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Investing in Turkey’s poorest children will spur economic growth, report says

Thursday, April 8, 2010
ISTANBUL — Hürriyet Daily News
Children in Şırnak. DHA photo
Children in Şırnak. DHA photo

Turkish children have vastly different odds of success in life and too often their chances are decided by factors they have no control over, such as the wealth or education of their parents, according to a new World Bank report.

Investing in children and in the youth will give them the skills to escape the cycle as opportunities tend to be passed from one generation to the next, the report found. It also means they can contribute more to Turkey’s economic growth and social development, according to the report, entitled Turkey: Expanding Opportunities for the Next Generation.”

“There are important inequities in Turkish society today, and girls are at a particular disadvantage. A girl born in a remote village to a poor family and parents with primary education degrees will very likely struggle in almost every area of her development,” said Jesko Hentschel, lead author of the report. “Compared to a boy born to well-off parents with higher education in an urban center on the West coast, she is four times more likely to suffer from low birth weight; she is one-third as likely to be immunized, and 10 times as likely to have her growth stunted as a result of malnutrition. Similarly she has a one in five chance to complete high school, whereas the boy will likely finish school and move onto university.”

Although there have been projects in Turkey to reach out to and support disadvantaged children, currently only 6 percent of the total public social spending in Turkey reaches children below the age of 6 – about four times more is spent on a middle-aged or elderly person than on a child.

“Turkey has set ambitious targets for early childhood development, including strengthening preschool education and the role that family doctors play in monitoring children’s growth and ensuring that families have access to the resources they need,” said Reza Hossaini, UNICEF representative in Turkey, commenting on the report. “These programs, especially those that boost early childhood development programs for the most vulnerable children, have the potential to make a huge difference in Turkey, improving the lives of children now and those of all Turks in the long run.”

In its assessment of only one program – preschool education – the World Bank report finds a large positive economic and social impact. If today’s adult generation below the age of 40 had all benefited from one year of preschool education when they were 6 years old, family incomes could be up to 8 percent higher, one-10th of these families would not live in poverty as they do today, and many more women – about 9 percent – could be working or looking actively for a job today.

“When you provide opportunities for children from diverse backgrounds, it drives economic growth by allowing them to break the cycle of poverty that families can get trapped in, where children grow up poor and stay poor their entire lives,” said Ulrich Zachau, the World Bank’s Country Director for Turkey. “This makes it an economic as well as a moral imperative to make sure that opportunities are blind to circumstances for Turkish children. Achieving that will help the next generation reach its full potential as it shaped Turkey’s future.”

Poverty and Pneumonia and Malnutrition

The Quiet World  ~  A Healthy World

Poverty and Pneumonia
Pneumonia often strikes those who have weakened immune systems. In poor countries, where countless children die of pneumonia, their immune systems are compromised. But why is this so?

The answer is that it is because they live in poverty – be it a consequence of malnutrition, unsanitary conditions, or poor environmental conditions. The conclusion to be drawn, in a sense, is that poverty is the disease. Poverty is what makes the people in these poor countries prone to this disease.

Consider that 11 million children under the age of 5 die each year because of preventable diseases and malnutrition. Children without food are children without a strong immune system, unable to defend themselves against diseases. According to the World Food Program (WFP), malnutrition is one of the causes of death for 10 million children under five. It is estimated that 53% of deaths in children under the age of 5 are due to undernutrition. The following chart shows the percentage of deaths that are ultimately caused by malnutrition:

Deaths from Undernutrition

According to the WFP, there are two types of acute hunger. Acute hunger or starvation is the result of emergencies, such as wars or natural disasters – however, “emergencies account for just eight percent of hunger’s victims”. Daily undernourishment affects many more people – where people are chronically hungry and live on less than the 2,100 recommended calories a day. Every minute, 21 children die somewhere in the world because of malnutrition related causes. This is one of the reasons that 5-10% of children in developing countries will develop pneumonia each year (amounting to 154 million cases of pneumonia in children in developing countries each year), why 2 million of these children under age 5 will die, and why pneumonia is associated with 15-40% of all childhood deaths.

Protein Energy Malnutrition
Children suffering from Protein Energy MalnutritionMalnutrition results from protein energy deficiency (also known as protein energy malnutrition or PEM), which is caused by the lack of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, among other things. Malnutrition also results from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 2 billion people around the world are vitamin and mineral deficient.

