Diabetes in Mexico
In 2019, diabetes was the second-highest cause of death in Mexico. Due to these alarming statistics, the government is looking to lower diabetes rates and increase the health and quality of life of its citizens, especially vulnerable and impoverished populations who are most at risk of acquiring the condition.

6 Facts to Know About Diabetes in Mexico

  1. Prevalence. The prevalence of diabetes in Mexico stood at almost 17% in 2021, according to the International Diabetes Federation, which equates to one in six individuals or 14 million Mexican adults suffering from diabetes. In just two years, the prevalence of diabetes in Mexico has risen by about 10%. Along with this, there are 11 million adults in Mexico suffering from Impaired Glucose Tolerance, which means they are more susceptible to acquiring Type 2 diabetes. The increasing influx of patients diagnosed with diabetes in Mexico has put a strain on the nation’s public health systems. While the nation is already struggling to keep up with the number of cases it currently has, estimates indicate that “47.5% of people living with diabetes in Mexico have not been diagnosed yet.” These undetected causes go untreated, causing life-threatening complications and a lower quality of life, all of which lead to higher health care spending and costs.
  2. Risk Factors. One key risk factor for diabetes is being overweight. Those who are obese are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which people often refer to as a lifestyle disease. In Mexico, “65% of the population is overweight,” a 2019 study led by Mathieu Levaillant says, and 32.4% of the population suffers from obesity. Mexico holds the second highest rate of obesity after the United States, according to Columbia Public Health. To address the obesity epidemic, Mexico’s government has implemented a series of public health policies to influence lifestyle choices. These policies include “taxing sugary beverages and high-calorie non-essential food, mandatory front of packet food labeling and regulation of food advertising targeted at children.”
  3. Vulnerable Groups. Mexico’s vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those who are of lower socioeconomic status are at particular risk of developing diseases like diabetes and bear the highest burden. Elderly people experiencing diabetes in Mexico are more susceptible to disability and mortality arising from the condition. Not only is the disease costly to manage for low-income individuals but a lack of access to health care means a lack of preventative services that could help with early detection or avoiding the disease altogether. Furthermore, if impoverished individuals become subject to disability or amputation as a result of the disease, the inability or decreased ability to work will disrupt their financial stability even further.
  4. The Economic Cost. The task of managing diabetes can be a very expensive burden on the family of the person suffering from the disease. As it is a lifelong disease with no cure, proper management is crucial. The cost of this management, however, can create significant financial barriers to health care access, particularly for those who are not financially secure. Diabetes costs Mexico billions of dollars annually, according to NPR.
  5. The Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study noted an increase in diabetes rates since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Researchers noted “148,437 diabetes-related deaths in 2020 compared to an average of 101,496 deaths in 2017-2019.” One could attribute this to barriers to accessing medical care during the pandemic as the study found that “in-hospital deaths related to diabetes decreased in 2020 at 17.8% while out of hospital-deaths increased by 89.4%.”
  6. Clinics del Azucar. The largest diabetes care clinics in Mexico, Clinics del Azucar, provide affordable diabetes and hypertension care to patients. Through these clinics, teams of doctors, nurses, nutritionists and psychologists jointly help diagnose and treat patients. For instance, the development of comprehensive diet and exercise plans helps to maintain blood sugar levels and prevent the disease from worsening. The International Finance Corporation’s investment of $4 million is assisting Clinicas del Azucar in helping the most vulnerable patients. Through IFC support, Clinicas del Azucar aims to establish 100 new clinics in Mexico by 2024.

Looking Ahead

With increased efforts to make diabetes care in Mexico both affordable and accessible, the nation has the potential to reduce the prevalence of diabetes in the country and reduce the economic costs associated with it.

– Emma Cook
Photo: Pixabay

Indonesian Coffee Farming
Indonesia is not the world’s largest exporter of coffee, but its coffee industry is nothing to scoff at when it employs millions of coffee farmers annually. Coffee farming is a profitable industry in Indonesia. The Asian nation has an ideal climate for coffee bean growth and has had incredible coffee output, averaging the production of more than 600,000 tons of coffee or 4 million bags. International aid organizations are beginning new initiatives and investments to solidify economic stability, decrease poverty rates and end gender disparities.

Indonesia’s Gender Disparities and Poverty

Indonesia is notorious for its patriarchal attitudes and the U.N. has ranked Indonesia 85th out of 149 countries for its gender wage gaps. Its ranking is among the highest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with women earning less than 60% of their male counterparts, despite often having the same levels of education.

Indonesia has widespread economic gender disparities, which could make women more likely to live in or fall into poverty than the male population. Data from the Central Statistics Agency recorded that in March 2022, at least 9% of Indonesia’s population lives in poverty. To combat the poverty rates that put women at a disadvantage in comparison to Indonesian men, women are seeking out jobs in sectors with greater chances for a steady and reliable income, mainly in agriculture.

According to a Springer Journal study, women lack access to training for sustainable farming practices, marketing and managing businesses connected to the agricultural sector. However, crop yields and production would likely increase by 2.5-4% if women were to integrate into the agricultural workforce. By 2018, 49% of Indonesia’s agricultural workforce consisted of women. Without them, agricultural stability would decrease, with the rural economy losing significant income and poverty rates increasing.

Indonesian Coffee Farming Practices

Agriculture is one of Indonesia’s three dominant business sectors. In 2021, it was responsible for 13% of the nation’s GDP. Agriculture has historically been one of the primary sources of income for Indonesians. Indonesia’s agriculture sector is a crucial global producer, with coffee as one of its critical exports. Since the 1960s, Indonesian coffee farming has steadily grown and expanded to offer more and more job opportunities for farmers nationwide.

