Rural Reporters Weekly Top Pick: Trends in Rural Africa

 

Every week, Rural Reporters collates a  report on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include are some of our top picks of recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles to help you keep on top of global crises.

Here are top updates from the previous week.

 

Africa: WHO Endorses Chinese Male Circumcision Device Against AIDS Transmission

The World Health Organisation has prequalified a Chinese-­made, single-­use, disposable device called Shangring that is used to circumcise boys and men over 13 years old without surgery.

Male circumcision is recommended by the WHO as a strategy for reducing the transmission of AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

South Africa: Eastern Cape Rural Residents gets free Wifi Internet Access

Residents in two rural areas in the Eastern Cape will as of today get access to free WiFi on the Project Isizwe network, after the service launched in the province this week.

Project Isizwe currently operates a network of free hotpots in the Tshwane area.

The service was launched in partnership with global satellite operator SES at the Ingwe TVET College’s Lusikisiki and Mount Frere campuses, where over 4 000 students will have access to the internet on their mobiles, laptops and desktops.

The project is also targeting mostly other youths in the areas.

 

Namibia: Rural Mothers Access Quality Maternal Health

The vast, forbidding landscapes of Namibia and the traditional nature of many of its tribal groups contribute to high rates of maternal and infant mortality.

The country’s under-five mortality rate of 54 per 1000 live births is nearly twice the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 target and the maternal mortality ratio of 385 per 100 000 live births is over six times the MDG 5 target.

Drought Increases the Spread of HIV in Africa

Bad weather in Africa south of the Sahara increases the spread of HIV, according to a study published in the June 2015 issue of the Economic Journal. When the rains fail, farmers in rural areas often see their incomes fall dramatically and will try to make up for it however they can, including through sex work. Analyzing data on more than 200,000 individuals across 19 African countries, the research team finds that by changing sexual behavior, a year of very low rainfall can increase local infection rates by more than 10%.

 

South African nurses who moonlight and do agency work are straining the health system and putting patients’ lives at risk.

Between 2009 and 2010, the South African government spent over US$212.6million (about R1.49 billion) hiring nurses for the public health sector from nursing agencies.

In the same period, the provincial spend on agency nurses ranged from a low of just under US$5.2million (R36.45 million) in Mpumalanga Province to a high of US$50.92million (R356.43 million) in the Eastern Cape Province.

In that financial year, more than 5300 registered nurses could have been employed instead of agency nurses, according to our research.

Child marriage shame – Poor rural girls bear the brunt of arranged unions

An alarming high rate of girls aged between 14 and 18 from a small KwaZulu-Natal village are being abducted and forced to marry older men.

In cases of arranged marriages, including a practice called ukuthwala, which is prevalent in KZN and the Eastern Cape, not all grooms are older men. A report by World Vision South Africa (WVSA), a Christian humanitarian organisation, reveals a case of 15-year-old girl who was married off to a 17-year-old boy in a pre-arranged marriage.

Of the 40 pupils surveyed in two high schools in Umzimkhulu near Kokstad, southern KZN, 10 were found to be victims of ukuthwala.

Their husbands were between eight to 20 years older than them.

 

Chitimukulu Bemoans the plight of Zambia’s rural poor

Class colonialism has emerged in Zambia and on the African continent, says Chitimukulu Henry Kanyanta Sosala Bemoaning the plight of Zambia’s rural poor, the Chitimukulu says it is only from the position of a traditional ruler that a person can have the opportunity to see how a rural villager, being on the lowest rung of society, is cruelly exploited in every area of his poor miserable life and how his welfare is of no consequence to those on higher rungs. “The silence of the rural communities always stays with me. Their vulnerability is the measure of their disadvantaged position. They seem to have no public identity,” he says. “Here are people who are unable to defend their interests; to somewhat unionise; to petition; to speak out; to challenge and demand. I would rather die fighting alongside the suffering poor masses than make a butchery of my conscience.”

 

Kenya slum gets water through ATMs

Residents of the Mathare slum area of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, are now able to access water through an ATM-style dispenser.

People living in slums traditionally rely on vendors, who are expensive, or polluted sources to get drinking water.

But the new system, where people use a smart card, is designed to provide cheaper and cleaner water.

 

 

 

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde