Southern Africa

Data to the people!

NEW YORK, 14 August 2014 (IRIN) - Protests against poor delivery of services such as water, toilets, health and education, have become such a ubiquitous part of the South African landscape they barely make the news: as the delivery problems continue, so do the protests, and the vicious cycle of creeping poverty and mounting frustration continues. full report

Zimbabwe's health system in crisis

HARARE, 11 August 2014 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe’s deepening economic crisis is severely affecting the government’s ability to fund public health delivery and restricting poor people’s access to health care, economists, government officials and health experts agree. full report

Shortage of epilepsy drugs in Zimbabwe

HARARE, 11 August 2014 (IRIN) - Drugs for non-communicable diseases like epilepsy are being hardest hit by funding shortfalls affecting Zimbabwe’s public health sector. While the government is struggling to meet its budget commitments, donors are more focused on communicable diseases like HIV and TB. full report

Interview with outgoing Africa Great Lakes Special Envoy Mary Robinson

NAIROBI, 4 August 2014 (IRIN) - In mid-June UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reassigned the special envoy to Africa's Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, to special envoy for climate change. IRIN spoke to her about her time working on the Great Lakes region. full report

Poor sanitation, poverty behind Swazi diarrhoea outbreak

MBABANE, 1 August 2014 (IRIN) - A nationwide outbreak of diarrhoea attributed to rotavirus has claimed the lives of nearly 40 young children in Swaziland during the past month and highlighted the need for better sanitation and clean water in schools and homes. full report

Tobacco-curing eats up Zimbabwe's forests

HARARE, 31 July 2014 (IRIN) - While, smoking tobacco is extremely harmful for human beings growing it has been good for Zimbabwe's economy and its farmers. Now, however, both the government and farmers have become increasingly aware that tobacco farming also comes at a great cost to the environment. full report

Heightened HIV risk for people with disabilities

MELBOURNE, 29 July 2014 (IRIN) - Inaccessible health services for people with disabilities (PWD), combined with social stigma and violence, contribute to high HIV risk - a gap that must be filled if the disabled are not to remain disproportionately vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, say health experts and activists. full report

New permits offer few gains for resettled Zimbabwean farmers

HARARE, 24 July 2014 (IRIN) - Newly introduced land permits for resettled smallholder farmers will bring little gain to the thousands of beneficiaries who are struggling to get loans from banks to finance their operations, say farmers’ organizations and analysts. full report

Breaking the poverty trap – the power of cash grants

NEW YORK, 10 July 2014 (IRIN) - A cash injection of as little as US$12 per month for an impoverished family could determine whether a child eats properly or goes to school or not. With cash transfer programmes around the world now having a profound impact on the lives of poor people, the debate is less about whether to implement them than how to do so. full report

New thinking needed on food aid for refugees in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, 7 July 2014 (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have launched an urgent appeal to address a funding shortfall that has already resulted in food ration cuts for a third of all African refugees. As of mid-June, nearly 800,000 refugees in 22 African countries have seen their monthly food allocations reduced, most of them by more than half. full report