Topic: Health and Education

What makes a perfect short field trip (and a top village power analysis)?

I had a pretty perfect one-week field trip to Tajikistan last week. Two days down in the South, talking to villagers, activists, officials, and our own local staff about the hardware part of our Tajikistan Water and Sanitation (TajWSS) project – working with local government to install water systems under their ownership and local Water […]

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States v Markets: Understanding Tajikistan’s Post-Soviet malaise through its drinking water

I don’t do much on water (as my pal Henry Northover at WaterAid never fails to remind me) but last week, I was in Tajikistan to help our team think through their water-related work. They already run the Tajikistan Water Supply and Sanitation (TajWSS) network, which combines a high level ‘convening and brokering’ approach to […]

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Voices of the Hungry; killer indicators, and how to measure the social determinants of health. New thinking on measurement with Gallup Inc.

About once a year, I head off for the plush, Thames-side offices of Gallup Inc, for a fascinating update on what they’re up to on development-related topics. In terms of measurement, they often seem way ahead of the aid people, for example, developing a rigorous annual measurement of well-being across 147 countries. Not quite sure why […]

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How can aid workers study without giving up the day job? Your thoughts please.

For a sector that employs a relatively large number of people, the ‘aid business’ often still seems to think small. Getting a job in it is a lottery – very few graduate entry schemes, or other ways to identify and recruit keen and talented people. Instead people are supposed to scrabble their way into jobs […]

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What happens if you combine life expectancy and GDP into a single indicator? (You spend more on health)

Just been skimming the overview of last December’s report of the Lancet Global health 2035 Commission, chaired by Larry Summers. The report advocates increasing health spending to close the health gap between countries, but the thing that jumped out at me was the practical application of ‘beyond GDP’ thinking in what the report calls the […]

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Carnage on the roads v good news on malaria and guinea worm disease (and a brewing Opium War on Tobacco)

This week’s Economist resembles a reader on some of development’s top Cinderella issues (which are becoming a bit of a thing on this blog), covering road traffic, ‘tropical diseases’ and tobacco. First up, the contrast between the falls in road deaths in rich countries (deaths there peaked in the 1970s), and rising carnage in the […]

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Lant Pritchett on why we struggle to think in systems (and look for heroes and villains instead)

This passage in Lant Pritchett’s new book, The Rebirth of Education, (reviewed here yesterday), had me gurgling with pleasure. It explains, in vintage Pritchett prose, why we all find it so hard to think in terms of systems, rather than agents (i.e. heroes and villains). He totally nails the origins of that glazed look I […]

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How do we move from getting kids into school to actually educating them? Provocative new book by Lant Pritchett

I approached Lant Pritchett’s new book ‘The Rebirth of Education’ with glee and trepidation. Glee because Lant is one of the smartest, wittiest and best writers and thinkers on development. Trepidation because this issue is an intellectual minefield of Somme-like proportions (remember the epic Kevin Watkins v Justin Sandefur battle?). And sure enough, Lant took […]

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What’s the the best/worst country in which to feed your family? New Oxfam report.

Oxfam researcher and ace number cruncher Deborah Hardoon introduces its new Good Enough to Eat index. Many of us will have overindulged this festive season. According to the British Diatetics Association, the average Brit puts on half a stone at Christmas. And it is not just Christmas Day itself, ‘the whole festive season is riddled […]

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Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer: welcome to a new generation of ‘development issues’

I failed miserably to stop myself browsing my various feeds over the Christmas break (New Year’s resolution: ‘browse less, produce more’ – destined for failure). One theme that emerged was the rise of the ‘North in the South’ on health – what I call Cinderella Issues. Things like road traffic accidents, the illegal drug trade, […]

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