Impulse Dynamics Announces First Implant for CCM-D™ Clinical Trial

World’s First Device Combining CCM Therapy With an ICD in a Single Rechargeable Implant That Treats Both Heart Failure Symptoms and Sudden Cardiac Death

MARLTON, N.J., May 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Impulse Dynamics plc, a global medical device company dedicated to improving the lives of people with heart failure, announced the completion of the first implantation for the INTEGRA-D clinical trial, designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of two proven cardiac therapies combined — CCM® and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) — in a single device (CCM-D). The Optimizer® IntegraTM CCM-D System delivers CCM therapy to improve quality of life and reduce heart failure symptoms, and ICD therapy to treat life-threatening arrhythmias that may cause sudden cardiac death. The investigational technology is rechargeable with long battery life, potentially reducing the need for replacement procedures.

The journey of a heart failure patient often involves debilitating symptoms and declining quality of life.

CCM therapy delivered by the Optimizer System improves quality of life and helps patients feel better. Patients indicated for CCM therapy may also be at a higher risk for arrythmias and sudden cardiac arrest and are therefore often offered an ICD to treat their heart for life-threatening arrythmias, should they occur. The INTEGRA-D trial is the first to evaluate the Optimizer Integra CCM-D System that combines both therapies into a single device, designed to last for many years.

“The first-in-the-world implant of this novel technology has potential to advance treatments for patients living with heart failure,” said Niraj Varma, M.D., Ph.D., electrophysiologist at Cleveland Clinic and National Primary Investigator of the INTEGRA-D clinical trial. “The trial aims to study whether this device can protect heart failure patients from the risk of sudden cardiac death while also treating heart failure symptoms.”

“We hope combining cardiac contractility modulation therapy and ICD therapy with prolonged battery life will reduce the number of leads and the number of procedures a patient may have to endure,” said Bruce Wilkoff, M.D., Director of Cardiac Pacing and Tachyarrhythmia Devices at Cleveland Clinic and Principal Investigator of the INTEGRA-D trial. “The first implant went well, and we look forward to further studying this device.”

The INTEGRA-D trial is a multicenter study of 300 subjects from 75 centers that will evaluate the combination of CCM and ICD therapy in a single device via the Optimizer Integra CCM-D System. The study will assess the performance of the CCM-D device in effectively treating episodes of ventricular tachycardia and/or ventricular fibrillation while also providing CCM treatment for heart failure. Patients enrolled in the study will receive the Optimizer Integra CCM-D System, and will be followed for at least two years.

“This clinical study is important in proving the potential benefit of combining CCM therapy, which improves quality of life in patients with heart failure, with gold-standard ICD technology that delivers lifesaving therapy for sudden cardiac death,” said Nir Uriel, M.D., Director of Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation at New York-Presbyterian and National Co-Principal Investigator for the INTEGRA-D trial. Dr. Uriel is also a professor of cardiology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine in the Greenberg Division of Cardiology at Weill Cornell Medicine.

“Today’s announcement is another example of our commitment to a continuous pace of innovation to build a comprehensive platform in interventional heart failure and help improve the lives of many patients that suffer from this debilitating disease,” said Simos Kedikoglou, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Impulse Dynamics. “We are proud to partner with physicians at leading centers around the world to conduct important research on this first-of-its-kind rechargeable combination device designed to address a major unmet need of a large patient group.”

About the Optimizer Integra CCM-D System and CCM Therapy

The Optimizer Integra CCM-D System is an investigational device that combines CCM therapy and ICD therapy into one device. “Investigational” means that the study device is currently being tested. It is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Impulse Dynamics currently offers the Optimizer system that is FDA-approved and CE-marked. The Optimizer system delivers CCM therapy — the company’s proprietary technology — to the heart. CCM therapy has been designed by Impulse Dynamics to significantly improve the heart’s contraction, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to be pushed out through the body. CCM therapy is indicated to improve the 6-minute hall walk, quality of life, and functional status of NYHA Class III heart failure patients who remain symptomatic despite guideline-directed medical therapy, are not indicated for CRT, and have a left ventricular ejection fraction ranging from 25 to 45 percent.

