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  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: During the pandemic, Chinese medical and equipment supplies to Chile have come mostly from a diverse cast of Chinese players with local experience in Chile. They adapted to Chile’s unique system of emergency and disaster management. China has become a global power, but there is too little debate about how this has happened and what it means. Many argue that China exports its developmental model and imposes it on other countries. But Chinese players also extend their influence by working through local actors and institutions while adapting and assimilating local and traditional forms, norms, and practices. With a generous multiyear grant from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie has launched an innovative body of research on Chinese engagement strategies in seven regions of the world—Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, the Pacific, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Through a mix of research and strategic convening, this project explores these complex dynamics, including the ways Chinese firms are adapting to local labor laws in Latin America, Chinese banks and funds are exploring traditional Islamic financial and credit products in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and Chinese actors are helping local workers upgrade their skills in Central Asia. These adaptive Chinese strategies that accommodate and work within local realities are mostly ignored by Western policymakers in particular. Ultimately, the project aims to significantly broaden understanding and debate about China’s role in the world and to generate innovative policy ideas. These could enable local players to better channel Chinese energies to support their societies and economies; provide lessons for Western engagement around the world, especially in developing countries; help China’s own policy community learn from the diversity of Chinese experience; and potentially reduce frictions.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Disaster Relief, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South America, Chile
  • Author: Lorenza Errighi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: If 2020 was the year of “mask diplomacy”, as countries raced to tackle the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and acquire the necessary protective gear and equipment, 2021 is likely to be remembered as the year of “vaccine diplomacy”. Growing competition between states to secure the necessary quantities of vaccines to inoculate their population has already become an established feature of the post-COVID international system and such trends are only likely to increase in the near future. It normally takes up to a decade to transition from the development and testing of a vaccine in a laboratory to its large-scale global distribution. Despite current challenges, the speed of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns is unprecedented. To put an end to the current pandemic – which in one year has led to the loss of 2.6 million lives and triggered the worst economic recession since the Second World War – the goal is to ensure the widest immunisation of the world population in a timeframe of 12 to 18 months. In this context, COVID vaccines emerge as instruments of soft power, as they symbolise, on the one hand, scientific and technological supremacy and, on the other, means to support existing and emerging foreign policy partnerships and alliances with relevant geopolitical implications. From their experimentation in laboratories, to their purchase and distribution, the vaccine has emerged as a significant tool for competition between powers, often associated with the promotion of competing developmental and governance models across third countries.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Health, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Steve Kamin, John Kearns
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: COVID-19 vaccination programs are generally understood to be a prerequisite for a return to normalcy in our social and economic lives. Emergency measures to research, test, produce, and distribute vaccines have been expensive, but increases in GDP resulting from the vaccines are expected to exceed those costs by wide margins. Few studies have quantified the economic costs and benefits of different rates of COVID-19 vaccination, however. This Policy Brief focuses on developing such a quantitative assessment for the United States; the approach may be applied to other countries as well. Two illustrative scenarios support the conclusion that most plausible options to accelerate vaccinations would have economic benefits that far exceed their costs, in addition to their more important accomplishment of saving lives. This Policy Brief shows that if, for example, the United States had adopted a more aggressive policy in 2020 of unconditional contracts with vaccine producers, the up-front cost would have been higher but thousands of lives would have been saved and economic growth would have been stronger. Instead, the federal government conditioned its contracts on the vaccines’ being proven safe and effective. The projections presented in this analysis show that even if unconditional contracts led to support for vaccines that failed the phase III trial and ultimately were not used, the cost would have been worth it.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Xi Chen, Qi Gao
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: A considerable amount of attention has been paid to the relationship between education and the promotion of one’s own health. This talk presents the latest evidence and discusses both the upward and downward multigenerational impacts of educational reforms in China over the past few decades on healthy aging. Cosponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Columbia China Center for Social Policy, and the Columbia School of Social Work.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Aging, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Martin Hellwig, Viola Priesemann, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Escape variants can cause new waves of COVID-19 and put vaccination strategies at risk. To prevent or delay the global spread of these waves, virus mobility needs to be minimised through screening and testing strategies, which should also cover vaccinated people. The costs of these strategies are minimal compared to the costs to health, society and economy from another wave.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Global Political Economy, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Although the difficulties’ health personnel face, are quite similar to those of workers in other fields, the political dimensions of physicians ’crises in the region have increased remarkably. Medical doctors are kidnapped in some hotbeds of several Arab armed conflicts to provide treatment for some Militia members, in addition to their indirect involvement in military confrontations in Northeastern Syria through Turkey. Moreover, there is a gap between the medical syndicate and the political authorities regarding the actual number of COVID-19 cases, which was quite evident in Turkey. Medical doctors in some states of the region suffer from delayed payment of their salaries as a result of the decline in oil prices as well as the decline in the financial budgets of their countries. This leads to what is known as the ‘brain drain’, in addition to their contracting diseases such as the coronavirus due to their presence on the front lines confronting the epidemic with short medical supplies. The lives of medical doctors in some countries are endangered, as they get exposed to repeated attacks by community members due to the absence of adequate security measures. The crises of medical doctors in the region are by no means a recent phenomenon, but their features evolve according to different regional conditions and the emergence of transnational epidemics. The Middle East reflects a variety of crises that physicians are exposed to, particularly in hotbeds of tension.
