Ideas about what is important gain currency in the international development community with the regularity of ocean waves reaching the shore. As yesterday’s important idea recedes back into the ocean, today’s idea laps at our feet. A few years ago, the idea of country ownership came up in nearly every conversation about health information system (HIS) strengthening. We wanted to be sure that systems were not just dropped on a country, and that the country in question would value the system enough to use it and maintain it. After a few years, the salience of country ownership gave way to the idea of sustainability. The two terms share some elements—both express an interest in long-term maintenance. But this particular notion of sustainability explicitly included the transition of funding from donors to host governments.
This blog first appeared in the New York Times on June 20, 2016.
Nutrition is not only fundamental to an individual’s cognitive and physical growth, it is also the cornerstone of all development efforts, whether improving education, health, income or equality, at home or abroad. And the most important time for good nutrition is in the 1,000 days from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to the second birthday of her child. What happens in those first days determines to a large extent the course of a child’s life – his or her ability to grow, learn, work, succeed – and, by extension, the long-term health, stability and prosperity of the society in which that child lives.
A recent study on patient safety in Kenya revealed that less that 5% of health facilities, both public and private, have attained the minimum international standards of safety. Although such studies are rare, there is reason to believe that the same picture prevails in most of SS Africa.
Tens of millions of people are already feeling the effects of climate change—and the poorest among us feel them the most. Inaction could push 100 million more people into poverty by 2030.
Globally, the demand for timely and accurate health information is growing, driven mainly by an increased focus on strategic resource allocation and priority setting, as well as the availability of technology. However, in real life, setting up a system to capture accurate and timely information comes with many challenges especially in low and middle income countries. System inputs are often costly, hard to build and maintain and difficult to integrate.
For 2016's World No Tobacco Day, celebrated today, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are calling on countries to get ready for plain packaging of tobacco products. Why, may you ask?
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) continues to have much higher fertility and lower contraceptive usage than any other region: the contraceptive prevalence rate of 22% is less than half that of South Asia (53%) and less than a third that of East Asia (77%).
‘Stunted children today means stunted economies tomorrow.’ This sentiment, recently expressed by African Development Bank President Akin Adesina, encapsulates the sea change in how malnutrition is now viewed by global actors. Mr. Adesina was speaking at an event to launch a new global investment framework called Investing in Nutrition, co-authored by the World Bank and Results for Development Institute, which firmly establishes the importance of nutrition as a foundational part of development.
When I became deputy director of the Child Survival Partnership in 2004, I knew the task at hand –saving mothers and children -- was a challenging one. Four years earlier, the world’s countries had agreed on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality. We knew that moving the needle on maternal and child survival would take more headway and greater advances than had been seen to date.