CCM is the brand name for cardiac contractility modulation — a therapy that delivers non-excitatory electrical pulses from the implantable Optimizer device to improve heart contraction. CCM therapy sends unique electrical pulses to the heart cells during the absolute refractory period. In doing so, CCM helps the heart contract more forcibly. Impulse Dynamics has completed numerous clinical studies, including several randomized controlled trials, and CCM therapy has been published in more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles.

About Impulse Dynamics

Impulse Dynamics is dedicated to advancing the treatment of heart failure for patients and the healthcare providers who care for them. The company pioneered its proprietary CCM therapy, which uses the Optimizer technology platform to improve quality of life in heart failure patients. CCM therapy is delivered through the Optimizer system, which includes an IPG implanted in a minimally invasive procedure and approved for commercial use in the United States and 44 countries worldwide. More than 9,000 patients have received the therapy as part of clinical trials and real-world use, where it is proven to be safe and effective for heart failure patients with debilitating symptoms who otherwise have few effective options available to them. To learn more, visit, or follow the company on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as ‘‘may,’’ ‘‘will,’’ ‘‘should,’’ ‘‘expect,’’ ‘‘plan,’’ ‘‘anticipate,’’ ‘‘could,’’ ‘‘intend,’’ ‘‘target,’’ ‘‘project,’’ ‘‘contemplate,’’ ‘‘believe,’’ ‘‘estimate,’’ ‘‘predict,’’ ‘‘potential’’ or ‘‘continue’’ or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning potential benefits of CCM therapy, and CCM therapy combined with an ICD delivered via a single device (CCM-D), and the absence of risks associated therewith; the ability for CCM therapy and our products to fill a significant unmet medical need for patients with heart failure; and the short-term and long-term benefits of the Optimizer Integra CCM-D System and CCM therapy in patients with heart failure, as well as to the physicians treating those patients. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Other important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those contemplated in this press release include, without limitation: the company’s future research and development costs, capital requirements and the company’s needs for additional financing; commercial success and market acceptance of CCM therapy; the company’s ability to achieve and maintain adequate levels of coverage or reimbursement for Optimizer systems or any future products the company may seek to commercialize; competitive companies and technologies in the industry; the company’s ability to expand its indications and develop and commercialize additional products and enhancements to its current products; the company’s business model and strategic plans for its products, technologies and business, including its implementation thereof; the company’s ability to expand, manage and maintain its direct sales and marketing organization; the company’s ability to commercialize or obtain regulatory approvals for CCM therapy and its products, or the effect of delays in commercializing or obtaining regulatory approvals; FDA or other U.S. or foreign regulatory actions affecting us or the healthcare industry generally, including healthcare reform measures in the United States and international markets; the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals; and the company’s ability to establish and maintain intellectual property protection for CCM therapy and products or avoid claims of infringement. The company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements and expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

Rohan More, Global Vice President of Marketing
Impulse Dynamics

Harriss Currie, Chief Financial Officer
Impulse Dynamics

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8841961

Chairman of Avia Solutions Group Gediminas Ziemelis: 10 big challenges for passenger aviation sustainability for the next 3 years

DUBLIN, Ireland, May 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ensuring sustainable operations has become a primary driver for aviation businesses in recent years. Nonetheless, this dynamic industry faces a multitude of challenges that can impede companies’ efforts to enhance profitability. While several factors contribute to the aviation industry’s struggles, certain key issues merit highlighting as primary culprits.

High market $ interest rates for heavily leveraged and drowning-in-debt airlines will be even higher

In recent years, the aviation industry has experienced a significant drop in demand for air travel, resulting in many airlines facing financial losses. To stay afloat during this time, airlines have taken on additional debt. However, this increased debt has resulted in higher risk for lenders, leading to higher market interest rates for the airlines.

In addition to the impact of the pandemic on the industry, other factors such as rising fuel costs and increased competition have also contributed to the financial struggles of many airlines. These factors have made it increasingly challenging for heavily leveraged airlines to generate profits and pay off their debt, leading to concerns about the sustainability of their business models.

