Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kenya's Health Service

In Kenya, every day families are forced to sell their assets, rely on community support or see their modest life savings wiped out by medical bills. 
Every year, nearly one million Kenyans are pushed below the poverty line due to healthcare expenses.
Ill-health is a substantial burden on Kenyan families and on Kenya’s economy. Out-of-pocket expenses in Kenya make up a third of the country’s total health expenditure, far above the World Health Organization’s suggested 15 or 20%.
Approximately four out of every five Kenyans lack access to medical insurance, meaning that most are just an accident or illness away from destitution. Among the poorest, only 3% have health insurance, this provided by the government’s National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). This rises to 42% of the wealthiest fifth where private cover is also more common. Additionally, there are stark disparities between rural and urban populations, where rates of coverage are an average of 12% and 27% respectively.
 33.6% of Kenyans survive on less than US$1.90 per day, millions will still not access quality healthcare.

Nigeria's Health Service

Of Nigeria’s 190 million population, just 5% is covered by health insurance, with over 90% of healthcare paid for privately. 

Illness creates a huge burden on these people who the lack social protection to support them in times of need. The impact of absent universal care trickles down to all levels of society. Starting at an individual level, many forego treatment due to an inability to pay for it. Of the families that do pay for healthcare when in need, many are forced to sacrifice other basic necessities, such as food and education for their children, under the financial strain imposed by healthcare.

In Nigeria, for every 1 Nigerian Naira that the government spends on health, 2.5 Naira is spent on defence. 

In 2015 alone, malaria killed 182,284 people in Nigeria; diarrheal diseases killed 143,880; and 212,557 women and children died during pregnancy and childbirth. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Congo Crisis

Hunger has surged in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 400,000 children at risk of starving to death. Fighting has prevented farmers from tilling their land for three consecutive agricultural seasons, Oxfam said.

 Militia fighting that broke out in Congo's central Kasai region last year has led to an eight-fold increase in hunger, leaving 3.2 million people short of food, the United Nations (U.N.) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

"Vicious conflict has left millions of people in Kasai severely hungry and the world cannot continue to ignore this scale of human suffering," Jose Garcia Barahona, the British charity Oxfam's country director, said in a statement. "Governments and international donors need to urgently plug the funding gap," he said, adding that Oxfam and the U.N. have already halved emergency food rations for thousands of people.

More than 3,000 people have been killed and 1.7 million forced to flee their homes in Kasai since the start of the insurrection by the Kamuina Nsapu militia, which wants the withdrawal of military forces from the area.

U.N. children's agency (UNICEF) said in a statement, "Families have little to harvest from their own land and nothing to sell at the markets," it said, adding that conditions are not expected to improve before June. More than 200 health centres have been destroyed, looted or damaged, UNICEF said, increasing the risk of diseases like measles spreading.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

An they dare call it justice

When it is people from low-income backgrounds that are dying, their lives don’t mean as much in the grand scheme of things. Their deaths often don’t make the news, flags don’t fly at half mast and important politicians don’t show up at their funerals. The same applies to the entire justice system, which is hopelessly stacked against them.

The rich can afford fancy lawyers with an army of assistants to make sure that a case goes on forever. When all else fails, and sometimes just because they can, they buy judges and their cases go away. The judges, prosecutors, policemen and the witnesses all know it is an unfair system designed to protect the rich but they still willingly take part in it.

The poor rot in detention while their matters are mentioned, repeatedly delayed on small procedural issues or prosecutorial errors and lose their livelihoods while waiting for their date with a judge. Their pleas are not heard and most don’t even dare speak up in front of the court, lest they say the wrong thing and offend the important people at the front. Whether you are accused of a crime or you are the plaintiff in a case, you need plenty of money and impeccable English to be even considered in today’s Kenya.

A chicken thief is jailed for several years while those who loot billions get elected to public office.  When a poor person takes what is not theirs, it is called theft but when a rich person helps themselves to other people’s money, it is called a perk of office.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Swaziland king cheats the old

More than 80 percent of women aged 60 and over and 70 percent of men in Swaziland live in poverty, according to a new report.
This comes at a time when the Swazi Government has run out of money and cannot pay elderly grants (pensions) to all people in that age group.

About seven in ten of Swaziland's 1.3 million population live in abject poverty defined as having incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. The report said poverty among people aged 60 or over was highest compared to other age groups.
The Swazi Observer newspaper quoted the report, 'Whilst the elderly are now receiving social grants, they continue to be subjected to other forms of abuse as they are neglected by family members, abused physically and emotionally within society.'
The findings come as the Swazi Government which is not elected by the people but handpicked by King Mswati III who rules as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch said it could not afford to pay elderly grants to people who reached the age of 60 this year. About 4,000 people are affected.
King Mswati lives a lavish lifestyle, with at least 13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce. He has a private jet airplane and is soon to get a second.

