23 March 2012 Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has identified 10 districts in the country for the much-awaited pilot of South Africa’s National Health Insurance (NHI), which will be phased in from 1 April. Making the announcement in Pretoria on Thursday, Motsoaledi said the NHI pilots would focus on the most vulnerable sections of society across the country, reduce high maternal and child mortality through district-based health interventions, and strengthen the performance of the public health system in readiness for the full roll-out of NHI.Assessing the effectiveness of the NHI package The pilots will further assess whether the NHI’s health service package, primary health care teams and strengthened referral system will improve access to quality health services, particularly in rural and previously disadvantaged areas of the country. The objectives of the pilots include testing the ability of the districts to assume greater responsibilities under the NHI, and to assess usage patterns, costs and affordability of implementing a PHC service package.10 districts, one extra in KwaZulu-Natal The districts are: OR Tambo (Eastern Cape), Gert Sibande (Mpumalanga province), Vhembe (Limpopo province), Pixley ka Seme (Northern Cape), Eden (Western Cape), Dr K Kaunda (North West), Thabo Mofutsanyane (Free State) and Tshwane (Gauteng). Due to high population numbers and a high disease burden, two districts have been identified in KwaZulu-Natal – uMzinyathi and uMgungundlovu. However, the province has added a third district, Amajuba, and will be using its own funds to carry out the pilot. The selection of the districts was based on a range of indicators, including socio-economic indicators, health service performance, and financial and resource management.Department ‘ready for the roll-out’ On financing the pilots, Motsoaledi said this was part of an ongoing engagement between the Department of Health and the National Treasury, which has allocated R1-billion for the project. An optimistic Motsoaledi said the department was ready for the roll-out of the pilot and would be visiting all the identified districts, where he would be interacting with traditional leaders, church leaders, nurses and doctors to explain the projects ahead of the April launch. He will also be meeting with medical practitioners from each district, to ask them to assist in the NHI clinics for a few hours each week, for which they would be paid. Source: BuaNews
Voting for the third and final phase of the 2017 civic polls in Uttar Pradesh concluded on Wednesday with yet another round of malfunctioning EVMs and discrepancies in voter lists, leading to angry protests in several districts.The third phase, which covered 233 local bodies across 26 districts, however, registered an increase of 1.5% voting and touched 53%. The overall voting over the three phases was 52.5%, around six per cent increase from 2012.Complaints over EVM malfunctions and discrepancies in voter lists were received from several districts, including Bareilly, Bulandshahr, Auraiya, Jaunpur and Barabanki.Vijay Mishra, a resident of Bareilly, was frustrated after he found the wrong name listed on his address in the booth. “The address was correct but they listed the wrong name, some Radhelal Maurya instead of me,” said Mr. Maurya, adding that due to missing names only three out of his 30-member family were able to vote.Voters lathichargedIn Barabanki, voters faced similar issues and in ward 26 in Peer Batawan, police lathicharged people allegedly without provocation, breaking chairs and tables of polling agents, to disperse the crowd which had assembled to inquire about the lists.State Election Commissioner S.K. Agarwal said polling was conducted peacefully, even as he downplayed the incidents of malfunctioning EVMs, 27 on Wednesday, as normal. A total of 503 EVMs had to be replaced over the three phases, out of which 250 were in Lucknow itself.Mr. Agarwal said the figure of 503 was negligible compared to the total number of EVMs deployed by the SEC, 32,374.Counting will be held on December 1.
The 2011 cricket World Cup, to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, is expected to cost $40-50 million.The figure was worked out at a preliminary meeting of the 2011 World Cup sub-committee looking into operations planning and event budgeting on Wednesday, said tournament director and Cricket Board’s Chief Administrative Officer, Prof Ratnakar Shetty.The preliminary meeting, in which two representatives of the International Cricket Council, including its general manager (commercial) Jamie Campbell, guided the member countries’ representatives on the intricacies in preparing the budget for the event, said Shetty.”The 2011 World Cup is an ICC event to be jointly organised by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. All the expenses are to be borne by the ICC. The representatives of the member countries were told by the ICC representatives how to take care of the expenses”, Shetty told reporters after the meeting.Shetty said each of the organising country is different as far as expenses in hosting matches are concerned.