The combination of these factors has led to a situation where heavily indebted airlines are now facing even higher market interest rates, which can exacerbate their financial difficulties.

Much higher insurance costs — worsening war risks could push insurance premiums higher

The aviation industry is grappling with rising insurance costs due to worsening geopolitical risks. This is highly influenced by the fact that, as stated by leading insurance companies, around 500 aircraft leased to Russian operators remain trapped in Russia. Insurers are facing potential liability issues due to the uncertain situation created by the Russian government’s refusal to release the aircraft.

As a result, insurers are struggling to assess the level of risk involved, leading to a wide range of potential losses estimated to be up to $30 billion, according to industry sources. This uncertainty is likely to drive up insurance premiums for airlines, impacting the industry as a whole.

Passengers will remember compensations for flight delays, and it will impact airlines’ unplanned costs

The EU regulation 261/2004 provides compensation for passengers who experience delays, cancellations, overbooking, or denied boarding. Depending on the specific circumstances and subject to certain conditions, affected passengers may be eligible for a compensation claim ranging from €250 to €600 per person. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of flight delays in the EU that fell under compensation was 1.5% of all flights, with an average compensation amount of €375 per delayed flight.

In 2019, EU airlines carried a total of 1.12 billion passengers, with 1.7 million flights experiencing delays and resulting in a total compensation pay-out of €6.3 billion. Only 10% of affected passengers currently file complaints directly with the airlines or via specialised service companies, such as Skycop or Airhelp.

However, this number is expected to increase significantly, as after COVID-19 the industry faces capacity shortages and other challenges. As a result, the number of claimable flights that experience delays could increase from 1.5% to 5%, potentially leading to a total compensation pay-out of €20 billion.

LEAP engines challenges will impact more aircraft on the ground and shortage of capacity;

According to our internal research, presently, the aviation industry operates a fleet of 1397 A320neo aircraft with LEAP-1A engines, totalling 3080 engines with an average of 2.2 engines per aircraft, and 1043 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with LEAP-1B engines, totalling 2338 engines with an average of 2.2 engines per aircraft. To maintain these engines, there are 21 locations globally for LEAP-1A overhaul and maintenance and 22 locations for LEAP-1B engines.

However, the grounding of 16,000 aircraft (equivalent to 60% of the total fleet) in 2020-2021 has led to a staggering 60% postponement of LEAP engine maintenance. Consequently, there is now a significant maintenance gap across 43 locations, resulting in wait times of 9-10 months for engine maintenance, which could potentially disrupt airline operations.

OEM production and supply chain disrupted during 2023-2025 will cause a shortage of aircraft capacity;

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the aerospace industry. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Boeing and Airbus have experienced significant disruptions in their production and supply chains. In response to the global economic slowdown and reduced demand for air travel, OEMs have cut their production levels by around half compared to pre-COVID levels. However, this has led to a shortage of aircraft capacity, which is hindering the industry’s recovery efforts.

The production cuts have affected over 5,000 suppliers in the supply chain, all of whom have had to reduce their volumes during the pandemic. Consequently, the recovery of the aerospace industry is projected to take 2.5-4 years to return to pre-COVID production levels. This prolonged period of disruption is likely to have significant consequences for the industry and its stakeholders.

In 2020-2021, the cancellation of pilot cadet programs and planned retirements caused a pilot shortage in 2023-2024 and a rapid increase in costs for airlines;

The aviation industry faces a constant demand for new pilots, as approximately 3% of pilots retire annually. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major setback in the industry, with all cadet programs being either postponed or cancelled.

Hence, there is now a significant pilot shortage issue, leading to rapid cost increases. It is estimated that industry will experience a shortage of 300,000 pilots within a decade. This shortage is expected to create significant challenges, particularly in India, which is anticipated to have the largest pilot shortage.

Challenges to book MRO slots after COVID-19, because scheduled maintenance events were postponed

Another issue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant accumulation of MRO services for aircraft worldwide. As a result of the unprecedented reduction in air travel and the grounding of many aircraft, scheduled maintenance was delayed or deferred.

