from the 2014 outbreak in Dar es Salaam are extrapolated to other non-sampled regions in the model.

Explore further: A protein in mosquito spit can keep Dengue virus in check

More information: Clement N. Mweya et al. Climate Change Influences Potential Distribution of Infected Aedes aegypti Co-Occurrence with Dengue Epidemics Risk Areas in Tanzania, PLOS ONE (2016). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162649

Journal reference: PLoS ONE

Provided by: Public Library of Science

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Ranked: The countries where people eat the most meat

Download the book: "OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2015-2024" for details and more information.

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Job: Director of Programs/Deputy Project Director

Full-Time: Dar es Salaam, DAR, United Republic of Tanzania

The Director of Programs/Deputy Project Director is a senior member of the IntraHealth project leadership team in Tanzania. S/He contributes to strategic planning of the organization and is responsible for leading the program and technical team in operational planning and implementation of the IntraHealth five-year CDC-funded project entitled Tohara Plus as well as support other IntraHealth Tanzania projects funded by other donors. S/He will oversee all programmatic components of the projects to ensure that the project achieves designated results. S/He represents the project and the agency at various technical fora, including Technical Working Groups (TWG), with the MOHCDGEC, donors, and other key stakeholders. The Director of Programs/Deputy Director will supervise the Program teams. The Director of Programs reports to the Project Director or his/her designate, and serves as Deputy Project Director, and as acting Project Director in the absence of the Project Director. 
Find more information about this job at: https://recruiting.ultipro.com/

Taarifa ya habari ChannelTEN Septemba 29, 2016

Here is a chance for college students create a an AI app and win up to $2.5 million

Amazon announced the Alexa Prize, a challenge to create a bot able to have an engaging 20-minute conversation with humans. 

The Alexa Prize is an annual competition for university students dedicated to accelerating the field of conversational AI. The inaugural competition is focused on creating a socialbot, a new Alexa skill that converses coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics and news events.

Amazon will award the winning team $500,000. Additionally, a prize of $1 million will be awarded to the winning team’s university if their socialbot achieves the grand challenge of conversing coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics for 20 minutes.

Up to ten teams of students will be selected to receive a $100,000 stipend, Alexa-enabled devices, free AWS services to support their development efforts, and support from the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) team. Additional teams not eligible for funding may be invited to participate. Students will build their socialbots using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), which tens of thousands of developers are already using to build new skills on Alexa. Participants will have access to conversational topic categories and digital content from multiple sources.

Teams can submit their applications between September 29 and October 28, 2016, here.

95% of Tanzanians think they should be allowed to criticize the government

And 7 out of 10 (69%) think that democracy is the best form of government

29 September 2016, Dar es Salaam: Citizens’ support for democracy and free expression is strong. Almost all citizens (95%) think that they should be free to criticize the government when they believe it has done something wrong. Seven out of ten citizens (69%) agree that democracy is their preferred form of government, although opposition supporters are a little more likely than ruling party supporters to say that undemocratic government can sometimes be preferable (18% compared to 15% of ruling party supporters). Nonetheless a large majority of citizens (86%) believe that Tanzania needs many political parties to offer citizens real choices in who governs them.

These findings were released by Twaweza in a research brief titled Democracy, dictatorship and demonstrations: What do citizens really think? The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,602 respondents across Mainland Tanzania (Zanzibar is not covered in these results) between 23 and 29 August 2016.

Despite these strong preferences for democratic approaches to government, citizens have mixed views on the role of the opposition. Eight out of ten (80%) think that, after elections, the opposition should accept defeat and help the government develop the country while only 20% think that they should monitor and hold the government accountable. Similarly, 49% think that rallies outside campaign periods are a distraction for the government and the public, and inhibit development. Fewer than half (47%) think that opposition parties should be able to hold rallies whenever they want. Again this is split by party affiliation: 71% of those who feel close to opposition parties support having rallies compared to 37% of ruling party supporters.

Furthermore, 6 out of 10 Tanzanians (60%) support the ban on political rallies including 70% of ruling party supporters and 33% of opposition supporters. Half of citizens (50%) are in large part unwilling to join demonstrations in principle, although 3 out of 10 (29%) are willing. Citizens who are closer to opposition parties are much more willing to demonstrate (43% compared to 27% of ruling party supporters). Young people are also more likely to say they are willing to join demonstrations (35% of 18-29 year olds are willing to compared to 15% of over 50s).

One out of six citizens (16%) citizens is aware of UKUTA, a few months after its formation. Among them, almost half (48%) describe it as a union to fight dictatorship and one out of five (22%) say they support UKUTA. Just over half (55%) of those who feel closer opposition parties support the movement while 44% of them do not. And a significant minority of 6% of ruling party supporters also do. One out of ten citizens who was aware of UKUTA also said that they planned to participate in the demonstrations including 3% of ruling party supporters and one out of four opposition supporters (24%).

Most citizens have some idea what a dictator is, 3 out of 10 citizens (34%) don’t know and a similar number describe it as the use of excessive force (32%).

Overall, 11% of citizens think that Tanzania is currently being led by a dictator while 58% do not. This varies between different groups, with the following percentages reporting that they do think there is a dictatorship in the country:
  • Men: 13%, women: 8%
  • Aged 18 to 29: 13%, Over 50: 4%
  • Richest: 16%, poorest: 8%
  • Higher education: 26%, no education: 4%
  • Opposition party supporters: 29%, ruling party supporters: 5%
“This survey throws up fascinating findings on Tanzanians’ political views,” said Aidan Eyakuze, Executive Director of Twaweza, “For the government, the strong support shown here for multiparty democracy and freedom of speech is noteworthy. While the majority of Tanzanians do not currently agree that President Magufuli is a dictator, this survey shows that further moves to restrict democratic space and undermine the freedom to speak and to meet will be unpopular. Citizens seem to be saying that some limitations on human rights might be a price worth paying for maintaining peace and fast-tracking development. But if anti-democratic moves go too far, their willingness to accept them may well disappear.”
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For more information:
Risha Chande, Senior Communications Advisor, Twaweza
e: [email protected] | t: (+255) (0) 656 657 559