852 million people in the world – roughly three times the population of the United States – are malnourished, and 799 million of them live in the developing world. 214 million of these people are chronically malnourished. 167 million children under age five are underweight. About 30% of children in developing countries are underweight – they weigh less than 80% of the standard weight, called Protein-Energy Malnutrition (PEM) – amounting to 146 million underweight children under the age of 5. Low PEM in pregnant/lactating women leads to low birth weight infants, which makes the children vulnerable to pneumonia.

When one thinks of an unhealthy diet in a developed country, most people think about a hamburger (A Big Mac, for instance, has 540 calories), or perhaps a calorie-laden donut. But in a developing country, an “unhealthy diet” amounts to the exact opposite – too few calories, too few essential nutrients, and too little food. Malnutrition is the direct result of poverty.

Hunger - a growing issue
Hungry children have less opportunities in lifeThe fact of the matter is that – even though increased attention worldwide has been given to the starving and malnourished, the amount of hungry people around the world continues to increase. Malnutrition in Africa has increased over the past 30 years in children. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 33 million children are malnourished. Children under 5 die at 22 times the rate of wealthy nations, twice the rate of the developing world. In Ethiopia, for example, 50% of children are malnourished (in contrast, only 3% of American children are malnourished). While most of the malnourished children do not die, they do not get vital nutrients, and hence, are stunted, sickly, and vulnerable to deadly infections. They become intellectually stunted as adults, losing over 15 IQ points. About 3.5 million children there don’t have enough iodine (which lowers IQ by 10 or more), and more than half million don’t have enough Vitamin A, which weakens the immune system. Around the world today, 140 million preschool children in 118 countries are Vitamin A deficient. With adequate vitamin A, child mortality would be lowered by 20%. Vitamin A deficiency increases the annual death toll from measles and other diseases by an estimated 1.3 million-2.5 million children.

Causes of Malnutrition
Drought leads to Food Shortages and FamineThere are many causes of malnutrition. Drought is chief among them. Drought often results in famines and food becomes scarce, because crops fail when there is lack of rain fall. At times, countries such as Kenya, Somalia, Ethopia, and Djibouti have experienced 5-6 seasons of poor or failed harvests, leading to food shortages affecting 9 million people in those countries. Droughts in 2004 caused crop failure and loss of livestock in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya.

Another cause of malnutrition is war, During times of conflict, millions of people are displaced from their homes and farms – this is what is happening in Sudan’s Darfur region right now – meaning they must move to other places, abandoning their farmlands, becoming refugees and overloading food production and supply capabilities. Conflict also means that emergency food supply sources are disrupted and cannot reach the people that need them. Food aid distributed by sea is prone to piracy and transporting food by land is expensive, time consuming, and subject to seizure by armed groups.

Cracked Soil as a result of DroughtAnd one of the causes of malnutrition might be one you don’t suspect – global warming. One report found that, because of adverse climate change, there will be a 51% decrease in India’s favorable wheat-growing land by 2050, meaning that 200 million more people will be susceptible to hunger. The increase in temperature around the world means that places where growing wheat is favorable will begin to move north and towards higher elevations – away from the developing countries where these crops are the backbone of food production. Another study found that increases in temperature would result in a decrease of growing periods by 20 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. A team of British climate scientists have predicted that by 2100, if global warming continues at its present rate, nearly 1/3 of the world’s population will be affected by extreme drought.

Treating Malnutrition
Obviously, solutions to malnutrition in developing countries are needed urgently. One of the most effective ways to do this, of course, is to provide food. However, in some cases, simply providing food does not create the incentive to create food, leaving many families stuck in the cycle of poverty.

Food Distribution helps the Hungry and MalnourishedThe governments of many developing countries already help malnourished citizens. South Africa, for instance, gave nutrient-fortified flour to 30 million of their 46 million citizens. Nigeria adds Vitamin A to flour, cooking oil, and sugar. Ethiopia plants to iodize all salt to combat iodine deficiency. The United Nations covers 3 out of every 4 children and gives them twice a year Vitamin A supplements.

The WFP, in 2005, distributed 4.2 million metric tons of food aid to 73.1 million people. Since its inception, 47 million tons of food aid has been distributed. This aid has reached 1.2 billion people.

However, it is often found that there are simply not enough resources to combat malnutrition. In Ethiopia, the government and various United Nations agencies care for 20,000 malnourished children. But according to Iqbal Kabir, chief nutrition expert at UNICEF in Ethiopia’s capital, “…we can count 70,000. We can’t treat them all.”