Indonesian coffee farming occurs mainly on small shareholder farms. Small shareholder farms are beneficial as they safely sustain the economy of the rural populations, help with expanding markets and protect natural resources. Protecting natural resources is especially helpful as Indonesia relies on its agricultural systems.

This farming practice involves renting or not owning a great deal of land on which the coffee is grown. Coffee plantations cover 1.24 million hectares and small-shareholder farmers operate more than 90% of Indonesia’s coffee farming land, according to Indonesia Investments. Each farmer works on only one to two hectares. The small sizes of the farms might not seem impressive, but the reliability of the farms entices investors worldwide. Indonesia’s government works to revitalize the land at any sign of slowing output and international aid organizations work to keep Indonesian coffee farming a viable option for jobs, especially as women take more jobs in the sector to end the wage gaps.

Female Coffee Farmers Taking Indonesia By Storm

Women are integrating into the coffee workforce at an incredible rate and are working as small shareholder farmers. Even though female farmers lack formal training, in some regions of Indonesia, they are 80% of the coffee farming workforce. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) began working with Indonesia’s female coffee farmers to train them to improve their productivity and increase their income. Working on a flexible schedule, the IFC trained 1,600 women and helped open new loan businesses that cater to Indonesia’s coffee farming needs. The number of female coffee farmers trained rose to 27%, up from 16%, and productivity and income improved by 92% on average. Helping female coffee farmers improve their productivity and market profitability will bring them new economic opportunities to lift them out of poverty and improve local economies.

USAID announced its new program, Indonesia Coffee Enterprise Resilience Initiative (Resilient Coffee). The program creates partnerships with Keurig Dr. Pepper and Root Capital, a U.S.-based non-government organization. The program intends to provide credit for Indonesia’s rural agricultural businesses. USAID Indonesia Mission Director Jeff Cohen stated that the program, “expand[s] public-private capacity and commitment to strengthening and increasing inclusive economic growth, as well as prioritizing investment in women’s economic empowerment.” USAID’s new program will expand Indonesian coffee farming’s economic opportunities and “invest in women’s economic empowerment.” Empowering female coffee farmers will help end the gender wage gap and poverty struggles while bringing new economic opportunities to the region that benefit all involved.

– Clara Mulvihill
Photo: Flickr

Distributing Foreign Aid
No unitary world body is responsible for coordinating and distributing foreign aid. Foreign aid efforts generally consist of bilateral or multilateral aid. One country directly grants bilateral aid to another, while several countries pool resources together before joint-delivering multilateral aid. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an example of a bilateral aid organization because only the United States is part of its decision-making process. A strong example of a multilateral aid donor would be the United Nations or the World Bank, where the organizations themselves exercise a strong degree of autonomy over distributing foreign aid.

International Cooperation in Foreign Aid

The World Bank, United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are some of the biggest agenda-setters in foreign aid. While they all operate independently, each contributes to a shared effort and common understanding in achieving their goals.

In 2012, the United Nations convened a large conference to set targets and an agenda for goals in sustainable development by 2030. Of its 17 development goals and 169 targets, poverty topped the list and contained seven targets. The conference determined the most significant and salient issues relating to sustainable development until 2030. In support of this common objective, OECD also incorporated a platform regarding the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This exemplifies how one organization’s agenda can cross over and influence agendas that others set.

The Coordination Efforts of the OECD

The OECD advises the distribution and implementation of effective foreign aid flow among the aid members of its Development Assistant Committee (DAC). Within many different frameworks and groups, OECD utilizes a “gold standard” for foreign aid called Official Development Assistance (ODA). Since 1969, the largest countries convened within the DAC have adopted ODA as their primary source of distributing foreign aid. The definition of ODA is a complicated matter, because, for instance, the countries that are eligible for ODA change over time. Regardless, distributing foreign aid undergoes careful optimization to promote and target economic development and welfare in developing countries. These repercussions are wide-ranging. International bodies from the World Bank to the U.N. respect the standards that the OECD sets.

The OECD utilizes a top-down approach to achieving broader development and aid objectives. The organization regularly measures and assesses its progress in implementing its objectives. This includes providing advice to member countries. In its report on “Measuring Distance to the SDG Targets,” it provided member countries with an assistive overview of strengths and weaknesses when it comes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the U.N. set. Such feedback helps countries stay on track to best reach the goals. Overall, the study revealed uneven progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. Some targets, such as infrastructure experienced near achievement, but other targets rated medium to low progress.

The World Bank

The World Bank is something of a twin to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, instead of preventing and dealing with financial catastrophes like the IMF, “the [World] Bank is primarily a development institution.” One can see the international links when the World Bank discusses ODA while considering foreign aid flows.

In 2021, one of the World Bank’s primary objectives is to soften the economic blow of COVID-19. It plans to deploy up to $160 billion by June 2021 in support of countries’ responses to the virus. For example, the World Bank provided nearly 7,000 infection, prevention and control supplies and more than 31,000 personal protective equipment to Papua New Guinea. In Ghana, it supported the training of thousands of health professionals and technicians. Today, the World Bank is the largest external financier of education in developing countries. In its 2020 annual report, the World Bank estimated that the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, would contribute to the creation of at least 1.9 million jobs through the projects it financed in the fiscal year 2020.

Looking Forward

Thanks to organizations such as the World Bank, the U.N. and OECD, foreign aid benefits from higher levels of cooperation than ever. While no unitary body exists to overlook aid distribution, these organizations are filling the gap. Their efforts foster hope for even greater effectiveness in distributing foreign aid.

– Marshall Wu
Photo: Wikipedia Commons