Syndicate content

reproductive health

Child marriage: A persistent hurdle to health and prosperity

Quentin Wodon's picture

Also available in: العربية

On this Sunday, October 11, the world marks the International Day of the Girl Child. While the day is an opportunity to advocate for girls’ rights across many sectors, one persistent, pernicious issue deserves renewed attention:  the high prevalence of child marriage.

Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
How disasters drive displacement – and what should be done about it
The risk of people being displaced by natural disasters has quadrupled in the last 40 years and, unless governments adopt national and global plans to address the main drivers of displacement, increasing numbers of people will lose their homes to floods, earthquakes and landslides in the future. This is the main message of a report released on Thursday by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) ahead of the third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction due to take place in Sendai, Japan in the coming days. UN member states are expected to adopt a global plan to reduce disaster risk that will build on the Hyogo Framework for Action adopted 10 years ago.  The Hyogo Framework addressed disaster risk reduction but not the risk of being displaced by a disaster..

6 Ways Technology Is Breaking Barriers To Social Change
We all know that technology is changing the world from artificial intelligence to big data to the ubiquity of smart phones, but many of us working to change society are just starting to understand how to harness tech forces for good. The stakes are high: Some 2 billion people continue to live on less than $2 a day. Millions of women and girls around the world lack basic human rights. Forty percent of children in U.S. urban school districts fail to graduate. A slew of initiatives address these and other intractable social issues, yet often, even the most successful ones only address a fraction of the problem.

Should we believe the hype about adolescent girls?

Markus Goldstein's picture

There aren't that many development initiatives I know that have their own slickly produced video, sponsored by a major corporation, let alone a parody. But the "girl effect," which makes the argument that investing in adolescent girls is a great thing, is one.  

WBG president announces new MDGs 4/5 funding mechanism

Carolyn Reynolds's picture

SF-LA004  World Bank

Today, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced a special funding mechanism to enable donors to scale up their funding to meet the urgent needs related to Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, leveraging the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's fund for the poorest. 

Dr. Kim announced the special funding mechanism during his remarks at the Every Woman, Every Child event at the UN General Assembly.

His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are available on the World Bank's website (


Burundi: Investing in Safer Births

Maya Videos: Health Systems Create Healthy Futures

Maya on Facebook

World Bank and MDGs

World Bank Health on Twitter

World Breastfeeding Week: Healthy growth for the next generation

Julie Ruel-Bergeron's picture

SF-LA005  World Bank

This week (August 1-7) is World Breastfeeding Week, an occasion to remind ourselves of the important role that optimal infant and young child feeding plays in the healthy growth and development of individuals, communities, and nations. For more than 30 years, the World Bank has championed the importance of breastfeeding. This includes investing in advocacy and communications to policymakers, strengthened health systems, and effective community-based outreach to provide the knowledge and support needed by women and their families.


To mark World Breastfeeding Week, World Bank nutrition experts have updated this helpful Q/A on the topic:


What are the health benefits of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is one of the most powerful tools available to a mother to ensure the health and survival of her child from the moment he/she is born. Optimal breastfeeding practices, which include initiating breastfeeding within an hour of birth, feeding only breast milk until 6 months, and continuing to breastfeed up to 24 months, are key elements in the fight against malnutrition. Breast milk provides all the nutrients a child needs for healthy development in the first six months of life. And the antibodies that are transferred from a mother to her child during breastfeeding help protect infants against common childhood illnesses that can lead to death, such as diarrhea and pneumonia.


The Lancet’s 2008 series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition has estimated that the relative risk of death (all cause mortality) is 14 times higher for a child who is not breastfed versus one who is exclusively breastfed. When broken down by disease, the relative risk of death from diarrhea and pneumonia is 10.5 and 15 times higher, respectively, for children who are not breastfed versus those that are exclusively breastfed.


Transitions in financing HIV/AIDS programs

Patrick Osewe's picture

(Portrait of mother and child. Botswana. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank)

While participating in a study of HIV spending efficiency in South Africa, I met a young HIV-positive mother who had just received the joyful news that her new-born daughter was healthy and HIV-free. Wiping away tears of relief, she described the gratitude she felt for the antenatal clinic staff, who had helped start her on antiretroviral treatment (ART) and thanks to whom she now had the hope of a bright future for her daughter. This encounter was just one among many similar incidents during the study – and, as our preliminary data show, is representative of the positive impact of the Government’s strong commitment to bringing down rates of HIV.