Mozambiques jet-setter president

Filipe Nyusi, the president of Mozambique, is reported to have spent £7million of public cash on a plane to fly around the world. The country has a GDP per person of just $1,200 (£900) – making it more impoverished than nearly any other nation in the world. The lavish purchase comes despite the fact his country is so poor it is reliant on aid money. But it recently bought a 14-seater Bombardier Challenger 850 jet for $9.2million (£7million). Nyusi used the aircraft to travel to the inauguration of neighboring Zimbabwe’s new president.

Friday, December 08, 2017

The Congo Crisis

The World Food Program (WFP) has halved rations for 500,000 people in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) because of a shortage of funds.
The DRC is the site of one of the world’s most underfunded humanitarian emergencies, receiving less than half of the $812 million needed in 2017.
The WFP’s Claude Jibidar told Devex that donor fatigue was compounded by the country’s tenuous links to the big donors’ foreign policy priorities – curbing migration and stopping terrorism.
“Donor fatigue, geopolitical disinterest, and competing crises have pushed D.R.Congo far down the list of priorities for the international community,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s country director in the DRC, Ulrika Blom. “This deadly trend is at the expense of millions of Congolese. If we fail to step up now, mass hunger will spread and people will die.”
More people fled their homes in the DRC in the first half of 2017 than anywhere else in the world, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. More than 1.7 million people were displaced by fighting in Congo this year. Conflicts have forced 4 million people from their homes and left 3.2 million short of food.
“It’s a mega-crisis. The scale of people fleeing violence is off the charts, outpacing Syria, Yemen, and Iraq,” said Blom.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The forgotten Refugees

15,000 people displaced every day inside African countries, according to a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) 

The world focuses its attention on preventing irregular migration and protecting refugees coming out of Africa, yet the displacement that happens within African nations own borders persists and is ignored.  Conflict caused 75 per cent of Africa's new displacement in the first half of 2017, and 70 per cent in 2016. DRC, Nigeria and South Sudan are regularly among the five countries worst affected. East Africa, where displacement is often driven by protracted and cyclical conflicts such as those in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, bears the brunt of the crisis in regional terms.

 Since the beginning of 2017, 2.7 million people have been displaced by conflict, violence or disasters, and have not crossed an international border. In the first half of the year, 997,000 new internal displacements due to conflict were reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), more than in the whole of 2016, and 206,000 in the Central African Republic, four times the figure for the previous year.

Behind the numbers lie the blighted lives of people forced to leave their homes, often at a moment's notice and in the most traumatic of circumstances, and receiving little protection and assistance from their governments. In countries with low coping capacity and weak governance, the majority of people internally displaced live in conditions of extreme vulnerability, and are often at risk of further upheaval and long-term impoverishment. This is the case for many of the 12.6 million Africans living in displacement as of the end of 2016.

These numbers does not include those who have fled across borders to seek refuge, with UN figures showing there were more than 5.6 million refugees in Africa by end of last year.

"This dire and clearly worsening situation demands a new approach that goes beyond humanitarian action to address the causes and long-term implications of internal displacement. Every case is much more than a personal tragedy; displacement threatens to undermine the achievement of Africa's broader development objectives," said IDMC's director, Alexandra Bilak.

Cameroon Discontent

People fleeing villages in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon accuse government troops of killings, rape and harassment. Thousands are on the run after President Paul Biya declared war on secessionists. President Paul Biya has not softened his intransigency towards aspirations for more autonomy and has refused to negotiate.

 32-year-old merchant Ethel Takem told DW that she and her peers had to suspend their trading when Cameroon President Paul Biya declared war on local separatist groups last weekend: "The number of check points is just unbearable," Takem said. She likened the president's soldiers to hungry lions let loose on a defenseless population. "Those who want to be killed can travel. I still have my life ahead, so I will not move," she said.

The situation is also tense in the towns of Mamfe and Eyumojock, where at least six soldiers and a policeman were killed last week. Mamfe is also the home town of Julius Ayuk Tabe, the man who calls himself the first president of Ambazonia. Ambazonia is the name separatists gave to the English-speaking regions which they hope to turn into an independent country.
The Yaounde government maintains that separatist fighters are being trained in the region and across the border in neighboring Nigeria. According to Mamfe resident Peter Ayuk, most young people have fled into the bush to escape the military. "The village of the present president is now is on fire. The military men are burning houses. All the young men are in the forests," he said.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Child in Poverty in SA

More than a third of children in South Africa have experienced some form of maltreatment including sexual, physical and emotional abuse, according to a latest survey.

The South African Child Gauge 2017 also indicated over half of children could not read fluently and with comprehension at the end of Grade 4.

The number of children still living below the poverty line remains high at 5.5 million

 3.4 million children who lived in overcrowded housing conditions, and a further six million who had no access to clean drinking water.