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.
New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, in a recent piece titled “A Free Miracle Food!”, wrote: “…if we want to save hundreds of thousands of lives, maybe a step forward is to offer more support to moms in poor counties trying to nurse their babies. Nursing a baby might seem instinctive, but plenty goes wrong. In some parts of the world, a problem has been predatory marketing by formula manufacturers, but, in the poorest countries, the main concern is that moms delay breast-feeding for a day or two after birth and then give babies water or food in the first six months.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are becoming a significant burden in sub-Saharan Africa, and road traffic injuries are rapidly emerging as a major cause of death and disability. By 2010, cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) and road injuries were already within the top 15 causes of years of life lost, joined by ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and hypertensive heart disease in Southern sub-Saharan Africa. Road traffic injuries are expected to be the number one killer of children aged 5-15 in Africa by 2015 if current trends continue unabated. Yet, this burden remains largely hidden.
The author with colleagues after touring a health facility in Turkey, June 2013. Also available in Turkish
Two days after joining the World Bank, I traveled to Turkey to attend the government’s ministerial meeting on universal health coverage (UHC), which corresponded with The Lancet publication of an independent 10-year assessment of Turkey’s Health Transformation Program (HTP).