HOBART, Australia (CMC):Fast-bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose is seeking to fire up underdogs West Indies who face top-ranked Australia in the first of three Test matches from this evening (Caribbean time).Ambrose, the bowling consultant, is insisting that the West Indies have the manpower to challenge the home side in the three-match rubber following their humiliating 10-wicket loss to an inexperienced Cricket Australia X1.Australia defeated West Indies 2-0 in their last series played in the Caribbean earlier this year.”Even though we lost 2-0, there were moments or periods when we had them on the back foot and had their backs against the wall. And we never really finished them off,” recalled Ambrose.”So we believe we can compete, and not only compete, but we believe we can beat them, and that’s our focus: to beat Australia. Not just to compete but to win and, being the underdogs, sometimes it’s good to be that way.”The Caribbean side was able to avoid an innings defeat against the young Cricket Australia’s X1 on the strength of a stubborn partnership between Jason Holder and Kemar Roach.But their defeat has forced former players and commentators to question their confidence going into the opening Test at Hobart.However, the former fast bowler is insisting that given the expectation of the Australian public, the home side is the one under pressure to perform.”We have nothing to lose. As far as we are concerned, Australia is the one under pressure. They have to beat us because Australians expect them to steamroll us. So they are the ones under pressure, not us,” he said.”We’re here to do a job and we’re going to make a good job of it. We’re not going to worry about what has been said about us not being a good team or not going to compete and games being over in three days and all that kind of stuff.”Jason Holder’s men arrived in Australia not having won an overseas tour of note in 20 years and are ranked above only Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.Ambrose has described in-form batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner as the main threat in the Australian batting line-up, but contends that their middle order is vulnerable.”They are in some good form at the moment, and there are two good batsmen and, yes, they will be key. If we can get them out early for not too many runs, I still believe that the middle order of Australia is not that solid at the moment,” Ambrose pointed out.”I think Warner and Smith will be key, and once we get them out early, that could give us some leeway to really test them.”Ambrose has identified the bowling attack as the Windies’ strength and expressed confidence in Jerome Taylor’s ability to lead an attack capable of taking 20 Australian wickets.”Since I joined the team, it took me a little while to get them to buy into my concept because they are accustomed to certain things and, of course, it would not change overnight,” said Ambrose, who took up his consultancy role in February 2014.The first Test will be played at the Blundstone Arena, from Thursday to Monday. First ball is 10:30 a.m. (Wednesday 6:30 p.m. Jamaica time).
News that the Liberian Government and some of its partners had developed a handbook to guide the activities of health workers as to how services should be delivered to mothers and newborns at the community level, has been highly welcomed by health practitioners in the country.Health workers and other stakeholders in the sector have termed the initiative a “big relief” for newborns and their mothers as well as health service providers.It is noticeable in Liberia that inadequately trained health workers and a lack of data and country-specific health literature such as manuals and handbooks, are a big challenge for delivery of effective and efficient health care services in Liberia— especially for mothers and babies in remote and hard to reach areas. To remedy this situation (the lack of guideline for service delivery), the Liberia government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoH&SW) United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), with technical and financial support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has developed a handbook on new-born and child care for community health workers in the country.On Tuesday February 4, 2014, over 30 community health workers; technical officers from Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), MoHSW; county health directors and MCH officers from UNICEF, WHO, USAID, Save the Children and other NGOs, gathered at the opening of a three-day workshop at a local resort to field question about and test the new handbook. According to organizers, the workshop will sensitize participants about the various interventions or packages on newborn and child care in communities and also highlight its benefits. It will also guide the participants to choose packages that are appropriate to specific county needs and requirements.Speaking during the opening session in Monrovia, UNICEF Liberia Representative, Sheldon Yett, emphasized skilled front-line health workers as the key for prompt and effective delivery of new-born and child health services in remote and underserved communities.Rep. Yett said that a trained workforce should be supported with timely supervision and supply of adequate medicines, vaccines and equipment to treat common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, notorious for killing newborn and under five year-olds.The UNICEF boss noted that, though Liberia has successfully reduced chronic malnutrition from 42 to 36%, almost one-third of under-five child deaths is attributed to malnutrition.Statistic shows that an estimated 12,000 children still die every year from preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. This is about 32 children daily.Mr. Yett noted that in 2013, UNICEF supported the Government of Liberia to further strengthen and expand community health structures in 769 communities by training 230 general Community Health Volunteers (gCHVs) in Maryland and Grand Gedeh counties.“They were trained on integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) of common childhood illnesses. An additional 315 gCHVs in River Gee and Sinoe counties will be trained during the first quarter of 2014,” he said.The Assistant Minister of Health for Preventive Services, Tolbert Nyenswah, lauded partners, including UNICEF, who have help tirelessly in ensuring that the document becomes a reality. He enumerated several programs, including Kangaroo Mother Care, and treatment for babies’ cords, initiated by the Ministry of Health to save newborns from preventable diseases.Minister Nyenswah, who is also the deputy Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, said though the government and its partners have help to drastically reduced newborn and under five mortality rates, they should not be complacent with the achievement so far. Instead, they must ensure that it is brought down to the lowest level.According to the 2013 Health Management Information System (HMIS), approximately 40% of the estimated 4 million people in Liberia lack access to healthcare, defined as living more than five km from a health facility. UNICEF Liberia is supporting the government to implement high impact and low-cost health interventions especially in the most difficult-to-reach population in impoverished South East Liberia.At the end of the three-day workshop, it is anticipated that participants will develop an implementation action plan for newborn and child care in communities. The initiative will contribute to the country’s overall goal of accelerating reduction of under-5 child mortality rate as committed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the launch of ‘A Promise Renewed’ initiative in 2013.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)