Here’s how our actions, ideas, and passions helped empower people and expand opportunity around the globe this year
From responding to Hurricane Maria to announcing a unique way to fund our efforts to reduce maternal and newborn deaths, USAID has been busy in 2017 ensuring our assistance to developing countries will have the greatest impact possible.
Check out this list of 10 stories from this year. While we can’t describe all our efforts around the world here, these examples show that aid works.
1. After the Hurricanes
On Sept. 7, USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to lead the U.S. Government’s humanitarian response to Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria in the Caribbean — three of the six major storms to form during a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season. Our disaster experts never imagined they would end up riding out and responding to the devastation caused by three back-to-back hurricanes, including two Category 5 storms. But they did and quickly jumped into action to aid storm survivors. At its height, the DART comprised 54 people deployed to 11 countries. USAID also airlifted more than 185 metric tons to help nearly 84,000 people, representing the best of American generosity. Check out this infographic about the response.
2. Saving Newborns and New Moms
USAID and our partners support innovators with groundbreaking ideas to ensure newborns and their mothers survive childbirth. One of these inventions — the BEMPU Hypothermia Alert Device — was featured in TIME as one of the Top 25 Inventions of 2017. The newborn temperature-monitoring wristband intuitively alerts caregivers if their newborn is losing too much heat, enabling intervention well before complications or death can occur. With our support, the device has helped an estimated 10,000 newborns. We are looking forward to 2030 when this and other innovations could potentially save 150,000 lives.
3. Feeding the Future
Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s initiative to combat global hunger, announced this year that it is launching its next phase, partnering with 12 countries to focus on promoting long-term, sustainable development. This comes after helping a combined 9 million more people live above the poverty line and 1.8 million more children avoid the devastating results of stunting. Our goal continues to be addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty and helping communities be less dependent on emergency food assistance.
4. Wildlife Trafficking
Protecting endangered species benefit more than the often majestic animals themselves. USAID’s work combating wildlife trafficking, environmental crime and mismanagement of natural resources strengthens the U.S. and international security, rule of law and global economic prosperity. This year we put together the video below to help strengthen law enforcement from parks to ports, reduce consumer demand for illegal wildlife products, facilitate international cooperation and build partnerships.
5. Fighting Hunger
In four countries — South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen — more than 20 million people are at risk of severe hunger or starvation. In February, officials declared famine in parts of South Sudan, making 2017 the most food-insecure in the country’s history. But a massive humanitarian response by the U.S. Government and the rest of the international community helped roll back that designation just four months later. USAID is continuing to leverage its resources to help the people of South Sudan, and those living in Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen respond to natural and man-made disasters.
6. Women in Charge
USAID supports women entrepreneurs worldwide as catalysts for economic growth and inclusive development. Nanda Pok is not only the owner of her own successful business in Cambodia, but she also keeps herself busy by grooming other women to start their own businesses. Nanda participated in a USAID-funded coffee production training program for female business leaders from Southeast Asia. Pok believes that when women are economically-empowered, money flows back into businesses and towards the health, education, and well-being of families. And we couldn’t agree more. In Cambodia and across the globe, USAID helps women entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
7. When a Latrine Brings a New Lease on Life
We live in a water-stressed world. USAID is tackling this issue on a number of fronts, including in Ghana where we piloted installation and use of the Digni-Loo, a latrine that is simple to install, affordable, comfortable and easy to clean. More than 800 million people worldwide still defecate in the open. This results in billions of lost dollars from the global economy due to diarrheal illness and widespread threats to public health, including a heightened risk of global epidemics. This November the Agency and the U.S. State Department launched the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy, which outlines ways we can reach 15 million people with clean drinking water and 8 million people with sanitation services.
8. Smart Ways to End World Hunger
Today, nearly one in 10 people around the world suffer from hunger, and that figure is rising. As we’ve learned over decades, there are no simple solutions. Supporting food security requires much more than filling people’s bellies. We can combat global hunger and malnutrition, but it takes a holistic approach to ensure long-lasting impact. Here are five ways USAID is investing in agriculture and food security to end hunger.
9. Investing in Change
At the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced the launch of the Agency’s first health development impact bond, dubbed the Utkrisht Impact Bond after the Hindi word for “excellence.” Impact bonds are focused on outcomes and can leverage private investor capital to address some of the world’s greatest challenges. This impact bond — the largest and most ambitious of its kind — aims to reduce maternal and newborn deaths by improving the quality of maternal care in Rajasthan, India’s health facilities. It is expected to improve access to care for up to 600,000 pregnant women and save up to 10,000 maternal and newborn lives.
