Why Emerging World Needs a More Rural-Driven Agenda and Other Reports
Happy new month!
Every week, Rural Reporters collate reports on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles which have been carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:
Here’s a rundown of the top stories making headlines in rural Africa this week.
The rural-urban divide continues to be one of the most enduring challenges facing the emerging world today. It is omnipresent. It is widening. And it is still largely being ignored, in different parts of the world.
The divide manifests itself mostly in economic but also in political and cultural domains. In the emerging world it is leading to concentration of employment opportunities in few urban centers at the cost of more far-flung areas. It has the potential to influence distribution of wealth and resources to the extent of causing conflict. Another negative outcome of this is the apathy of those accumulating wealth in urban centers toward the disadvantaged.
Maternal health has made great advances in Ethiopia. In my 10 years conducting research on maternal health, I’ve seen a big push to build more health facilities and to provide ambulances to transport pregnant women to these facilities.
But one of the big challenges for women is referring them for help from one facility to the next level. Aside from the facilities being very far apart, in some places there are no roads and limited transportation. The women have to walk from facility to facility. Or be carried. This makes it impossible to calculate how much time it will take them.
In Ethiopia just over 80% of the population lives in rural areas. My doctoral research took place in the rural neighbourhoods (kebeles) in Kafa Zone in southwest Ethiopia. It looked at maternal health and how the goal of reducing maternal mortality fits into Ethiopia’s development agenda.
But it’s impossible to think about maternal health without thinking about the time and distance between where women live in rural kebeles and where the government constructs health facilities: health posts, health centres and hospitals. The three make up a primary health care unit.
In late 2014, a group of public health experts and philanthropists were grappling with the problem of how to improve contraception access for women in the most remote, hard-to-reach villages in rural Africa, where a flood can shut down the roads for days and cut off medical supply chains. It occurred to them to borrow an idea from Amazon: Unmanned delivery drones.
“We thought, ‘Hang on a minute. We can use this for something else!'” said Kanyanta Sunkutu, a South African public health specialist with the United Nations Population Fund.
“Delivery to the rural areas used to take two days,” Sunkutu said at the International Conference on Family Planning in Bali, Indonesia. “It will now take 30 minutes.”
If all hospitals were like this we could implement National Health Insurance tomorrow
Jack Lewis, who founded Community Media Trust, the organisation that owns GroundUp, describes how Ladismith’s hospital sets an example for the public health system.
I live on a smallholding in Vanwyksdorp, one of the smallest villages in the Klein Karoo with a population of under 1,000. We fall under the Kannaland the poorest municipality in the Western Cape, population 25,000 most of whom live in the towns of Ladismith, Zoar and Calitzdorp. Vast empty stretches of land, mostly game farms, stretch between us and Ladismith.
Alan Blyth Hospital in Ladismith is named after a doctor born in the town who studied medicine at UCT in the 1930s and became superintendent of the Ladismith Provincial Hospital, holding the post from 1940 to 1993. He was renowned, as the SA Medical Journal wrote in his obituary ten years later in 2003, for the “principled practice of medicine”.
Visitors to Rwanda are usually intrigued by the beautiful artefacts they see on the streets or display windows of major retail shops, especially in Kigali, which they buy and take back with them to adorn their homes.
Salha Kaitesi did so while in the city five years ago. Her curious, inquisitive mind and love for traditional decorative baskets however pushed the United Kingdom-based Rwandan native into wanting to know where the baskets came from and who weaved them.
“I asked my vendor where they came from and, as luck would have it, the supplier was due to deliver in a couple of days,” Ms Kaitesi recalled.
“So he told me to come back then. I did, and on that day we forged a friendship that has lasted till now.”
South Africa’s three biggest rural provinces, which have over half the country’s pupils, were largely responsible for the drop in the 2015 matric pass rate, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Tuesday.
“That’s where things went wrong. The number of learners that failed in these three provinces gave us a drop of 9%,” she said in Midrand.
She was referring to Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and the worst performer, the Eastern Cape.
The 2015 national pass rate fell to 70.7%, compared to 75.8% in 2014.
In East Africa, Tanzania’s rural electrification is set to receive $67 million that has been raised by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the UK government through its Department for International Development (DFID).
Last week, the two countries engaged in an understanding in which they would provide Tanzania with a total of Tsh.241 billion ($11, 107 billion) for the development of energy in the country’s villages, the East African Business Week reported.