Nonetheless, as air travel demand begins to recover and airlines return to full operations, the challenge of booking MRO slots to perform necessary maintenance on these aircraft has emerged. Many airlines are finding that MRO facilities are already operating at full capacity, resulting in long wait times and potential disruptions to airline operations. This accumulation of maintenance is expected to persist for some time, creating obstacles to the aviation industry’s recovery efforts.

Challenge to find engines maintenance slots for V2500, and RR engines due to deferred maintenance

Airlines that operate aircraft with V2500 and RR engines are also encountering difficulties in scheduling maintenance for their engines due to high demand and limited availability. This has created a challenging situation, particularly for airlines with large fleets of such aircraft.

The lack of available maintenance slots has forced airlines to ground some of their aircraft, leading to operational disruptions and revenue losses. In addition to the financial impact, the situation also poses safety concerns as delayed maintenance can compromise the safety and reliability of the engines, potentially leading to more significant problems in the future.

ESG requirements for greener aviation didn’t disappear in the medium term

The International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) 41st Assembly, held in Montreal in October 2022, marked a significant milestone for the aviation industry’s commitment to sustainability. The assembly committed to a Long Term Aspirational Goal (LTAG) to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, which has brought Environment, Society, and Governance (ESG) issues to the forefront of the sustainable aviation conversation.

The LTAG’s ambitious target is challenging, but it has the potential to encourage airlines to accelerate the development and adoption of greener jet fuels and other technical improvements to decarbonise flying. This will require a significant shift in industry-wide mindset, investment in research and development, and collaboration between airlines, manufacturers, and governments to achieve the long-term goal.

After COVID-19, debts for spare parts, MRO services, and aircraft leasing will impact that some aircraft will still be grounded, which will cause capacity demand

The challenging situation in the industry has pushed airlines to take on additional debt to finance various aspects of their operations, such as spare parts, MRO services, and aircraft leasing. However, the increase in outstanding debt for the industry could have significant implications, with some airlines potentially struggling to pay off their debts, which could result in a reduction in capacity as airlines are forced to ground some of their aircraft or cut routes to minimise costs.

Insider data shows that the industry’s outstanding debt has jumped over 20% since 2020, reaching more than $300 billion. To raise capital, global air carriers have sold $63 billion in bonds and loans so far this year.

Media contact:
Silvija Jakiene
Chief Communications Officer
Avia Solutions Group
+370 671 22697

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 1000810732

Maame Krobo community gets new chief

Mr Benjamin Darkwah Sarkodie, a Businessman based in Kumasi has been enstooled as the new Chief of Maame Krobo, a farming community in the Kwahu Afram Plains South District of the Eastern Region.

The New Chief who doubles as the Gywantufuohene (Chief Mediator) of Abetifi Traditional area was given the stool name Nana Nyakum Panin I.

He swore the oath of allegiance to Akyemfour Asiedu Agyemang III, the Chief of Abetifi and the Adontenhene of Kwahu Traditional Area and his elders.

Introducing the new chief to the Maame Krobo community at a grand Durbar, Akyemfour Agyemang III congratulated Nana Panin I for being selected to occupy the position which had been vacant for so many years.

He was charged to take up the position given him to ensure the development of the community by partnering the other sub-chiefs to deliver on his mandate as expected.

The sub- chiefs of Akyemfour Agyemang III took turns to advise the new chief on what was expected of him as the chief of the area.

The newly enstooled Chief during his address thanked the elders for honoring him with such a position and pledged to work closely with the other sub- chief to improve education, sanitation and to help create job opportunities for the youth in the area.

He said plans were in the pipeline to liaise with the Ghana immigration training school to establish a teachers training college in the district, construct an ultra modern palace since the community lack such facilities.

He said girls in the area would be assisted to discover their talents and capabilities in various vocations and appealed to guardians to take keen interest in the education of the girl child to enable them occupy higher positions in society.

Nana Panin I said he would ensure that the only clinic in the area would also be upgraded to a hospital standard to improve quality healthcare delivery to the citizenry

He therefore called on the citizens of Maame Krobo community to support him to initiate more developmental projects to improve the Standard of living in the area.