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), if current investment trends continue, the number of malnourished children will grow to 3.3 million. A decrease in investment would lead to 55.1 million malnourished children in Sub-Saharan Africa alone by 2025.

The IFPRI study goes on to state that $4.7 billion is needed, in addition to current investment, each year, in order for Africa to combat child malnutrition.

Lack of dietary diversity and essential minerals and vitamins contribute to increased child and adult mortality. Something as simple as providing Vitamin A to children may very well help solve the problem in the short term, but again – what is the long term solution? What can we do to alleviate the problem of malnutrition – the problem of lower respiratory infections – for the next generation?

Poor Sanitation and Dirty Water
Poor Sanitation is detrimental to HealthComing hand in hand with malnutrition is the access to clean water and proper sanitation. 1.3 billion people around the world do not have access to clean water – 10,000 of these people will die daily because of a water or sanitation-related disease. Contaminated drinking water not only carries the bacteria that cause pneumonia, but also increases the chances of developing diarrhea.

2.4 billion people do not have access to sanitary facilities. Poor sanitation affects two-thirds of Africa. According to Maria Mutagamba (Uganda’s water minister), “Children pass away every other minute because they don’t have access to clean water.” Water can be the source of pneumonia, diarrhea, and other diseases if it is not clean and is left untreated.

Diseases spread through water are caused as a result of the lack of personal hygiene, as well as environmental pollution. Poor sanitation contributes to this – 90% of wastewater flows into water sources without treatment in developing countries. This is best shown through the case of diarrhea, which is primarily spread through contaminated water in the developing world. Governments and non government organizations (NGOs) around the world have been putting money into clean water and sanitation for years. CARE has helped 10 million people in 30 countries get safe drinking water since the 1950s, and in 2003, 3 million people in 29 countries were able to access clean water because of CARE’s work. UNDP (United Nations Development Program) has a budget of $900 million for sustainable water development. However, today, clean water is still unavailable to over a billion of the world’s people. The disparity between the rich and the poor is shocking – in the United States, the flush of a toilet uses more water than a person living in Africa might use during the course of an entire day.

Girls carrying water in AfricaClean water is often accessed from streams and rivers, however when a family is not located near one, it becomes necessary to transport water at great distances. In the story of Elma Kassa, a 13 year old girl from Ethiopia:

“I go to collect water four times a day, in a 20-litre clay jar…in those days we used to have to walk for over a mile to fetch water…Our house doesn’t have a bathroom. I wash myself in the kitchen once a week.”

The case of Elma Kassa is one that further serves to make a point – that of women and water. In many countries, according to the WHO, it is often women and young girls who are tasked with walking great distances to get water. Already burdened with other household chores, many of these girls will also not receive an education.

The WHO reported that people normally need 20 liters each day for their personal hygiene and health. 10 liters of this is for drinking and cooking. However, when water sources are too far away or are too expensive, the usage of water usually declines to less than 15 liters per day.

Until Piped Water arrives...
Innovative solutions are needed to solve these problems. As it’s simply not practical to install water pipes in these rural areas, people have come up with other solutions. For instance, Living Water for the World is a group that helps to facilitate the construction of filtration and purification equipment. The standard equipment provided can clean 300 gallons an hour, for a cost of roughly $2,300. When measured in the benefit to a community, this might actually be relatively cheap; however the funds to buy these filtration systems are still needed. Another solution is the LifeStraw, developed by the Vestergaard Frandsen Group. It is a portable filtration system that is shaped like a straw, that cleans the water as one drinks through its use of mesh filters, iodine-impregnated beads and active carbon – and they only cost $2.

Poor Environmental Conditions
Poor Environmental Conditions such as bad housing affect healthPoor environmental conditions – such as bad housing, overcrowding, indoor air pollution, poor sanitation, and unsafe water – contribute significantly to the acute respiratory infections death burden. More than 10% of preventable health problems in the world today are because of poor environmental quality.

700 million people around the world today inhale smoke from burning wood and fuels because they live in rural areas. The inhalation of smoke puts them at increased risk for acute respiratory infections.

600 million people living in urban areas in Africa, Asia, and Latin America live in unhealthy homes.

All of these environmental factors contribute significantly to the incidence of pneumonia. Combating these would certainly help reduce acute respiratory infection mortality rates around the world, but the question is how this should be done.

