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How Can We Fight the Pandemic of Global Violence against Women?

Domestic violence — overwhelmingly against women — is by far the most common form of violence in the world. About 350 million women across the planet have suffered severe physical violence from their intimate partner according to the World Bank (PDF). In developing countries, more than one in three girls will be married before the age of 18, placing them at increased risk of abuse. Worldwide, 125 million women have been subject to genital mutilation.

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Pleas grow for health workers to join Ebola outbreak response

There are not enough health workers responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. So far, Ebola has infected more than 4,000 people and killed 2,218 across Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. Most signs point to things getting worse before the countries and healthcare workers can get the outbreak under control in the

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A new era for the WHO health system building blocks? – Health Systems Global

Jeffrey V. Lazarus, Tim France | Health Systems Global | A health system consists of all the organizations, institutions, resources and people whose primary purpose is Read More

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Funding Facility Established to Accelerate Progress to End Preventable Maternal and Child Death

By Katie Millar, Technical Writer, MHTF Representatives make announcement about Global Financing Facility at UNGA. Photo from website of Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper In a landmark decision, the World Bank, the United States, and governments of Canada and Norway announced at the 69th UN General Assembly their efforts to establish a new funding mechanism—the Global Financing Facility (GFF)—to support not only the acceleration needed to achieve MDG 4 and 5, but also a more long-term vision through 2030 to end preventable maternal and child deaths. Dr. Ana Langer, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard School of Public Health welcomes this fund and its strategy. “The focus on both maternal, child and reproductive health for women and girls and 2030 as a finish line is most welcome as it reflects both a life cycle approach and proves consistent with the new set of goals that the global maternal and newborn health community has proposed post-2015,” said Dr


Living large, living long and just getting by

Ezekiel Emanuel has written a controversial piece in The Atlantic entitled Why I Hope to Die at 75: An argument that society and families — and you — will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly. I never thought that I would write about it on this blog, given its developing world focus. And yet, as I read Emanuel’s piece, it was hard not to wonder how his thoughts would be regarded from the Global South.Let’s jump to the punch line. Emanuel’s conclusion is that he does want to live beyond the age of 75 and, when he reaches that age, he will forgo all medical interventions that aim to prolong his life. Transposing the conclusion to policy, Emanuel concludes that raising life expectancy in a society beyond the age of 75 is not an appropriate public health goal


World Bank, Partner Countries, NGOs Launch Global Financing Facility For MCH

Media sources report on the formation of a new Global Financing Facility to address maternal and child health issues. Reuters: Donors launch $4 billion health fund to cut mother and child deaths “The World Bank has announced a new global fund to invest about $4 billion in health care for mothers and children in developing…More


In Health Systems Strengthening, the Big Question Is Not What, but How

As the global health community gears up for the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Cape Town, South Africa, next week, health systems—specifically the tragic consequences when they fail—are in the news.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that Ebola cases in West Africa will reach 1.5 million before the outbreak ends. Media coverage of the tragedy has led to conversations about how interconnected the world is, and how scary things can be.The tragic Ebola outbreak has exposed—once again—that health systems are only as strong as their weakest links. It has shown global health practitioners and people all over the world that weak health systems make any efforts to improve health care challenging, and often short-lived.We know what we need: stronger, more resilient health systems and, as the Lancet calls it, a “grand convergence” to reach universal health coverage. Even though the term “health systems strengthening” is less than 20 years old—and “universal health coverage” is even newer—we’ve known we need them for much longer than that. Perhaps it started with the September 1978 Alma Ata primary health care declaration and its goal of “health for all by the year 2000.”Next week’s symposium comes at an opportune time.  So whether we call it primary health care, health systems strengthening, or universal health coverage, we know what we need


Three Things We Know about Family Planning—and Why We Don’t Talk About One of Them