  • Topic: Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Libya, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Kateryna Markevych
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Today’s world is being shaped in new conditions, where digital technologies are gaining more and more weight. They can greatly increase the level of labour efficiency and well-being of people, meet the challenges of health, education and state management (these advantages are particularly evident now, during the COVID-19 pandemic), but also increase the level of innovation of the economy or reduce the carbon intensity.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Brewster
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The ADF has long had an important role in providing humanitarian assistance to Pacific island countries (PICs). The force has extraordinary capabilities—people, expertise, training and equipment—in delivering necessary assistance quickly and efficiently. From Australia’s perspective, the ADF is one of our most important agencies in engaging with our PIC partners, particularly in helping them to develop capabilities to address a range of security challenges. In Australia’s new strategic environment, the ADF can also play an important role in helping to build regional health security as part of a new phase in Australia’s Pacific Step-up. This paper argues that the Australian Government should consider a new role for the ADF in the Pacific through developing mutually beneficial enduring military health partnerships.3 That would involve the regular rotation of ADF health professionals through partner medical facilities where they would have the opportunity to gain unique frontline experience from local experts, while also sharing their own knowledge and skills. The mutuality of benefits inherent in such an arrangement means that they shouldn’t be considered as traditional humanitarian assistance. An enhanced role for the ADF in regional health security, properly structured, might ultimately come to be seen alongside the Pacific Patrol Boat Program as a successful example of mutually beneficial partnerships between the ADF and our Pacific neighbours.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Health
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This brief presents some of the key effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on India’s public school education, focussing specifically on children. It begins with a discussion of the pre-pandemic status of school education and key policy shifts over the past few years, and provides an overview of the principal issues arising from the pandemic and the resulting school closures. It then offers potential policy suggestions to address these challenges, and thereby ensuring quality education to all children.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Children, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Gordon Abekah-Nkrumah
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Ghana Center for Democratic Development
  • Abstract: The goal of health financing is main to promote financial access to preventive and curative care by making funds available and setting the right financial incentive to healthcare providers.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Health Care Policy, Finance
  • Political Geography: Ghana
  • Author: Mma Amara Ekeruchera
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak began in December 2019 in the Wuhan city of China and has continued to spread globally. As of this writing, 28.2 million cases have been recorded globally with 910,000 deaths. Aside the health impact, the pandemic has led to an unprecedented disruption in economic activities, initiating a sudden demand, supply, and financial shock. The mitigation strategies put in place by governments across the world to curb the virus as well as the uncertainty associated with the pandemic has led to a reduction in the consumption of non-essential commodities. Meanwhile, disruptions to global supply chains in a closely connected world as well as the reduced demand have necessitated a slowdown in production. Furthermore, investors have become more risk averse with the prices of risk assets falling to levels experienced in the 2007-20008 global financial crisis. To counteract the fall in private sector demand, stabilize the financial system, and ensure economic recovery, governments and central banks across the world have deployed a range of policies and programmes. Central banks are cutting policy rates and providing direct liquidity to the financial system. Federal and sub-national governments are providing tax relief, cash transfers, and employee retention schemes to alleviate the burden on affected individuals and businesses. Africa is not left behind as governments have increased spending plans (about 1.9% of their GDP) and central banks are adopting more accommodating monetary policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Monetary Policy, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, Pandemic, COVID-19, Socioeconomics , Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jasmina Brankovic
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: Following the African model of transitional justice presented in the African Union Transitional Justice Policy, this report identifies ways to conceptualise and integrate healing, particularly from psychological wounds, into holistic and contextualised transitional justice practice on the continent. The report draws on reflections from African practitioners engaging with transitional justice issues in The Gambia to share lessons learnt with civil society and other actors seeking to do similar work in the region and beyond. It presents ideas for designing and implementing locally guided, tailored and sustainable mental health and psychosocial support interventions that amplify local knowledge and practices, rather than dampening them with external expertise.
