Poverty and health

Analysing TB and poverty

While tuberculosis (TB) is not exclusively a disease of the poor, the association between poverty and TB is well established and widespread. Globally, the highest burden of TB is found in poor countries. Seventeen of the 22 countries that account for 80 per cent of the world’s TB burden are classified as low income and within countries the prevalence of TB is higher among the poor. This paper, produced by the EQUI-TB Knowledge Programme, analyses the existing evidence that TB causes or worsens poverty and that TB control (or elements of TB control) benefits the poor.

Analysing the food crisis: Key ways of improving food security
Nellemann C, MacDevette M and Manders T: GRID Arendal, 2009

This report provides the first summary by the UN of how climate change, water stress, invasive pests and land degradation may impact world food security, food prices and how we may be able to feed the world in a more sustainable manner. It offers short-, mid- and long-term recommendations for improving food security, such as regulating food prices and providing safety nets for the impoverished by reorganising the food market infrastructure and institutions that regulate food prices and provide food safety nets, avoiding biofuels that compete for cropland and water resources, reallocating cereals used in animal feed to human consumption, supporting small-scale farmers, increasing trade and market access, limiting global warming by promoting climate-friendly agricultural production systems and land-use policies, and raising awareness of the ecological pressures of increasing population growth and consumption.

Analysing the governance and political economy of water and sanitation service delivery
Harris D, Kooy M and Jones L: Overseas Development Institute Working Paper 334, August 2011

Failure to achieve desired human development outcomes in the water supply and sanitation sector over the last decade has prompted this re-assessment of sector strategies and a focus on issues of governance and political economy. The authors assess the applicability of the various political economy analysis (PEA) frameworks for the water and sanitation (WATSAN) sector, drawing out five key points to take into account when developing a sector level PEA framework. First, the sector’s diversity (both the sub-sectors of water supply, sanitation and geographical locations of sub-sector service delivery contexts urban, rural, peri-urban) does not mean that different elements of the WATSAN sector require the application of separate frameworks, but the different historical, institutional and political contexts do need to inform the tailoring of questions and areas of focus across the subsectors. Second, a multi-sector and multi-scalar analysis can help to identify actions and decision making influenced by external processes and actors operating at various scales. Third, a combined sector governance and political economy analysis for the sector is not recommended: a joint analysis requires considerable time and research, and leads to overly normative and prescriptive mindset preventing consideration of a full scope of non-obvious opportunities for intervention. Fourth, a PEA framework for WATSAN requires flexibility in its application to the sector. Fifth, a PEA WATSAN framework needs to focus on both process and outcomes: the majority of PEA and governance studies have failed to drive forward change in the water and sanitation sector.

Analysis: The future of food aid
IRIN, Johannesburg, 26 July 2013

By 2023 the number of food-insecure people is likely to increase by nearly 23 percent to 868 million (at a slightly faster rate than projected population growth of 16 percent). Despite improvements over the years, sub-Saharan Africa is projected to remain the most food-insecure region in the world. In the past decade global food aid, including the amount making its way to sub-Saharan Africa, has been on a downward trend. Only 2.5 million tons reached sub-Saharan Africa in 2011, whereas during the decade as a whole it ranged from just under three million tons to just over 5 million tons, according to World Food Programme (WFP) data. In this article IRIN presents views of some of the world’s leading experts on the future of food aid.

Angola: Assessing risks to stability
Vines A and Weimar M: Centre for Strategic and International Studies, June 2011

Angola has made vast progress since the end of the civil war in 2002 according to this report. Despite being one of Africa’s wealthiest nations in terms of natural resources, particularly oil, and recording impressive gross domestic product growth rates of 7% per year, poverty among the country’s citizens is rampant. Angola has ranked near the bottom of the bottom of the United Nations’ Human Development Index and Angola has high inequality and urban poverty. Government is reported to have made various commitments to address these issues, including investment in jobs and houses, decentralisation of government services and development of the agricultural sector.

