Syndicate content

October 2012

Invest in nutrition to invest in the future?

Janneke Hartvig Blomberg's picture

Let's think together: Every week the World Bank team in Tanzania wants to stimulate your thinking by sharing data from recent official surveys in Tanzania and ask you a couple of questions. This post is also published in the Tanzanian Newspaper The Citizen every Sunday.

Malnutrition has detrimental effects on a child's physical growth (stunting); it can also result in irreversible damage to their brain and mental development, and it increases their risk to illness and death. The biggest impact of malnutrition is seen in the first 1,000 days of life of a child's life - from the time of conception to the time they reach their second birthday.

For women, malnutrition increases risk during pregnancy and the delivery of low birth weight babies. Malnutrition is a serious issue in Tanzania as shown by the following statistics:

Routine Immunization: A Systemic Approach to Polio Eradication

Kees Kostermans's picture

Since 1988, when the World Health Organization,  Rotary International, CDC and UNICEF launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) more than US$ 8.2 billion has been invested in polio immunization and surveillance. It’s an investment that has paid off: The number of polio cases worldwide decreased by more than 99%, from 350,000 in 1988 to less than 650 cases in 2011, while the number of polio endemic countries (those with ongoing domestic transmission of the virus) decreased from over 125 to just three: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. 

PP + EE = An Emerging Driver for Green Growth

Nicholas Keyes's picture

Public Procurement.  Energy Efficiency. These are not terms that one normally sees together.  And honestly, neither is a subject likely to keep many people awake at night. But taken together, they can be a powerful force for energy security, greenhouse gas mitigation, and low carbon development.

The logic is simple. Governments on average account for 2-5 percent of national energy use, and this can rise to 20-30 percent in countries with high heating demand or low electrification rates. Between 12 and 20 percent of a country’s gross domestic product passes through public procurement systems.  On both the energy and the procurement sides, government actions matter, influencing private sector purchasing and individual decision-making. Technical specifications used by governments also send signals to suppliers about the types of goods and services that will be in demand, which in turn can influence the products they produce.

Why Are International Conferences so Bad, and What Can Be Done about It?

Duncan Green's picture

Last week I attended the OECD’s 4th World Forum on Measuring Well-being. Actually, I sampled it, ducking out to look at Oxfam programmes in Delhi, meet people and give a couple of lectures in local universities. Lots of people do this, so it ought to have a name – conflirting? Condipping? Any better suggestions?

My overall impression was that official interest in well-being and its measurement continues to grow, but has moved to a national level, where numerous governments are seriously trying to put it into practice (here’s where the UK has got to, big report due next month). Although it has set up its 36 country ‘Better Life Index’ (with a funky interactive website where you can construct your own measure of well-being) and has launched the wikiprogress site, the OECD is not driving the debate as it was when I attended the previous Forum in Busan in 2010, (many fewer delegates this time around, and not much new in the debates). That is probably a good thing – national action and experimentation is what really matters.

Health Costs and Benefits of DDT Use in Malaria Control and Prevention

Susmita Dasgupta's picture

Photo: Istockphoto.comMalaria, a life threatening mosquito-borne infectious disease, poses a risk to approximately 3.3 billion people, approximately half of the world’s population. Most malaria cases occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, but they also occur in Asia, Latin America, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe. In 2010, malaria was found in 106 countries and territories, with an estimated 216 million cases and nearly 0.7 million deaths – mostly among children living in Africa. In addition to its health toll, malaria places a heavy economic burden on many countries with high disease rates, with estimates of as much as a 1.3 percent reduction in GDP in those countries.

Is Business Training for Women’s Subsistence Businesses Futile?

David McKenzie's picture

After finding that gifts of capital had no impact on the growth of female-owned subsistence firms in Sri Lanka and Ghana, in a recent paper (with Chris Woodruff and Suresh de Mel) I test whether business training can help poor women in Sri Lanka start and grow their businesses. A new 2-page impact note summarizes the results of the full paper. The even shorter version is that the ILO’s Start and Improve Your Business Training:

  • has no significant impact on the survival or growth of existing subsistence enterprises run by women in either the short or the medium run.
  • Speeds up entry into business of women out of the labor force who would like to start businesses, although the control group catches up after a year.
  • Leads to less analytically skilled women starting new businesses.
  • Makes the new businesses started by women more profitable

GSBI Business Plans Presentations: Is Targeted Education Part of the Solution?

Virginia Ziulu's picture

GSBI 10th Anniversary logo - Image credit: GSBIOn August 23th, in Santa Clara, California, I attended business plan presentations of 19 competitively selected social entrepreneurs, who delivered their pitches to a panel of experienced professionals plus a general audience. These presentations marked the culmination of the 10th annual Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™) program organized by Santa Clara University. The Development Marketplace has been one of its partners since its beginning. The program includes intensive work by each entrepreneur with two to three designated mentors, and a series of on-campus classes. Its main objective is to strengthen material that each entrepreneur already has available, refine their business models and develop professional organizational documentation that can be presented to attract investors.

Global Launch of From Poverty to Power 2nd Edition

Johanna Martinsson's picture

Our guest blogger Duncan Green has a new edition of his book out. What follows is the announcement.

Rooted in decades of Oxfam’s experience across the developing world, Duncan Green’s book From Poverty to Power argues that it requires a radical redistribution of power, opportunities, and assets to break the cycle of poverty and inequality and to give poor people power over their own destinies. The forces driving this transformation are active citizens and effective states. The book has received great acclaim since it was first published in 2008 and the updated version published on 23rd October is set to reach an even wider audience, helping to spark debate about the issues Oxfam works on.

Improving access to drugs: Fitting the solution to the problem

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Patricio Marquez’s post correctly  identifies lack of access  to quality medicines as one of the  constraints to poor people’s health in Africa.    But the  solutions he recommends—more public money for “essential drugs benefits”, building  resilient institutions,  and providing  physicians  with better  scientific information  and guidelines  about  drug  prescriptions—are   unlikely   by    themselves  to   improve poor   people’s   health  outcomes.

More public money.  Patricio notes that out-of-pocket expenditures are about 40 percent of total health expenditures and most of this is spent on outpatient drugs.  He assumes the reason is that countries have not adopted a program of essential drugs benefits, and the reason for the latter is lack of public resources.  But consider the following facts. 

Railways, Development and the Private Sector

David Lawrence's picture

I once took a train from Saratov, a Russian city on the Volga, to Almaty, then the capital of Kazakhstan. The journey took nearly three days. It seemed that for most of that time we passed through nothing but dark, frozen, empty space (it was December). The train moved slowly and noisily on old tracks, a relic from Russia’s Soviet past. But it was still impressive—this creaky transportation network had once held together one-sixth of the world’s land surface. It was part of an economic circulatory system that allowed goods, raw materials, and labor to move incredible distances, from the Black Sea to the Pacific.


Pages