Monthly Archives: November 2013

World Congress of Echinococcosis in Khartoum


Khartoum is currently hosting an International Meet. It is the 25th World Congress of Echinococcosis. This is also the 2nd African Regional Hydatidology Congress. This Congress of International Association of Hydatidology (IAH) is in collaboration with Cystic Echinococcosis Sub-Saharan Africa Research Initiative (CESSARi) and Sudan Hydatid Society (SHS). The tops scientists and researchers of Hydatidology are in the capital city of Sudan. They are from more than 20 countries- Portugal, Germany, China, Australia, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, USA, Iran, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Kenya, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Tunisia, Grenada, Pakistan and South Sudan.

This Congress is being held at Friendship Hall from 23rd to 27th November’13. It was inaugurated by the Vice President of the Republic of Sudan H.E. Dr. AlHaj Adam. In his inaugural speech His Excellency welcomed all the International delegates attending the Congress. He reassured them that Sudan is a very safe country, contrary to what they may have thought or heard. He also said that this kind of International Congress in Sudan will not only benefit the people of Sudan but also the whole mankind. He regretted that US sanctions in Sudan were not only economic but also scientific because the researchers in Sudan are deprived of scientific papers but this kind of International Scientific meet breaks open the wall of embargo.

Prof. Mamoun Homeida the Health Minister of Khartoum State also spoke at the opening. Welcoming the delegates he said that the world is united at this conference to fight a disease. We were all busy in fighting against Malaria, HIV and TB and there was a drift from the neglected tropical disease of Echinococcosis. To fight this disease a partnership is required between the doctors of humans and animals as well. He complemented Prof. Mohamed Elamin Ahmed for his work done in the field of Hydatid cyst diseases in Sudan, being a Cardiac surgeon. Prof. Mamoun Homeida also proudly announced the successful elimination of Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) and Guinea Worm disease in Sudan.

Two top names in this field attending this Congress are Professor Peter Kern from Germany who is the President of WHO Informal Working Group on Echinococcosis (IWGE) who is also the Chairman of the Scientific Committee at the Congress and Professor Antonio Menezes da Silva from Portugal who is the President of International Association of Hydatidology.

The topics which will be discussed in the conference are Immuno-genetics of the disease; population screening; surgery and non-invasive procedures; diagnostics and challenges; prevention and control; and social and economical impact of Echinococcosis.

The term hydatid disease describes infection with the larval stage of Tapeworm –Echinococcus species. Transmission is from eggs found in faeces of dogs and accidentally swallowed, usually by children. The eggs develop over many years to form fluid-filled cysts in various organs, particularly the liver. The term Tapeworm describes a group of parasitic worms that live in the gut of animals, including humans. These infestations are found worldwide. They can be caused when humans consume raw or undercooked animal products that contain the worm larvae. Humans also become infested after close contact with animals like cats and dogs.

The Congress Chairman Professor Mohamed Elamin Ahmed has also scheduled a visit for the foreign delegates to the Kingdom of Kush to see Meroe dam, Jebel AlBarkal and the pyramids in the area. They will also taste delicious Sudanese cuisine of Kisra, Tamia and Asida.



Around the World on a Bicycle, now in Khartoum


Somen Debnath comes from the largest Tiger reserve forest in India called Sunderbans, West Bengal. He is away from home for the last nine years, since 27th May 2004. He was 20 then and had just graduated with a degree in Zoology and an additional degree in Fine Arts. He left home on a bicycle. For the first two years he pedaled across the length and breadth of his own country India and then started his odyssey to travel all over the world with only $17.

When Somen Debnath was 14 years old, he read an article about AIDS being a deadlier disease than cancer. It was about a homeless person suffering from AIDS, who lay down in front of the hospital in Kolkata, abandoned by his village and was left to die alone. This impacted him to dedicate his life to spreading awareness about this destructive disease. What started out as an effort to educate his village of Basanti in Sunderbans of India has now become a world- wide campaign, having already covered 81 countries.

He has so far visited 24 countries in Asia, 10 countries in Middle East, 42 countries in Europe and 4 countries in North Africa. He is presently in Sudan. He now plans to cover 36 countries in Africa.,  Somen Debnath has been received by 17 Presidents, 49 Prime Minister,160 different Ministers and 79 Ambassadors of India.

His time from 2015 to 2017 will be dedicated to South Pole, South and North America. In 2018 he plans to pedal to Canada, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China. In 2019 he will go to Korea, Japan, Philippines, New Zealand and Australia. Somen will pedal to Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh in 2020 and then cycle back to India on 27th May 2020 to complete his 16 years bicycle odyssey, arguably the longest bicycle journey.