Source: Ghana News Agency

More than 1,300 individuals benefit from YouStart in Volta

More than 1,300 young people in the Volta Region are benefiting from the Government’s flagship youth entrepreneurial startup support programme, YouStart.

The World Bank assisted programme comes under the Ghana Jobs and Skills Project, which is designed to give life to the entrepreneurial aspirations of young Ghanaians, with a broadened startup support package that includes both financial and technical, targeting 50,000 youth.

The Bank is providing technical and financial support, and the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) is the implementing agency.

The programme would provide training and startup grants for the youth in their fields of expertise and includes training in workplace management modeled on the popular Japanese theory, Kaizen.

Training also covers monetary management and other nodes essential to entrepreneurial enhancement, and beneficiaries in the Volta Region are currently undergoing beginner phase training.

Mr Seth Klutse, Regional Manager of the GEA, said a total of 1,379 from all Municipalities and Districts in the Region are benefiting, and that the count met the 50 per cent threshold for female participation.

He said selection had been open and deferred political and other considerations, and that the training, which was being undertaken in two batches over the course of two weeks, would prepare trainees for subsequent advancement with the intermediary and advance stages.

Mr. Klutse said the YouStart was unique in that it would ensure quality assurance and affect the general outlook of young entrepreneurs for a well-developed industrial environment.

He said the programme showed the Government’s premium on skills development and was sure to enhance the entrepreneurial competence of the youth and provide better quality jobs.

‘This YouStart Programme is unique in the sense that the World Bank is monitoring it and that we have people monitoring the training sessions for quality assurance in terms of delivery, the environment, and the contributions. It is not like any other programme.

‘After passing through this YouStart, our entrepreneurs should be able to change their attitude and the mindset that a lot of SMEs think about money more than capacity building, and that is what we need to work on.

‘So, I am expecting that they will be able to practise exactly what they will be taught, and then use these tools, especially with the Kaizen that is coming up, they should be able to use these tools to be able to develop their businesses.’

He said the programme had come to complement others such as the MasterCard sponsored CAP, which the Region also benefited from.

The YouStart programme is on a full rollout in the Region following a pilot in Ho.

More than 100,000 young entrepreneurs nationwide are expected to sign up.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Women beneficiaries of Layers under RFJs laud government

Women in the Bolgatanga municipality who were given layers under the government’s flagship programme, rearing for food and Jobs (RFJs) have started reaping fruits of the business.

The women, who received 120 layers each at the later part of 2022, said they were making good sales of the eggs but had to use most of their proceeds to buy feed and medicines for the fowls.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, some of the women complained about the hot weather, from March to May, which was contributing to the high number of deaths among the birds

Ms Linda Adongo, from the Soe community, said the harsh weather caused stress and deaths of some of the birds and also affected egg production.

She said from previous sales of eggs, she was able to buy the feed and concentrates but the current fast increasing price of the feed was a challenge.

Ms Linda who had about 99 birds out of the 120 birds, said the training given to the beneficiaries had helped her as she could prepare the feed by herself.

Each of the women was also given 12 bags of feed from the onset of the programme which gave them a good start.

‘The project is very good and by the time the birds arrived, the weather was good, I made so much, I could also get some of the eggs for my children to help in their protein intake. I am grateful to the government and MoFA for the support.

Madam Aisha Mohammed from Damweo community currently has 90 birds after the unfriendly weather and stress had taken its toll, she picks two crates of eggs every four days.

She said during the first quarter of this year, she collected 120 crates to sell and out of the earnings purchased medicines, corn and soya beans for another round of feeding.

Madam Fuseina, also a beneficiary, said she lost 15 out of her share of 120 birds and made 150 crates of eggs at the beginning of the programme.

She said since she was able to prepare the feed herself, after sales of the eggs she used the income to buy the needed items to prepare the feed and also buy the medicines which presently cost about GHC 600.00, for one phase of treatment.

She said currently the birds were not laying much as the weather was too hot and she could only pick two crates of eggs per week, some of which were too small to be sold.

