Malaria Epidemic in Indonesia Women Fight
Global organizations have made significant strides in fighting the malaria epidemic in Indonesia by focusing on the health and welfare of pregnant women and children.

In an article published by IRIN, William Hawley, a malaria expert with the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), highlighted the importance of malaria treatment and prevention against the disease.

“Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable to malaria, and modern malaria diagnosis and prevention can be delivered via existing maternal health and immunization services in a symbiotic way,” Hawley said.

World health organizations such as UNICEF have been working closely with Indonesian government agencies and world health programs to provide free and affordable care to women and children in the region.

“The malaria program, the antenatal care program, and the expanded program on immunization all benefit, but most important — women and kids benefit,” Hawley said.

According to the article by IRIN, nurses and midwives have been helping pregnant women and infants fight malaria by providing diagnosis, treatment and information regarding the disease. In response, more women have been provided antenatal care and more children have been immunized against malaria.

The Harsh Effects of the Malaria Epidemic in Indonesia

Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes causing symptoms including fever, exhaustion, vomiting, and headaches. Severe cases generally include yellowing of the skin, seizures, coma, or, in the most extreme instances, death.

The disease can be more dangerous to pregnant women and infants causing stillbirths, low birth weight, abortion and infant mortality. Malaria can also cause severe respiratory problems in both adults and children.

According to a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), out of a population of close to 260 million, 190 million people were reportedly malaria free in 2015. This comes after a significant number of cases were reported between 2009 and 2012.

With the help of finances provided by the Global Fund, WHO, and UNICEF, residents of Indonesia have access to preventative measures against the disease in the form of mosquito nets, insect repellents, and insecticides. Residents are also taught the importance of mosquito control measures such as draining water to prevent reproduction.

According to a report by the CDC, with funding from UNICEF, USAID, the Gates Foundation and the Ministry of Health (MOH), many preventative programs have been integrated into immunization and prenatal care programs in five provinces in eastern Indonesia.

These organizations hope to expand to all areas where the disease continuously occurs to help fight the malaria epidemic in Indonesia.

Drew Hazzard

Photo: Flickr

The humanitarian system is facing increasing demand to reform its approach to crisis response. The demands are for the system to become more flexible and transparent in order to better meet needs, utilize resources more efficiently as well as improve local capacity. But, why now?

Our world is changing rapidly and there is an increasing demand to solve new problems in an ever-changing world of ongoing conflict. As a result, UN’s Secretary-General has initiated the World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul on May 23-24, 2016, where he seeks to challenge the ways humanitarian organizations work together to deliver aid and save lives.

In 2014, $23 billion was spent on crisis response. Yet, the international emergency aid system is still failing vulnerable regions such as Syria and Ukraine.

IRIN, an independent, nonprofit news organization, suggested various ways UN humanitarianism could change to Ertharin Cousin, head of the World Food Programme (WFP), and Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN’s humanitarian coordination body, OCHA.

Among the many ideas for reform is localizing the humanitarian response system. This not only involves having the local communities making crisis response decisions, but also changing the humanitarian funding methods. Currently, larger organizations such as OCHA and WFP receive the vast majority of the funding, while local organizations receive little funding.

Another important reform proposal, is making the top jobs available to everyone, not just permanent members of the Security Council. This is something the UN has been heavily criticized for.

Having only people on the inside of the organization and not bringing an outside perspective is definitely not conducive to change. It’s also not conducive to avoiding politicisation, one of the many causes of humanitarian problems.

Despite all of these ideas, the question still remains – is reform the answer to a more efficacious humanitarian response system or should we get rid of the system all together?

Paula Acevedo

Sources: IRIN News, World Humanitarian Summit
Photo: Flickr

education in the middle east
The Education for All goals, as part of the Millennium Development Goals, aim to ensure that children everywhere, boys and girls, have basic access to education in the Middle East by 2015. However, certain places in Middle East such as Iraq and Yemen are unlikely to achieve this goal.


Decades of war and a poor economic situation in Iraq exacerbated the local education system. According to IRIN news, at least five million of Iraq’s almost 30 million total population cannot read or write. Fourteen percent are school-age children who work to feed their families or simply have no access to education. Also, Iraq has the highest adult illiteracy rate, with almost 30 percent of its rural population unable to read or write.


As the civil war between the government and the rebel groups goes on, education in Yemen has been seriously disrupted. In the North of Yemen, where most of the conflicts took place, schools were destroyed or damaged during fighting. According to IRIN, a reallocation of 10 percent of the military budget to education would afford 840,000 children to go back to school.

A video, getting thousand of hits on youtube, shows a Palestinian child carrying a weapon and claiming that he wants to become a martyr and take revenge on Israeli soldiers for killing his uncle. The anti-Semitic rhetoric teaches children violence in the name of Islamic Honor. However, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Palestinian Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs, condemned the efforts to teach children violence and revenge. The belief of “an eye for an eye” will only generate more hatred instead of peace.

During times of conflict, children are afraid to go to school and parents are afraid to send their children to school. Most of the time, children suffer psychological trauma and witness losing their family members. The ultimate method for returning children to school is to stop local violence and regain confidence in education to provide hope for the future.

– Jing Xu

Sources: i24 News, IRIN News
Photo: Learning for Peace: UNICEF