What will be Bush’s greatest positive legacy? I think PEPFAR is a likely candidate, despite its flaws. I can’t think of any other program initiated by Bush that has helped so many people.
The World Health Organization has announced that polio has been eradicated from Somalia. This was an incredibly difficult task, given Somalia’s endemic violence and instability. And it took a huge effort:
More than 10,000 Somali volunteers and health workers vaccinated more than 1.8 million children under the age of five by visiting every household in every settlement multiple times.
However, this has happened before. Polio was eradicated from Somalia back in 2002, only to be reintroduced from Nigeria. The fact that polio was reintroduced from a country on the other side of the continent calls attention to the interrelatedness of disease control efforts in different countries (diseases know no borders) and the tragedies that occur when vaccination efforts clash with local cultures or religions.
But despite its tenuous progress in terms of total eradication, the WHO’s $4 billion polio campaign has made great steps forward:
When WHO and partners began their anti-polio campaign in 1988, the worldwide case count was more than 350,000 annually. The disease’s incidence has since been slashed by more than 99 percent and remains endemic in four countries: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. Polio cases were also detected last year in Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger and Sudan.
So that’s the good (albeit cautiously so) news. The bad news for Somalia:
If you read that and asked “wait, Somalia has a government?” you’re not alone. But it does have a government of sorts:
By its own admission, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia is on life support. When it took power here in the capital 15 months ago, backed by thousands of Ethiopian troops, it was widely hailed as the best chance in years to end Somalia’s ceaseless cycles of war and suffering.
But now its leaders say that unless they get more help — international peacekeepers, weapons, training and money to pay their soldiers, among other things — this transitional government will fall just like the 13 governments that came before it.
Less than a third of the promised African Union soldiers have arrived, the United Nations has shied away from sending peacekeepers and even the Ethiopians are taking a back seat, often leaving the government’s defense to teenage Somalis with clackety guns who are overwhelmed.
1) I’m still a full-time student. That means I have to go to classes.
2) Senior research thesis on democracy and economic/human development.
3) Awesome new job on non-class days that requires a commute but is well worth it.
4) New campus organization to work on public policy ideas.
5) All the old campus organizations to stay involved in.
6) Arranging some cool speakers to spice things up around here.
8) Ridiculously intense scholarship applications with ridiculously low odds of winning.
10) Being burned out on blogging for a bit. I think on vacations and after graduation (in May!) I’ll have a wee bit more free time.
Just thought I’d share.