  • Topic: Health, Transitional Justice, Psychology, Mental Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Gambia
  • Author: Melinda K. Abrams, Reginald D. Williams II, Katharine Fields, Roosa Tikkanen
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Commonwealth Fund
  • Abstract: About one-quarter of U.S. adults report having a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety or depression or experiencing emotional distress. This is one of the highest rates among 11 high-income countries. While U.S. adults are among the most willing to seek professional help for emotional distress, they are among the most likely to report access or affordability issues. Emotional distress is associated with social and economic needs in all countries. Nearly half of U.S. adults who experience emotional distress report such worries, a higher share than seen in other countries. The United States has some of the worst mental health–related outcomes, including the highest suicide rate and second-highest drug-related death rate. The U.S. has a relatively low supply of mental health workers, particularly psychologists and psychiatrists. Just one-third of U.S. primary care practices have mental health professionals on their team, compared to more than 90 percent in the Netherlands and Sweden.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Mental Health, Drugs, Substance Abuse
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Global Philanthropy Project (GPP)
  • Abstract: As COVID-19 spread across the globe in 2020, and its health and broader political and socioeconomic implications became evident, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI)2 communities organized. To meet new challenges, LGBTI organizations across the world stepped up, aware that legal and social discrimination and marginalization would make their communities particularly vulnerable to impacts of the pandemic. LGBTI community response included: delivering essential food to communities of unemployed trans men in rural Guatemala; providing housing for LGBTI communities escaping unsafe living environments in Macedonia; ensuring that lesbian, bisexual, and queer female sex workers have access to essential medicines in Uganda; and other examples in communities around the world. As governments, donors, and service providers have largely failed to acknowledge the specific needs of LGBTI people in responding to COVID-19, LGBTI organizations have filled the void to provide basic protection and support for their communities. Many of these organizations have traditionally focused on advocacy and community organizing to advance and protect the human rights of LGBTI people. Now, in the era of COVID-19, they have become direct service providers, out of necessity—albeit with limited resources and capacity. In April 2020, the Global Philanthropy Project launched a short survey to understand the initial response of global LGBTI philanthropy to the pandemic, soliciting data from all GPP member organizations as well as non-GPP members within the top 20 funders of global LGBTI issues. A key outcome from that report was an identified role for GPP to monitor shifts in resources flowing to LGBTI movements and communities, as well as the broader impact of COVID-19 on international development and humanitarian assistance funding.
  • Topic: Health, Discrimination, LGBT+, Advocacy, Community, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, Global South
  • Author: Joana Purves, William Echikson
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: The European Union has built a one-stop-shop for its member state regulators to post product safety notifications – Safety Gate (European Commission 2021d). Constructed on top of the Rapid Alert System for Dangerous Non-Food Products, or RAPEX, the Safety Gate web portal is designed to make public the “quick exchange of information” between 31 European countries and the European Commission “about measures taken against dangerous non-food products.” While Safety Gate represents a significant achievement, our research revealed areas for improvement to increase its utility for manufacturers, marketplaces and consumers. Many product notifications published on the website lack details required to facilitate speedy removals and recalls. The study graded eight essential criteria for a total of 918 Safety Gate notifications published over eight months in 2020. The average notification score was a respectable 70 out of 100, but over 98% of the notifications omitted at least one key criterion. Only 14 notifications included all the information to enable efficient and accurate product identification.