South Africa has mounted one of the strongest responses to HIV in the world. Its most dramatic success has been the scale-up of ART since 2003, growing from almost nothing to the country’s largest health program that treated about 1.5 million people in 2011 (out of a total HIV-infected population of 5.6 million).


The impacts of this treatment drive are already showing, with overall mortality, maternal and infant deaths all on a downward trend following their HIV-related peaks in the early-to mid-2000s. However, the cost of sustaining this success is huge: South Africa has committed to putting an estimated target of almost 10% of the entire population on a life-long course of expensive drug treatment. And, even with government negotiators bringing down ART drug prices by 65% since 2008, successful testing campaigns coupled with the worrying increase in resistance to first-line therapies look set to further raise the financial risk.


These challenges extend beyond South Africa. An analysis of the fiscal dimensions of HIV/AIDS released by the World Bank earlier this year in a number of countries concluded that without significant additional investments in prevention starting now, the cost of treatment will rapidly become unaffordable for even the most cash-rich countries on the African continent.

Pour un accès plus équitable à la planification familiale en Asie du Sud

Julie McLaughlin's picture

Le 11 juillet, lors de la Journée mondiale de la population, des acteurs mondiaux de premier plan dans le domaine de la santé se réunissent à Londres pour tenter de mettre la priorité sur l’enjeu de la planification familiale. Cet enjeu est au cœur des travaux du personnel de la Banque mondiale chargé des questions de santé en Asie du Sud, qui s’emploie à trouver les moyens qui lui permettront d’aider plus efficacement les femmes et les familles à espacer les naissances et à éviter les grossesses non désirées.


Même si les pays d’Asie du Sud ont progressé dans l’élargissement de l’accès à la contraception moderne et dans le recul global de la natalité, la région accuse la deuxième plus forte mortalité maternelle du monde. Dans ces pays, les ménages pauvres, marginalisés et non instruits n’ont pas accès aux services de santé génésique dont ils ont besoin, et notamment à la planification familiale.


En Inde, au Népal et au Pakistan en particulier, les taux de fécondité et d’utilisation de contraceptifs diffèrent considérablement d’une catégorie socioéconomique à l’autre : en Inde, alors que le taux de fécondité n’est que de 1,8 chez les femmes les plus aisées, il se maintient à 3,9 parmi les plus démunies. Au Népal, les femmes instruites ont, en moyenne, 1,9 enfant, contre 3,7 pour les femmes non instruites. Au Pakistan, la prévalence de la contraception atteint aujourd’hui 32 % chez les couples riches et seulement 12 % chez les couples pauvres. En Inde, dans l’État du Meghalaya, 36 % des couples désireux de recourir à la planification familiale n’ont pas accès à une contraception efficace.

Planificación familiar en Asia meridional: Mejorar la igualdad de acceso

Julie McLaughlin's picture


El 11 de julio, Día Mundial de la Población, mientras los líderes mundiales de la salud se reúnen en Londres para debatir sobre el otorgamiento de una mayor prioridad a la planificación familiar, el personal del Banco Mundial que trabaja en el sector de salud en Asia meridional estará pensando en cómo respaldar más eficazmente a las mujeres y las familias de esta región para espaciar los nacimientos y evitar los embarazos no deseados.


Aunque los países de Asia meridional lograron aumentar el acceso a la planificación familiar moderna y reducir los índices totales de fecundidad, la región sigue teniendo la segunda tasa más elevada de mortalidad materna. Los hogares pobres, marginados y sin educación no cuentan con los servicios de salud reproductiva que necesitan, incluida la planificación familiar.


En India, Nepal y Pakistán, en particular, las diferencias en la fertilidad y el uso de anticonceptivos entre los grupos socioeconómicos son sorprendentes: en India, la tasa de fecundidad en la parte más rica de la población es de 1,8, mientras que sigue siendo de 3,9 entre los más pobres; en Nepal, las mujeres con educación tienen en promedio 1,9 hijos, mientras que las menos educadas tienen un promedio de 3,7; en Pakistán, la prevalencia de anticonceptivos es del 32% en las parejas más ricas y de apenas el 12% entre las parejas pobres, y en el estado indio de Meghalaya, el 36% de las parejas que quiere practicar la planificación familiar carece de acceso a métodos anticonceptivos eficaces.