‘I thank government for giving me the opportunity to benefit from the programme, I know we cannot get everything and also I will not be able to raise money to acquire all the birds given me but with hard work and trainings and visits from the Agricultural officers to guide me, the future is bright for me and my family.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Q &A with Baroness Scotland: I’m so proud that Seychelles is leading the way in fight against corruption

Seychelles is hosting the 13th Regional Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the Commonwealth of Africa.

The three-day event opened officially on Monday by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland.

Scotland also met with Seychelles’ President, Wavel Ramkalawan later on Monday at State House.

SNA met with the Secretary-General to learn more about the discussions at State House and the importance of the regional conference.

SNA: Can you tell us about what was discussed during the meeting with the President at State House?

PS: We were talking about the Commonwealth and the way in which we want to create a digital, smart Commonwealth, an opportunity to really deliver for the 2.5 billion Commonwealth citizens, 60 percent of whom are under the age of 30.

We are living in very challenging and difficult times. If you think about the threats, the exogenous shocks we’ve been subject to, not least climate change, and understanding the reality of what climate change means to all of us.

We talked about trade, the opportunities that there are to develop the African continental free trade area, the fact that the Commonwealth has a 21 percent trading advantage and how are we going to maximize those trading advantages to the best interests of all our people.

We also talked about our young people, how fabulous they are, and the opportunities we need to give them. We talked about AI (artificial intelligence) and the fact that we have just launched two programmes, one of which is called Simply Learn and is about giving 10,000 certificates to Commonwealth young people to grapple with this AI machine learning technological revolution. We want our young people to have jobs, so these 10,000 certificates will enhance job opportunities.

We also talked about what we’re doing with Intel, the fact that Intel and the Commonwealth secretariat have put together a fantastic training course for senior officials so they can better understand the threats and the opportunities that are coming from AI and from machine learning and from things like blockchain and how we can all collectively take advantage of them.

We also talked about the fact that Seychelles is now number one in Africa in relation to anti-corruption and how we develop and promote these good things.

We discussed the opportunity there is as a result of the generally accepted performance management principles for good governance which was agreed last year by all our heads including the president and how we are going to implement all those things.

It was a very rich conversation where I was able to congratulate Seychelles for being number one and really say thank you so much for inviting me back and being the hosts for the anti-corruption Africa conference, which is taking place right now in the Savoy Hotel.

Scotland addressing participants of the 13th Regional Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the Commonwealth of Africa in Seychelles. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY

SNA: In your address, you mentioned $50 billion lost per year in Sub-Saharan Africa to illicit financial flows. How do you think such conferences will help in bringing back the funds to the countries that need it the most?

PS: What is critical is that we understand that unfortunately, corruption is global. We are no longer only dealing with local actors. Most of those who strip us of our money through bribery and corruption are international players working with local players.

This is why it’s critically important that all the anti-corruption heads from the whole of Africa come together because it’s likely that each jurisdiction and Seychelles regrettably is no different, will be having to fight those corrupt persons both within their country and outside.

If we look at most of our countries we’re unfortunately dealing with similar people and similar entities so the more we can come together, we can find out what works, how we interdict it, how we stop them, but also what has not worked well so that we can share knowledge and expertise and we couldn’t build a real consensus between us. We must hone our legislation and our regulation because these crooks don’t obey any rules and they duck them, they dive, and they use our rules against us if they can.

SNA: Can you give a tangible example of how these funds can be brought back to the countries that most need them?

PS: What we are doing now is understanding by coming together. How do we synthesise those rules? How do we make sure that we interact in the most coherent quick and effective way? How do we make sure that no jurisdiction is left behind and how do we raise all our efforts in a way that makes us better able to compete against them?

I said you know they have their conspiracy we need to have our conspiracies just that our conspiracy is of the just and we must outfox them, outbid them, and outwork them. The great thing is we can, we are doing so and we’re succeeding.

The anti-corruption agencies are talking about all the assets they’ve recovered and how we can use those assets for the benefit of our people. So many people think that anti-corruption is not worth doing, that corruption is a victimless crime. It’s not. If these people didn’t steal our money, we would have enough money to meet the sustainable development goals, we’d be able to raise billions of people out of poverty.

