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Health

Twelve reasons why the Arab world needs to pay more attention to early childhood development

Will Stebbins's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Arne Hoel

Inequality begins early in life. In the Middle East and North Africa region it begins before birth, as prenatal care is not universal, and continues right through early childhood with different levels of access to vital nutrition, health services and early education. Missing out on any one of these key development factors can leave a child at a permanent disadvantage in school and adult life. There is also the risk that inequality entrenched early in life is passed on to the next generation, creating a cycle of poverty. A new World Bank report has calculated the different chances that a child from the region’s poorest 20% of households (least advantaged child) and  a child from the region’s richest 20% of households (most advantaged child) have for healthy development. 

We are all accountable: The health of Palestinians first and foremost

Samira A. Hillis's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français


Razan was a vibrant, happy girl living in the town of Rafah in the Gaza strip when she was diagnosed with a bone marrow illness not long ago, in November 2014. She needed a bone marrow transplant, a medical procedure available only in Israeli hospitals. Her referral, though urgent, was delayed for 20 days. First, she was directed to the wrong hospital for marrow transplants, and then she was denied financial coverage. The Israeli authorities failed to respond immediately to her parents’ application for an emergency permit to allow her into Israel through the (otherwise impenetrable) Erez crossing. 

Razan died on 25 November. She was just 11 years-old.

Improving quality of care against all odds: a local success story in Jordan

Tamer Samah Rabie's picture
Also available in: العربية
The Sakhra Comprehensive Health Center

The Sakhra Comprehensive Health Center is small and slightly disheveled, with evident resource constraints. Nonetheless, it is teeming with activity and resourcefulness. A sheet on the wall is the “screen” from the previous night’s presentation on the safe use of certain medications. A blue curtain cordons off a corner in the maternal and child unit, providing privacy for nursing mothers. Staff members promptly respond to calls placed over a public address system that was proudly purchased by staff donations. Nestled in one of the poorest regions of Jordan (Ajloun Governorate), the Sakhra Comprehensive Health Center is a bustling hub.

Unemployment May Lead to a New Youth Bulge in Egypt

Jacob Goldston's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 James Martone l World Bank

After dropping for many years, there has been a recent resurgence of fertility rates in Egypt. A woman born in the 1960s gave birth to an average of 1.4 children by the time she turned 25. Then there came a sharp drop, bottoming out at near 1.1 for women born in the late 1970s. But since then, fertility rates have bounced back, up to an average of 1.2 for women born in the mid to late 1990s.

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. 

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