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Health

Djibouti Invests in the First 1,000 Days

Homa-Zahra Fotouhi's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
  Aude Guerrucci

When I visited one of the World Bank’s community sites for its new Social Safety Net program, I wanted to see the progress it had made since my first visit in November 2012.  In the first group session, I sat down with about 15 pregnant women—many of them pregnant for the first time—to hear a trained “role model mother” talk to them about the importance of rest, healthy eating, and breastfeeding. 

Employment and Fertility in the Middle East and North Africa: Mothers to the Rescue?

Farrukh Iqbal's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Arne Hoel

New entrants to the working age population in most Middle East and North Africa countries encounter economic structures and policies that have long failed to generate an adequate number of new jobs. In recent years, about 5 million people per year have reached working age but only 3 million of them have found jobs. Unfortunately, ongoing political turmoil and associated economic conditions and policies suggest that the jobs challenge will continue to fester for years to come.  However, help may be on the way from a “curiously unnoticed” source: falling fertility rates.   

The Enemy Within: Tackling Schistosomiasis in Yemen

Alaa Hamed's picture
 Ministry of Public Health and Population, Republic of Yemen

In the unsettling horror movie Alien, an alien invades and hides within the human body, eventually causing great devastation. This is like the real story of the parasitic worm that, within minutes, invades the human body, using its forked tails to burrow into skin. Once inside the human body, it travels through the bloodstream and lives off its nutrients. 

Yemen’s Qat Addiction Worsens

Mustapha Rouis's picture
Also available in: Français
 Peer Gatter

Yemen is mostly in the news these days for its political transition. This has obscured a longstanding issue, the chewing of qat, which has equally important consequences for the country.
 
Qat is a mild narcotic leaf popular in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.  Excessive qat-chewing has disastrous impacts on health, education, and productivity. We illustrated this for Yemen in a report we prepared in 2007 (see here).  The situation today is probably just as bad, if not worse. 

Maternal deaths in Yemen…a continued calamity

Ebrahim Al-Harazi's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Maternal deaths in Yemen

According to Yemen’s National Population Council, maternal deaths in Yemen are the highest in the Middle East. Barely a third of births take place with the help of experienced health workers, and barely a quarter in hospitals or clinics, meaning that most Yemeni women give birth at home with only the help of unskilled health workers, exposing them and their newborns to greater risk.

Accountability for Public Services: Do You See a Solution?

Hana Brixi's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

Accountability for Public Services: Do You See a Solution? - Photo: Arne Hoel

“Kefaya!”

“Kefaya!” (“Enough!” in Arabic), was one of the main slogans in 2011 as people took to the streets and called for social justice.  Although change has taken various forms across the region, the quest for social justice remains prevalent throughout.

One of the key ways to promote social justice is through better public services. As surveys suggest, social justice for citizens largely means equal access to quality public services such as healthcare and education.

Patient Feedback in Tunisian Public Hospitals: Sowing the Seeds of Accountability

Isabelle Huynh's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

Patient Feedback in Tunisian Public Hospitals: Sowing the Seeds of Accountability - Arne Hoel

It started with the first cries of “degage” that resonated across southern and central Tunisia to the streets of the capital in the winter of 2010. Through the ups and downs of Tunisia’s transition, one constant has been the citizens’ demand that the government listen to their voices and for greater accountability. Public opinion polls, banned under the former dictatorship but common today, rarely touch on bread and butter issues, such as how citizens feel about the most basic public services. One such issue is access to and the quality of health care, where systematic feedback from citizens has long been lacking.

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fairness in Health Systems in the Arab World

Ece Özçelik's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fairness in Health Systems in the Arab World - Credit: Arne Hoel

Developing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region spent 5.8 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on health in 2011, compared to 4.4 percent in 1995. On the surface, this rise in health spending may seem like MENA governments are prioritizing health. Yet, between 2006 and 2011 public spending on health as a proportion of government budget in the MENA region was the second lowest globally, after South Asia. As a result, the people are paying the price. Out-of-pocket expenditures on healthcare remained close to 47 percent of the total health spending throughout the period. These trends suggest that increased spending on healthcare is mainly due to increased private spending at the point of service and as such made health systems less fair and affordable for the people of MENA.

 

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