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BRICS announce plans to launch new development bank

July 10, 2014 Leaders of the BRICS nations will launch their long-awaited development bank at a summit next week and decide whether the headquarters should be in Shanghai or New Delhi, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday. From Reuters: The creation by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa of a $100 billion […]The post The Daily Impact: BRICS announce plans to launch new development bank appeared first on PSI Impact Blog.


Medical Missions – A Critical Perspective

Nicole S. Berry is a medical anthropologist based at Simon Fraser University. She is an expert in the anthropology of reproductive health and indigenous health Read More


No more catch 22: Saving mothers and babies in Peru

By Dr. Mario Tavera Salazar, a UNICEF pediatrician specializing in maternal and child health care in the rural Amazonian basin. I will retire this year after 22 years at UNICEF, having witnessed a transformation unprecedented in my country’s history. Our problems are more complex than they once were, and less amenable to inexpensive solutions, so progress is still uneven and we have a long way to go.


Part 2: Prevention and Control of Rheumatic Heart Disease in Kenya: Progress is on the horizon

This week on PLOS TGH – we hand over to Dr Duncan Matheka and his group, for their second post on Rheumatic Heart Disease in Kenya. Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) has been long neglected in the developing countries – yet a ‘preventable’ disease that is easy to manage only if detected early. We hereby highlight a number of multi-sectoral initiatives mainly targeted at the Kenyan communities towards combating RHD. 1. RHD Family Support Clubs RHD Family Support Clubs are a useful way of promoting holistic RHD care in Kenya.

How Not to Teach Children about Poverty

Photo by James Mollison Meet Shameela, 5, a stateless child from a Thai refugee camp. Shameela’s battered shack has holes in the roof and walls. She has to share an outdoor bathroom with 100 other people. Shameela is crying while a photographer takes her portrait.

Once more, from the top…

So, The Guardian (@GuardianGDP) put up a crowd-sourced article of pro-tips for volunteers to get noticed in the aid industry. I got into a Twitter conversation about the usefulness (or not) of volunteers in general. I’ve written and argued about this more then, perhaps, any other topic in the past two decades. I keep forgetting […]

Let’s Use Evidence-Based Interventions to Save the Lives of Children and Mothers

The 06/25/2014, I had the great pleasure to publish in Huffington Post, this article with Mark Shriver, the Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Save the Children.

If 18,000 preschool kids and 800 moms were attending a World Cup game and they all died, no newspaper around the world would be silent. But that’s exactly what happens every day around the world: 18,000 kids die before they reach the age of five and 800 moms die during pregnancy or childbirth. The biggest tragedy is that in both of these cases, most of these deaths are preventable.Today, over 500 representatives from governments to non-governmental organizations to the private sector are gathering in Washington, DC to take on this challenge and discuss how we are “acting on the call to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths” — a pledge that 176 governments and over 450 civil society organizations and faith-based organizations signed two years ago.This is an opportunity not only to reflect on the tremendous progress made on improving maternal and child survival around the world, but also to double-down on our success and demand more attention and resources. Imagine how many lives could be saved if we coupled political will with sufficient resources focused on key interventions.Over the last two decades we have nearly halved the number of children dying annually and reduced the number of maternal deaths by 45 percent. Twenty-five countries, including Rwanda, have reached Millennium Development Goal Four (reducing child mortality by two thirds) and a number of other countries are on track.In fact, according to “Countdown to 2015 modeled data in 2013,” Rwanda not only had already achieved an under-five-year mortality rate (U5MR) reduction of more than 70 percent, but it has the fastest rate of decline in child deaths of any country, ever.Rwanda’s success, while remarkable, is not a mystery. Investments were based on the evidence, tackling the biggest threats to child survival by increasing effective interventions such as vaccinations and breastfeeding rates. The government has put equity at the core of efforts to strengthen the health system from putting community health workers in villages and ensuring appropriate care facilities at the sector, district and provincial levels, as well as referral hospitals across the country. This approach to bring care and prevention near where the people are living has drastically improved the geographic accessibility for all. And this commitment to reach all Rwandans has been mirrored in the Vision 2020 strategy that will improve socioeconomic conditions.Rwanda is a success story but much remains to be done: no country should stop before ending the last preventable child death. Many countries in Africa are experiencing success, but the risk of a child dying before five is still highest in the African Region — about six times higher than that in the Americas. Today, a woman’s risk of dying from childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa is more than 47 times greater than in the United States.Rwanda proves that it doesn’t have to be this way. A recent study by the World Health Organization noted that an additional $8 per capita per year investment in Africa could prevent up to four million maternal deaths, 90 million child deaths within a generation in the region. And the benefits can transform not only families, but also economies: investments in maternal and child health yields economic benefits including higher per capita incomes and increased labor force participation.To end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths globally, we must increase attention and resources in Africa. Today, USAID is releasing a report, Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths that lays out a roadmap for dramatic progress over the next five years. The US and African Presidents will come together in August to talk about investing in future generations. Together, we have an opportunity to use this Summit to accelerate action in Africa to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths worldwide. Our hope is that this summit will increase collaboration between the U.S. and African partners to promote and deliver the most effective interventions and identify new and innovative resources.There is no more important goal we can share, no more important investment in the future health and stability of the continent, than saving the lives of mothers and children.

