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UN: More Midwives = WAY Fewer Maternal and Infant Deaths

20 Jun

Want to help save babies and birthing moms in the developing world? Get more midwives out there! The UN released a major report today saying that every year, 358,000 women die while pregnant or giving birth, and nearly 5 million babies die in the womb or soon after birth – but that more than half of those deaths could be prevented with access to midwives. Take it from the dad of two happy, healthy, homebirthed kids: midwives are great, despite how little respect they get in this country.

courtesy of United Nations

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Donating Food, Wasting Money

21 Sep

Who does US food aid help most?

Here’s another one for the annals of pseudo-altruistic aid: turns out that for every dollar of US taxpayer money spent on food aid for Africa, a dollar goes into the pockets of the American shipping companies that take it there. That’s the finding of a new study from Cornell University as reported by IRIN News.

In a nutshell,  75 percent of US food aid is required to be shipped on privately owned, US registered vessels, even if they do not offer the most competitive rates. Result: lots of cash wasted to subsidize the American shipping industry.

“About 20 years ago the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent investigative arm of Congress, looked at the costs of shipping food aid in US-flag vessels rather than using cheaper foreign ships, and estimated that it cost $150 million each year. Another report in 1994 put the cost as high as $200 million a year”, adds IRIN. And how much more might they save by buying food from closer-by sources, rather than shlepping our surplus stuff halfway across the world?