Archive for the ‘Foreign Aid’ Category

By Heba Ijaz

Since Nigeria was declared endemic-free last year, Pakistan has become one of two remaining countries where polio is still an endemic viral infection.

Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease caused by the poliovirus that primarily affects children. The virus spreads mainly through the fecal-oral route, although transmission through oral and nasal secretions can also occur. It resides mainly in the throat and intestines, and in certain cases, can enter the bloodstream to invade the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis. Contaminated water and food sources along with poor personal hygiene are significant contributors to polio transmission. Two types of vaccines are available today: Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is a live attenuated version and Intravenous Polio Vaccine (IPV) is an inactivated version. (more…)


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-By Selin Thomas

For more than two years, the Syrian conflict has been intensely growing in historic scale and scope, with the United Nations estimating more than 100,000 dead and millions displaced. In the last two weeks, the U.N. Security Council has been urged to act on humanitarian aid to Syria because the only achievement to come out of peace talks has been a cease fire in Homs, leaving many aid workers still risking their lives daily. Today, more than two million have fled the country, an estimated 4.25 million have been displaced within the country. (more…)

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-By Nina Misra

In mid-December 2013, violence erupted in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country. The president, Salva Kiir, accused his former vice-president Riek Machar of planning to upstage the presidency. Kiir had eleven people associated with this planned coup arrested. Fighting first started in the capital, Juba, amongst Presidential guards. This conflict between Kiir and Machar turned into a war between ethnic groups. Kiir is somewhat followed by the Dinka people, while Machar is fully supported by the Nuer.  Machar says that “the conflict is not yet over”, and refuses to stop fighting until the eleven politicians are released from detention.  Machar says, “these are events of war”- events that include “extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and massacres committed by both sides”. The death toll is unknown, and the violence unspeakable. The effects of the fighting are felt by all the citizens of South Sudan, even those who are not directly in the line of fire.  (more…)

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An earlier posting had an incorrect link to the video:  here is the correct link. Sorry!


From the NY Times: “The filmmaker Roger Ross Williams reveals how money donated by American evangelicals helps to finance a violent antigay movement in Uganda.”

This video by the NY Times follows the work of Rev. Kapya Kaoma, who studied theology at BU, in tracking the impact of US religious conservatives instigating the anti-gay legislation and movement against the LGBT population of Uganda. It’s a very well produced video which raises a lot of troubling questions. Rev. Kaoma does an excellent job of examining the motives behind these groups. They seem unaware – or perhaps aware but untroubled – about the terrible impact their activities are having on a persecuted minority group in Uganda. This video deserves a wider audience, so I post the link to it here. What do you think? comments welcome (but they will be moderated).

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On January 12, 2010, the Haitian community was rattled by one of the most devastating earthquakes to occur in the last century. This earthquake killed thousands and left much of Haiti’s population homeless, living in “subhuman conditions” without access to running water or latrines.1 This national disaster brought attention and assistance from many other nations, whose presence in Haitian cities led to the onset of another catastrophe—a massive cholera epidemic. (more…)

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Big news from Washington D.C last Friday, from President Obama about his nomination for president of the World Bank. He nominated Dr. Jim Young Kim, who is the president of Dartmouth College and a global health expert. This nomination comes after the current World Bank’s president, Robert B. Zoellick, announced the end of his presidency after a five-year term. Upon hearing this news, my first reaction was to wonder how Dr. Kim and his skills would be right for the World Bank? (more…)

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My interest in health and human rights on an international setting has led me to question a great deal about international public health, particularly with regard to the intervention by developed nations in underdeveloped ones and the application of concepts like “sustainability” and “cost-effectiveness” as well as the very nature of public health initiatives. Too often, it seems that western nations take a mindset similar to that of Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries and their ideas of Manifest Destiny. Essentially, they justified colonialism and political, economic, and territorial greed by claiming that, as a developed nation, it was our duty to improve the lives of underdeveloped societies. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to compare our public health campaigns to combat HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health concerns, and preventable disease in afflicted countries to these skewed ideals of our forefathers, but it is important to realize that many programs still contain undertones that bear a somewhat shocking resemblance to those days. Ultimately, it may be important for developed nations to decide how great of a factor sustainability or cost-effectiveness should be when weighed against the value of human lives across the globe. (more…)

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