Good news stories in global health rarely dominate the headlines; it can be easy to lose sight of the progress being made by global health investments and efforts around the world. So I was pleased that Science Magazine chose to report on some of the case studies from CGD’s forthcoming book Millions Saved (third edition) in their recent special issue on global health. These cases document large-scale efforts in low- and middle-income countries that have successfully improved health and saved lives (and they have evidence to back them up). Check out three, as reported in Science Magazine, below:
- Hard cash boosts child health in South Africa
- A new vaccine vanquishes meningitis A in Africa
- Hats off to Vietnam's helmet law
A healthy dose of anything often comes with a pinch; in this case it’s that we have much more to learn about overcoming the challenges that remain. For instance, Science Magazine featured another Millions Saved case that highlights a promising intervention that fell short of meeting its health targets when scaled up in real world conditions (see It's a wash: Hands-on hygiene in Peru). And both Science Magazine and Millions Saved put a heavy emphasis on the need for more rigorous, effective monitoring and evaluation of large-scale global health initiatives to understand what’s working, what’s not and what more can be done. In his article, A hard look at global health measures, Jon Cohen points to the need for governments and donors to justify their investments in global health and to change the way they invest in programs that don't work well enough or not at all.
It's worth noting that “bad news” stories in global health – like the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa – serve as unfortunate reminders that greater national and international investments are urgently necessary to prevent and overcome global health challenges (and also don't dominate the headlines to the extent they should). In turn, we hope coverage of success stories will serve as a valuable reminder that many global health challenges, while daunting, are in fact solvable, and can be achieved in the relatively near term with appropriate policies, programs, priority setting, and resource allocation.
The third edition of Millions Saved is due out in fall 2015. In the meantime, check back here for more ‘sneak peeks’ and discussion on what works in global health.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.