This post originally appeared on the K4Health blog.We know three big truths about contraception and family planning.First, family planning is one of the smartest investments a country can make in its own future. When a country strives to make sure that every pregnancy is wanted and mothers are able to space their children for optimal health, its population transforms.More children finish school. The economy flourishes. Abortion rates and maternal deaths plummet as gender equality draws nearer. And everyone—especially young people—benefit.In fact, meeting the world’s need for contraception and family planning would save the lives of at least 570,000 newborns and 79,000 mothers every year.The second thing we know is that health workers are a vital part of the process.They counsel us and administer the many contraceptive methods available today. They educate us about family planning’s health benefits for all members of our families, parents and children.And they can even safeguard a young person’s health and future by preventing too-early pregnancy.The third thing we know is a grimmer truth


IntraHealth and PSI Team Up to Focus on Health Workers

Before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa became big news, we rarely heard the phrases “health systems” or “health workers” in the media. Most mainstream reporting on global health has tended to spotlight specific diseases or issues.But then Ebola broke out.At first the story was the same—detailed accounts of horrifying deaths and climbing infection numbers. Since March, the virus has killed over 2,800 people in West Africa, including 186 health workers. So far, it has defied the efforts of health officials and emergency aid organizations to contain it.And so the story has begun to change.It’s clear now that the suffering we see in Ebola-affected countries goes far beyond one terrible disease. The true challenge lies in the weak health systems that have allowed it to spread, and in the global shortage of health workers who could have stopped it.The road to a healthier, more productive world is lined with health workers


Aversion Behavior Exacerbates the Economic Impact of Ebola

On September 17, the World Bank issued a preliminary report on the economic impact of Ebola Viral Disease (hereafter Ebola).  (Landing page is here and report is here.)  I was one of a team of fourteen people contributing to this initial effort and the only member of the group not from the Bank.   Most of the team members are “country economists” whose job is usually to monitor the macroeconomic situation in their assigned countries and to routinely feed these assessments to the rest of the Bank for designing or evaluating projects and programs.  Although I thought I knew the Bank pretty well from my 20 years in its Development Economics Research Group (1986-2006), I gained a new appreciation of the skills of the country economists as I watched them gather and assemble tidbits of relevant data about how Ebola is affecting the economies of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.


How Can We Fight the Pandemic of Global Violence against Women?

Depressed woman

Domestic violence — overwhelmingly against women — is by far the most common form of violence in the world. About 350 million women across the planet have suffered severe physical violence from their intimate partner according to the World Bank (PDF). In developing countries, more than one in three girls will be married before the age of 18, placing them at increased risk of abuse. Worldwide, 125 million women have been subject to genital mutilation.


Making a Home for Hospitals in Global Health: The Global Hospitals Collaborative

I’ve lived a mostly healthy and illness-free life. Still, hospitals are at the center of many of my most important life experiences. I was born in a hospital (New York Hospital in Manhattan, where my mother also worked as a psychiatric resident)


Innovative Financing Puts Oil Revenues Toward Child Nutrition In Congo

Reuters: Interview: U.N. entrepreneur taps African oil for child health “Republic of Congo has become the first country to agree to divert part of its oil revenues towards childhood nutrition, a victory for ‘innovative financing’ to help the world’s poorest, [UNITAID] creator Philippe Douste-Blazy said in an interview…” (Miles, 9/19).


U.S. Military’s Ebola Aid Delivery Begins; Liberia President Thanks U.S., Calls On Other…

News outlets report on the rollout of U.S. assistance to Liberia to help curb the Ebola outbreak and Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s public appreciation of the aid and call for other leaders to follow suit. Reuters: U.S. to begin Ebola hospital equipment lift to Liberia “The first planeload of hospital equipment in the U.S.…More


U.N. Special Envoy Chambers Interviews U.N. Ebola Coordinator Nabarro

Huffington Post: In Conversation: David Nabarro, the Man on the Front Line of the Ebola Crisis Ray Chambers, U.N. special envoy for health financing and for malaria, interviews David Nabarro, senior U.N. system coordinator for Ebola virus disease, about the challenges of addressing Ebola and the outlook for funding the response (9/16).


