Literary writers do not think much of the law. In the last century, Anatole France wrote, mordantly: “The majestic equality of the laws prohibits the rich and the poor alike from sleeping under bridges, begging in the streets and stealing bread.” More recently, Aarvind Adiga says, “The jails of Delhi are full of drivers who are there behind bars because they are taking the blame for their good, solid middle-class masters. . . . The judges? Wouldn't they see through this obviously forced confession? But they are in the racket too. They take their bribe, they ignore the discrepancies in the case. And life goes on.”
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There’s a small treasure in Brazil’s state of Rio Grande do Norte. It’s “The Sao Tome Philharmonic”- an orchestra rich in youthful talent located in the country’s impoverished North East.
It takes a health system to raise a healthy child—or nation. And this is true here in Latin America or anywhere else in the world.
That’s the big message of a small video the Bank has recently launched, featuring an adorable animated newborn named Maya. In it, Maya cries profusely, many times, but her tears are not the sad consequence of disease or discomfort but of the baby feeling well. Maya’s are happy tears –the product of a healthy baby. You can follow her journey into adulthood on her own Facebook page.
More than health insurance for the poor
In our last post, we showed how illness in India causes financial hardship and leaves Indians—especially poor ones—with limited access to affordable good-quality health care that can actually make them better. In this post, we outline a novel government-sponsored health insurance program in the state of Andhra Pradesh (AP)—a program that has the potential not just to reduce financial impoverishment but also raise quality standards in hospital care.
a) “Actors”, and their rights and responsibilities
Initiated by the then chief minister of AP, the medical doctor YSR Reddy, the Rajiv Aarogyasri scheme started in 2007 and is targeted at the below-poverty line (BPL) population. The scheme focuses on life-saving procedures that aren’t covered elsewhere in India’s patchwork of health programs, for which treatment protocols are available, and for which specialist doctors and equipment are required. Currently 938 tertiary care procedures are covered. The scheme revolves around five key “actors”, one unique to Aarogyasri and all with interesting rights and responsibilities.
Social protection programs have proven critical to stop the most vulnerable Latin Americans from falling into extreme poverty during the recent economic crisis, argues an Independent Evaluation Group Report. World Bank expert Rafael Rofman explains in this video blog how these programs have benefitted the poor in Argentina.
The international community has endorsed the Millenium Development Goal of reducing the poverty rate in the developing world by 50% over the 25 years, 1990-2015. While the target is arbitrary, it is nonetheless important to have a stretch goal like this to challenge us all to make the world a better place. To measure progress, naturally we need pretty good estimates of global poverty. The World Bank is the leading bean counter in this exercise. It just today released new estimates of global poverty that have the potential to illuminate the progress, but also the potential to confuse a lot of people. The research department of the World Bank has changed its global poverty line from $1 per day to $1.25 per day and has found about 468 million more poor people than it had previously estimated. About 135 million of these newly found poor are in China. How does one make sense of these new numbers? Here are some pointers: