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World’s largest hospital ship, Global Mercy, makes debut in Africa as it lands in Senegal

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The world’s largest civilian floating hospital ship, the Global Mercy, has made its debut in Africa when it landed in the port of Dakar, Senegal, on Monday, where it will stay for four weeks to train the country’s health professionals.

The floating hospital was welcomed to the West African country by Senegalese President Macky Sall at a ceremony attended by Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and his Comoros counterpart President Azali Assoumani.

The arrival of the ship coincides with the recent fire outbreak at a public hospital in the western Senegalese city of Tivaouane where 11 new born babies were burnt to death on May 25.

During its stay in Senegal, the crew intends to participate in the training of 260 Senegalese health professionals, alongside the crew of the Africa Mercy, which has been in the port of Dakar since February (until November) and is performing surgery on board.

At the end of June, the Global Mercy will return to the Canary Islands for the “complete and final dressing of the ship”, according to the itinerary of the floating hospital.

The Global Mercy docked next to the Africa Mercy shortly after arriving in Africa for the first time in Dakar, Senegal.

The Global Mercy Ships plans to return to Africa in early 2023 to conduct training and surgery including maxillofacial and reconstructive surgery, tumor removal, cleft lip and palate repair, obstetric fistula repair, etc.

The giant ship which measures at 174 meters long and 28.6 meters wide and comprising 12 decks, will stay in the Dakar port for until the end of June, before returning in 2023 to offer surgical care to poor populations in the continent.

The Global Mercy hospital covers about 7,000 square meters, and includes “six operating theatres, 102 acute care beds, seven intensive care beds and 90 convalescent beds,” which works to improve access to health care in developing countries in Africa, according to a statement from the international NGO Mercy Ships,

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Sudan recalls Ambassador from Addis Ababa after accusing Ethiopia of executing soldiers

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Sudan has recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia after accusing the Ethiopian army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian who had been held in captivity.

The Sudanese military had said on Sunday that the Ethiopian soldiers had executed the captives and displayed their bodies in public while negotiations were ongoing for their release, promising that there would be “an appropriate response” to the execution.

“It is an act that contravenes all laws and customs of war and international humanitarian law, the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a citizen who were their captives.

“This treacherous act will not pass without a response,” the Sudanese military said.

The Ethiopian government however, denied complicity by its military in the killing of the Sudanese soldiers, blaming the Sudanese forces for crossing into its territory and provoking a clash.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa, issued a statement expressing regret over the incident but said Ethiopia has been misrepresented.

“The Government of Ethiopia categorically rejects the misrepresentation of these facts by the Sudanese defense forces that unjustly put the blame on Ethiopia, while it was the Sudanese army unit that crossed (over) the Ethiopian border, provoking the incident.”

But in an announcement late Monday, Sudan said it would recall its envoy from Addis Ababa as well as summon the Ethiopian ambassador from Khartoum.

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Uganda’s Government changes position, invites striking art teachers for negotiations

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The Ugandan government has made a turn on its decision to sack all arts teachers involved in the industrial action.

The change in position comes barely days after the government threatened to dismiss the teachers. Minister Raphael Magyezi had revealed that the government had reached a final position to have Arts striking teachers sacked if they do not get back to class.

The government backed down and invited the leaders of the tutors’ union for negotiations to end the ongoing strike that has paralysed learning in public schools for two weeks now.

Art teachers across Uganda downed tools last week, threatening to throw the country’s education sector into yet another crisis, a few months after schools came out of two years of a shutdown that kept thousands of learners at home.

The general secretary of the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union, Mr Aron Mugaiga, had advised the leadership of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) to encourage their art counterparts to return to class.

“I urge members to go back and teach because if they continue with the industrial action, the lost time will never be recovered when the government affects their pay enhancement. I believe the doors for negotiations are still open,” Mr Mugaiga said.

The ongoing strike is just five months after Uganda reopened schools following a two-year closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has already caused outrage as more than eight million children in public schools miss out on learning.

Over 300 percent pay increment was allocated for science teachers in Uganda’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year, which starts in July but the allocation does not include arts and humanities teachers.

It is not uncommon to see prolonged industrial actions in Africa. Elsewhere in the continent, Nigeria, University teachers have been on strike since February over salary related agreement the academic union had with the government in 2009.

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