This year on World Polio Day, health practitioners, policymakers and supporters of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) are more determined than ever to eliminate a disease that has plagued humanity since ancient times. We are frustratingly close to our goal: By the end of 2012, the total number of polio cases worldwide dropped 66% over the previous year to 223. To cross the finish line, however, integrating polio eradication into routine immunization and broader health service delivery will be critical, particularly in communities where the security situation hampers highly visible health campaigns.
Gerardo Bravo Garcia, Avian Flu Series, 2006, Oil & Gold Leaf on Canvas -
Courtesy of the World Bank Art Program
This blog is based on the World Development Report 2014: Risks and Opportunity - Managing Risk for Development, which discusses pandemics in Chapter 8 on global risks.
Pandemics do not start in a vacuum. A staggering 2.3 billion infections by zoonotic (animal-borne) pathogens afflict people in developing countries every year. Some pathogens become capable of easy human-to-human spread, like AIDS, flu, or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The diseases harm health, nutrition, and food and income security. The poorest are hit the worst, as they tend to live with livestock or near wild animals in settings where animal disease incidence is high and public health standards are low.
For several decades, Bangladesh has been combatting communicable diseases with variable success. While this fight is not yet finished, the country is now faced with yet another alarming challenge: noncommunicable and chronic diseases, which account for 68% of deaths in the country.
Nearly 13 million people die annually because they are unable to access essential, lifesaving medicines for curable diseases, according to estimates from The World Health Organization (WHO). A daunting number, but one we’re beginning to reduce, thanks in part to the rise of mobile apps and other information communications technologies that have the potential to greatly improve access to medicines.
We often question whether big international meetings achieve enough to justify the expense and trouble. But the news yesterday from New York suggests that, at the very least, global meetings create peer pressure on donors and a real sense of urgency.
Today, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced US$700 million in new IDA funding for the scale-up of results-based financing (RBF) programs to help save more women and children’s lives, an endorsement of the idea that the RBF approach is an opportunity to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5—reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.
The story of mother-to-be Lalita, who we see receiving quality prenatal care in the video above, is an increasingly common one in Nepal. Because the country has significantly improved access to maternal, newborn and child health services, young women like Lalita no longer have to worry about unsafe deliveries as their mothers did. That’s something Nepalis are proud of.
As a newcomer in my new post in Accra, I am starting to learn about Ghana’s achievements and challenges. I have been impressed with some innovative policies and measures adopted to address difficult development challenges in the social sectors.
Earlier this week, the World Bank health team joined the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) to launch six reports that provide a rich collection of data detailing the health landscape across six global regions.
The reports—an outcome of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 (GBD 2010) data set released last December by IHME—explore changes in the leading causes of premature mortality and disability in each region over 20 years, depicting risk factors and comparing the performance of countries in a range of health outcomes. Individually, they document how each region is working to reduce health loss from most communicable, newborn, nutritional, and maternal conditions and what new challenges lay ahead.