Somen’s goal is to pedal 200,000 km and cover 191 countries till 2020 and reach out to 20 million people. Apart from spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS, Somen also talks of Indian Culture, yoga and carries the message of peace. In all these countries he visited he has met students in schools and universities to communicate his message. During his travels he has had the opportunity to share his experience and knowledge in Davos the World Economic Forum and in Oxford University, which Somen humbly admits is a great achievement for him.

Somen has had some terrible experiences during his travels. In Afghanistan he was kidnapped by armed militants of the Taliban and kept captive for 24 days. He was blind folded, tied up to a chair and beaten up badly. He then survived by cooking Indian curry for them and proving that he was not a spy but only an adventurist with a peaceful mission. He narrowly escaped a bomb blast in Iraq. His bicycle was stolen in Bulgaria, Poland and Germany and was also mugged in other countries.

Despite all the misgivings he smiles to say that he has made good friends in all these countries he has visited. He takes pride in saying that he is giving 16 years of his life to the world aiming to share the happiness.

His dream is to build a ‘Global Village’ after 2020 when he is back home in India. His plan is to build a complex of houses on an area of eight hectares to provide visitors from around the world with an opportunity to live and interact with each other. It will be a self-sustaining and self-sufficient venture where guests will have the opportunity to cultivate their own crops and fruits on a 4-hectare farm. If you want to be part of his dream you can fulfill it by meeting him in Khartoum. He will be here for a week or so. His email address is and his mobile number is +249999126405001

14th November – World Diabetes Day, Children’s Day in India

Today is World Diabetes Day. In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on 14 November, the birthday of the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He emphasized the importance of giving love and affection to children, whom he saw as the bright future of India. WHO states that Type 2 Diabetes accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children – previously rare – have increased worldwide. In some countries, it accounts for almost half of newly diagnosed cases in children and adolescents. Let us stop junk food and fizzy drinks to prevent diabetes in children.WDD13-posters-webpage-collage

Reading for Meaning


If you are ‘barking at these prints’ then you are reading it aloud but this also means that you may not understand the meaning. Reading is the process of perceiving and understanding the meaning of written language. The purposes of your reading may be skimming-to get information about the text; scanning-to get information from the text; intensive- learning or using the language; extensive –pleasure or interest . These are the various reading styles presented by Professor Eddie Williams at the British Council English Language Forum. He spoke on ‘Enjoy English Reading –How Teachers Can Help’ to an audience of 250 teachers of English language at Corinthia Hotel, Khartoum. It was an interesting, interactive and learning workshop for the Sudanese teachers.

Prof. Eddie Williams is a retired professor of applied linguistics from the University of Reading and University of Bangor. His research has focused upon the teaching and assessing of reading in English as a second language, and the relationship between language, education and development. He currently works on language-related projects for the British Council, mainly in Africa.

English is now read by about 2 billion people all over the world. There is a need amid the younger people in Sudan to learn English language.

The British Council in Sudan is working with the Ministry of Education and key organizations to improve access to quality English Language learning for all trainers, teachers and students. British Council has been working with institutions like University of Khartoum, Khartoum State Ministry of Health, Bank of Sudan, Ibn Sina Hospital to provide books and periodicals suited to their needs. It is now easy to order books, periodicals and journals from the UK with the British Council in Sudanese Pounds.


Afra Mall partners World Heart Day


On Thursday 7th November there were some unusual activities at the new-look Afra Mall. World Heart Day was being observed by Doctors who volunteered to offer a free health check up. Shoppers got their BP measured, their height, weight and random blood sugar measured and smokers got their breath-gas evaluated and received counselling. These received positive response and was extended till 9th November. On the 7th evening the venue was the Green Yard where more than hundred people walked as a pledge to keep their heart healthy. World Heart Day in Khartoum has been an initiative by Cardiac Surgeon Dr.Ahmed Elsayeed for the last several years.


New Year’s Celebrations in Omdurman


The Indian community of Omdurman celebrated their New Years evening on 4th November at the Indian club in Omdurman. Young brothers and sisters of the community danced to their favourite Hindi film songs with enthusiasm and energy. To greet them on this auspicious day was the Vice Governor of Omdurman Yassein Ahmed Mohamed and the Chief of Omdurman Police Yassir Al Kitiyabi. Charge d’Affairs of the Indian Embassy Subhash P Gupta wished the Gujarati community a Very Happy Diwali and New Year. Dr.Anil Kumar Mithani President of the Indian Community welcomed and congratulated the community members. Vice Governor Yassein made an interesting observation that both the Hijri New Year and Gujarati New Year coincided at the same time. This was only the tip of the ice berg of the similarities of culture between India and Sudan.