Global Financing Facility Launches in Addis Ababa

This week, private global development partners, NGOs, and world leaders met at the Third International Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa to launch the Global Financing Facility (GFF). In support of Every Woman Every Child, GFF is a financing partnership that aspires to cease preventable deaths of women, adolescents and children by 2030. Here are several highlights and

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Our Post-2015 Agenda: Women

By Caitlin Callahan

CC Headshot

Last month, more than 4,500 leaders from over 2,200 different organizations convened in Kuala Lumpur for the third Women Deliver conference – a meeting dedicated to the health and empowerment of women and girls. Panel discussions and plenary events reinforced the importance of investing in girls and women as catalysts for greater positive change within their families and their communities.

And for that reason, the post-2015 agenda, or the next global strategy for international development following the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), was a common framework for debate; ‘calls to action’ were mirrored by sessions to discuss the previous agendas in Cairo, Beijing, and Rio: the successes and the prospects for improvement to empower women and create opportunity for broader growth.

Contextually, the World Bank’s President Dr. Kim recently declared 2030 as the new deadline for eliminating all extreme poverty in the world, setting the universal $1.25/day income mark as the threshold for success. This may seem like an enormous goal, but we’ve seen unprecedented success in the past few decades that helps to inspire some hope. More specifically, in the past 20 years, the global poverty rate has been reduced by a full 50%: from 43% of the population living in extreme poverty in 1990, to 21% in 2010.1 In other words, Dr. Kim wants to replicate the success of the past 20 years in the next (less than) two decades.

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What Male Circumcision Taught Us About the Future of Funding for Global Health

By Karl Hofmann, President and CEO, PSI

Private capital is needed to test and develop proof that existing health solutions can be adapted to a developing world context. Once this proof is established, the solution has the power to unlock the large-scale government funding needed to dramatically improve health across the developing world.

As demonstrated in a new report released this week by PSI’s Impact magazine and Devex, in partnership with Fenton Communications, the landscape for global health financing has changed dramatically. High-income governments that provide foreign aid for health have steadily increased their support over the last decade. That support is now leveling or shrinking due to budget constraints. Governments are under increased pressure to reduce risk and ensure that all public funds for foreign aid are invested in solutions that guarantee results.

As a result, corporations, foundations and philanthropists are now taking an active role to help protect the progress already made against serious threats to health and economies like HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and lack of access to family planning, which remain as urgent as ever. They are providing private capital to fund the type of innovation that governments cannot afford to advance on their own.

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Video: Eradicating Polio

Great short video from the Global Poverty Project’s Global Citizen campaign that shows how close we are to eradicating polio.

HT World Bank

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NCDs and Development: Is Aid the Right Solution? (Cross Post)

By Greg Paton. This originally appears on the Arogya World blog.

Prior to last year’s United Nations Summit on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in September 2011, a representative from one government aid agency stated that “Ministers don’t think they have the legitimacy to engage on NCDs. The public perception is that they’re seen as diseases of affluence.”

Such attitudes are still common among funders and are a key battleground for those working on diabetes, cancer and other NCDs. To counter this, advocates have pushed governments to acknowledge that NCDs are inextricably linked to poverty and affect the poorest of the poor – an impressive effort that shifted the mindset of many governments. Such narratives have immense power to shape global priorities, as the AIDS movement has shown.

While the primary aim of this effort should be holding governments accountable for addressing the health needs of their own people, the dominant focus has been on western aid as the solution to low-income countries (LIC) challenges in addressing NCDs. This is where the logic gets problematic.

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Championing Girls Through Health and Private/Public Partnerships

The shooting of Malala Yousufzai by a member of the Taliban captures both the challenges faced by many girls around the world and the spirit to fight for equality. Malala continued to go to school and advocate for girls education in the face of threats from the Taliban. She and another girl were shot this week while traveling to school. The head wound that Malala suffered was severe, but recent reports indicate that she is on the road to recovery.

International Day of the Girl is celebrated for the first time ever to call to attention the challenges that girls face and celebrate the courage of advocates like Malala. One important way to support girls around the world is through health.  Thanks to the outstanding research, communication and advocacy efforts by the organizations and campaigns like Girl EffectGirl Up10×10, the Center for Global Development, the World Bank and others, there is clear and demonstrable evidence that good health is the key to unleashing the full potential of girls.

There are no shortages of known interventions that have the potential to expand access to healthcare for girls and women, but there are gaps. The structure of public/private partnerships have evolved to a genuine partnership that is mutually beneficial. Whether an organization’s bottom line is measured in lives saved, revenue, or a combination of the two, everyone wins.

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Global Health Leader Takes World Bank Helm

Sunday marked the beginning of Jim Yong Kim’s tenure as the head of the World Bank. The co-founder of Partners in Health and former Dartmouth College president assumed the role from Robert Zoellick. Kim is of particular interest to the global health community. His background is expansive and illustrious. The Lancet summarizes his accomplishments, “Kim is a public health specialist who has trained as a physician and as an anthropologist and has previously headed up WHO’s HIV department, where he was instrumental in creating and implementing the 3 by 5 Initiative, to provide 3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the developing world with antiretroviral therapy by 2005.”