US Military to refuse unlawful orders? US refuses Iran 1 gram of isotopes worth $75K; prefers war

February 24, 6:20 PMLA County Nonpartisan ExaminerCarl Herman

The yearly need of Iran for life-saving medical isotopes is less than one gram and costs Iran $75,000 to refine the fuel. Iran has stated they would prefer to buy the isotopes rather than produce them. The US could resolve the threat of war with Iran if President Obama made a speech today saying the US will allow Iran to produce it themselves under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a legal right guaranteed by treaty among nations including the US and Iran, or by the US selling Iran the isotopes.

The US refusal to do so and the US corporate media to not report this simple solution is revealing of a sinful and deadly war agenda that follows the propaganda path that led to unlawful war with Afghanistan and Iraq. The propaganda is tragic-comic: all we have for peace is one “anonymous” report with a misleading headline to psychopathically appear as if the US is taking peaceful action.
It’s time: exercise your 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech and press, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Please provide this article to all Americans if you find it helpful to stop current and future unlawful wars; including the grave threat of World War III.
Over 4,000 US soldiers have been killed so far as pawns of the civilian and military brass tyrants. Multiples more have been crippled physically and emotionally. There is no end in sight to current wars; indeed, the US is expanding them into Pakistan and Yemen and threatening more war with Iran. The dead are comforted by God; their families are devastated by the loss of their loved-ones. The crippled and their families face a range of challenges; many so severe that a total of 6,000 US veterans commit suicide every year. One-third of all US homeless men are veterans.
More war with Iran is preventable with managing just one gram of a medical supply.
Let that sink in.
Let the propaganda of lies of omission and commission of US political “leadership” and corporate media fuel your passion for real security from lawful cooperation, justice, dignity, and true freedom.
Our military was duped into these wars; our trusting young men and women took an Oath to support and defend the US Constitution that supersedes the Nazi insert of “placing the mission first.” The Claus von Stauffenberg faction of US military and government must act to end this soulless mass-murdering; this loveless series of unlawful wars and unlawful orders, if we want a future we’re proud to build.
This choice is up to our men and women in uniform. I can provide:
And, our men and women in uniform must take action as they see best; as will our men and women in government and citizenry.
Choose well; our collective future, and your future, depend upon it.
At the end of this article is an artistic way of communicating this information: PuppetGov’s 8-minute video, “How you ended the war.”
It’s time: please share this article with all who can benefit. If you appreciate my work, please subscribe by clicking under the article title (it’s free). Please use my archive of work to help build a brighter future.
I appreciate your attention to these facts and encourage your further study and action consistent with your own self-expression. My recommendations:
Policy response: Gandhi and Martin Luther King advocated public understanding of the facts and non-cooperation with evil. I’m among hundreds who advocate:
  1. Understand the laws of war (and here). These were legislated after WW2 and are crystal-clear that only self-defense, in a narrow legal meaning, can justify war. The current US wars are not even close to being lawful and are legal treason against the US. Those involved with US military, government, and law enforcement have an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution. To fulfill their oath they must immediately refuse all orders associated with unlawful wars and military-related constant violation of treaties, and arrest those who issue unlawful orders. The Oath of Enlistment to the US Constitution supersedes the fascist insertion of Nazi propaganda to “always place the mission first” of blindly following unlawful orders.
  2. Employ the obvious and simple solutions to end our economic controlled demolition and evolve to a civil economy. End poverty through global cooperation to achieve the UN Millennium Goals by developed countries investing 0.7% of their income (not that the UN is serious for their accomplishment, but the goals are what we should invest to produce). Support global security through cooperation, dignity, justice, and freedom. Create a US Department of Peace to help.
  3. Communicate. Trust your unique, beautiful, and powerful self-expression to share as you feel appropriate. Understand that while many people are ready to embrace difficult facts, many are not. Anticipate that you will be attacked and prepare your virtuous response in the spirit of competition, just as you do in other fields.
  4. Prosecute the war leaders for obvious violation of the letter and spirit of US war laws and constant lies to engage in further wars. Because the crimes are so broad and deep, I recommend Truth and Reconciliation (T&R) to exchange full truth and return of stolen US assets for non-prosecution. This is the most expeditious way to understand and end all unlawful and harmful acts. Those who reject T&R are subject to prosecution.
Local perspective: Part of my professional duties as a teacher of economics and government is to produce competent adult citizenry. This includes realization that our nation’s policies and money are managed at a broad community level, and these issues have tremendous local impact. Of course, we all want human beings to be individually successful and enjoy their unique, beautiful and powerful self-expressions. Concurrently, we recognize our commitment to local success is strongly dependent upon the success of the community, and that government policy and economics are drivers.