10. Meeting Nature’s Wrath with Resilience
When Mt. Yasur Volcano on Vanuatu emits ash, it sometimes damages the community’s crops. And widespread hunger follows. USAID is working with island residents to strengthen resilience so they can bounce back faster from natural disasters. Our work is also helping to elevate women to decision-making roles that are normally reserved for men in these communities. During a recent tropical cyclone, residents broadcasted early warnings on loudspeakers and mobilized disaster committees. This was the first time that the island prepared with concerted and inclusive measures. “This is our land, our ancestors’ land,” said Elsie Nambri, a teacher and community activist here. “Just as we have learned to live with Mount Yasur, I feel we are now ready for anything.”
Article Disclaimer: This article was published by USAID and retrieved on 12/30/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.
We are excited to welcome Mairi McConnochie to INDESEEM INCORPORATED. She holds a Master’s degree in Health, Population, and Society from the London School of Economics (LSE), with a focus in Epidemiology, Health Policy and Planning and Demography in low and middle-income countries. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology from the University of St. Andrews as well as a qualification in Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).
Mairi is joining our team as the Global & Public Health Technical Specialist and she will work on all matters and projects related to advancing health and sanitation as well as reducing poverty and inequality within the global and public health sectors. She will work with the Director of Global & Public Health.
Mairi’s professional profile speaks volumes and her role as the Director at inHealth Consulting Ltd. – a consulting business specializing in health programme management and development based in the United Kingdom speaks more about her leadership, technical pedigree, and passion for health in developing countries that INDESEEM Inc. could benefit from. I worked with Mairi in the past in Ghana where she worked on several projects and initiatives with local, national, and international organizations and I am excited to have joined us!
The epidemic will have a long-term impact, according to a new UNDP-IFRC report, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable communities, contributing to widening inequalities in the region
New York, 6 April 2017 – The social and economic cost of the recent spread of the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean will total an estimated US$7-18 billion between 2015 and 2017, according to an impact assessment launched today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The new report, A Socio-economic impact assessment of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: with a focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname” concludes that the Zika epidemic will have significant short and long-term impacts in the economic and socials spheres in the Americas.
“Aside from tangible losses to GDP and to economies heavily dependent on tourism, and the stresses on health care systems, the long-term consequences of the Zika virus can undermine decades of social development, hard-earned health gains and slow down progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals”, said Jessica Faieta, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Presenting the report, Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support stated, “Zika reminds us that all countries and peoples remain vulnerable to emerging infectious diseases, and that a disease that primarily affects poorer populations has wide-ranging social and economic implications for entire communities, regions, and nations.”
Zika disproportionately affects the poorest countries in the region, as well as the most vulnerable groups within each country. While there have been concerted efforts by all three focus countries to control the spread of Zika, the report shows that national responses to the virus in the region have faced several challenges, including modest capacity in surveillance and diagnostic systems, prevention efforts, resource allocation and coordination. Persistent social disparities and unequal health service coverage have made it difficult for national responses to reach the most vulnerable groups.
“The Zika virus has highlighted, once again, the critical role that communities and local health workers play during health emergencies,” said Walter Cotte, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas. “Putting resources towards community engagement to the Zika response can lead to stronger local partnerships, boost resilience, build leadership and help reduce stigma. For this, we must continue to promote coordination at all levels and strengthen the Red Cross’ role as an auxiliary to public authorities.”
The Caribbean is the most affected, with an impact five times that of South America. More than 80 percent of the potential losses over three years are due to reduced revenues from international tourism, with the potential to reach a total of $9 billion over three years or 0.06 percent of GDP annually.
Larger economies such as Brazil are expected to bear the greatest share of the absolute cost, but the severest impacts will be felt among the poorest countries. Haiti and Belize stand to lose as much as 1.13 and 1.19 percent respectively of GDP annually in the high infection scenario. Indirect costs could be substantial. Estimates suggest lost income due to new child-care obligations will potentially reach between half a billion and $5 billion for the region.
The impact assessment concludes that regional and national preparedness and response strategies need to be strengthened, and must involve communities. As recently seen with Zika and yellow fever, epidemics spread by mosquitos can quickly expand and governments and communities must be ready to respond.
The sizable economic cost of Zika highlights the need to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito in an integrated and multi-sectoral manner, considering that dengue, chikunguya, yellow fever and Zika are all spread by the same mosquito type. Addressing the conditions that encourage vector proliferation can prevent not only Zika, but also other epidemics.
In addition, the report strongly recommends that protection programmes and care systems must be adapted and strengthened to reach those most in need, including women, girls and persons with disabilities. The promotion of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health are imperative for any Zika response to be effective.
Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the contributors of the United Nations and was retrieved on 04/10/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. Please cite the original source accordingly.