Friday Global Health Round-up

The best part of the weekend lately is that we have the World Cup to indulge in! I am certainly looking forward to the games this weekend, especially the Brazil vs Cote d’Ivoire game on Sunday – and I must admit that I will be cheering for both teams simultaneously, it is infact a win-win for me already. I thought I might round up a couple of interesting articles relating to Global Health from this week:

Charitable Ignorance: The Reality of Aid – Daily Nation – June 18th 2010

Samantha Spooner offers an interesting critique on International Aid in the Daily Nation, a newspaper from Kenya. We’ve heard this sort of argument before: the ineffectiveness of AID, wastage of funds and the fallacy of participatory research. However, she does go one step further into discussing research methodology particularly design of research to ensure funding, funding that often has little or no impact on the communities to be influenced:

Donations made to this charity will go towards sponsoring any African woman who wants to have her clitoris rebuilt. Even when you try not to be sceptical about the fact that the charity is run by the Raelian movement, a sect which believes humans were created by extra-terrestrial beings, it is hard to ignore the notion that they may have overlooked how conservative and traditional the communities that practise female genital mutilation are.

If the women are believed to be empowered enough as to contact the charity so that someone can sponsor the restoration of their organs, then it begs the question as to why they are not empowered enough to have not allowed the circumcision occur. Whilst the good intentions are there, the reality of the situation is a different story.

You can read the rest of the article here.

A Dirt Poor Nation with a Health Plan – NY Times – June 14th 2010

The NY Times had an article highlighting the successes that  Rwanda has made in providing health care to their population. While I refrain myself from calling a Nation “Dirt-poor” as this I feel is offensive to the people of Rwanda, the author I guess was trying to make the contrast to the U.S. which doesn’t really have a health plan for its population. Still, the article points out the value of Health Systems approaches as opposed to vertical single disease approaches to addressing global health challenges and also addresses health financing. An excerpt below:

Making every Rwandan pay something is part of President Kagame’s ambitious plan to push his people toward more self-reliance and, with luck, eventually into prosperity. The country has been called “Africa’s Singapore.” It has clean streets and little crime, and each month everyone does one day of community service, like planting trees. Private enterprise is championed, and Mr. Kagame has been relentless about punishing corrupt officials. In the name of suppressing remarks that might revive the hatreds that spawned the 1994 genocide, his critics say, he suppresses normal political dissent, too.

A more practical obstacle to creating a health insurance system, however, is that most of the world’s poor, including Rwanda’s, resist what they see as the unthinkable idea of paying in advance for something they may never get.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Over the next weeks I hope to increase this list. If you do come across an interesting article over the week, please do forward them and I’ll gladly share.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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