Value for money was at the top of our agenda this year, so I was pleased to see the topic also top the list of CGD’s most popular Global Health Policy blogs in 2013. The rest of this year’s list is a mixed bag, reflecting a number of debates that will likely stick around in 2014 (data for development, universal health coverage, and the state of global health financing, to name a few).
CGD Policy Blogs
This is a joint post with Rachel Silverman, consultant and candidate for MPhil in Public Health at the University of Cambridge.
On Halloween, children and adults alike pay tribute to history’s most frightening fictional characters – monsters, witches, super-villains, and the list goes on. But one need not search under beds or deep in closets for spooks and scares. Many of the most terrifying Halloween archetypes have very real counterparts, with very real health consequences:
Break out the firecrackers and balloons – and water and soap: today is Global Handwashing Day! And while today's significance may get lost in the very busy calendar of Global Health "holidays", this one really does deserve special celebration.
This is a joint post with Rachel Silverman.
In her classic 2011 anthem, Beyonce posited that it was girls “who run the world.” Yet in the world of global health, we worry that Beyonce may be mistaken – from our observations, it appears that women remain severely underrepresented in top leadership positions.
This is a joint post with Rachel Silverman.
Through our Value for Money working group, we’ve spent much of the past year immersed in the world of global health funding agencies. With so many new agencies, particularly in the last quarter century (Figure 1), understanding the intricacies of the global health family can be daunting, even for the most devoted observers.
In recent weeks, the public health world and political pundits alike have been abuzz about results from the “Oregon Experiment,” a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that finds no statistical link between expanded Medicaid coverage and health outcomes such as high cholesterol or hypertension. Limitations of the study aside, the Oregon Experiment is a good example of the importance of rigorously testing all US health programs, rather than just assuming ‘more care = better health’. The Innovation Center at the United States Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, created under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act, represents a new and encouraging approach to address this problem, an approach that we think has important lessons for global health.
The Institute of Medicine, the prestigious health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has weighed in with a massive report on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the multibillion dollar US effort to confront the epidemic in the developing world. The evaluation validates PEPFAR’s enormous reach during its first 10 years and identifies concrete actions that Congress and PEPFAR should take for the program to become more sustainable moving forward.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) will soon release its much anticipated report evaluating the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Conducted at the request of Congress, the forthcoming report should follow up on points raised by a previous IOM report (2007), which provided a “short-term evaluation” of implementation after PEPFAR’s first three years, and which was soon followed by PEPFAR’s Congressional reauthorization in 2008. The new report is expected to broadly assess the cumulative performance of US HIV/AIDS programs, with two main tasks:
Last week, the Government of India held a star-studded National Summit on child survival, “co-convened”* with USAID and UNICEF. The high-profile meeting featured politicians (the Minister of Health & Family Welfare, the US Ambassador to India), heavy-hitters in global child health (Bob Black, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Mickey Chopra, Geeta Rao Gupta) along with some Indian stars of child health (Vinod Paul, Abhay Bang, Yogesh Jain), and even a Bollywood actress/“child rights activist” Nandana Sen (daughter of Nobel Laureate and Professor Amartya Sen), to name a few.
In the wonky worlds of economics and demography, quantitative models and regression output tables rule supreme. But with such sterile and aggregated methods, it can be all too easy to forget that those endless p-tests and robustness checks relate to the most intimate and meaningful aspects of human life. If we want population or demographic research to translate into policy significance, it’s worth asking in the most blunt and human terms: What are we really talking about when we talk about population? And relatedly, how can we best be understood by those we’re trying to reach?