IHSJ Reader     June 2012     Issue 26         
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CHILD HEALTH

Ending Preventable Child Death in a Generation (Roger Glass, Alan Guttmacher, Robert Black, Journal of American Medical Association, June 13, 2012)

The world has made enormous strides in saving the lives of children, but it remains unconscionable that seven million children die every year from entirely preventable and curable causes. This article looks at the progress that has been made in reducing under-five mortality rates, catalyzed in part by setting targets such as Millennium Development Goal Four, and what post-2015 goals for child health should look like. The authors propose that countries should aim for an under-five mortality rate of no more than 20 deaths per 1,000 live births and a global average of 15 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2035. The goal of the elimination of preventable child death is attainable with increased support and commitments from the international community.

FOOD SECURITY

Scaling Up: Global Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture (United Nations Global Compact, June 2012)

The urgency for innovation in the fight to alleviate demand on our agricultural systems is greater than ever as the global population is expected to grow from seven billion to nine billion in the next four decades. However, agriculture does much more than sustain human life; agriculture occupies one-third of the land surface of the earth and employs 70 percent of the populations living in the world’s poorest countries, the majority of whom are women. Investments in sustainable agriculture can reduce poverty and food insecurity by incorporating smallholder farmers in supply chains and promoting rural development initiatives. Through partnerships between the private sector, government, and civil society, sustainable agriculture programs have the ability to tackle chronic hunger, poverty, and food insecurity in the long term.

 

Farm Bill Helps Fight Global Hunger (Dan Glickman and Richard Leach, Politico, June 14, 2012)

The Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill takes promising steps to reform how the United States operationalizes its food aid abroad. The bill works to decrease the inefficient practice of monetization – selling heavily subsidized US-produced food in recipient countries to fund development projects – and increase the amount of food purchased from farmers in the countries where hunger and malnutrition persist. Investing in local and regional procurement would not only provide a way of life for millions of small farmers; it would help ensure long-term food security for the countries the current system of food aid is meant to help.

 

HEALTH SYSTEMS STRENGTHENING

Comparative Performance of Private and Public Healthcare Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review (Sanjay Basu, Jason Andrews, Sandeep Kishore, Rajesh Panjabi, David Stuckler, PLoS, June 19, 2012)

A systematic literature review of available data on public and private sector health care institutions debunks the claim that the private sector is more efficient, effective, or accountable than the public sector. Authors compared public and private system performance across the domains of accessibility and responsiveness; quality outcomes; accountability, transparency, and regulation; fairness and equity; and efficiency. Findings from this study were contrary to general assumptions about the efficiency of the private sector, instead showing that while each system has its strengths and weaknesses; financial barriers such as user fees prevent access to treatment in both the public and private sectors. Arguments can be made in favor of the performance of both spectrums of delivery, but it is important to ensure that high quality, equitable services are reaching the poor who are most in need of care no matter what system is implemented.

 

MATERNAL HEALTH

Saving Mothers, Giving Life: Attainable or Simply Aspirational? (Janet Fleischman, Center for Strategic & International Studies, June 20, 2012)

Secretary Clinton recently announced the pilot of a new public-private partnership, "Saving Mothers, Giving Lives," intended to address lethal complications that can arise within the first 24 hours of labor and delivery in Zambia and Uganda. Globally about 300,000 women die each year from complications in pregnancy and childbirth; 85 percent of those deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Saving Mothers will implement a variety of interventions, both to directly prevent maternal deaths from causes such as infection and hemorrhage, and to increase health system capacity and train health workers. While the program has faced criticism for its ambitious goal of reducing maternal mortality by fifty percent by June 2013, its efforts to address gaps in global obstetric care and catalyze improvement and innovation in health systems have the potential to improve the lives of women, families, and communities around the world.

 

NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

Priorities for Developing Countries in the Global Response to Non-Communicable Diseases (Dermot Maher, Nathan Ford, Nigel Unwin, Globalization and Health, June 11, 2012)

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become endemic, killing more than 36 million people each year, and disproportionately burdening low- and middle-income countries. The international community has slowly started acknowledging the impact of NCDs, but the authors of this recent paper highlight several key policy issues that need to be addressed to ensure the NCD response in low- and middle-income countries is effective. Specifically, treating and preventing the broad range of NCDs requires strengthening health systems; integrating care and treatment into primary care services; fostering synergies between existing vertical treatment programs; and increasing global health funding.

 

MULTIMEDIA & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Global Health Journal (The Graduate Institute, May 2012)

The Graduate Institute released a special journal dedicated to global health with contributions from various global health experts. The comprehensive pieces cover a diverse cross section of the field, with articles ranging from child nutrition and strengthening health systems, to how to maintain a healthy lifestyle in Russia.

 

Robin Hood Tax Campaign (YouTube, June 18, 2012)

Avengers star Mark Ruffalo, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Jeffrey Sachs, and Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello launched a video to kick off a campaign advocating for a Robin Hood Tax. A Robin Hood Tax would take less than half of one percent on each Wall Street transactions to provide funding for crucial global health, climate change, education, and poverty-reduction programs.

 

Rebecca Onie at TEDMED 2012 (YouTube, May 17, 2012)

At last month’s TEDMED conference, the co-founder of Health Leads spoke about the need for social services to be part of a comprehensive health care system. Health Leads has reinvented prescription services to keep all citizens healthy, regardless of socioeconomic status, by connecting patients to the resources they need to be healthy.

 

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