Are tough times ahead for countries graduating from foreign aid?

Policy Blog
This blog was originally published as part of the Future Development blog series of the Brookings Institution on March 8, 2018 and the original version can be found here. During the next few years, over a dozen middle-income countries are likely to transition away from multilateral concessional assistance—that is, grants and loans that offer flexible or lenient terms for repayment—including support from International Development Association (IDA) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. There are good reasons to worry these countries, including Nigeria and Pakistan, will find the transition tough. Despite being middle-income economies, many of them still have high rates of child and maternal mortality, weak health systems, and large shares of the population living in poverty. This is not surprising. The real question is whether the countries are more vulnerable…
Read More

Analysis: Are We on Track to Achieve SDG Goals for Maternal and Child Health?

Policy Blog
Seventy-nine countries are off track to meet ambitious global health targets for maternal and child health, according to an analysis by researchers from the Brookings Institution and the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI). If those countries were to recover and accelerate their progress according to the targets, the authors note, 11.8 million lives—1.6 million mothers and 10.2 million children—could be saved. To arrive at these numbers, John McArthur and Krista Rasmussen of the Brookings Institution and Gavin Yamey of DGHI examined trends in child and maternal mortality and extrapolated them forward to 2030. They examined how their findings stacked up against targets in the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” Adopted by United Nations member states in 2015, the SDGs…
Read More

Penny-wise, pandemic-foolish

Latest News from the Center, Policy Blog
This blog was originally published as an editorial in various newspapers including the Times Union on February 8, 2018 and the original version can be found here. A few days ago, I joined several thousand global health practitioners, researchers, activists and policymakers at a conference in Bangkok titled "Making the World Safe from the Threats of Emerging Infectious Diseases."  The audience was abuzz about a new study by a team of economists — including former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers — that shows the staggering economic costs of a future pandemic. They estimate the annual losses from a moderate to severe pandemic would be about $500 billion, or 0.6 percent of global income. That's similar to the annual costs of global warming, double the cost of natural disasters and five…
Read More

Pandemics and the poor

Latest News from the Center, Policy Blog
This blog was originally published as part of the Future Development blog series of the Brookings Institution on June 19, 2017 and the original version can be found here. When epidemics or pandemics hit, they usually hit the poor first and worst. We have known this for a while. The German pathologist Rudolf Virchow described this link between poverty and vulnerability to outbreaks in his 1848 study of a typhus epidemic in Upper Silesia: For there can now no longer be any doubt that such an epidemic dissemination of typhus had only been possible under the wretched conditions of life that poverty and lack of culture had created in Upper Silesia. What we have not known, until recently, is how best to help the poor protect themselves from pandemics. To…
Read More

Our new report on the role of the U.S. government in supporting product development for global health

Policy Blog
Despite recent progress in global health, poor populations in low- and middle-income countries continue to suffer and die disproportionately from poverty related and neglected diseases (PRNDs). For many of these diseases, new medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic tests are urgently needed. However, the lack of market incentives is a major barrier to research and development (R&D) for such health technologies. Governments and philanthropic foundations have helped to address this gap by funding product development for PRNDs. In a new study that we published yesterday, we focused on one important government funder of such product development: the United States government. Our study, called “Strengthening the United States Government’s Role in Product Development for Global Health,” conducted in collaboration with other colleagues in the Duke Global Health Institute and at the Duke Margolis…
Read More