Our status in early 21st Century human history is that we suffer from a long history in government and money of human interrelationship well-described as vicious antagonism. Governments frequently use war as a foreign policy, despite its illegality and dependent upon public ignorance, with horrific consequences. Economic policy is still created within a “Robber Baron” paradigm to concentrate money to an elite few families. Two examples:
1.      National taxes effect you dearly, especially the tax to pay interest on the national debt. This costs the American public over $400 billion every year. This is $4,000 per year for every $50,000 of income. Do the math to understand your household’s tax burden for a monetary policy invented by banks for banks to create our money supply as debt. Your competence in this area contributes to our collective voice to simply shift monetary policy to easily pay the national debt, enjoy full employment, collectively save us over a trillion dollars every year, and finally realize what our brightest American minds have been advocating for centuries beginning with Benjamin Franklin. This would have unprecedented local benefits, and requires collective power to accomplish.
2.      Ending poverty everywhere on our planet would cost just 0.7% of our income and save a million children’s lives every month. This human accomplishment will cause unimaginable joy at our local level.
To consider:
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in the world. Now the judgment of God is upon us and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.”
–Inscription on Dr. Martin Luther King’s statue, Moorehouse College, Atlanta
“The day that hunger is eradicated from the earth, there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known. Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world on the day of that great revolution.” — poet Federico García Lorca
Comments policy: I welcome questions and comments that are civil and pertain to the article topic. Impolite and impertinent comments will be deleted.
Please consider that I’m among hundreds of writers who have documented our own government’s disclosure of propaganda programs to support their wars. I suspect my articles are under such propagandistic attack from comments that use typical rhetorical fallacies to distract readers from the facts. I invite readers to sharpen their ability to discern such propaganda. They are characterized by a combination of: never addressing the facts, diverting attention through unsubstantiated belief in an alleged expert, irrelevant data, straw-man attack that distorts the facts, ad hominem attack of insults to the messenger, vile comments to repulse readers, and lies of omission and commission.
I will use such comments to point-out the propaganda or delete them at my discretion. Again, all relevant and polite questions, and factually accurate comments are welcome. As a professional educator I’m in agreement with my experience and research: we learn best from multiple perspectives in mutual commitment to understand the facts, see those facts from diverse points-of-view, and consider various policy proposals of what we should do.
For those involved in support of US government-sponsored disinformation, I invite you to consider the quality of human relationships you wish to work toward. National security and a brighter future is not a function of fear, manipulation, and control. Our best security follows cooperation, justice under the law, dignity, and freedom. Working for your best imagined self-expression of virtue may include a unique contribution from the inside of your agency. Public attraction to the stories of Star Wars and the Harry Potter books/movies recognize that our society’s jump to civilized relations for all of us might require support from people within the “dark side” acting as covert agents for building a brighter future. Another option is becoming a whistle-blower; Project Camelot is a popular venue for people in sensitive positions. Ultimately, I recommend a Truth and Reconciliation process to exchange full truth for no prosecution, explained in detail at the link. Please consider the wisdom of your own “Scrooge conversion” to act for the benefit of all humanity rather than your self-proclaimed controlling, manipulating, and loveless “masters.”
“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.”

A true story of today’s slave trade. Let’s stop it.

photographer Melanie Hamman Times jan 10-2009

Orphans too often sold into slavery for $$ and drugs

How often have I tried to start a discussion about the slave trade is the same amount of times I have been dismissed.  Time magazine addresses the issue, a prime mainstream news source of the west. Time to take the issue seriously, people.  Do not overlook this article, you will learn about how the world works and what actions are being taken to start fixing the problem.  Not enough is being done by a long shot when countries are more interested in investing in war rather than stopping slavery.

The New Slave Trade by E. Benjamin Skinner Monday, Jan. 18, 2009

“As Sindiswa told me her story, her voice trailed off, and the man who brought me to her — Andre Lombard, 39, a pastor of the Christian Revival Church — laid his hands on her. Lombard had a penetrating gaze and a simmering rage toward men who abuse women. His father, a brutal drunkard, had beaten his mother regularly. Lombard became a born-again Christian at age 17, then served in South Africa’s élite special forces for 11 years