The leading medical publication continues to explore why Kim’s background matters:

Devi Sridhar, a lecturer in global health politics at Oxford University, UK, says: “It is exciting that a global health person, who comes from a background of championing equity and social justice, will be leading the most important global health institution in terms of financing.”

Though many will remember that his nomination was rather contentious.

But despite Kim’s experience in the core mission of the Bank: reducing poverty—the response from many bank employees—was far less jubilant. A Bank insider, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Lancet, “The initial reaction of 80% of the Bank was absolute shock and disbelief”. The source explained that some staff and senior management at headquarters in Washington, DC, are concerned that, because of Kim’s background, humanitarian or humane development will take centre stage instead of economic growth—the Bank’s traditional ethos. And there is also a concern that Kim will focus on health and HIV/AIDS.

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Preventing 7.6 Million Avoidable Child Deaths

An estimated 7.6 children die each year of preventable causes. Global partners are making a push to ensure that every child has the opportunity to make it past the vital threshold of his/her fifth birthday. To Dagfinn Høybråten, the vice president of the Norwegian Parliament and chairman of GAVI Alliance board, vaccines are important tool to ending unnecessary deaths.

Further, he highlights the upcoming Child Survival Call to Action meeting that will involve global health leaders like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and include health ministers of India and Ethiopia.

Read his thoughts and optimism in The Hill Blog:

Pneumonia caused by pneumococcal disease and diarrhea caused by rotavirus are two of the biggest killers of children. Almost 50 countries will introduce the pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines by 2015. This will allow us to deliver on the promise made to donors to reach as many people in the developing world as possible with vaccines. Working with partners including UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Bank, our goal is to vaccinate an additional quarter billion children in the next four years.  Countries are also key partners as GAVI support is not a handout. Countries that apply for and receive GAVI funding must also pay a portion of the costs to provide new vaccines.

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Child Mortality in Africa is Declining, Quickly

The following post is by Michael Clemens, Senior Fellow for the Center for Global Development. It originally appears on the CGD blog.

If you’re sick of the sad, hopeless stories coming out of Africa, here’s one that made my year. New statistics show that the rate of child death across sub-Saharan Africa is not just in decline—but that decline has massively accelerated, just in the last few years. From the middle to the end of the last decade, declines in child mortality across the continent plummeted much faster than they ever had before.

These shocking new numbers are in a paper released today by Gabriel Demombynes and Karina Trommlerová in the Kenya office of the World Bank. Here are their figures for some of the recent changes in rates of child death across the continent. The numbers in the last column are the percent declines in child death rates every year over the past few years.

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Hofmann: World Bank to Benefit From New Vision

PSI CEO Karl Hofmann pens a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal in response to an article discussing the growing criticism at then World Bank presidential nominee Jim Yong Kim.

Dr. Kim, 52 years old, has taken heat since he was nominated last month. A long list of development experts, government officials and news organizations around the world have mounted a rebellion of sorts.

Many of them say the two other candidates, Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian finance minister José Antonio Ocampo, are better qualified for the post.

(snip)

But an economist who has become one of Dr. Kim’s leading critics, New York University’s William Easterly, said the World Bank nominee offered an “amateur” approach to economics through an “antiglobalization point of view” that is critical of corporations.

“His critique was much more radical, that the system itself was responsible for creating poverty,” Mr. Easterly said.

Karl responds to the article with his letter published yesterday:

The article “Criticism Over U.S.’s World Bank Pick Swells” (World News, April 9) underscores precisely why the World Bank would benefit from a new creative vision and why the global economy would benefit from a re-envisioned World Bank.

In 2012, top-down development models are out of date. Despite growing dynamism in emerging markets, two billion to three billion people remain in poverty due to barriers we largely know how to overcome, including HIV, unsafe water or inaccessible modern family-planning options. Bottom-up, grass-roots programs have proved themselves to be cost-efficient and efficient channels to lift families out of poverty.

The World Bank can and must play a leadership role in turning the traditional development schema on its head.

By reorienting its philosophical approach to poverty and economic growth, the famously bureaucratic organization can transform itself into the powerful engine the world needs it to be.

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No Teen Drama: Leaving Adolescence Thriving & Healthy

Recently published reports from the World Bank, the Center for Global Development and others are calling new attention to the challenges of adolescent girls, aged 10-19, and particularly those aged 10-14.1Young adolescent girls have historically been given low priority within development programs, receiving less than two cents for every dollar spent. Young girls generally enter adolescence healthy, while older adolescents struggle with the consequences of early sexual onset, including maternal mortality and HIV infection. Yet, the social disadvantages faced by young adolescent girls relative to boys and men are the cause of these and other consequences that extend beyond health, particularly to school dropout and increasingly limited opportunities for the girl, her family and her community.

The full scope of these challenges and consequences is only now coming into view, to a significant degree due to efforts by the Nike Foundation, advocates including PSI Board Member Ashley Judd, and a growing list of partners, including the World Bank. Less clear is what can be done at scale – there are 600 million adolescent girls in the developing world. PSI and its partners around the world have a growing portfolio of pilot projects aimed at finding interventions that could have widespread impact.

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