Two days before the world observes International School Meals Day, I’m here sitting in the U.K. Houses of Parliament thinking about the unexpected evolution of school meals programs in recent years.
Photo courtesty Creative Commons
For those of us who have been impacted by the death of loved ones due to the negative health consequences of smoking, the recent announcement by Larry Merlo, the CEO of the U.S. pharmacy chain CVS, to stop selling tobacco products in the chain’s 7,600 stores, was a ray of hope and a step toward a future when public health concerns trump short-term profit motives.
Countries working to provide quality health care often face bottlenecks in keeping remote health clinics stocked with essential medicines. This isn’t necessarily because they can’t afford sufficient drugs and supplies. Delivery may be stymied by bad roads and poor communications systems. Or the distribution process may have been established for a centralized system and can no longer keep pace with the growth in clinics in faraway settlements.
“In this clinic we are accommodated well and treated respectfully… We have the opportunity to converse with the health worker, describing the illness, and when we are mistaken or do not understand, we are not threatened. They help us locate the pain and they explain everything about the disease and how to treat it. They encourage us to speak and they try to give us confidence.” –Patient in Burkina Faso
2014 is already shaping up to be another exciting year for the global movement for universal health coverage (UHC). I was just with World Bank Group President Jim Kim in Myanmar, where we are putting our previously announced global targets for universal health coverage into action.
On Jan. 29, 2014, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim spoke about Thailand’s effort to achieve universal health coverage at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok. In just one year, the country’s universal health coverage scheme added 18 million uninsured citizens to the rolls of the insured. Kim also addressed Thailand’s success in reducing new HIV infections by more than 90% from 1990 to 2013, which saved $18 billion. Read Kim’s full remarks.
« On ne mange pas un bonbon avec son papier ». C’est ainsi que de jeunes Sud-Africains justifient leur refus de porter un préservatif. Malgré les risques élevés d’infection par le VIH, que personne n’ignore ou presque. Une étude récente (a) de la Banque mondiale a ainsi constaté que le préservatif était souvent vécu par les hommes comme une atteinte à leur virilité et que les femmes n’osaient pas insister.
“You cannot eat a sweet with the wrapping,” young men from South Africa told researchers as part of a recent World Bank study, explaining why they refuse to wear condoms despite a high and well-known risk of HIV. Men often don’t see condoms as manly, and women feel unable to insist.
What does this mean? A 2011 Gallup poll of 19 sub-Saharan African countries, home to more than two-thirds of the world's HIV-infected population, found most adults know how to prevent the spread of HIV. But while 72 percent agreed people should use latex condoms every time they have sex, only 40 percent said they ever had.
On December 6, 2013, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim spoke at a joint Government of Japan-World Bank Conference on Universal Health Coverage in Tokyo. In his remarks, he announced that the Bank and the World Health Organization are releasing a joint framework for monitoring progress toward universal health coverage with two targets, one for financial protection, and one for service delivery.
Over the past two decades, infant mortality in the Philippines has dropped by more than half. The number of women dying in childbirth has declined, and mortality rates from diseases such as tuberculosis have fallen. The country, however, still isn’t close to meeting the 2015 health targets in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.