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Thursday, 17 May 2007

Grim statistics

A new report by the Save the Children provides new statistics on the rate at which young children perish around the world.

Zambia is one of 20 countries that has made little or no progress in terms of child survival. In Zambia – statistically speaking – every mother is likely to suffer the loss of a chid due to a largely preventable cause. We clearly can do more in this area because if other poor nations like Malawi , Nepal and Bangladesh are making progress, I see no reason why we cannot.

Apparently, Malawi's success owes to simple and costless solutions like distributing nets that protect children from malarial mosquitoes. For others, a simple focus on family planning was central to progress. Its very telling, that the report notes that "political will" was an essential ingredient of success — code word for visionary leadership that puts child mortality at the heart of the social agenda.

The Save the Children report also draws on the new UNICEF Report - State of the World's Children 2007.

7 comments:

  1. it seems to me that our govt. is overwhelmed by this cho. there has been lip service here and there (esp. during world children events and such related times) purely for pr purposes. it's a damn shame!

    it's a very serious and sensitive issue that needs to be addressed. the starving, abandoned and illiterate children, the street children are going to be adults within the next decade or so, and will themselves be parents right about the same time, it's a very genative "multiplier effect". it's a cycle. the children we're talking about didn't just fall from up above, they have/had parents. if a parent has no means to sustain him/herslf, how is s/he going to provide for the children?

    planned parenthood association seems to only be interested in parents/families that can pretty much handle their own, when in my opinion should be targeting the illiterate or semi illiterate teens and their parents for this cycle to be broken.

    the zambian children's situation in my opinion derseve a new leadership, there should be a new ministry to deal with the well being of the children in the country. it's good that our justice system sends a strong message by severely punishing those that abuse our children (esp. sexually), but we need to nature the children and help them have better adult lives.

    it's a daunting task, one that shouldn't be ignored though that's what seems to be the case in zambia.

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  2. "the zambian children's situation in my opinion derseve a new leadership, there should be a new ministry to deal with the well being of the children in the country".


    We already have one....!!!!

    Its called the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Child Development.

    Angela Cifire is now Deputy Minister there after being fired from Health.
    The Minister is Namulambe.

    Do we need too decouple it from Sports? may be...but then surely Government is already bloated!
    Another ministry ba mudala, with two additional ministers earning wages that could help fight child mortality?

    Its a difficult one.....

    The problem is that the organisation of the ministries has no synergies...putting youth and child development with sports is a little odd...especially when you consider that there's a Ministry of Gender and Women in Development headed by Patricia Mulasikwanda. It would make more sense to shift it there...or should it go to Ministry of Community Development headed by Catherin Namugala??? lol!!!

    We have to many ministries....too bloated....

    What is needed is clear strategic thinking and better knowledge of the synergies between issues....

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  3. Of course I should emphasise that all the other countries which are poor like us who have made progress have done it through SIMPLE POLICIES which recognise the synergies with other areas.

    These "synergies" probably demand some reorganisation of the structures that deliver better children focused policies, but it requires understanding the synergies between issues first!!

    This is where Government is failing on this issue I think.....

    But Government is not alone...scan the PF and UDA manifestos.....very little concrete proposals there to tackle child mortality. So it could be a society thing....

    May be as a society, we don't really value our children....Do we really???

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  4. there should be a new ministry to deal with the well being of the children in the country".

    The problem is that Zambia has too many ministries - about 29, and counting. If it was about the number of ministries, Zambia would be the best government country in the world.

    The real solution is to empower local government with 50% of national revenues, and let them take care of what are essentially local issues.

    If it was up to me, local government would be responsible for education, healthcare, policing/security and public utilities.

    There would be one local authority for every 30,000 citizens, or 350 total. They would each receive $1 million or more per year, every year. Every council would have an elected council leader, who would have to be educated in management, social issues, accounting, etc.

    What this would do, would be to put the money where it can be best used, locally, where people live.

    Ministries are just more central government entities, located in the capital, and both physically and experientially a world away from where the people are. Especially rural people.

    So I don't think Zambia needs another ministry.

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  5. "If it was up to me, local government would be responsible for education, healthcare, policing/security and public utilities.

    There would be one local authority for every 30,000 citizens, or 350 total. They would each receive $1 million or more per year, every year. Every council would have an elected council leader, who would have to be educated in management, social issues, accounting, etc.

    What this would do, would be to put the money where it can be best used, locally, where people live.


    I agree with the principle. More decentralisation is the way forward as we have discussed. And we mean "real decentralisation" where local people affect the day to day budgeting decisions being made for them.

    But saying that, Government has interest to maintain certain common "standards". So whilst education, housing, health etc would be devolved and run at the local level, there would still be a role for GOvernment to set minimum standards for these things. We don't want to end up in a situation where we have a good area with good health but kids don't go to school because of local priorites.

    For equality reasons Government needs to set these thresholds.

    The other problem we would need to resolve is incentives. We need to give local areas to spend a larger bulk of the money they make. So let us shift the tax burden from central Goverment to provinces.

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  6. But saying that, Government has interest to maintain certain common "standards".

    Right, there should be 'federal' standards (so to speak) about human rights, environmental protection, consumer protection, and protection against corporate monopolies.

    Those and national defense would be the permanent role of the central government.

    The more flexible role of central government would be infrastructure creation and management.

    We don't want to end up in a situation where we have a good area with good health but kids don't go to school because of local priorites.

    I would say that for $1 million of national revenues, the mininum provision of services would be just - healthcare, education, policing, and public amenities. Whatever the local authority has left, they can spend on local issues. Or, if $1.25 million is made available, they should spend 250k each on these four areas, and have 250k left to dedicate to local issues - a street here, lighting there, etc.

    The effect of handing out national revenues, is that much fewer if any local taxes, levies, charges, etc. are needed, which in turn will put less of a burdon on and stimulate local businesses.

    And we have to get rid of these high tax levels by making the mines pay their full share, if the national resources are not put under government control outright.

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  7. ”The more flexible role of central government would be infrastructure creation and management. MrK

    It’s important this is clearly defined.
    In my view it should be restricted to “strategic” infrastructure e.g. provincial and national airports, provincial universities, strategic road and rail networks, etc.

    What we want is a situation in which local people are able to define what development means for them beyond “minimum national standards” – not a bureaucrat or politician sitting in Lusaka. We want local prioritisation of policies.

    I admit to have been heavily influenced by Amartya Sen here. I think real development is giving the people the ability to define their own future. Development is "freedom" as far am concerned. Linked to that is empowerment. So I tend to see empowerment as hand in hand with development.

    ReplyDelete

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