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2012 – Heartbreak and Hope

  • December 29th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

who-2012.jpgIn 2012 the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize for its interventions on the side of ending conflicts without violence; a new direction for Europe past, strongly symbolised, also, by humanitarian efforts of the European states.

A major focus has been in the campaign for health rights everywhere, bringing the blessing of proper care to millions, and directly benefiting all humankind with the defeat of neglect and menacing disease.


With much focus on Africa, an example for the end of 2012 is the steady restoration of public health systems in Zimbabwe, through an international project, the Health Transitional Fund.

Launched last year this operation began picking up pieces left over from the spasm of violence and abuse in Zimbabwe during 2007 and 2008, which saw attacks on citizens by the then-government and the collapse of even cash-strapped, struggling services that had existed until then.   A cholera outbreak in 2008 took the lives of 4000 people.


zimbabwe-baby-ec.jpgA coalition arrangement set up since then has made it possible to begin restoration, with in the case of the Transition Fund, an international pooling of resources targeted to save 30000 lives, especially through its concentration on the care of mothers and babies.


From a budget of €336.5-million (A$465-million;, 29.12.12), the European Union is to provide €13.5 million (A$17.2-million), with the rest provided by Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom as national donors, and from Canada and Australia.

zimbabwe-unicef-2.jpgThe tasks are, support for improvements in quality of maternal, new born and child health and nutrition services; provision of medicines and basic equipment; human resources for health and health policy; and planning and finance.

In practical terms, people in several parts of the country already will be able to go to a place where they can see a doctor when needed, with drugs available so they can get a prescription filled; health workers will be going back to where their predecessors were forced to flee; the system is to be organised, and will displace a practice that grew up, where fees were charged on an unregulated basis – anything from US$3-50 (A$2.9-48) for delivering a baby, for those who could find the cash.


The health outlook for the world at the end of 2012 sees the impact of powerful forces for change – knowledge, money, human will- making progress, and matched against still massive problems.

Says the World Health Organisation: “Key public health milestones were reached in 2012, including the end of polio transmission in India and meeting the Millennium Development Goal target on drinking water ahead of schedule.”

On latest available figures mortality rates from the stubborn and resistant disease malaria  have fallen by more than 25% globally since 2000, and by 33% in the WHO African Region. That has left some 219 million cases of malaria and 660 000 deaths occurring each year; and the organisation says, “most deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every minute from malaria.” An estimated 80% of malaria deaths occur in 14 countries, the most problematic being the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria which account for over 40% of malaria deaths globally.

Reference, Bareclona, Manila, Tokyo, Washington, “Contribution to the Health Transition Fund (HTF) in Zimbabwe”., (29.12.12).

European Commission, Brussels, “The European Union supports the Health Transition Fund  …”, 24.4.12.…/pr_aap-spe_2012_zwe_p2.pdf, (29.12.12).

EC, Brussels, Development Aid Cooperation: Europeaid., (29.12.12)., (29.1.212).

UNICEF (United Nations Childrens’ Emergency Fund), NY, “Zimbabwe launches health transition fund to revitalize care for children and women”, 26.5.12., (29.12.12).

Pictures    WHO, Unicef