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Why is the World Bank on Medium?

Elizabeth Howton's picture
Also available in: 中文
A woman in a market in Guatemala City, Guatemala. © Maria Fleischmann/World Bank


The World Bank is working toward two incredibly ambitious goals: ending extreme poverty by 2030 and ensuring shared prosperity for the bottom 40% of the population in each developing country. To achieve these goals will take not only the World Bank Group, the United Nations and all the national and multilateral development agencies, it will take all of us.

There is no planet B

Paula Caballero's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | العربية
Zanizbar, Tanzania. Photo by Sonu Jani / World Bank

At this week's UN Sustainable Development Summit, the world's oceans will be getting the attention they have long deserved -- but not always received. They are the focus of Sustainable Development Goal 14: "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development."

The inclusion of oceans for the first time in the international-development agenda illustrates the ambitious and holistic view of challenges and solutions that nations are embracing. With the SDGs, nations are calling for a future in which nature is managed to drive economies, enhance well-being and sustain lives -- whether in Washington or Nairobi, on land or sea.

Fifteen years ago, nations convened at the UN and created an unprecedented set of guideposts, the Millennium Development Goals. In that timespan, the number of people living in extreme poverty was more than halved. But the oceans were not part of those goals. We now have the opportunity to focus minds globally on restoring healthy oceans for resilient economies and thriving communities. 

This attention comes not a moment too soon.

Universal health coverage in a generation is achievable

Bertrand Badré's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | 中文 | Español
A nurse cleans a newborn in a Sierra Leone hospital. © Dominic Chavez/World Bank


​As the father of four children, I know how important access to good, quality health care is. All parents aspire to be able to provide the same for their children. That’s why we at the World Bank Group are working with our partners around the globe to make universal health coverage a reality for all.

Uniting finance and development has been a lifelong passion of mine. Earlier in my career, I supported then French President Jacques Chirac with the development of an international airline ticket solidarity tax to provide global public goods for the poor. This kind of innovative thinking eventually led to the creation of UNITAID which works to prevent, treat, and diagnose HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria more quickly, cheaply and effectively. Other innovative financing mechanisms include the International Finance Facility for Immunization and the Global Vaccine Initiative.

Old fuel for a new future: the potential of wood energy

Paula Caballero's picture
A woman buying a clean cookstove in Tanzania. Klas Sander / World Bank

The use of wood energy – including firewood and charcoal – is largely considered an option of last resort. It evokes time-consuming wood collection, health hazards and small-scale fuel used by poor families in rural areas where there are no other energy alternatives.

And to a certain extent this picture is accurate. A study by the Alliance for Clean Cookstoves found that women in India spend the equivalent of two weeks every year collecting firewood, which they use to cook and heat their homes. Indoor air pollution caused by the smoke from burning firewood is known to lead to severe health problems: the WHO estimates 4.3 million deaths a year worldwide attributed to diseases associated with cooking and heating with solid fuels. Incomplete combustion creates short-lived climate pollutants, which also act as powerful agents of climate change.

But wood is a valuable source of energy for many of the 2.9 billion people worldwide who lack access to clean cooking facilities, including in major cities. It fuels many industries, from brickmaking and metal processing in the Congo Basin to steel and iron production in Brazil.  

In fact, the value of charcoal production in Africa was estimated at more than $8 billion in 2007, creating livelihoods for about seven million women and men, and catering to a rapidly growing urban demand. From this standpoint, wood energy makes up an enterprise of industrial scale. 

So, instead of disregarding wood energy as outdated, we must think of the economic, social and environmental benefits that would derive from modernizing its use. After all, wood energy is still one of the most widespread renewable fuels at our disposal. We already have the technological know-how to enhance the sustainability of wood energy value chains. Across the European Union’s 28 member states, wood and solid biofuels produced through “modern” methods accounted for nearly half of total primary energy from renewables in 2012.

Are we prepared for the next global epidemic? The public doesn't think so

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español | 日本語
A nurse checks the temperature of a patient at Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.  © Dominic Chavez/World Bank


Too often, the conventional wisdom in diplomatic or scientific circles is that the general public doesn't know what's good for them when it comes to foreign policy or tackling global threats. It's too complicated, the experts say; the public wouldn't understand. Yet new polling suggests that many in the public understand very well how global infectious disease outbreaks pose a serious threat to their lives and economic security - and they know what should be done about it.

Clean air as a poverty reduction priority

Ernesto Sanchez-Triana's picture
​Many parts of the development community have long embraced the following narrative: When nations are young and poor, they are willing to sacrifice natural resources—dirtying their water and their air—to promote economic growth and meet their population’s basic needs. Then, once these nations achieve a certain level of wealth, they become less concerned with accumulating material goods and more concerned with quality-of-life issues, and only at that point are they willing to spend money—or sacrifice growth—for benefits like clean air.

However, a recent resolution by the World Health Organization's (WHO) governing body shows that this narrative is beginning to change. 

