IHSJ Reader     February 2012     Issue 18         

Note: Triple asterisk (***) indicates subscription-only sources.



USAID Now Free To Buy Goods From Companies In Poor Countries (Claire Provost, The Guardian, February 6, 2012)
In January, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) revised its procurement regulations to allow for more local and regional purchase of goods and services in developing countries. The simplified and streamlined policy sets a target of procuring 30% of goods and services through local governments, businesses, and NGOs. Though new procurement rules do not extend to US food aid, they represent an important step towards making aid more sustainable, cost-effective, and relevant to local country-driven development priorities.

The FY2013 Budget Request: Presidential Priorities for Development Face Uncertain Outcome (Connie Veillette, Center for Global Development, February 14, 2012)
The President’s budget for fiscal year 2013 was released amidst a political process dominated by budget austerity.  Though the overall funding request for the international affairs account reflects last year’s appropriations, bilateral global health programs may experience cuts if Congressional budgets do not restore funding. Multilateral health aid fared better, including a request to fully fund the US contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Partners In Health is committed to preventing cuts to poverty-focused foreign assistance programs in the months and years to come.

We Quantified the Quality of Health Aid! (So What?) (Amanda Glassman, Center for Global Development, February 8, 2012)
In this Center for Global Development study, researchers use quantitative analysis to rank 30 donors across four dimensions of health aid effectiveness. Though results vary by donor, the United States ranks high on “transparency and learning”, average on “maximizing efficiency”, and below average on “reducing burden” and “fostering local institutions”. The US can improve the effectiveness of its health aid by channeling more resources through multilateral agencies and allocating more health assistance to well-governed countries with national health plans.



Closing the Global Cancer Divide: Together It Is Possible (Jonathan Quick, Felicia Knaul, The Huffington Post, February 4, 2012)
On World Cancer Day, Dr. Jonathan Quick and Dr. Felicia Knaul review the progress that has been made in cancer treatment in high income countries while highlighting four myths that have delayed cancer care and control in developing countries.  Cancer causes more death in low- and middle-income countries than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, yet only 5% of global spending on cancer is spent in the developing world. This burden cannot be alleviated without addressing the need to invest in stronger national health systems in developing countries.  

Community Workers Help to Bridge Treatment Gap in Mental Health (Rosalind Miller, Poverty Matters, February 16, 2012)
In India, there are only 4,000 psychiatrists serving a population of 1.3 billion people. This article provides a short introduction to the Manas intervention, a randomized controlled trial conducted to assess the impact of training community mental health workers in India. Results suggest that the large gap in access to mental health professionals can be addressed by integrating mental health care into primary care services. Training lay health workers to provide mental health care in primary care clinics helps ensure patients receive the health services they need and the dignity they deserve.        



A Life Free From Hunger (Save the Children, February 2012)
A new report by Save the Children calls on world leaders to put chronic malnutrition back on the global agenda in 2012. Malnutrition is an underlying cause of 2.6 million child deaths every year and is considered the single gravest threat to global public health. Social protection systems including cash transfers and food packages have the potential to save millions of lives. The US G8 and the Mexican G20 meetings in 2012 offer critical opportunities for galvanizing the political will and financial resources necessary to reverse global hunger.



Yon Je Louvri: Reducing Vulnerability to Sexual Violence in Haiti’s IDP Camps (NYU Law School Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, February 2012)
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law released this report examining the prevalence of sexual violence in internally displaced persons (IDP) settlements in Haiti. Two years after the devastating earthquake struck Haiti, more than half a million people in Port-au-Prince remain living in IDP settlements where living conditions are grim, with limited access to food, water, and sanitation, and continued reports of rape and sexual violence. This report offers five key recommendations for improving the lives and reducing the vulnerability of young women in Haiti’s IDP camps.



Poverty Down By 12% - Survey (The New Times, February 7, 2012)
Impressive results from the third Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey released earlier this month show that poverty in Rwanda has dropped 11.8% since 2006, with 45% of the country’s 10.7 million people now living under the poverty line. The survey, conducted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda, was released in conjunction with the fourth Demographic and Health Survey which indicated that both infant and maternal mortality rates have declined by 41% and 35% respectively.



Fixing the Delivery of Humanitarian Aid: Ed Cairns Explains Oxfam’s Report “Crisis In a New World Order” (Oxfam, February 8, 2012)
A Senior Policy Advisor to Oxfam calls for humanitarian aid to shift from its “Western-dominated past” in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Oxfam’s new report calls for donors and NGOs to work more closely with local civil society, governments, and others on the ground to deliver more effective aid.