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poverty hunger
In Uganda, where perceived corruption levels are the worst in East Africa, NGOs are holding ground-level panels comprised of individuals with diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds to address this issue.

The panels, which are also being used in Egypt, Brazil, and India, are instrumental for addressing post-2015 development concerns like corruption.

By allowing marginalized and impoverished people to have a voice on these panels, new insights regarding how development is experienced and what changes must be made are apparent. Governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders often overlook this ground-level knowledge when attempting to solve development problems, but not anymore.

In a recent study by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), ground-level panels came up with seven key areas where change must occur in order to address development goals after the UN’s MDGs expire in 2015.

  1. Empowering governance for all: This notion ensures that all marginalized people have the opportunity to participate in all societal events as citizens with equal rights. When this occurs individual and collective abilities are strengthened which creates a galvanizing force to implement change.
  2. Human rights for all: Governments must recognize social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights of all its citizens, including marginalized populations. The recognition of these rights is central to a marginalized person’s dignity and acts as a catalyst for them to want to be engaged in finding solutions to societal problems.
  3. Peace, safety, and security at all levels: Governments must utilize peaceful methods that respect human rights when solving conflicts between or within countries. This is just good governance. Violence breaks down the social fabric of communities creating more issues.
  4. A holistic approach: All areas of development are interconnected. People, the environment, and government institutions all rely on each other to function, so it is vital that a comprehensive approach is used.
  5. Equality and equity in opportunities: All of the ground level panels placed great importance on ensuring that all people have the same chance to succeed in society. Discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, language, age, religion, and region must subside in order for development goals to succeed.
  6. Fair and secure livelihoods: Governments must invest in skills training for their populations so that they have a chance to enter the job market and be competitive. Small business owners need support from governments in order to be able to access markets. A shift in thinking must take place so that marginalized populations trust the economic system that is in place, rather than the skepticism that currently exists.
  7. Self-sufficiency and agency: Being autonomous is incredibly important to the ground level panels. Minimizing dependency from other countries and the private sector is something that is vital in order for self-sufficiency to take place.

Recommendations

  • Local, national, and international institutions must place meaningful participation at their core.
  • Truly inclusive, community led monitoring processes must be established.
  • Acknowledge the underlying discriminatory practices that are in place and work to ensure marginalized people are allowed to be more inclusive.
  • Governments, the private sector, and other institutions must increase transparency and access to information.

Aaron Faust

*This article is part of a seven-piece series detailing post-2015 development goals.

Sources: Institute of Development Studies, Transparency International, Beyond 2015

partners_in_health
The idea of health care is very different for people all across the globe. For those living in developed countries, the benefits of accessible health care improve the quality of human life dramatically. When a person isn’t feeling good and wishes to get treatment, they can go to the doctor and get the medicine they need. When an emergency or health scare impacts a family, immediate support can help save lives. But what about those without access to these resources? Help in these situations can be much more difficult to receive. Developing countries often don’t have any ability to receive treatment from doctors and emergency services.

Partners in Health looks to provide that support to those unable to receive health care. Founded in 1987 to assist indigenous citizens of Haiti, PIH feels it is their moral duty to treat the sick in poor regions worldwide. With the support of official international health institutions and thousands of generous donors, PIH has the resources ready to address those in need immediately. The organization received nearly 64 million US dollars in charitable donations in 2011 alone.

Their work vastly covers an array of health concerns. PIH holds programs in cancer and disease, cholera, HIV/AIDs, surgical procedures, maternal and child health, and mental health fields. These programs treat those in need in places such as Haiti, Rwanda, Mexico, Peru, and many other countries. The impact of the foundation of health centers and hospitals in these international communities is enormous.

People worldwide live daily at risk to diseases and changes in health. What separates some citizens from others is the ability to treat these problems right when they happen. Partners in Health is an organization determined to make sure every global citizen has the same access to health care and treatment. For more information on how you can make a donation and become involved with this important organization, visit www.pih.org.

William Norris

Sources: Partners in Health, Charity Navigator
Photo: Aid for Africa

nevirapine
Once again, PATH is taking the lead in helping women and children in poverty-stricken countries by assisting pregnant women in Africa who are stricken with the life threatening disease HIV. Women, who once lived in fear of HIV, are now being provided with the proper treatment to protect their children from contracting the disease. PATH is providing HIV positive mothers with a simple foil pouch that can help prevent the passing of the disease to their baby while they are pregnant.

