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Author Archives: Alanna Shaikh

Alanna Shaikh is a global health professional currently located in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. All her writings represent her own opinions, not that of any employer or government.

What New Maternal Mortality Figures Tell Us

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.



Aid to the Health Sector is Fungible. Is That a Problem?

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:


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What’s Next for Kyrgyzstan? Three Possible Scenarios

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.


Security | 4

A Revolution in Kyrgyzstan?

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.


Security | 2

Don’t Ban the Veil: Why Peter Berkowitz is Wrong

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.


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One Laptop Per Child in Rwanda

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.


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