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Category Archives: Global health

Scratch and win for authentic malaria drugs

Here’s a problem most people in rich countries don’t often have to deal with: wondering whether the drugs you’ve just picked up from your local pharmacy will kill you, save your life, or give you just enough active ingredients to create a new drug-resistant strain of an otherwise curable disease.

Counterfeiting does happen in rich countries, but more prevalently with “lifestyle drugs” like Viagra or allergy meds. Poor countries often have thriving counterfeit markets…

Also posted in Technology | Tagged , | 16 Comments

A warning from Tajikistan

The following post was written by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

A polio outbreak is underway in Tajikistan. 12 people have died of the diseases since March. 32 cases of polio have been confirmed, and 171 cases of acute flaccid paralysis (a signal of possible polio) have been identified. That’s a full-fledged outbreak in a country with an 82% vaccination rate. Until this January,…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Field notes | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

NYT on HIV/AIDS crisis: “You cannot mop the floor when the tap is still running on it”

UPDATE 4:10pm 5/11: Bill responds to Gregg Gonsalves’ comment on this post, at the END of the post.

The New York Times ran not one but two articles (edit: make that four) on the global fight against HIV/AIDS last Sunday. As these pieces tragically recount, the international community’s hard won successes against HIV/AIDS are in danger. There is not enough funding to meet the demand for treatment among sick patients in…

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

The Plumpy’Nut dust-up: Nutriset’s side of the story

The following post was written by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

Plumpy’Nut is a lifesaving Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic-Food that was developed, and patented, by a French company called Nutriset. An American NGO and company have brought suit against Nutriset in an attempt to break the patent. I wrote about the basics of the situation in a previous post.

That post brought up more questions than…

Also posted in Financing development, In the news | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Reasons to doubt new health aid study on fungibility

This post is by David Roodman, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) in Washington, DC.

A couple of weeks ago, researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation triggered a Richter-7 media quake with the release of a new study in the Lancet.

Here’s how the Washington Post cast the findings:

After getting millions of dollars to fight AIDS, some African countries responded by slashing their health budgets.

Laura Freschi…

Also posted in Data and statistics | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Plumpy’nut dustup

The following post was written by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

There is a fight brewing over Plumpy’nut, a fortified peanut butter product used to treat malnutrition in children. The company that invented Plumpy’nut has a patent on the product. Two American NGOs want to make their own version, but rather than pay a royalty fee, they are trying to

Also posted in Financing development, In the news | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

The good news on maternal mortality: Uncertainty about everything except the advocates’ response

UPDATE 4/15, 4pm EDT: see end of post.

The NYT lead story today (as well as other media) reports a new study with some very good news:

For the first time in decades, researchers are reporting a significant drop worldwide in the number of women dying each year from pregnancy and childbirth, to about 342,900 in 2008 from 526,300 in 1980.

So happy about success! Alas, the universal rule with media reports of development…

Also posted in Badvocacy and celebs, Data and statistics, In the news | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Does health aid to governments make governments spend more on health?

If you’re not an economist, you might reasonably assume that the answer to this question is yes. The story might go something like this: aid agencies give money to poor country governments to distribute bed nets or give vaccinations, and those additional funds are added to whatever money the country was able to scrape together to spend on health before the donor came along. As a result of the health aid, the total amount of…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Economics principles, Organizational behavior | Tagged , | 26 Comments

This device WILL change the world

No, no, no, not THAT one!

I meant the one below:

It’s going to be a long while before very many poor people have iPads, but there is already one TV for every 4 people in the world.  I remember being in a remote village in Ghana with 30 people crowded around a TV set, so 1 in 4 implies a VERY big reach for TV already. In the words of…

Also posted in Academic research, Technology | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

Readers’ Submissions: Honorable Mentions in Best and Worst of Aid

The Aid Watch request for reader submissions for Best and Worst of Aid was our experimental attempt to use informal social networks to collect and spread stories about good and bad aid projects. In retrospect, it was only a partial success: we got a lot of submissions that couldn’t be totally verified, and many that did not explain why their submission deserved to be the best or the worst, problems for us to think about…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches | Tagged | 6 Comments