According to PATH, this simple foil pouch contains an anti-retroviral medication that is capable of stopping the transmission of HIV from the mother to the child. The pouch is titled the Nevirapine pouch and is a lifesaving opportunity for pregnant mothers with HIV.

In June 2000, the Nevirapine pouch was developed when an international pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim, decided to give women with HIV the chance to protect their unborn children from this disease. Within the month of June, the program began to send large-scale donations to select countries in the developing world.

Studies were conducted which proved that just one dose of nevirapine could reduce the risk of transmission by more than 50 percent. This was a breakthrough in medical history because with such a high success rate, more than fifty percent of children with HIV stricken mothers could defeat the odds and live a normal healthy lifestyle.

There was one significant problem though: a number of third world countries were denying the medication that the organization was trying to distribute. When PATH discovered the numerous rejections of the medical treatment, they reached out to governments and health organizations for support.

Countries were rejecting these treatments because women would have to walk miles to receive a simple dose of the medicine due to them giving birth at home. Since women would have to travel so far to receive the treatment, they would more often take the risk of giving birth to a child with HIV.

Though it would be a challenge to reach all mothers with HIV, health care officials found a way to send the medication home with the expectant mothers after a doctor’s appointment. Health officials would fill oral dispensers with one dosage of the medication and would wrap the dispenser in tape and aluminum foil to protect it on the mother’s long travel home.

Even though this is a time consuming process, health workers took the extra step to help women with HIV prevent the transmission to their unborn child. By taking an extra step, health workers have helped prevent the transmission of HIV to over fifty percent of children with mothers who are HIV positive.

PATH witnessed all the extra work that the  health care workers were putting into this cause, and decided to make the Nevirapine pouch. The pouch is made simply of foil and contains a self-sealing strip along with illustrated instructions for those who may be illiterate. Health care workers were then able to place the single dose in a dispenser and place the dose in the foil pouch.

By placing it in the foil pouch, the medication will reach the mother safely and will not be harmed or damaged. This also helps keep the medicine safe and clean until it is used; the pouch can be kept for up to two months. The pouch also includs a label which clearly statee the medicine’s expiration date, which helps to protect expecting mothers from using an expired medication.

Through the partnership of Boehringer Ingelheim and PATH, women who are diagnosed with HIV are now more likely to have children because they no longer live in constant fear of the transmission of the disease to their newborns. Children in poverty stricken countries now have a fair chance at life and are now able to grow up strong and healthy.

Overall, this partnership and the development of the Nevirapine pouch have saved countless lives from being lost due to the unfortunate disease of HIV.

– Grace Elizabeth Beal

Sources: Health Market Innovations, Science Daily
Photo: Shoplpsind

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5 Ways to End Poverty
The end of global poverty is in sight. While this may seem like a difficult, if not impossible feat, in fact, the opposite is true. By adhering to these concepts, the United Nations states that poverty can be ended in the near future.

  1. Economic Growth: Training and education are key for economic growth in the developing world. Once these two necessities are met, more jobs can be created and people will earn more money to fuel the economy.
  2. Representative and Responsible Government: Corruption has been known to prevent foreign aid from reaching the most impoverished people. Open governments are less likely to be corrupt and more likely to provide social services to their citizens.
  3. ‘Green’ agriculture and development: Due to climate change and population increases, environmentally friendly policies are critical for ensuring sustainability and healthy lifestyles.
  4. Healthcare/Sanitation: Without access to proper healthcare, communities are affected by disease, illness and death, factors that contribute to lack of economic development and social progress. Access to clean water and sanitation will also improve health conditions. When children are healthy, they can go to school and grow up to have careers, thus ending their parents’ poverty cycle.
  5. Global Partnerships: No one country can end global poverty on its own. In order to reduce poverty, everyone must work together to ensure that these other factors are met. Foreign aid, improving trading relations or diplomacy are ways that countries can contribute to eliminating poverty.

Although this is a simplified list, these big ideas are vital for finally ending world poverty. Once poverty is reduced, hunger, war, and illicit operations common to developing countries will no longer be prevalent because people will no longer be imprisoned by extreme poverty. The U.N. is on track for meeting its Millennium Development Goals and hopes to see the end of world poverty by 2030.