Human wellbeing depends on a functioning planet—the Pope’s call

Paula Caballero's picture
Children in Bhutan look out on terraced fields. (Photo by Curt Carnemark / World Bank)The papal encyclical “on care for our common home” reflects the kind of insightful and decisive leadership that will be needed to reverse trends that will affect humanity’s capacity to feed itself and provide for collective well-being. The encyclical is not only a sobering call to address climate change, but also a manifesto for environmental stewardship and action. It touches on topics that we, as earth’s dominant species, need to urgently care about if we are to keep millions out of poverty today and tomorrow, and deliver on the rising expectations of a global middle class.

At the core of the encyclical is both a concern for the health of the planet and for the earth’s poor, reflected in a commitment to social values and integrity, environmental resilience, and economic inclusion.

The stock-taking begins, aptly, with pollution: “Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths.” The World Bank’s latest edition of the Little Green Data Book finds indeed that in low and middle-income countries, 86% of the residents are exposed to air pollution levels (measured in exposure particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter) that exceed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The WHO last year made headlines when it calculated that 7 million people had died prematurely from indoor and outdoor air pollution in 2012. From safer cookstoves in rural areas, to better air quality management in fast growing cities, this is an area where solutions are known and must be urgently applied.

Climate change, health and opportunities for sustainable development

James Close's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية
Mosquito nets in Nigeria. Arne Hoel/World Bank


In a joint post, World Bank Director for Climate Change James Close teams up with Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice Senior Director Paula Caballero and Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice Senior Director Tim Evans to comment on a new report released by The Lancet, which touches upon aspects of each of their portfolios and underscores the value in working collaboratively toward development solutions. 

 
In a new report released today, the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change tells us that “tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.”  
 
Among its recommendations, it calls on governments to invest in climate change and public health research and monitoring and surveillance, and to scale-up financing for climate-resilient health systems worldwide.
 
At the World Bank, we couldn’t agree more.

State of global development: Why 2015 is a pivotal year for ending poverty

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français
© Arne Hoel/World Bank


In this series, professionals debate the state – and future – of their industry. Read all the posts here and write your own (use #MyIndustry in the body of your post).

I work in one of the most rewarding fields imaginable – helping low- and middle-income countries develop so that poor people have a fair chance at reaching their full potential. My field of work is at a critical crossroads, and it is no exaggeration that the decisions we make this year will have an impact on everyone in the world and especially the poorest.

#KidsEndPoverty: Чи юу хийж чадах вэ, хүүхдүүд та нар туслахын тулд яах вэ?

Korina Lopez's picture
Also available in: English | Français | Español | العربية | 中文

Өнөөдөр зургадугаар сарын 1. Дэлхийн олон оронд Хүүхдийн эрхийг хамгаалах өдрийг тэмдэглэж байна. Бид хүүхдүүддээ ямар дэлхийг өвлүүлэн үлдээж байна вэ гэдгийг эргэцүүлэн бодох боломж олгож байна. Хүүхдүүдээ өсч том болохоос өмнө ядуурлаас ангижирсан дэлхийг тэдэндээ үлдээхийн төлөө хамтдаа нэгдэцгээе. Өнөөгийн бүх хүүхдийн сайн сайхан ирээдүйн төлөө бид хамтдаа 2030 он гэхэд ядуурлыг ялж чадна. Энэ блогт бичигдсэн зүйлийг өөрийн орчин тойронд амьдарч байгаа хүүхдүүдтэй хуваалцаарай. Мөн тэдний урлагийн бүтээлийг ирүүлээрэй, тэдгээр бүтээлийг бид Дэлхийн банкны нийгмийн сүлжээгээр түгээх юм.

Маяа гэдэг охин байна гээд төсөөл дөө. Маяа охин ядуу оронд амьдардаг, аав ээж өдөржин ажилладаг, тэр сургуульд явж чадахгүй, яагаад гэвэл дүүгээ асрах хэрэгтэй. Аав ээж нь хичнээн хичээж махруу ажиллаад ч гэр бүлээ тэжээхэд хүрэлцэх, мөн Маяагийн сургуульд сурахад шаардлагатай мөнгийг олж чадахгүй. Маяа болон Маяагийн гэр бүл маш зайдуу амьдардаг, хэн нэг нь Маяагийн дүүг асарч Маяа сургуульд явах боломжтой боллоо гэхэд сургууль хүртэл явах автобусны зам ч тэнд байхгүй. Боловсрол гэдэг бол уншиж, бичиж, нэмж, хасаж сурна гэсэн үг. Өсч том болсоныхоо дараа ажил олж хийхийн тулд хүүхдүүд эдгээр зүйлсийг сурсан байх шаардлагатай. Боловсролгүй байна гэдэг бол ажиллаж, хөдөлмөрлөх боломж бараг байхгүй гэсэн үг. Ядуу учраас Маяа чам шиг сургуульд сурч чадахгүй байна гэдэг шударга гэж үү. Бүх хүүхэд сургуульд сурч, өвдсөн үедээ эмчид үзүүлж, идэх хоолтой, эцэг эхтэйгээ хамт амьдардаг гэр оронтой, тэндээ унтдаг байх учиртай. Харамсалтай нь Маяатай ижил олон хүүхэд бий. Бид тэдэнд хэрхэн тусалж чадах вэ? Түүнд туслахын тулд чи юу хийж чадах вэ??

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