Author Archives: Alanna Shaikh
A new Lancet study has been getting a lot of attention in the global health blogosphere. The article looks at maternal mortality in 181 countries, and found good news. Maternal mortality is decreasing steadily; on average the global maternal mortality rates has been falling by 1% a year.
A new paper from The Lancet demonstrates that health assistance doesn’t always increase the amount of money a country’s government spends on health. Instead, health aid causes governments to decrease the amount of money they spend on the health sector. Overall health sector funding goes up but the total amount provided by the recipient goes down. On the assumption that this is a bad thing, the paper makes five recommendations for how to prevent this effect:
It’s pretty clear that we just saw an attempted coup in Kyrgyzstan. (A coup or a revolution, depending on how you see the opposition’s role in this.) Opposition forces have driven President Bakiev out of Bishkek, and the opposition leader, Roza Otunbayeva, has claimed the presidency.
As I write this, there is an uprising in Kyrgyzstan. I strongly suspect that about 24 hours from now, it will be a revolution. Kyrgyzstan isn’t a country that most people know much about. It’s located in Central Asia, a region that doesn’t get much attention, and it’s one of the smaller, less prosperous Central Asian countries. Kyrgyzstan has about 6 million people and it’s mostly made up of mountains. The economy is based primarily on growing cotton and sending migrant workers to neighboring Kazakhstan.
In the Wall Street Journal today, Peter Berkowitz weighs in on the controversy surrounding French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s call to ban the Muslim face veil. Berkowitz argues that France has unique reasons why it should ban women from wearing the Muslim face veil. He is right that France is in a unique situation. He’s wrong to think it means the country should ban the veil.
In my September 2009 blog post on One Laptop Per Child, I argued that the program had largely failed to meet its expressed purpose of improving education for children in the developing world through the distribution of large numbers of low-cost laptops. I continue to believe that’s the case. OLPC’s grand goal has not, and is unlikely to be, achieved.
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.