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Sports, Health and Politics in West Africa

We begin this week's blog round-up with sports. The Trials & Tribulations of a Freshly-Arrived Denizen…of Ghana blogs about the selection of a new coach for Ghana's senior national football team, amongst other issues: As the Week Draws to a Close in Accra:: Regulation? What Telephone Regulation?; CAN 2008 is Here…Almost; More Ghana Rain

The week opened with a lot of speculation on who would be the next coach of Ghana, after they survived an “ordeal” of a nine-man-committee. Would it be Claude Le Roy, former coach of DRC; Cecil Jones

Attuquayefio, or the elusive Troussier? It turned out that Troussier would fail to turn up, citing family problems. This would be the second time he would do a non-show since 2004, prompting speculation by some sports journalists on CITI97.3FM, and elsewhere that he was probably expecting to be handed the job on a silver platter.

Yesterday, the speculation was rife almost everywhere that Le Roy would get the job. Regrettably Sir Cecil Jones was being tipped by some as the second-place man, which is both odd and not, considering

he’s a Ghanaian national, but also remembering that after Doya’s “success” in taking the Ghana Black Stars to Germany for FIFA2006, maybe a foreign coach might just bode well for the team…and the country.

Now to health, we go to Cameroon, where Scribbles from the Den gives a snapshot of the health system in Cameroon with a scary and very sad story in ‘Save My Wife’ [A Snapshot of Cameroon's Health System]

Prudence Lemokouno was lying motionless on a bed in the bleak hospital here, her stomach swelled with a fetus that had just died, her eyes occasionally flickering with fright but mostly dull and empty.

Dr. Pascal Pipi, the lone doctor in the public hospital, said she had a few more hours to live, and then she would join the half-million women a year who die around the world in pregnancy and childbirth.

Her husband, Alain Awona, was beside himself. “Save my wife,” he pleaded. “My baby is dead. Save my wife.”

The last paragraphs are even scarier.

Her husband cried with joy, but begged us not to leave. “If you go,” he warned, “Prudence will die.”

We waited, and six hours passed. The hospital began shaking down Prudence’s family for more money before the surgery could begin. The husband had nothing, so we chipped in.

Then when everything seemed to be ready, Dr. Pipi simply vanished. “Oh, he’s gone home,” a nurse explained. “He’ll operate tomorrow.”

We cajoled, pleaded and threatened, but the hospital staff was unmoved. “What if Prudence dies in the night?” I asked.

The nurse shrugged and said: “That would be God’s will.”

Under the Acacias blogs about Malaria and World Bank Aid in “News affecting Africa

* Malaria.
DDT has been approved by the World Health Organisation for malaria control. It was previously banned because of concerns over environmental and health risks. However, as I argued here, the potential benefits of careful use of DDT as an effective insecticide against mosquitos seem to far outweigh the evidence for potential dangers.

* World Bank Aid
The UK is witholding $50m of contributions to the World Bank in protest at harmful conditions attached to aid for poor countries. According to the BBC, “Oxfam and other campaigners such as Christian Aid say the World Bank's current policies often leave people in developing countries worse off than before.”

* Sudan
The BBC reports that more than 200,000 people have died in Sudan's Darfur conflict. Sudan recently rejected a UN resolution authorising a 20,000-strong force for Darfur, saying it is an attack on its sovereignty.

Gambian blog, Home of the mandinmories, is not happy with Sudan's President visit to The Gambia: Run down of events

Why is Yahya Jammeh inviting a monster who is perpetrating the rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur. He is also asking the African Union troops stationed there to protect helpless women and children to leave so that his evil Janjaweed could finally complete the genocide they started a few years ago. This picture illustrates the evil that Bashir is unleashing on the people of Darfur: How can Yahya break bread with such an evil man? To borrow a phrase from Keith Olberman: Have you no shame sir?

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