Lecture given to Dartmouth University students ‘building a health sector alongside a…

I gave this lecture given to Dartmouth University students to share how we built a health sector alongside a nation. It is the health sector contribution to Rwandan rebirth the past 20 years
the story of the Rwanda health sector after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. a story of ownership accountability participation equity sciences and fight for sustainable development.

Follow the live lecture using the following link:

Cost, outcomes, treatment pathways and challenges for diabetes care in Italy

Background: In Italy both incidence and prevalence of diabetes are increasing and age at diagnosis is decreasing in type 2 diabetes.

We must work hard to own our liberation

By Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health

Published in the NewTimes Rwanda on 7th July 2014

Twenty years after the end of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, this July fourth makes me reflect on what the events we remember today have brought to me as a Rwandan, as an African, and as a woman, a mother, and a daughter. First and foremost, I have come to understand that, to truly honor the sacrifices of our RPF’s brave soldiers—who laid down their lives so that Rwandans might live in a country free of discrimination, free of the fear of violence based on one’s background, and free to pursue lives they value—we must work to own our liberation.
Thanks to our heroes, I now live in a country where all have an equal chance, whether you are the nation’s newest baby girl in the most rural district, or whether you are the head of Parliament. Thanks to this foundation, we have the opportunity to build the future we want through dialogue and transparency.
In this reborn Rwanda, our society is far from homogenous; this is such a blessing, because it is our diversity that fuels the engine of innovation behind recent progress. Certainly, many serious challenges lie ahead, and we have so much more to achieve in order to give all of our brothers and sisters the opportunities that they deserve. But we are continuously progressing each day to achieve that vision, and on this July fourth, I hope we do not take these efforts for granted.
In today’s Rwanda, every citizen inside our borders or living all around the world—whether they support the government’s efforts or hold different views—identify themselves as Rwandans with pride. Today, we celebrate the blessing of our shared identity as Rwandans, and pursue with renewed purpose our mission to accelerate the journey to shared development by transforming our Vision 2020 into our daily reality.
Many of our international friends see Rwanda’s recent achievements as a miracle of humanity, compassion, forgiveness, inclusivity, and progressive thinking that some claim could never be replicated elsewhere. But on this July fourth, as we reflect on a journey spanning twenty years, it is clear that this is no miracle. Anything that we have achieved has been through the determination and shared efforts of millions of Rwandans to liberate our country from the spirit of division, from fear, from ignorance, from the consequences of bad leadership, and from the oppression of poverty.
If we still have a long way to go, we are proud of what has been built to date. In this spirit of reflection, I feel a strong sense of gratitude to the Rwandan Patriotic Front for having halted the Genocide, and for protecting our people and our nation these past two decades. By helping more than two million refugees and displaced citizens to return home to peace and security, by making our communities free from discrimination of any kind, and by building the foundations of a democracy based on human rights, the sacrifices of our countrymen and countrywomen and the leadership of our President Paul Kagame have brought us here today. The liberation of 1994 recovered our dignity; the daily work to liberate our minds is making us proud Rwandans and proud Africans.
With this legacy, the Rwandan people can address the greatest challenges we have face by owning them, working to take full responsibility in the face of complexity, and harnessing the creativity of our people to find the solutions our nation needs. If we carry this spirit forward, we will truly own our future for the next 20 years and beyond.

