A few days ago the World Health Statistics 2012 Report released its annual compendium of statistics. No doubt, it was a lot of work to compile—to verify every number in every cell, for each country and indicator. The WHO should be commended for providing this invaluable global public good. A sincere request: the Report would be more user-friendly and useful if the Report came with spreadsheets in downloadable tables (much like the World Malaria Report), and if the Report’s tables were consistent with their main database, the Global Health Observatory (GHO). For example, the coverage measures of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) which were included in the Report are absent from the GHO, as far as we can tell. (On an unrelated note, we did notice that the GHO recently added hand-washing as an indicator, perhaps in response to a recent blog—kudos to WHO!)
CGD Policy Blogs
Nowadays, the international development community is abuzz about the strong economic performance of sub-Saharan Africa. This year alone, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates growth in the region at 5.4 percent, and only ‘developing Asia’ should do better. Often this kind of economic boon is accompanied by falling fertility rates that usher in a ‘demographic dividend’ – or a window of opportunity when dependency ratios decline and the labor force increases relatively. But rapid population growth in the West African sub-region in particular may slow down economic development and
[Update, June 29, 2012. The authors of the study here blogged have retracted it.
In a recent working paper, Jacob Hughes, Walter Gwenigale and I describe Liberia’s unique experience in pooling donor funds for health in a post-conflict setting, with good results. We also describe a new and complementary agreement between Liberia and USAID, called the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement (FARA). It’s been heartening to see USAID take this step towards implementing results-based aid in Liberia, but the process has also highlighted the problems that such aid faces in the ‘real world’.
Recently, the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene published a paper by Shepard et al. evaluating the impact of HIV/AIDS funding on Rwanda’s health system. The headline of the press release was catchy and assertive: “Six-year Study in Rwanda Finds Influx of HIV/AIDS Funding Does Not Undermine Health Care Services for Other Diseases. Study Addresses Long-standing Debate about Funding Imbalances for Global Diseases.”
Despite declines in average fertility rates worldwide, an estimated 14 to 16 million children are born to women aged 15 to 19 each year. Over half of women in sub-Saharan Africa give birth before age 20. As I’ve blogged previously, many of these births take place in the context of early marriage. Approximately half of girls in sub-Saharan Africa are married by age 18, while 73% of girls are married by that same age in Bangladesh.
Population issues have been conspicuously absent from the discussions on the environmental sustainability of our globalized economy in the run-up to the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in Brazil on June 20-22 under the auspices of the United Nations.
This week we are pleased to announce a new arrival to the CGD global health policy team, John May. John joins us from his previous position as Lead Population Specialist at the World Bank and will be working on issues relating to population and development as a visiting fellow at CGD. John has 35 years of international experience in population, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS issues.