I served as the managing editor of Malnutrition Deeply, a 10-month project from News Deeply focused on deeply reported coverage on the causes of and potential solutions to all forms of malnutrition. Here are some of the highlights from my time working on the project:
South Africa's health minister presented two bills last week that would substantially overhaul the country's health-care system in a bid to move the country closer to universal health coverage. Under the new scheme, all accredited health facilities, whether public or private, will be required to provide a package of services at a price set by the government. The legislation would also abolish copayments to health insurance companies and set up a cross-subsidization system to ease access to coverage. Read more.
In late 2017, Ugandan police raided the offices of three NGOs the government had accused of conducting illicit financial transactions and working to destabilize the country.
Inside the building, officers demanded that staff provide passwords to computers and cell phones. Outside, civil society representatives gathered. By the time they were allowed inside, it was too late. The police had stripped the office of whatever data they could find.
With one investigational vaccine already deployed, officials are discussing the possibility of introducing as many as six other preventive and therapeutic interventions in the midst of the ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo. Read more.
The quick response of the Congolese government and international partners to the outbreak of Ebola included enhancing surveillance in the affected areas, establishing case management facilities and mobile laboratories, and beginning the process of tracing every person who might have come into contact with a patient with the virus. Experts said this was a marked difference from the situation in March, 2014, when cases of Ebola virus disease were first reported in Guinea. Read more.
Ties between Rwanda and Uganda appear to be deteriorating rapidly. The latest ebb in this historically volatile relationship stems from the Ugandan government’s pushback on what it perceives as Rwandan meddling in its domestic affairs. Though Ugandan officials have not gone public with any formal allegations, their dissatisfaction can be read in a recent string of increasingly high-profile incidents. Read more.
Africa has seen substantial advances in influenza surveillance over the past decade. In 2006, fewer than ten countries had surveillance and laboratory capacity, according to WHO. That number has now risen to 30. But while rapid progress has been made, there is still limited surveillance capacity to assess the risk of epidemic. Read more.
Negotiations to bring peace to South Sudan have restarted in earnest, with the parties circulating a power-sharing plan that has failed once before. It is unclear if negotiators have a new strategy to successfully resurrect that agreement or if they are simply out of ideas. Read more.
After a bruising round of negotiations that went days over deadline, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats struck a deal last week with the center-left Social Democrats to extend the coalition that has governed Germany for the past four years. Read more.
For more than a decade, Zimbabwe's healthcare system has been in a state of collapse. Hospitals have been without basic supplies, and health workers regularly strike over unpaid wages and poor working conditions. With Robert Mugabe forced out of the presidency in November after 37 years in power, there are now crucial questions about how quickly the new administration can turn the health system around – or whether it will. Read more.