I’m proud of what Seychelles is doing. I’m proud of what the Commonwealth Secretariat is doing. I’m proud of what we’re doing with the anti-corruption agencies in Africa. This is our fight back and we’re saying to the crooks you are not going to win because we are going to fight you with everything we have and we’re going to do that to save our people from your bad efforts. We’re also going to save our children so that they will have a better future than they have without it. The fight back is here and I’m so proud that Seychelles is leading the way.

SNA: How would you describe the relationship between Seychelles and the Commonwealth?

PS: It is incredibly warm and tight. Seychelles is a much-loved member of our Commonwealth. We’re very proud that Seychelles is number one in terms of anti-corruption in the whole of Africa and she’s ours.

Scotland with the participants of the Regional Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the Commonwealth of Africa. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY

SNA: During the 8 years that you have been leading the Commonwealth, what is the best example of a Commonwealth project that has had the most impact on its members?

PS: I think all the work we’ve done on climate change in particular. For the 33 small states and the 25 island development states, climate change has posed and still poses an existential threat. The fight against climate change is hugely important.

This is our opportunity to come together, as we did way back in 1989 to say to the rest of the world wake up many of our countries are going to drown either as a result of rising sea levels or the debt that’s created because we have had all the damage caused by climate change. So, climate change is hugely important to us.

The fact that we’re now pushing for the universal vulnerability index, the fact that we’re saying that GDP should not be the final arbiter as to whether we get loans at a preferential rate because so many of our so-called higher-income countries are small and innately vulnerable and have suffered very acutely.

The work we’ve done on the Blue Charter, the work we’ve done on the Living Lands Charter but also the creation of the climate finance access hub. With just a tiny bit of money, we have already delivered $250 million worth of assistance to our member states. We’re enormously proud of that. We’ve got 800 million in the pipeline, but we know we must do more.

I’m glad we’ve been able to place in Seychelles a climate finance adviser and we are hoping that that adviser will be able to make even better applications on behalf of Seychelles to try and help us to adapt and mitigate.

We’ve said that we need a regenerative approach to climate change, and it needs to be one which will enable us not just to adapt and mitigate but actually, one which will reverse climate change. If we don’t reverse it, the whole world is in trouble. We must save our planet.

SNA: The Commonwealth is often criticised for being an inefficient organisation that does not have relevance for its member countries today. What is your response to this?

PS: I think that is so inaccurate. If you look at what’s happened – every single member state that has ever left the Commonwealth, has applied to return and has either come back or wants to come back. Zimbabwe is the only one so far who has left and has not yet come back, however, they are applying to come back.

Look at what just happened last year. Gabon and Togo, two countries who’ve always been part of the Francophonie – never had anything to do with the anglophone Commonwealth, both have asked to join and were permitted to join the anglophone Commonwealth. Why? You asked them and they say, ‘Who would not do this?’ ‘You’ve got a $768 billion trade between you. You have this 21 percent advantage. You are doing great things on climate change. You are doing brilliantly for your young people.’

The countries in Africa are at the top of the Mo Ibrahim Good Governance Index. All our countries are saying the Commonwealth has never been more relevant. I know that our members love each other and that’s the most powerful thing.

Look at what happened to us all during COVID. COVID was a terrible time when a number of us lost people we loved, and a number of us had family members and friends who were devastated by COVID. Our economies were really crushed, but what did you see in our Commonwealth? The very first set of ministers who met virtually were our health ministers.

When everybody else was running away from each other, our family ran towards each other. People were asking ‘What can I do? How can I help?’ All our accredited organisations, our doctors, our nurses, our pharmacists, our people, our young people. I was never prouder of our family than when I watched what the family of the Commonwealth did to help each other during those times.

The (British) Prime Minister said to me ‘You know, the Commonwealth is your bad weather friend – you know who your friends are when times are rough.’ When times are good everybody wants to be your friend but when times are tough that’s when you know they are your family. The Commonwealth is your family.

