Poverty and health

Brazil to work with South Africa against hunger
Southern African Press Association: 10 April 2012

Brazil has agreed to assist South Africa on social development issues, particularly in fighting against poverty and hunger. Brazil is aiming to help 16.2 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty with its comprehensive national poverty alleviation plan, ‘Brasil Sem Misera’. The plan includes cash transfer initiatives, and increased access to education, health, welfare and sanitation. South Africa has expressed a desire to learn about Brazil’s national alleviation plan and its successful Zero Hunger programme.

Breaking the link between poverty and illness

Cutting poverty and reducing the burden of disease are major global development goals. Can strategies tackle these tasks in parallel, by focusing on very poor people? The health sector can borrow strategies from welfare services to reduce the risk of health-related shocks, ease their impact and break the vicious cycle of poverty and ill-health. Poor people often have higher risks of adverse events and fewer means to cope with them than wealthier groups. A paper produced for a UK Department for International Development workshop analyses health-related shocks.

Bringing Marginalised Livelihoods into Focus, 2008-2011
Pointer R: PLAAS, University of the Western Cape, 2012

This report covers a period in which PLAAS sought to clarify and consolidate its vision, and elaborate an agenda for research, policymaking, teaching and training that emphasises the centrality of the dynamics of chronic poverty and structural inequality in South Africa. The particular emphasis is on understanding how the workings of agro-food systems can either perpetuate structural poverty and marginalisation — or alleviate it. Within this broad field of investigation, PLAAS’s work focuses on the dynamics of marginalised livelihoods in agro-food systems; particularly livelihoods that are vulnerable, structurally excluded or adversely incorporated, such as those of farm workers, small and subsistence farmers, artisanal fishers and fishing communities, and the informally self-employed, in urban and in rural contexts.

Building from the ground up: How the foundations of a post-2015 framework should translate into change for people in poverty
Frecheville N and Fischler B: CAFOD, 2013

In this paper, the authors call for a post-2015 framework to support a vision of the world where poor women and men have dignity and are able to flourish through participating in enabling societies and equitable economies that operate within safe ecological boundaries nationally and globally. The framework will: prioritise global issues that support and facilitate transformational change; keep issues that matter most to people in poverty on the international agenda; secure national action that drives progress on the ground; and enable better accountability, data collection, and monitoring and evaluation. CAFOD has identified three areas for action: empowering governance, which enables people to participate in the decision-making which affects their lives; the need for poor women and men to be able to participate in equitable economies and get a fair return for their contribution; and, resilient livelihoods, so that people’s dignity and flourishing are not undermined by environmental shocks and stresses, and development pathways are within ecological limits. These have the potential to transform the lives of people in poverty through addressing the underlying causes of poverty that prevent people from achieving their own aspirations.

Building public services for poverty reduction
Emmett B, Green D, Laws M, et al: Oxfam , 2006

This report highlights how building strong public services is key to transforming the lives of people living in poverty. The authors show that developing countries will only achieve healthy and educated populations if their governments take responsibility for providing essential services.

Building resilient and inclusive food markets: Analysis of trends and actors in food and nutrition security
Quak E: The Broker Online 17 April 2013

To achieve maximum impact on food and nutrition security, knowledge and research policy should focus on local agriculture and food sectors - this means including small-scale farmers in regional food chains as well as making investments in the food system work for the rural poor by taking into account local environmental and cultural values. This article focuses on what a knowledge agenda on food and nutrition security should look like and what actors should be involved. The author argues that one of the main causes of current economic growth without food security is that small-scale farmers are not included in the formal food system and do not benefit from investments in agriculture and food, especially in sub-Saharan African. They also lack access to knowledge to improve their situation. To help create resilient and inclusive food markets, the author recommends strengthening cooperatives and producer organisations, developing comprehensive business models, designing a framework for public-private partnerships that include small-scale farmers and takes into account local cultural and environmental values, taking away the constraints to access knowledge by farmers, and pursuing coherent policies.

Burundi: Hospital officials detain hundreds of insolvent patients
Human Rights Watch, 7 September 2006

Burundian state hospitals are reported to routinely detain patients who are unable to pay their hospital bills, the Human Rights Watch and the Burundian Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons said in a report released in September. The patients can be detained for weeks or even months in abysmal conditions. This practice is reported to highlight broader problems of the health system in Burundi, where patients have to pay for their own treatment. The organisations called on the Burundian government to end the practice and to make access to health care for all Burundians a central part of its new Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.

Campaign launched to reduce maternal mortality in South Africa
UNAIDS: 8 May 2012

The campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) was launched at Osindisweni Hospital in Ethekwini District, KwaZulu-Natal Province on 4 May 2012. CARMMA aims to accelerate the implementation of activities to stem maternal and child mortality and meet Africa’s targets for Millennium Development Goals four and five - to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality rate and to reduce by two thirds the child mortality rate between 1990 and 2015. South Africa has a rising maternal mortality rate, yet it is one of the last countries in southern Africa to implement the campaign since it was started in 2009. In many of the countries, the national champions of CARMMA or the national authorities have committed to follow-up activities to intensify the reduction of maternal mortality in their countries, including Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Swaziland.

Can EU funds be put to use to help food crisis?
EuropAfrica: September 2008

A plan to boost food production in developing countries and provide urgent food aid was discussed by the Development Committee on 10 September 2008. The food price index rose by more than 40% last year, which has had catastrophic consequences for people in the developing world who are already suffering from malnutrition. It has been estimated that to deal with the problem in the medium term it would probably require an extra €18 billion. The EU has committed to finding €1.8 billion over the next two or three years from unspent agricultural money to be matched by money from the Member States. Some of this will be used for direct food support, given the massive fall in grain stocks. Most will be used for seeds, fertiliser and irrigation to help countries to develop and grow their own food.

Can Habitat III mark a watershed for women informal workers?
Chatterjee P: Cityscape, October 2016

Informal employment makes up more than half of non-agricultural employment in most developing regions, according to Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising (WIEGO). In three major regions (South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean) plus urban China, informal employment is a greater source of non-agricultural employment for women than for men. Elsewhere in East and Southeast Asia, these shares are roughly the same. WEIGO advocates made this case at Habitat III, urging national and local governments to support the urban informal economy. The group released a paper listing the sector-specific needs of urban informal workers from local and national governments, noting that despite their contributions, informal workers’ lives and livelihoods continue to be vulnerable in many cities. Many myths persist about the informal economy in the minds of policymakers and the general public, such as the conflation of the informal economy with illegal activities. Sally Roever, urban policies programme director for WIEGO, pointed to ‘micro-innovations’, which can make a huge difference....Like a municipality issuing identity cards to waste pickers. Residents view a waste picker with an ID card as legitimate entity and are more likely to be cooperative. This enhances the productivity of waste pickers.” She gave the example of Bogota, where recyclers are formally recognised stakeholders in the city's waste-management system. WIEGOs efforts also have prompted the creation of two labour groups — the Association of Recyclers of Bogotá organisation that represents the city’s 3,000 informal recyclers, while the National Association of Recyclers in Colombia represents 12,000 members. These are argued to serve as precedent and inspiration for other informal workers globally.