LONDON (AP):The IOC advised national Olympic committees yesterday to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance on dealing with the Zika virus ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, asserting its confidence that the games will be safe.Brazil has been hit hard by the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects in infants, raising concerns about the outbreak’s potential impact on South America’s first Olympics in August.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent a note to all national Olympic committees outlining the latest medical advice concerning the Zika virus, the most recent problem for a country already dealing with a severe economic crisis and a sprawling corruption scandal.”All parties are taking action to address this topic, and are following developments closely,” the IOC said.The two-page note from the IOC medical commission repeated advice for travellers to take precautions against mosquito bites and for women who are planning to become pregnant to assess the potential risks of travelling to areas infected with the virus.”The IOC remains in close contact with the WHO to ensure that we have access to the most up-to-date information and guidance, from now through to Games time,” the IOC statement said. “At the same time NOCs should consult with their national health authorities to get advice and guidance.”The IOC did not say the Olympics were threatened in any way and made it clear that it expects the Aug. 5-21 games to be secure for athletes and visitors.”We remain confident that there will be a safe environment for successful and enjoyable games in Rio de Janeiro,” the statement concluded.
Every year, GEPAN provides stationery and school supplies to children as part of the organisation’s commitment to enhancing access to education. These items are given to children whose families are financially challenged and who subsequently find it difficult to attend school owing to limited resources.This year, school bags containing two rulers, two pencils, two sharpeners, two erasers, five notebooks, 12 crayons for kiddies/five pencils and four pens for older children were distributed to 200 children in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and 160 in Region One (Barima-Waini). Another 24 back-packs with stationery were donated to children in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) while aRecipients of stationery and hampers from GEPANnumber of children from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) are scheduled to benefit by the end of December 2018.The decision to focus the majority of the organisation’s activities in the hinterland this year was not an easy one, as distribution was rendered difficult owing to logistics, the remoteness of communities and poor infrastructure which delayed access to remote areas, especially in Region Nine. However, given the hardships faced by Indigenous children in the hinterland with regard to attending school, GEPAN was determined to assist families in alleviating school expenses.Indigenous children are among those who face tremendous challenges associated with harsh geographic, climatic and infrastructural setbacks. Shortages of trained teachers, as well as financial difficulties owing to unemployment or struggling village economies, increase the burden of families who struggle to send their children to school.Some families are unable to purchase uniforms and shoes, and sometimes, cannot afford more than a meal a day for their children. It is, therefore, not uncommon to see schoolchildren attending school bare footed with worn-out uniforms in the deep hinterland.