Hub Selects



Luck and Public Health Programming in Guatemala

  Since returning to the United States from a three-month stint working in rural Guatemala, I’ve been thinking about how messy and random global health Read More


Shifting to Sustainable Development Goals — Implications for Global Health 

A discussion on the shift from MDGs to SDGs – revisiting what worked — and what didn’t — and what concerns exist with the SDG health targets. Read More

World map

Being Black as a Global Health Hazard

In the US American media, relatively little attention has been devoted to a recent emergency in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to controversial legislation passed there Read More


We are the first generation in human history … again

Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, says that the world is moving loser to the historic goal of ending poverty by 2030: This is the best story in the world today — these projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty … This new forecast of poverty falling into the single digits should give us new momentum and help us focus even more clearly on the most effective strategies to end extreme poverty. It will be extraordinarily hard, especially in a period of slower global growth, volatile financial markets, conflicts, high youth unemployment, and the growing impact of climate change. But it remains within our grasp, as long as our high aspirations are matched by country-led plans that help the still millions of people living in extreme poverty. Jim Kim, President of the World Bank, 4 October 2015 This isn’t the first time we have said that. It isn’t even the first time that Jim Kim has said this

Speak Your Mind

Some of you may have noticed that over the weekend I began releasing short surveys into the ether. These (I prefer the term) “mini-polls” are part of a very open-ended inquiry to try to understand the aid industry workforce better. I am doing this mainly because I am curious, but also because I think that […]

Humanitarian Cash Transfers

The Free Exchange column in this week’s Economist discusses the work of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers. Here is the conclusion: Cash does have its problems: in times of emergency, when shops are shut, it may be useless. But if those 20m refugees are to have any hope of a decent life, it should play a far bigger role. You can read the full article online. Here’s a PDF of the article.

Vaccines in Rwanda

Please see this piece on vaccines in Rwanda recently published by Vaccineswork. It was a pleasure working on this article with Anisha Hedge, a medical student at the University of Virginia who spent the past summer in Rwanda. Here, we provide an overview of the benefits of vaccines in our efforts to improve the health and well-being of Rwanda. Please see the entire article here:

Rwanda’s sustainable strategy for saving lives

Agnes Binagwaho, Ministry of Health Rwanda and Anisha Hedge, University of Virginia School of Medicine.Rwanda has demonstrated the value of vaccines over the past 15 years, as the rollout of new and underused vaccines has helped us reduce under-five mortality by two thirds, and achieve the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) along the way. This year, as the world transitions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and partners aim to end poverty by 2030, immunisation must remain at the core of the health agenda. As well as saving lives, the benefits of vaccination programmes stretch beyond immunisation to improving health services and promoting social integration, and Rwanda is the case study to prove it.

1. Vaccination campaigns at the centre of societal development

Rwanda has increased basic vaccine coverage (DTP3) from 77% in 2001 to 99% in 2014. In the last seven years Rwanda has introduced new and under-used vaccines against pneumococcus, rotavirus, rubella and human papillomavirus (HPV), and maintained high rates for traditional vaccines. Vaccination campaigns present the opportunity to reach out to the population with a range of other health services. During the pneumococcal campaign in 2009, advice was given on causes and symptoms of pneumonia to facilitate early detection and access to treatment. Community health workers also educated parents on good health practices such as breastfeeding and wholesome nutrition.

2. Achieving equality in healthcare

To encourage equal access to health care, Rwanda holds a Mother and Child Health Week twice a year. It offers a range of health services; vaccination campaigns such as rubella and HPV for adolescent girls, the provision of iron tablets for pregnant and lactating women to prevent anaemia, vitamin A supplements for all children under five years and a family planning campaign for women of reproductive age.
A mother and baby at the launch of rotavirus vaccine in Rwanda in 2012, which protects against a leading cause of diarrhoea. Photo: Gavi/Diane Summers.

3. Forging national partnerships

Vaccination programmes have fostered new working relations between different governmental and non-governmental organisations. This was evident with the rollout of the HPV vaccine in schools in Rwanda which involved a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion and the Ministry of Local Government in order to reach adolescent girls in schools and communities.

4. Strengthening healthcare infrastructure

Adequate health system infrastructure is essential for the effective rollout of vaccines. In Rwanda this has included improved waste disposal facilities for contaminated materials, new cold rooms for temperature-controlled storage and increased medical storage capacity.

5. Sustainability

Currently, the Rwandan government self-finances all traditional vaccines, such as the tuberculosis vaccine BCG, and co-finances with international partners to provide new and under-utilised vaccines. This trend has been demonstrated with the pneumococcal vaccine and is currently unfolding with the HPV vaccine, which protects against major causes of cervical cancer. Looking ahead, we hope that as demand increases, vaccine prices will be driven down, thereby creating a sustainable future for vaccine provision. Globally, there is still a way to go. One in five children in Gavi supported countries still miss out on the basic package of childhood vaccines; around the world about 1.5 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. But as our country has shown, immunisation can sustainably address this inequity, and so much more besides. With immunisation as part of the next set of development goals, we can help all countries make the most of these vital tools, and we should — because life, whether lived in the remote areas of Rwanda or the suburbs of London, deserves a fighting chance.