– Mary Penn

Sources: Plan Canada, Government of the United Kingdom
Photo: The Guardian

Charlize-Theron-South-Africa-AIDS
On July 29, Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron urged the youth of South Africa to educate themselves about HIV/AIDS in order to stay healthy. The speech took place after her meeting with President Jacob Zuma, where they discussed South Africa’s response to HIV/AIDS and her role as a UNAIDS messenger of peace. UNAIDS is the joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS.

The South African-born actress told reporters at the Union Building in Pretoria, “We are all here to support you. You are the future of this country and I am asking you to seize the opportunity to lead healthy and empowered lives.”

“It’s always very special for me to be able to come home and even more when I have a chance to lend my support to the youth of this country,” said Theron, speaking to the youth wearing a red AIDS ribbon.

Known for her glamorous red carpet photos, perfume advertisements, and movie roles, Theron said South Africa has come a long way in its response to the HIV epidemic, but too many girls and young women are still falling through the cracks and should not be forgotten. The social stigma associated with the virus in some areas of South Africa still needs to be addressed. Women should be empowered enough to protect themselves whether or not they chose to be sexually active, Theron said.

Theron went on to say she regarded a safe school environment, with teachers and counselors who were equipped to help, as key effort in the response to HIV/AIDS. In 2009 Theron was named the UN Messenger of Peace, tasked with promoting efforts to end violence against women. The Africa Outreach Project is one of her projects which, according to the UN, provides funding for a mobile health and computer clinic that visits high school and rural communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

Zuma proudly welcomed Theron back home. “We had a very good discussion, which we believe is going to give us a big push,” he stated to reporters. He applauded South Africa’s success in increasing life expectancy, praising Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. He said in his hometown of Nkandla, people could now talk about HIV/AIDS without fear.

After the briefing, photographers swarmed for one last photo of the glamorous movie star.

– Scarlet Shelton

Sources: All Africa
Photo: Firstpost

Global Links is a medical relief organization that is committed to promoting both environmental steward shipment and better healthcare in poor communities. Each year, hospitals in the United States wind up with hundreds of tons of “medical surplus” supplies. Usually, these still very useful materials are simply thrown into landfills. Global Links takes the surplus from the U.S. healthcare industry and delivers it to under-served communities that lack the supplies and equipment necessary for proper medical care.

Global Links’ model of recycling and reusing medical equipment connects two social issues: excess waste and lack of resources in developing areas. In linking the two, Global Links is able to convert an environmental burden into a beneficial tool.

The Global Links model breaks down into 5 simple steps:

1.     Global Links Staff assess nine program countries and meet with health authorities, medical staff, and Pan American health organization officials. The organization does this in order to evaluate and ensure medical donations would be useful to that location.

2.     Global Links trucks visit hospitals that have been saving surplus medical supplies and equipment for the organization.

3.     At a sorting facility, the donated material is sorted and shelved. Volunteers organize supplies and check for expiration dates. Materials are also cleaned and re-vamped if necessary.

4.     Volunteers pack supplies into boxes and staff members load them onto a 40-foot shipping container.

5.     The shipping containers are sent to communities that need the supplies.

Since its founding in 1989, the organization has shipped over 410 tractor-trailer sized loads of medical material to developing countries. These containers have contained over 6 million pounds of equipment and material that otherwise would have been dumped into landfills. The value of the materials exceeds $173 million.

– Grace Zhao

Sources: Global Links, Charity Navigator
Photo: Global Links

Rural_traveling_doctors_BRAC|
For decades now BRAC, a Bangladeshi anti-poverty organization formerly known as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, has been providing a different approach to healthcare services.  While most health care around the world is provided by doctors and nurses in a hospital setting, BRAC has been using a door-to-door method of healthcare.  BRAC hires women to deliver primary health care or locally by visiting people at their homes without a doctor or nurse.   Not only does this create healthier communities, it also elevates these women to a higher status in society and broadens the perceptions of the role of women in these rural communities.

These women join BRAC as frontline community health promoters.  After they receive training from BRAC, they travel from house to house in order to promote many health practices that we hold as staples in the Western world.  Among these are the adoption of contraceptives, identifying pregnancy, proper health while with child, and education about children’s health.  While there, the women also treat basic illnesses among family members.  Further training from BRAC allows these women to raise awareness about other diseases like hypertension and diabetes while giving them access to equipment such as blood pressure gauges and primary medicines.

