Child Health in Africa

I have previously worked within the health sector in Zambia. I managed a malaria program promoting private sector engagement in public health under CHAMP ( Comprehensive HIV/AIDs management programme). The programme was initiated by First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

The new health report released by UNICEF and its partners is welcoming showing a remarkable decline in child deaths worldwide.

 An estimated 6.9 million children died before the age of five in 2011, down from 12 million in 1990 and 8.2 million in 2005.  Although lagging behind Sub Saharan African also showed a reduction in child mortality by 39% in the same period. 

Interventions such as routine immunisation, distribution of mosquito nets to prevent malaria, malaria testing and treatment, antirtrovirals to prevent mother to child infection, better nutrition and improved water and sanitation have all contributed to the decline.

The burden still remains however. Almost 19,000 children under 5 still die each day,amounting to roughly 1.2 million under-five deaths from mostly preventable causes every two months.

Temporary malaria testing station, kalumbila

Temporary malaria testing station, Kalumbila

Further Reading:

http://www.one.org/international/blog/new-report-highlights-striking-progress-on-child-mortality-but-lingering-inequalities/#

Konsten att lyssna

Reflections  from Henning Mankell.

THE ART OF LISTENING

” The simplest way to explain what I’ve learned from my life in Africa is through a parable about why human beings have two ears but only one tongue. Why is this? Probably so that we have to listen twice as much as we speak.

In Africa listening is a guiding principle. It’s a principle that’s been lost in the constant chatter of the Western world, where no one seems to have the time or even the desire to listen to anyone else.  It’s as if we have completely lost the ability to listen. We talk and talk, and we end up frightened by silence, the refuge of those who are at a loss for an answer.

Many people make the mistake of confusing information with knowledge. They are not the same thing. Knowledge involves the interpretation of information. Knowledge involves listening. ” 

The full article

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/opinion/sunday/in-africa-the-art-of-listening.html

The art of listening

The art of listening

The informal sector in Africa

Elina Eriksson in her blog highlights the issues of street vending in Zambia.

I Zambia är gatuförsäljning för många en fråga om överlevnad. Eftersom arbetslösheten är skyhög är det det enda alternativet för att arbetslösa ska kunna få en inkomst och försörja sina familjer. Vår regering kom till makten förra året med löftet om “mer pengar i fickan”, så när gatuförsäljning förbjöds för en tid sedan och det blev folkstorm drogs förbudet snart tillbaka (regeringen insåg också att detta är deras främsta anhängare , bäst att hålla dem nöjda). Men  därefter har det bara gått utför………

The full article :Business in the street.

Klicka för att besöka det ursprungliga inlägget

Street vending in Zambia

An article by Babs Iwalewa  on talkafrique.com describes the informal sector as being the numerous petty or small scale businesses operated by artisans, peasants and other micro entrepreneurs, within the economy. He describes this sector as an often neglected sector. Experts have argued  that this sector is often the driving force of the economy in many African countries.

The prominence of the informal sector in most African economies cannot really be underemphasized as almost all persons who cannot find placements within the formal sector of the economy finds solace in the informal sector of the economy.

Development, poverty alleviation, microlending programmes need to include this sector in their planning programmes.

FACTS ON THE INFORMAL SECTOR

  • The average size of the informal sector in developing countries is 41%
  • 60% percent of female workers in developing countries are employed by the informal sector.
  • Informal employment in sub Saharan Africa makes up 72%
  • Tax collection from the informal sector is problematic.
  • Aveage incomes in this sector are lower than in the formal sector
  • This is a growing sector

More reading:

http://www.talkafrique.com/issues/the-role-of-the-informal-sector-in-african-economy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informal_sector

African Art

This month south african artist Vusi Mfupi The Paper Boy was featured by Caroline Kaminju on African Colours. AfricanColours is a privately funded organisation engaged in the promotion of African Contemporary Artists and dissemination of Contemporary African art news on the internet.

Young, focused, talented, passionate, successful and dedicated, are some of the adjectives Mbogeni Buthelezi, a plastic collage artist and former art teacher uses to describe his student Vusi Mfupi. Read more on this talented artist at AfricanColours – Vusi Mfupi The Paper Boy.

Vusi Mfupi is a South Afrcan artist, a story teller who uses his collages to depict the daily lives of ordinary people. ‘In my work I look at social aspects of life most of which are very simple,’ he says. ‘I am a very simple person and I want people to relate with my work without any complication. When they read into my art, it’s like a child reading a book’.

Jozi By Vusi Mfupi

Jozi By Vusi Mfupi

Skottkärran, utveckling i Afrika

The Wheelbarrow, development in Africa

Not so long ago I listened to a  captivating development talk from Professor Hans Rosling from Gap Minders. He compared two pictures. An upright beautiful African woman with an African sunset in the background carrying a 20 litre plastic container on her head. The other picture, yet another beautiful African woman, this one pushing 3×20 litre plastic containers in a wheelbarrow. Each woman carrying water.  Without too many words, he had made his point, the second picture showing clear steps towards progress and development.

Riksdagsseminarium 27 januari 2012, Professor Hans Rosling

Vad är då gränsen för att man ska förstå vad fattigdomsgränsen är?

“Jag tycker att den är ungefär så här. Det är att ha råd till en skottkärra, så man får hem tre gånger så mycket vatten. Så hon tackar den svenska industriella utvecklingen för kullagret. Det bäst placerade kullagret sitter i en skottkärra hos en afrikansk kvinna.

Shortening time to collect water saves lives.

A recent article in MedicalXpress shows that more than a third of the world’s population does not have potable water piped into the home. In sub-Saharan Africa, that number jumps to 84 percent. The Stanford study analyzed data from 26 African countries, where it is estimated that some 40 billion hours of labor each year are spent hauling water, a responsibility often borne by women and children. The study goes further to show that shortening the time that women and children spend fetching water can save lives.

The value of a wheelbarrow in Africa can never be underestimated. Wheelbarrows are more than just tools to help with heavy burdens, they are forms of transportation, a symbol of progress and development.

I recently salvaged an old wheelbarrow that was destined for the garbage dump and made it into a garden feature. A gentle reminder of the toils of  numerous women and a symbol of progress and development in Africa.

A wheelbarrow, a symbol of developement in Africa

A wheelbarrow, a symbol of development in Africa

Read more at:

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-02-sub-saharan-africa-shorter.html#jCp

http://blog.mywonderfulworld.org/2010/11/sarah-kozicki-energy-for-water.html

http://weadapt.org/knowledge-base/vulnerability/Sekhukhune