Anti-Hunger and Food Sovereignty Campaign launched
Democratic Left Front: 16 January 2011

The transnational influence in South Africa's economy is argued in this paper to be linked with ecological and economic problems that reflect in increasing hunger and health problems, higher food prices and polluting agro-processing. The Democratic Left Front proposes an Anti-Hunger and Food Sovereignty Campaign to challenge the current reality and politicise the food question in a people-centred way. They propose a campaign that is advanced from the grassroots through participatory processes, to mobilise mass forces against hunger and the way the current agro-processing industry shifts the value away from producers and raises costs for poor communities. They propose an alternative food economy as part of a wider socio-economic change, guided by the principles of solidarity, collective ownership, self-management, democratic control of capital, an eco-centric emphasis, direct community benefit and participatory democracy.

Applying Q2 methods to understand poverty dynamics: A focus on ill health and HIV/AIDS in Uganda
Lawson D, Hulme D: World Institute for Development Research (WIDER), 2006

This research we combine the strengths of quantitative analysis (representativeness, confidence levels, understanding of correlates and characteristics) and life history analysis (the elaboration of processes that underpin correlations, the understandings that poor people have of their poverty and the critical events that have caused deprivation), to make a genuine attempt at providing thorough insights in to poverty dynamics. Given the relative infancy of applying ‘Q2’ to poverty research, in this way, the paper adopts a joint methodological/themed approach i.e. we explain through the use of examples how the methods were combined to further our knowledge of poverty dynamics before then providing explicit examples of key findings.

Are there particular social determinants of health for the world's poorest countries?
Eshetu EB and Woldesenbet SA: African Health Sciences 11(1): 108–115, March 2011

Despite increased research interest on the social and economic determinants of health (SEDH), the vast majority of studies on this issue are from developed countries. The authors of this study set out to determine whether there are specific social determinants of health in the world's poorest countries, and if so, how they could be better identified and researched in Africa in order to promote and support universal health coverage. They conducted a literature review of existing papers on the social and economic determinants of health, finding that most of the existing studies on the SEDH studies did not provide adequate explanation on the historical and contemporary realities of SEDHs in the world's poorest countries. As these factors vary from one country to another, the authors argue that it is necessary for researchers and policy makers to understand country-specific conditions and design appropriate policies that take due cognisance of these country-specific circumstances. They call for further research in the world's poorest countries, especially in Africa.

As food prices increase, food aid hits a record low, says Food Aid Flows report, 2007
United Nations World Food Programme, 2008

The new edition of the annual Food Aid Flows report provides a comprehensive view of trends in global food aid, which include food aid deliveries by governments, non-governmental organisations and the World Food Programme. It shows that food aid deliveries continued to decline in 2007, reaching the lowest level since 1961. The report argues that there is an urgent need to reverse this trend. In particular, increased resources for food assistance are urgently needed to address the serious negative effects of the higher food prices on hunger and malnutrition across the world. The report provides data of food aid flows in 2007 by category, mode, channel, sale recipient, region and donor. Key trends identified in 2007 include: food aid deliveries reached a record low in 2007, with all three categories of food aid – emergency, project and programme – declining. The share of food aid that was channelled multilaterally continued to increase and reached 55%, the highest share ever. The share of food aid commodities procured in developing countries increased but there was a decline in direct transfers of wheat and maize, which can be partly explained by higher wheat and maize prices. Of 31 main government donors, 24 reduced their food aid donations in 2007 as all regions faced a decline in food aid deliveries in 2007, except Asia. Sub-Saharan Africa remained the largest recipient of food aid. Based on these findings, the report emphasises the need for increased food assistance, particularly in the context of recent food price rises. Given that food prices are expected to remain high during the next decade, it argues that, without additional interventions, higher food prices could jeopardise the prospects for the achievement of Millennium Development Goals and the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

Assuring food security in Africa

Food and nutrition security remain Africa's most fundamental challenges. The number of Africans who are undernourished has been on the rise for decades and now stands at about 200 million people. However, a new commitment to change is emerging both among African leaders and in the international community. Africa may at last be poised to make real progress on achieving food and nutrition security. This book, ‘2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture and the Environment’ by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), introduces a variety of presentations and deliberations that took place at a conference hosted by the International Food Policy Research Institute, held in Kampala, Uganda, April 2004.