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Fighting for Breath: A call to action on childhood pneumonia

Kevin Watkins's picture
credit: Save The Children

Sarah Ruteri*, aged 14 months, is a survivor. A few months ago, I saw her admitted to the pediatric ward of Lodwar hospital in northern Kenya’s drought-affected Turkana district. Suffering from severe pneumonia, Sarah was gasping for breath – and fighting for her life. Her tiny ribcage was convulsed by a losing struggle to get air into her lungs. Doctors told her mother to expect the worst. But with a combination of oxygen therapy and intravenous antibiotics, Sarah pulled through.

Seeking agriculture related solutions for obesity, an increasing problem within malnutrition

Aira Htenas's picture
Also available in: Español | Français 

Rising obesity rates are in the headlines – with increasing recognition of the major role that agriculture and food systems play in the epidemic.  As agriculture economists interested in human nutrition, we wanted to take a look at what it all means, to look at how agriculture and food systems are part of the problem and how they are part of the solution. While conducting research for a recent report, a few things stood out to us.

Strengthening national clinical research capacities is key to epidemic preparedness and saving lives

Marie-Paule Kieny's picture
A portrait of Helena D. Sayuoh a nurse, wearing protective clothing while working at
C.H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata, Margibi County in Liberia on March 4, 2015.
Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank


The 2014–2015 Ebola epidemic was the longest and deadliest Ebola epidemic in history, resulting in 28,616 cases and 11,310 deaths and reversing a decade of mortality and economic gains in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The statistics would probably have been very different, however, had an Ebola vaccine been available or even further along on the clinical development path.

Serbia successfully tackles antimicrobial resistance

Fadia Saadah's picture

It is estimated that annually about 700,000 people die as a result of community or hospital based infectious diseases caused by bugs resistant to antimicrobials.  A recent report by the World Bank, entitled Drug-Resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future,  reported that   if effective measures are not taken, AMR could result in a loss of up to 3.8 percent of global GDP by 2050, with poorer countries bearing the brunt of the loss. Yet, despite its importance, many countries have struggled in dealing with this issue.

Preventable traffic injuries and deaths hold back the development of countries

Patricio V. Marquez's picture
Also available in: Español | Français



While reading a newspaper over the holidays, one of us came across an article with an often common story: “car collision causes mass fatalities on mountain road”. The collision resulted in 51 deaths, after a bus--one of the vehicles involved, plunged down a cliff in Peru.  Many of the dead were returning to Lima after celebrating the New Year’s holiday with family outside the city. 

Civil Society voices on tracking universal health coverage

Craig Burgess's picture


Full infographic

This commentary first appeared on the UHC2030 website. Full list of authors: Craig Burgess, Anna MarriottKhuat Thi Hai Oanh, Bruno Rivalan, James Sale

Despite the international commitment to UHC, half of the world’s 7.3 billion people do not have access to essential health services; the number of people impoverished by health spending remains unchanged; and catastrophic health expenditure is on the rise. Health coverage has been increasing at a rate of just over 1% per year. 

Mental Health Parity is Critical for Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Ukraine

Patricio V. Marquez's picture


A new report on mental health in Ukraine offers a sobering picture of the often-ignored disease burden of mental disorders, which undermine human capital development and total wealth accumulation in a country. The World Bank Group estimates show that unaccounted “intangible capital” such as human capital, constitutes the largest share of wealth in virtually all countries, more than produced capital and natural resources.  

Without Health for All, We Will Not End Poverty by 2030

Tim Evans's picture
Also available in: 日本語

This blog also in Spanish | Arabic | French | Chinese



All people are entitled to quality essential health services, without suffering financial hardship to pay for health expenses when they are sick. This simple but powerful belief undergirds the growing movement towards universal health coverage (UHC), now a global commitment under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Regulating and taxing e-cigarettes is the right thing to do

Patricio V. Marquez's picture
Image courtesy Pixaby creative commons license

Regulating tobacco use using excise taxation, restrictions on smoking in public places, and restrictions on youth access and sale of tobacco products is now a widely-accepted policy action to prevent its harmful health effects.  The ruling by the United States Federal District Court that ordered the country’s four largest cigarette makers to make “corrective statements” to inform the public about the harms of cigarettes, including light and low-tar cigarettes, which began on November 26, 2017 for one year, using prime-time television commercials and full-page ads in newspapers, only confirms what is already known on the basis of accumulated evidence over the past half century: the manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery have led to addiction, ill health, and premature mortality and disability among smokers and among those exposed to secondhand smoke. And the recent decision by the Vatican to ban duty-free cigarette sales is a good example of how societal attitude towards tobacco use has changed: a sovereign state is willing to forego revenue from products that clearly harm people's health.

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