BRICS announce plans to launch new development bank

World map

July 10, 2014 Leaders of the BRICS nations will launch their long-awaited development bank at a summit next week and decide whether the headquarters should be in Shanghai or New Delhi, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday. From Reuters: The creation by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa of a $100 billion […]The post The Daily Impact: BRICS announce plans to launch new development bank appeared first on PSI Impact Blog.

A people’s movement against chronic disease

This week, in time for the UN NCD Review meeting in New York City, Dr. Jeremy Schwartz makes the case for a strong civil society movement against global Non-Communicable Diseases.   In some way or another, every one of us has been touched by a chronic disease. Words like hypertension, diabetes, and cancer are part of our everyday vocabulary. But most people I speak with believe that these diseases only affect people in rich countries- that these are not afflictions of the world’s poor.

Article: Can Aid Donors Help Support LGBT Rights in Developing Countries?

Rachel Hammonds reflects on Monday’s half-day event at ODI exploring whether international aid can play a role in defending lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in developing countries. The 7 July Overseas Development Institute (ODI) conference addressing this issue was a lively, thought provoking event. The excellent chairing by the witty Simon Fanshawe (Kaleidoscope Trust) ensured that the packed panels (7 minutes per speaker!) progressed more smoothly than my fraught Channel crossing Eurostar ordeal involving over eight hours of delays. LGBT Discrimination – a Trojan Horse? Jessica Horn (African based women’s rights consultant) argued persuasively that the choice to discriminate is a political one and that LGBT-phobia is a Trojan Horse through which African leaders can distract voters and restrict debate on other power related issues.  Several panellists suggested that Western grandstanding helps further polarize the issue and is counterproductive.  There was much agreement that it is time for Westerners to get off the moral high horse and quietly fund the priorities of grass roots activists and engage with global and regional mechanisms like the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

Medical Missions – A Critical Perspective


Nicole S. Berry is a medical anthropologist based at Simon Fraser University. She is an expert in the anthropology of reproductive health and indigenous health Read More

What’s an NCD?

With the UN NCD Review this week in New York City, we recap on what Non-Communicable Diseases are… And why they matter. This week in New York City, all eyes in the Global Health community will be on the UN NCD Review. As the last three years have flashed by since the 2011 High-Level Meeting, now is the moment to take stock and reflect on the progress – and challenges – of tackling this growing epidemic. General Assembly resolution 66/2 of 19 September 2011, containing the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases called for the convening of a comprehensive review and assessment in 2014 of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. Forgotten what NCDs are

50th anniversary of the Master of Public Health course at ITM

This speech was given by professor Bart Criel (ITM) at the graduation ceremony of this year’s MPH students (July 3rd). Dear Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, dear MPH graduates, This ceremony for the 50th anniversary of our Master of Public Health (MPH) course is a time to celebrate, to acknowledge the achievements of the course, to thank a great many people, but also to reflect on the way forward … It is with humility that I stand here. My role in and contribution to the MPH is relatively recent and therefore limited. But it is an honor for me to be addressing you on this occasion, and I like to see myself as a spokesman of the many people who have contributed to this Masters… I would first like to briefly take you through the highlights of the history of the MPH  from 1964 till today; discuss some of the most important recent changes; but also reflect on the future… The Antwerp MPH has a long and passionate story. Describe it as an opportunity to pay our respect to the late Harrie Van Balen and the late Pierre Mercenier, the founding fathers of the course.

More “Mother of Parliaments” pedantry

George Osborne says today on twitter that a statue of Gandhi will be placed “in front of mother of parliaments”: Gandhi was father of democratic India. Can announce we'll honour his memory with statue in front of mother of parliaments in parliament sq — George Osborne (@George_Osborne) July 8, 2014 As I pointed out the other day, the phrase “the mother of Parliaments” refers to England, not the British Parliament. You can’t place a statute “outside it” in Parliament Square. For those who missed it, the phrase comes from John Bright, in a speech in 1865: We may be proud that England is the ancient country of Parliaments. With scarcely any intervening period, Parliaments have met constantly for 600 years, and there was something of a Parliament before the Conquest.

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