Health workers suiting up in hazmat gear. Scene from an Ebola outbreak containment team.
Scene from an ebola outbreak. Credit: WHO

World Bank Predicts Surging Maternal Mortality Rates in Ebola-Affected Countries

Yet more evidence of the maternal mortality-ebola nexus. “The loss of health workers due to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa may result in an additional 4,022 deaths of women each year across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as a result of complications in pregnancy and childbirth.  According to the new World Bank report Healthcare Worker Mortality and the Legacy of the Ebola Epidemic published in The Lancet Global Health today, the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa could leave a legacy significantly beyond the deaths and disability caused directly by the disease itself. “The loss of health workers to Ebola could increase maternal deaths up to rates last seen in these countries 15-20 years ago,” says Markus Goldstein, Lead Economist at the World Bank Group and a co-author of the report who heads the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab. The paper estimates how the loss of health workers to Ebola will likely affect non-Ebola mortality even after the countries are declared Ebola-free.  Maternal mortality could increase by 38% in Guinea, 74% in Sierra Leone, and 111% in Liberia.” (World Bank

An Inglorious Anniversary…”The people of South Sudan are preparing to mark the fourth anniversary of their country’s founding amid ongoing suffering, unconscionable levels of violence and unspeakable sexual abuse, according to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.In a statement issued earlier today and ahead of the country’s milestone – which will officially be observed on 9 July – the Secretary-General recalled the sense of joy and hope felt across South Sudan in the early days of 2011 as it became the world’s youngest nation – a stark contrast to today’s reality when hope across the African State remains “in short supply.” (UN News Center

Quote of the day: “The international system is having difficulty getting to grips with those conflicts; countries have difficulty moving to consensus on how to deal with those crises…That seems to open spaces for disorder and conflict and we have those dynamics – which may be distinct and different in each and every country – but together they nevertheless refer us to an international system that does not seem to have international institutions with the ability to negotiate solutions to conflicts or to the big, increasing and accelerating impact of crises. Basically, it increases the necessity for us to respond.” – ICRC head Peter Maurer (Guardian


A South Sudan rebel leader Wednesday called on President Salva Kiir to resign along with all ministers and the parliament or risk sparking a revolution. (AP

Rwanda’s main opposition party opened a case in the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking to prevent constitutional change that would allow President Paul Kagame to run for a third term seven-year in office. (Reuters

Gambia’s opposition says the recent passing of a bill that imposes high deposit amounts for political candidates makes it difficult for opposition members vying for the office. (AP

Rwanda’s Green Party, the country’s tiny but main opposition, complained Wednesday it was having trouble finding a lawyer to handle its challenge to moves to allow President Paul Kagame stand for a third term. (AFP

Girls gang raped by soldiers then burned alive, boys castrated, armies of child fighters: the litany of atrocities in South Sudan’s civil war is growing, with the international community apparently powerless to stop the fighting. (AFP

Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremists are offering to free more than 200 young women and girls kidnapped from a boarding school in the town of Chibok in exchange for the release of militant leaders held by the government, a human rights activist has told The Associated Press. (AP

An official report on the police killing of 3 striking mineworkers in South Africa in 2012 was a “gross defamation” of those who died, a leading activist group said Wednesday. (AFP

Sierra Leone’s decision to back an international treaty on the rights of women in Africa could lead to a new law banning female genital mutilation in a country where the practice is rife, campaigners said. (Reuters

A coroner on Wednesday said a megachurch run by popular Nigerian preacher TB Joshua should be prosecuted after a building collapse killed 116 people, most of them South Africans. (AFP

Hundreds of members of a campaign group calling for the release of 219 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram marched on Nigeria’s presidential villa on Wednesday to demand government action. (AFP


At least 18 people have been killed in clashes between Arabs and Berbers around the Algerian desert town of Ghardaia, with several businesses and homes burned down, medical sources and state media said on Wednesday. (Reuters