Global goals can deliver on 2C and new development finance – here’s how

This article by Alex Evans, Alice Lépissier and Owen Barder first appeared in The Guardian on 25 September 2015. It summarises this new CGD Policy Paper by the same authors. What if there were an affordable programme to prevent catastrophic climate change and provide the finance that developing countries need to end poverty by 2030? With summits this week on the sustainable development goals and in December on climate change, this year marks the most significant push on the world’s biggest challenges since 2005, the year of the G8 meeting at Gleneagles and the UN world summit. It’s sobering to compare then with now

Luck and Public Health Programming in Guatemala


  Since returning to the United States from a three-month stint working in rural Guatemala, I’ve been thinking about how messy and random global health Read More

The Good Ones

The most crucial issue facing the aid world right now is essentially, “what does excellence look like?” Not efficiency. Not innovation or accountability or humanitarian space. Sure, you can spin it different ways, or attach different qualifiers before or after. But at its core, our most pressing challenge right now is simply to define excellence […]

Shifting to Sustainable Development Goals — Implications for Global Health 


A discussion on the shift from MDGs to SDGs – revisiting what worked — and what didn’t — and what concerns exist with the SDG health targets. Read More

Is truth stranger than fiction? [podcast]

The latest Development Drums features Todd Moss, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development and a bestselling fiction author. Todd’s books feature Judd Ryker, an analyst working in the US State Department. Todd swears that the character of Ryker is not autobiographical, even though Todd is himself a former senior State Department official who led America’s response to coups and crises in West Africa. In Development Drums, Todd explains why he uses fiction to explore the way that US foreign policy is made, and the attitudes of westerners towards developing countries. He also talks about whether US government response to coups and political crises really are like he describes in his books.

Transforming Humanitarian Aid with Cash Transfers: High Level Panel Report

This blog post first appeared on Views from the Center. The High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers, which I chaired, published our report this week. We concluded that the international system should take deliberate steps to seize two big opportunities to improve humanitarian aid. First, we should take the opportunity to improve humanitarian aid by providing many more unconditional cash transfers. Second, we should use the spread of cash transfers to help bring about much-needed improvements in the humanitarian system

Innovation in Neurosurgery

This week we hand over to regular blogger Alex Abel, who has just returned from the Society of British Neurological Surgeons (SBNS) Autumn Meeting in York, UK. As medical students, we don’t get much intra-curricular exposure to surgery. Then there is the neurophobia, a chronic condition whose main symptom is the inability to apply knowledge of neuroscience to clinical situations. A phenomenon literature suggests is fairly common, and experience tells me is already afflicting my student cohort. As we waited to enter our exams a few months ago, one person voiced what we we’d all been thinking: “I really hope there’s not much brain in this one!” Perhaps as a result of this neurophobia and limited insight into surgical careers, the relatively small specialty of neurosurgery seems to be shrouded in a certain level of mystery for many medical students

World Suicide Prevention day – reach out and save lives

Jane Brandt Sørensen is a PhD Fellow at the Department of Public Health’s Global Health Section, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She has studied trauma psychology and international development and has previously worked and studied in Sri Lanka, Ghana, South Africa, and New York.  Recently she co-directed a film in rural Sri Lanka for NCDFREE, focussing on the troubling relationship between chronic kidney disease, alcoholism and suicide. Coinciding with World Suicide Prevention Day she shares key learnings about the growing burden of suicide in low and middle-income settings.

Innovative financing for development: as if social returns, incentives, and value for money…

There is an article by Theo Talbot and me in the latest edition of ECDPM’s Great Insights Private Sector Matters. We argue that rather than subsidising inputs or reducing risk to leverage private finance for development, it would be more effective for public sector actors such as donors to provide subsidies linked to a firm’s success or performance in terms of development impact. (This is a shorter and more accessible version of our recent CGD Working Paper.) You can read the article here. The post Innovative financing for development: as if social returns, incentives, and value for money really mattered appeared first on Owen abroad.

Here’s a simple way to help refugees: give them cash

This article first appeared on the Telegraph Online on 7 September 2015. The tragic reality faced by millions of people fleeing Syrian conflict were driven home this week as we were confronted with images three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned when the boat carrying his family sank. The British public has shown again their instinct for humanity, demanding that we do more to help refugees fleeing conflict in Syria and elsewhere. As politicians try to catch up with the public mood, we should also be asking ourselves another question: how can we do more to help the millions of other refugees that do not attempt the perilous journey to safety on our shores? Britain is already among the most generous donors to humanitarian crises

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