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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ethiopian government spends $3 ANNUALLY per person on health - Third Worst in Africa

Also in the news: PM Meles asks jailed CUD leaders to quit politics, Kenya opposes military intervention in Somalia, U.S. Peacekeeping Plan for Somalia Criticized, Commission gives Ethiopia-Eritrea a year on border

International: More efforts surfacing to draft Obama as presidential candidate, Iraqi Leader Arrives in Jordan for Talks With Bush, Sick Castro misses 80th birthday celebrations, Ahmadinejad sends letter to American people, Minister speaks out on spy death and more of today's top stories

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Ethiopian government spends $3 ANNUALLY per person on health - Third Worst in Africa
By Andualem Sisay

Ethiopian government's expenditure on health is so low that the country ranks among the last on the list of World Health Organization Africa member countries. Ethiopia ranks 44th out of 46 member states, says the 2006 WHO report.

According to the report, the Ethiopian government's per capita expenditure on health is only three dollars per annum for a person, making the country the worst, followed only by Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo whose government per capita expenditure on health is just one dollar.

Seychelles ranks at the top with its government allocating 382 dollars annually for health for a person followed by Botswana that spends 135 dollars and Gabon third with 130 dollars per person per year.

The WHO Commission for Macroeconomics and Health estimates that a minimum expenditure of 34 dollars per person per year was required to provide an essential package of public health interventions in order to achieve both the relevant Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the New Partnership for Africa 's Development (NEPAD) targets.

Currently 35 African member states of WHO spend less than 34 dollars on health.

According to the First African Regional Health Report launched Monday, African countries in 2003 spent on average 5% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on health, 51% of which were expenditures by the government.

African heads of state made a commitment in Abuja in 2001 to allocate at least 15% of their annual budgets to the health sector. By the end of 2003, out of the 46 only one country Seychelles allocated 15% or more of its national budget on health.

In 2005, the Abuja pledge to allocate 15% of national budgets to health was reconfirmed by African heads of state in the Gaborone Declaration at the October 2005 session of the Conference of African Ministers of Health in Botswana .

PM Meles asks jailed CUD leaders to quit politics

Meles Zenawi would release CUD leaders who had been held at Kaliti prison for the last thirteen months if they agreed to quit politics. According to prison sources, Meles sent the message to the prisoners through Professor Ephrem Isaac (seen here). The prominent linguist and historian met the prisoners at least twice this week and heard a firm rejection from some of the top leaders. (More...)

Kenya opposes military intervention in Somalia

Kenyan foreign minister Raphael Taju revealed yesterday that his country will never agree to foreign countries deploying military troops in Somalia.

The minister invited Somalis in Kenya to a banquet in Nairobi where they have discussed over Kenya’s stance in Somalia, as Taju stated that he does not believe military intervention is the solution for the political discord between the Union of Islamic Courts and the transitional government.

Somalis who have convened with the minister were combined of businesspeople and traditional elders.

“The Kenyan government is always looking for a peaceful solution for Somalia. Kenya does not believe that military intervention in Somalia will produce good results”, he said.

A committee of 12 persons was appointed in the meeting to assess the developments in neighboring Somalia, where fears of war are running high.

Taju has told Somalis he met that Kenyan government would not take for granted what view they present to the government over the worsening situation in their country.(More...)

U.S. Peacekeeping Plan for Somalia Criticized
washington post

..European and U.N. officials have privately voiced concern that the establishment of the force, which the militias oppose, could provoke a new military offensive against the government. They have also expressed fears that the conflict could reignite fighting between Ethiopia and Eritrea, which ended their border war in 2000.

"We need to . . . encourage the Somali parties to continue the dialogue," said U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. "What is also important is we need to make sure that neighboring countries do not get drawn in, because there is a tendency for some of the neighboring countries to get drawn in."

The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, issued a warning Monday that the U.S. resolution "could trigger all-out war in Somalia" and destabilize the Horn of Africa.

"You don't win in Somalia by picking one side and support it and funneling arms to it," said Nick Grono, an expert on Africa at the organization. He said the Islamic militias have warned that they would respond to foreign intervention with the declaration of a holy war. "That is a recipe for jihad," he said.

France and other European governments have asked the United States to consider amendments designed to assure the Islamic militias that they are not taking sides in the war. For instance, they are calling for the exclusion of the countries bordering Somalia -- Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya -- from participating in the force.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Commission gives Ethiopia, Eritrea a year on border
-More efforts surfacing to draft Obama as presidential candidate
-White House in losing battle over semantic war of words
-Iraqi Leader Arrives in Jordan for Talks With Bush
-Ahmadinejad sends letter to American people
-Sick Castro misses 80th birthday celebrations
-Minister speaks out on spy death
-US rapper Snoop Dogg arrested again
-Father hangs onto roof pursuing car thief