IHSJ Reader     January 2012     Issue 15         

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


Haiti's "Unnatural Disaster'' (Joia Mukherjee and Ruth Messinger, The Boston Globe, January 11, 2012)
Haiti’s recovery requires long-term support aimed at strengthening government, Haitian citizens’ and grassroots organizations’ capacity to address systemic inequalities and cope with so-called “natural disasters”.  Until more resources are channeled through Haiti’s local government and community partners, what could pass as natural events will continue to be unnatural disasters for the poor.

Haiti’s Slow Recovery (Editorial, The New York Times, January 8, 2012)
Though the success of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission is contested, there has been some progress and recovery in Haiti since the devastating earthquake two years ago. But gaps remain. This editorial discusses the need for the Martelly Administration to develop a comprehensive strategy for housing, resettlement and employment, and for donors to fulfill aid pledges. Foreign assistance should support Haiti’s efforts to control and guide their rebuilding and development.

Haiti Can Be Rich Again (Laurent Dubois and Deborah Jenson, The New York Times, January 8, 2012)
Highlighting Haiti’s history as a country of agricultural innovation, this article argues for greater investment in Haiti’s rural economy, particularly the small farming sector. Supporting and sustaining local agricultural capacity with a focus on women is critical to achieving long-term food security for the Haitian people.

Where the Relief Money Did and Did Not Go: Haiti After the Quake (Bill Quigley and Amber Ramanauskas, Counter Punch, January 3, 2012)
Foreign assistance should be invested in poor people and governments. Yet two years after the earthquake, insufficient amounts of donor funds for humanitarian relief have been channeled through the Government of Haiti.  The myriad structural challenges facing Haiti cannot be addressed by foreign militaries, nongovernmental organizations and private contractors. Instead, they merit a human rights-based approach that employs and trains local people, strengthens public infrastructure and extends access to essential services.




Aid Cuts to Middle-Income Countries Worsen Global Poverty and Ill-Health (Andy Sumner and Amanda Glassman, Poverty Matters Blog, January 2, 2012)
When Round 11 of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was cancelled in December, the Global Fund Board made the tough decision to stop funding projects in middle-income countries (MIC). The European Union and the World Bank’s International Development Association have also cut off aid to MICs, where the majority of the world’s poor actually live. This article warns that extreme reactions to tough economic times could negatively impact many of those most in need. Instead, the donor community should design health and development assistance to benefit poor people, including by supporting more inclusive social protection policies in new and old MICs.


The Best Way to Save Lives, Accelerate Progress on Global Health, and Help Advance U.S. Interests (Frontline Health Workers Coalition, January 11, 2012)
The Global South faces a shortage of at least one million frontline health workers. Yet community-based health workers are currently the best way to serve millions of families who live beyond the reach of hospitals and clinics. In this issue brief, the new Frontline Health Workers Coalition, of which PIH is a founding member, calls upon the U.S. Government to help address the shortage of skilled, supported and motivated health workers by training and retaining an additional 250,000 new frontline health workers, and better supporting the capacity and impact of existing health workers. Addressing the health worker shortage is one of the best ways to strengthen health systems and reduce suffering and premature death worldwide.



Water For the World Act (Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Ted Poe, Press Release, December 14, 2011)
On December 14th, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced the “Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2012” (H.R. 3658).  The Act seeks to expand access to safe drinking water and sanitation for millions of people in the Global South, increase local country-ownership, and improve the sustainability, coordination, oversight and integration of water and sanitation programs within and between U.S. Government agencies. The World Health Organization estimates that 3.5 million people die every year from water-related illnesses every year and access to clean water and sanitation has become a critical issue in Haiti since the cholera outbreak.

***Food Insecurity: Special Considerations for Women (Louise Ivers and Kim Cullen, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2011)
In this article, Kim Cullen and Dr. Louise Ivers, Partner In Health’s Senior Health and Policy Advisor, discuss the disproportionate effects of food insecurity on women. The authors focus on three key areas in which food insecurity heightens the vulnerability of women including household economics, pregnancy and mental health. Women produce up to 80% of the food in developing countries, yet represent 70% of the world’s poor. Short-term assistance and long-term development strategies are required to improve women’s access to not only food, but also land, opportunity and economic power. 

The Sticky Challenge Facing Africa (Esha Chhabra, Poverty Matters Blog, The Guardian, December 20, 2011)
Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is the most effective treatment for reversing severe acute malnutrition.  This article highlights efforts by Steve Collins, Partners In Health and others to shift RUTF production to food insecure regions, rather than in Europe and North America. By generating consistent and predictable demand for local agricultural products, RUTF production can help stimulate local economies and safeguard rural livelihoods in order to secure proper nutrition in the long term.  



Rwandans Welcome HPV Vaccine Program (Here & Now, National Public Radio, January 2, 2012)
Listen to Dr. Peter Drobac, Director of Inshuti Mu Buzima, Partner In Health’s Rwandan sister organization, discuss the success of Rwanda’s nationwide program to vaccinate 11-year-old girls against human papillomavirus (HPV). The enormous strides Rwanda has made in rebuilding its health system and community outreach and engagement are evidenced by the fact that 96 percent of girls have received this free vaccine due to strong public education and awareness campaigns. 

Haiti Special Coordinator: Releases (Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator, U.S. State Department, December 28, 2011)
The U.S. State Department released multiple fact sheets on the U.S. government’s work in Haiti over the past two years. Each fact sheet presents specific challenges, the U.S. strategy and what has been accomplished to date.