We needed that love, affection, and warmth, we needed the friendship, solidarity, and care. In the last three years, I think we saw why so many people said the Commonwealth was a beacon of hope and peace and provided so much loving support. That’s irreplaceable. It’s not about just how many guns and tanks you have. It’s about when times get tough, who do you see and I’m proud to say our member states saw the Commonwealth Secretariat shoulder to shoulder with them and saw each other.

This Commonwealth of Nations is a family built on values, respect, and the rule of law. I think this family has never been stronger. We’re growing day by day. When I leave as Secretary General, I know that the Commonwealth will be stronger, and it will go on to the next millennium. I think someone said, ‘Those who have counted the Commonwealth out, they better look out because they’re the ones who are going to be hit for six.’

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Building community collaboration is essential in research – Dr Majee

Dr Wilson Majee, an Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences and Public Health, University of Missouri, USA, has underscored the importance of building community collaborations in carrying out effective research.

He said any researcher would need a community in carrying out their research since research was supposed to improve the health of a community.

Dr Majee was delivering a public lecture at the Fred N. Binka School of Public Health, University of Health, and Allied Sciences (UHAS), Hohoe on the topic: ‘Faculty success: Developing a research and publication agenda.’

He said researchers must develop the tendency of working with others including collaborators and partners.

He said researchers could also partner or collaborate with each other in grant application and team up for research or community practice, work, or service.

Dr Majee said it was important for researchers to connect their work to relevant current events such as COVID-19 and produce questions that could help conduct a study for publication.

He said the faculty must involve students in their research, do not pass opportunities for book chapters and serve as reviewers, guest editors, editors, or editorial board in their profession to be better connected with others.

Dr Majee also encouraged the faculty to apply for grants if they wanted to undertake good research and identify various sources of grants available to them.

He said they could also come up with innovative ideas for their research and must also participate and be present at conferences in their fields at the university, regional, national, and international levels.

Dr Majee said although community collaboration sometimes comes up with challenges, consistency and determination could lead to understanding and acceptance from the community.

Dr Carolyn Marie Orbann, an Associate Teaching Professor, University of Missouri, USA in her lecture on ‘A comparison of the 1918 Flu and COVID-19 in four Missouri counties: Disease

transmission and county characteristics’, noted that the global mortality of the Flu was estimated at 50 million and the rate was for all ages and young adults in Missouri.

She said the COVID-19’s global mortality was at seven million and it killed older people in Missouri.

Dr Orbann said most COVID-19 deaths occurred in Missouri during the post vaccine development because there was a lot of vaccine resistance.

She said similarities between the two pandemics were social distancing and vaccination was considered as important mitigation strategies, isolated communities, lower socio-economic groups, and institutionalized persons were at higher-than-average risk.

She said other similarities included the worldwide spread, but much variation across space and both pandemics were caused by respiratory viruses with droplet transmission.

Dr Orbann said technological changes including better treatments, faster development of new treatments and faster dissemination of information was a social or behavioral difference between the two pandemics in Missouri, while another difference was the types of important institutions and facilities the two pandemics affected.

Dr Orbann said the 1918 Flu affected orphanages, residential schools, mental health facilities and factories while the Covid-19 affected nursing facilities, factories, and recreational spaces in Missouri.

She noted that lessons learnt were the importance of historical knowledge and knowing potential hotspot since in both pandemics, local institutions played important roles in spreading of virus.

‘Most of the interventions we are turning to now were tried in the past. People today are interested and engaged in learning about the 1918 Flu.’

Professor Lydia Aziato, Vice Chancellor, UHAS, said the purpose of the interaction was to initiate a relationship with the University of Missouri and UHAS adding that there was a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two universities that would begin next year where students would come to the universities.

She was hopeful that the relationship would grow beyond seminars and students’ exchanges to other research collaborations in the future while the topics would help participants to learn new things.

Professor Paul Amuna, Dean, Fred N. Binka School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), congratulated the two speakers and expressed gratitude to them for their presentations.

He said it was important for one to be passionate about what they do regardless of the weight of support available to them.

Prof Amuna noted that UHAS and the Fred N. Binka School of Public Health had recognized the importance of collaboration and were committed to building bridges with other universities.

Source: Ghana News Agency