Pleas grow for health workers to join Ebola outbreak response

africa-map-wiki-Author-Hristov

There are not enough health workers responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. So far, Ebola has infected more than 4,000 people and killed 2,218 across Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. Most signs point to things getting worse before the countries and healthcare workers can get the outbreak under control in the


UN Security Council Open Debate on Children in Armed Conflict

This post originally appeared on the blog of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition.Late last month, health workers at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, Gaza, were forced to transfer premature newborns, infants, and mothers who recently underwent Caesarean sections to an underground bomb shelter.It was the only way to protect them from persistent rocket attacks.Political violence in Libya has undermined children’s accessibility to basic health services as the national health system faces a “total collapse” amidst fleeing health personnel and chronic supply shortages.In Pakistan, the Taliban’s attacks on health workers administering vaccinations in retaliation for US drone strikes has hindered progress in eradicating polio, one of the most common causes of under-five mortality.These and other attacks against health facilities and health workers in Syria, South Sudan, Libya, Pakistan, and Ukraine are but a few of the most recent illustrations of how armed conflict threatens children’s basic right to safe and secure access to health.On September 8, the United Nations Security Council and Member States convened at an Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, to address the devastating impact these violent settings have on the security and healthy development of children.During the debate, missions condemned attacks on hospitals as grave dangers for children. This occasion marked the second open debate on this issue, following the Secretary General’s July 1 Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, and sadly comes at a time when children have been forced to bear the brunt of some of the most severe ramifications of war and civil unrest.This debate follows the March 7 adoption of Resolution 2143 by the UN Security Council, where the importance of documenting attacks on schools and hospitals was emphasized as integral to ensuring that children in armed conflict are able to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.In particular, paragraphs 16, 17, and 19 of this resolution emphasized the importance of children’s continued access to basic health services in conflict and post-conflict periods, urged all parties in conflict to refrain from any action that would infringe on accessibility to these services, and reiterated parties’ obligation to these measures as per international humanitarian law.During the debate, a number of missions condemned attacks on hospitals as grave dangers for children in armed conflict.Deputy Permanent Representative Olivier Nduhungirehe of the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN reminded the council of the Rwandan children who were victims in the 1994 bombings of schools, hospitals, and churches, and expressed deep concern over the “increased targeting of schools and hospitals in armed conflicts, as well as the utilization of those facilities for military purposes.”The Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN asserted that attacks on schools and hospitals deprived children of basic access to essential services during conflicts, and as such “amount to war crimes.”Several other missions, including Australia and Germany, also described the need to identify and hold accountable violators who fail to respect the neutrality of medical facilities during armed conflict.Numerous measures have already been initiated to accelerate progress in protecting children’s unimpeded access to health services in conflict.The UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children in Armed Conflict leads the “naming and shaming” of persistent violators, and designates attacks on hospitals as one of the four “triggers” for listing perpetrators.This list of perpetrators includes notorious political and military groups from all over the world, including the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), Kachin Independence Army in Myanmar, Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and many others.This mechanism of listing perpetrators has been important for the Special Representatives’ advocacy efforts and for applying pressure on the Security Council to adopt sanctions against leaders of these groups.The Special Representatives have also launched a Guidance Note on Attacks against Hospitals and Schools to engage the international community in monitoring and reporting these attacks. This report emphasizes the need for greater clarity when monitoring and reporting the “diversity of attacks against schools and hospitals,” which is essential for advocating an end to these attacks.International agencies, NGOs, governments, and observers are encouraged to use this guidance in mainstream monitoring and reporting of attacks and to raise awareness of the urgent need for prompt responses.Continued momentum in safeguarding health in conflict is paramount in ensuring that children in armed conflict have access to the essential services they need to survive these volatile environments.The UNSC Open Debate on Children in Armed Conflict should reinforce the need to strengthen protection and hold perpetrators to account. No children, including those in violent settings, should be deprived of their basic right to health.


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