Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Afghan development: another unreported story

As a doc I was aware of the huge drop in childbirth related deaths in Afghanistan, but StrategyPage has a summary of what has happened there: not just about who died, who killed them, but also the unreported good news: the cellphone revolution, the increase in prosperity etc.

 In early 2001 only a million children were in school, all of them boys. Now there are eight million in school, and 40 percent are girls. Back then there were only 10,000 phones in the country, all land lines in cities. Now there are 17 million cell phones with access even in remote rural areas. Back then less than ten percent of the population had access to any health care, now 85 percent do and life expectancy has risen from 47 years (the lowest in Eurasia) to 62 (leaving Bangladesh to occupy last place in Eurasia). This is apparently the highest life expectancy has ever been in Afghanistan and the UN noted it was the highest one decade increase ever recorded.

and they point out that the violence reported there is "normal" and will continue for years, but that the press tends to think violence means the (the Taliban and drug gangs) are winning, but that is not true.

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