Bula Choudhury powers her way to a string of medals: Sensational debutWhen her frail, waif-like figure joined the line-up for the start of her first race, the 200 m butterfly, the general reaction bordered on sympathy. Her 34 kg weight contained in a 138 cm frame, Bula Choudhury, the 12-year-old,Bula Choudhury powers her way to a string of medals: Sensational debutWhen her frail, waif-like figure joined the line-up for the start of her first race, the 200 m butterfly, the general reaction bordered on sympathy. Her 34 kg weight contained in a 138 cm frame, Bula Choudhury, the 12-year-old entrant from West Bengal was dwarfed both literally and figuratively by her better-known and more experienced rivals.The sympathy, however, soon changed to grudging admiration, incredulity and, finally, elation as the tiny figure powered its way to a sensational record-shattering win in the event, lopping off as much as 9.6 seconds from the existing mark. No individual performer in the meet could better an existing mark by a wider margin.The general belief that Choudhury’s effort was a flash in the pool was soon dispelled as she followed up her first day’s performance with a string of medal-winning performances. On the second day of the six-day meet she added a silver medal in the 100m backstroke followed by a silver in the 800m freestyle, a bronze in the 200m medley, two more silvers in the 100m and 200m freestyle, a gold in the 100m butterfly and another silver in the 400m freestyle.Her final tally of eight medals and 43 points, five points more than closest rival Persis Madan, won her the best swimmer of the meet title and a place in Indian sporting history. Her sensational debut in the nationals, at the age of 12, is an all-time record in itself and guaranteed her a place in the relay quartet for the Brisbane Commonwealth Games as well as a prominent place on the list of Asiad probables. Says current coach Bernad Johnke: “Bula is far superior to the other 14 girls in my camp and easily the best potential in the country. She is at an early age when her body is not yet fully formed and so she can adapt better to techniques that will help improve her timings.”advertisementSelf-trained: Obviously, in that tiny frame, is a budding powerhouse, a bundle of talent, grit and going-for-gold determination. Incredibly enough, Choudhury is largely self-trained. The third of four children born to a petty trader (a wholesale dealer in combs), Bula took to water like the proverbial duck. At age six, she plunged into a local pond which became her future training ground and only graduated to the Ganges river nearby when she outgrew the pond.”Even now, she goes as often as possible to the river to swim,” says her proud mother, Bakul, who chaperons her on her various aquatic appearances. Bula’s potential and her young age make her the most exciting swimming prospect the country has had in decades. Now that she has joined the Asiad training camps and Johnke has taken her under his wing, she has the potential to develop into a champion, if not in the coming Asiad then in the next one in 1986 when she will be 16.Though not overawed by the adulation and her triumphs last fortnight, Bula still displays a childish naivety and a schoolgirlish air. That is hardly surprising considering she is still in the eighth standard at the Rajmohan Paul Balika Vidyalaya in Calcutta. When a sudden attack of fever sent her into hospital at the end of the Trial Games, and tragically aborted her hopes of accompanying the Indian team to Brisbane, she displayed more worry about what her school friends would say than disappointment at not being able to go. “I promised them I would make it to Brisbane and now how can I face them?” she wailed.Her talent, however, has earned her a Rs 900 Central Government scholarship which pays for her schooling and her training. What she has clearly lacked so far is a balanced and proper diet and expert guidance. Now that she has the benefit of both, Bula Choudhury seems all set to become a female Mark Spitz.
Sergio Aguero and other Argentina players could follow the lead of captain Lionel Messi and retire from international football after losing the final of the Copa America on penalties to Chile for the second straight year.The 29-year-old Messi, who sent his spot-kick in the penalty shootout over the bar, announced his decision shortly after the title game in New Jersey on Sunday. (Also Read: Lionel Messi announces international retirement after Copa America loss)”The likelihood is that Messi is not the only one that will leave the national team,” said Aguero, who lost his third final with Argentina, to Ole newspaper.”There are several players like me that are evaluating whether or not to continue.”The Manchester City forward, who replaced Gonzalo Higuain in the 70th minute, was hugely disappointed after Argentina failed to end their 23-year trophy drought at senior level.”One doesn’t want to think about it but at times, there are things that happen and the thought (of retiring) comes into your mind,” said Aguero, who won an Olympic gold in 2008.”Afterwards, it’s difficult to get it out.”Aguero has played for Argentina’s senior side since September, 2006 and empathized with Messi, a five times World Player of the Year.”Unfortunately, the one that leaves most affected is Leo Messi after his penalty miss,” the 28-year-old Aguero said. “This is the worst that I’ve seen him in the changing room. (Also Read: Lionel Messi’s journey: Goals, heartbreak and unparalleled greatness)”We are all affected and we will try to think about something else and move forward. Again, luck was not on our side.”advertisementArgentina’s starting goalkeeper Sergio Romero hoped that Messi will reconsider his decision.Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who saved Lucas Biglia’s penalty before Francisco Silva scored the crucial spot-kick to help his country retain the Copa, had praise for his Barcelona team mate Messi.”In my opinion, he is the best player in the world and in history,” Bravo told Marca. “They have to enjoy him, value him and understand him.”This is a team work, when you win, everyone wins, and when you lose, everyone loses. We had some criticism directed at Chilean players in our first few games (of the Copa America).”Football is a team sport.”