The Tunisian state of emergency imposed after the jihadist attack that killed 38 tourists last month must not suppress freedoms gained since the 2011 revolution, Human Rights Watch said. (AFP

Yemen is running critically short of imported food and fuel as war has cut internal supply lines and a near-blockade by Saudi-led naval forces has held up shipping to the country, the Arab world’s poorest even before fighting erupted. (Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signed a law ratifying a $1 billion credit line from top regional ally Iran, Syria’s state news agency SANA said on Wednesday, funds which will help ease economic strains from the costly war. (Reuters

A U.N. aid agency that helps Palestinians in Gaza says that after numerous delays, it’s ready to begin helping a small number of people rebuild their homes, destroyed in last summer’s war in the coastal strip. (AP


Chinese authorities have proposed a sweeping but vaguely worded Internet security law that would strengthen protection of private information, ban hacking activities and also allow authorities to restrict Internet access to maintain public order. (AP

Myanmar’s parliament is “playing with fire” by passing a bill regulating the right of women from the country’s Buddhist majority to marry men from outside their religion, an international human rights group said Wednesday. (AP

India’s leading crime-fighting agency registered a case on Wednesday against a prominent critic of the prime minister for accepting foreign funds, amid concerns that overseas charities are interfering in the country’s domestic affairs. (Reuters

India and the United States will sign a tax information sharing agreement on Thursday, under a new U.S. law meant to combat offshore tax dodging by Americans, two Indian government sources and a source at the U.S. embassy said. (Reuters

Sri Lanka’s revival of a media regulatory group that empowers the government to imprison or fine journalists is raising concerns from international press freedom groups. (AP

The Americas

A bill to allow Chileans to grow small amounts of marijuana for medical, recreational or spiritual use won approval in the country’s lower house of Congress. (AP

Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels announced Wednesday they will observe a one-month unilateral ceasefire in response to an international appeal for an urgent de-escalation in the country’s decades-old conflict. (AFP

Ecuador’s largest indigenous association is complaining that it was left off of Pope Francis’s agenda during his visit to Ecuador, where the group has been at odds with President Rafael Correa. (AP

The U.S. State Department raised concern on Tuesday about the detentions of some 100 peaceful activists in Cuba this week but said it would not slow the restoration of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana. (Reuters

The Education Department on Tuesday dismissed a complaint against Harvard University by some Asian-American groups who say the university uses racial quotas to keep out high-scoring Asians. (AP

…and the rest

Britain’s Department for International Development has broadly succeeded in implementing a new law measuring the impact of its overseas aid on reducing gender inequality, establishing a lead on integrating gender into humanitarian efforts that other international donors should follow, according to a report. (Guardian

The German Red Cross said Wednesday it was willing to rush medical and other humanitarian aid to Greece as the country’s economy teetered on the brink of collapse. (AFP

Russia’s upper house of parliament urged authorities on Wednesday to investigate whether some prominent foreign organizations, including the MacArthur Foundation and Freedom House, are a threat to Russia. (AP

Dealing with climate change and its risks will require not only technical responses like drought-resilient crops and higher sea walls but also reshaping economic and political incentives that are driving global warming, scientists said on Wednesday. (TRF


Will the New BRICS Bank Break with Traditional Development Models, or Replicate Them? (IPS

The Logic of Effective Altruism (Boston Review

Confessions of a humanitarian: ‘People keep offering advice on how to be a mail-order bride’ (Guardian

Why gender matters for climate change (Our Common Future under Climate Change

Private Universities in Africa Are Missing a Trick (The Conversation

Is ‘Chinese Therapy’ Continent’s Answer to Stunted Growth? (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

Nigeria’s fight against corruption – Myth or renewed hope? (African Arguments

Will Africa Be Heard At Climate Science Talks? (allAfrica

Unlocking the Potential of Mali’s Young Women and Men (IPS

Why transporting vegetables is not so different from delivering vaccines (Guardian