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…
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New Research and Policy Center to Address Future of Financing Global Health

Latest News from the Center
DURHAM, N.C. -- A new policy lab opening today at the Duke Global Health Institute will address financing solutions aimed at improving the health of the world’s poor. Specifically, the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health will focus on three significant gaps in global health financing: A gap in donor financing for research and development for poverty-related and neglected diseases, and for other “global functions” of health aid, such as pandemic preparedness. Global functions of aid are those that tackle issues that transcend national borders. Donor financing for health has flat-lined in recent years and too little of it has been directed at these global functions. A “middle-income gap,” which arises when countries cross an income threshold and no longer qualify for health aid. Most of the world’s poor…
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Investing in health: what is the economic case?

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The last few decades have seen an extraordinary transformation in global health outcomes. Nearly 7 million fewer children die each year today than in 1990.  Global average life expectancy has risen by six years over the same time period. Given this health progress, which was largely due to scaled up domestic and international health investments, should policymakers conclude that the time is now right to shift their investments away from health toward other sectors, such as climate or agriculture? That’s certainly an argument that some development experts have made.  But a new report that I co-authored with two of the Center’s collaborators, Dean Jamison and Naomi Beyeler at the University of California, San Francisco, with our colleague Hester Wadge at Imperial College London, argues that such a shift would be…
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