This sort of medical service without a doctor or nurse is made possible by the fact that much disease in poverty stricken and developing areas is the result of simple ailments that do not need extensive medical training to diagnose and treat successfully.  One of the most significant examples of this is diarrhea.  According to the World Health Organization’s website, “diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old…Globally, there are nearly 1.7 billion cases of diarrheal disease every year.” These women can help stave off the malnutrition which results from diarrhea with simple oral rehydration solutions.

BRAC has evolved from a small relief organization in 1972 into the largest development organization in the world by enacting these types of strategies that utilize poor communities’ own human and material resources to create environments and situations that enable the poor to take control of their own development.  This community health program is a prime example of the best type of development strategy.  It does not consist merely of throwing resources at a community, but empowers members of that community to take an active role in development.  This strategy holds even more impact because of its use of women as employees, as the empowerment of women is the key to overcoming global poverty, due to women’s large investment in their own communities.

Martin Drake
Source: Huffington PostWorld Health Organization, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee
Photo: Global Voices

Cape-Town-city-africa_metropolitan_city_urbanization_UN_Millenium_development_goals_opt

In light of the U.N.’s Millenium Development Goals ending in two years and its own goal to end global poverty by 2030, the World Bank has published its annual report on the issue: the Global Monitoring Report 2013. In it, urbanization is strongly linked to alleviation of poverty. Jos Verbeek, the leading economist on the report, cites the following reasons.

  1.  “[Cities],” he says, “are centers of economic activity, growth and job creation; consequently, poverty is significantly lower in urban centers than in rural areas.”
  2. Due to their superior infrastructure, he says urban areas are also better at service delivery. For example, access to sanitation [such as toilets] is about 80 percent in urban areas and about 50 percent in rural ones. In Africa, about 40 percent of the population in urban areas have access to a toilet, while only half that amount have access in rural areas. Verbeek also states that due to their size, it is easier for urban areas to extend services such as health care, education, and clean water.

Verbeek does warn, however, that unchecked development can lead to slums. He implies that the institutions within a developing region are just as important as the cities themselves. For instance, urban planning is vital to increase the efficiency of buying and selling land. He says, “If there is uncertainty [over land ownership], then public providers will not come in and extend water pipes into the slums – because no one knows for sure if the slums will still be there a year from now. Government might [decide to] empty them out, which in certain countries has happened in the past.”

– Samantha Mauney

Source: Voice of America
Photo: Goway

aid
The old model of aid consisted of rich countries bringing funds and ideas to poor countries and implementing plans to “save” the country.  Recent criticism has brought to light the idea that collaboration is key to effective aid. In the arena of healthcare, this is even more important as oftentimes, developing countries are given funds for healthcare uses, but told exactly what they have to do with it beforehand.

Ethiopia led the way in 2002 with their ambitious plan to provide primary healthcare to 85 million rural citizens. These citizens did not live within accessible distance of a doctor or hospital.  The Ministry of Health gave themselves 5 years to accomplish their goal.  Without resources or facilities to train the 30,000 community health workers necessary, Ethiopia embarked. Health workers were trained and sent out and since the program’s implementation, decreases in the number of women dying in childbirth and in the number of children dying before age 5 have been reported.  The relatively successful plan began with simple, community-level improvements.

Ethiopia is far from the regular standard as, typically, governments receiving outside aid do not start their own programs.  A representative from Rwanda’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning remarked that rarely do they get a say in where the money goes at all. Rwanda has requested money for low-income health insurance and was denied. Using tax money instead, Rwanda funded the pilot program and today over 90% of Rwandans have health insurance.

Developing countries are not being ungrateful for aid, but are slowly starting to speak up and question the potential of effectiveness for the money and programs involved in it.  The World Health Organization (WHO) is helping change the way aid is delivered by using coordination and collaboration. Donors are asked to contribute to health plans managed and implemented by the government rather than go in and start their own. The initiative is called the International Health Partnership. The goal is to allow developing countries a say in how and where the money is used, preventing rich countries from bullying or denigrating their plans and ideals.

As the economy continues to struggle and aid dollars are decreasing, collaboration and coordination are very important to continue to meet needs like adequate healthcare worldwide. Allowing developing nations to innovate and have a seat at the table will enable aid to be used more effectively and efficiently.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: The Atlantic