orld Bank projects costing hundreds of millions of US dollars and aimed at cutting malnutrition among children in developing countries have completely failed to make any difference, according to a report published yesterday. \nThe charity Save the Children UK claims that the bank has not only continued with costly but failing projects in Bangladesh and Uganda but it is planning to expand, with a scheme billed for Ethiopia. It claims the money could be better spent. \nThe World Bank both designs the program and lends beneficiaries the money to carry them out, which increases their debt. \nFiona Weir, the charity's policy and communication director, said, "It is a matter of deep concern that the World Bank has recently loaned Bangladesh a further US$124.6 million and a projected 10-year investment loan plan of US$1 billion dollars is under discussion. \n"These projects threaten to plunge developing countries into further debt without making any substantial impact on malnutrition rates." \nJohn Seaman, a health adviser at Save the Children, claims that the programs are based on a "widely discredited" approach, which assumes "that the child is malnourished because the mother isn't doing something right, because she doesn't know how to feed or lacks the food to support the child." \nIn areas where the programs operate, children are registered at birth at a center. Their mothers then bring them in each month to be weighed. If the children appear severely malnourished, they become eligible for feeding. The mother then has to bring them to the center every day and is shown how and what to feed her child while the infant gets a meal. \n"It's a considerable time investment for the mother," said Anna Taylor, author of the charity report, Thin on the Ground. "The child could be receiving food for three to six months and she is supposed to go every day and receive messages about how she is supposed to be caring for her child and sitting around waiting for the meal." \nThe charity's research showed that only 20 percent of the children eligible for extra feeding were receiving it, concluding that the World Bank has not taken account of the pressures on the mothers to work and take care of their homes. \n"Our evidence suggests that too many mothers are too poor to act on their newly acquired knowledge about nutrition: they live in unhealthy, unsanitary environments lacking adequate and safe water," the report says. "They have little or no access to health services; they are often illiterate and they have inadequate time for childcare." \nThe sum of money involved are large. One project in Bangladesh which ran from 1995-2002 had a US$67 million budget. It has been replaced by a second scheme with a budget of US$124 million. It could continue for ten years, spending up to US$1 billion. The Uganda project -- from 1998 to this year -- is worth US$40 million but there are further plans to expand provision. \nTaylor says that malnutrition has been improved overall in Bangladesh by the slightly better economic position of the country as a whole. In six years, the World Bank program made no contribution, the charity's analysis of the data shows. \nSave the Children says that the money would be better spent on improving healthcare system so that children get basic immunization, or on getting more children into school or improving sanitation and clean water supplies. \nMilla McLachlan, the bank's nutrition adviser, rejected the criticism, although she said it was valuable to have "constructive dialogue around our work." New data from the Bangladesh project, not yet made public, would show that the project has an impact, she said. \n"It is quite clear that the project has had very positive outcomes regarding behavior." \nThere had been a 35 percent rise in the number of women undergoing antenatal check-ups, a doubling of those taking iron and folate supplements and a reduction in severe stunting. \nMcLachlan said that the bank did not operate nutrition programs in isolation: it would also be funding projects to improve sanitation, water, health and hygiene. \nThe education and behavior change projects were in addition to other efforts, she said.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big