  • Topic: Health, Food, European Union, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Johan Norberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe has benefitted strongly from being an open economy that can access goods and services from other parts of the world. Paradoxically, some politicians in Europe think that dependence on foreign supplies reduced the resilience of our economy – and argue that Europe now should wean itself off its dependence on other economies. In this Policy Brief, it is argued that self-sufficiency or less economic openness is a dangerous direction of policy. It would make Europe less resilient and less capable of responding to the next emergency. It is key that people, firms and governments can get supplies from other parts of the world. It is diversification, not concentration of production, that will make Europe more resilient when the next emergency hit. We don’t know where the next crisis will come from. Nature will throw nasty surprises at us, and we will make stupid mistakes, some of which will have devastating consequences. What we do know, though, is that we stand a better chance to fight the next emergency if we get richer and improve our technology. The best policy for resilience is one that encourages specialisation and innovation – and, when the emergency hit, allow for people to improvise in search for solutions. For that to happen, we need openness to goods, services and technology from abroad.
  • Topic: Health, International Political Economy, Innovation, Economic Cooperation, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Abigail Bellows, Nada Zohdy
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The pandemic is spurring elite and grassroots civic actors to cooperate more, but the gulf between them remains wide. Civic actors must seize the opportunity for reform on open government issues. From Africa to Latin America to Europe, the coronavirus pandemic has generated a surge in public demand for government transparency and accountability. To seize this window for reform, elite and grassroots civic actors concerned with open governance must overcome the cleavage that has long existed between them. Thus far, the pandemic has catalyzed some new civic collaborations, but not at the scale or depth needed to seize that window. In general, civil society groups report feeling more isolated during the pandemic. In some places, the urgency of tackling open government issues during the pandemic has helped overcome that isolation by deepening partnerships among existing networks. But in other places, those partnerships have yet to take shape, and new alliances are less likely to form without the benefit of face-to-face interactions. Even the partnerships that have crystallized or deepened do not appear to be changing the fundamental roles of elite and grassroots civic actors. It is possible that this shift may happen over time. Or it may be that the pandemic alone is not enough to dislodge structural barriers to deeper cooperation. The pandemic has dramatically changed the operations of elite and grassroots actors alike. The impact of those changes on collaboration between the two depends on preexisting levels of technological capacity. In places with limited connectivity, the pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide, adversely affecting grassroots actors. Meanwhile, in places with good connectivity, technology is enabling broader (though shallower) participation, laying the groundwork for more elite-grassroots collaboration. Although many civil society groups are struggling financially during the pandemic, those effects are mitigated to some degree by continuing donor interest in the open government sector. This is encouraging, as coalition building requires dedicated, flexible resources. Finally, it is a more dangerous time to be working on open government issues in general, and grassroots actors bear disproportionate risks in doing so. This underscores the need for more vertical alliances to mitigate civic space threats.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shruti Sharma
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: India faces a host of biological risk factors. Drawing lessons from the coronavirus pandemic and prior biological disasters, India’s government should pursue new safety protocols and develop new institutions to manage future biological risk. Infectious diseases such as COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus; severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS); Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS); and the diseases caused by the Ebola, Nipah, and Zika viruses have exposed countries’ susceptibility to naturally occurring biological threats. Even though scientists from multiple countries concluded that the virus responsible for the coronavirus pandemic shifted naturally from an animal source to a human host,1 the international community should not ignore the possibility of pathogens escaping accidentally from research labs and threats of deliberate manipulation to create more dangerous bioweapons. India is especially vulnerable to such infections because of its geographical position, large population, low healthcare spending, minimal expenditure on research that benefits public health, weak coordination between central and state health authorities, limited involvement of private actors, poor awareness of biosecurity, and the rickety state of public health infrastructure. Most recently, COVID-19 has revealed the deep fault lines in India’s public health infrastructure, including a shortage of healthcare workers, lack of trained epidemiologists, scarcity of medical equipment, poor access to healthcare facilities in rural areas, and inefficient disease reporting and surveillance in most states. The pandemic should therefore be a wake-up call for India to assess gaps in its public health infrastructure and divert its resources toward the healthcare sector to prepare itself for both natural and man-made biological emergencies. Like any country, India faces three major biological threats: naturally occurring infections in humans or animals, or agricultural infestations; infections arising from accidental release of pathogens into the environment; and possible outbreaks caused by deliberate weaponization of dangerous pathogens that affect humans, animals, or crops. These threats—either alone or together—will force India to strengthen its capacity to detect and respond to them.
  • Topic: Health, Biology, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Colin O'Leary
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Synthetic biology (sometimes referred to as “SynBio”) is broadly defined as the application of engineering principles to biology, and in practice, refers to emerging technology that allows living organisms to be modified to serve user-defined purposes. While traditional biotechnology involves the transfer of smaller amounts of genetic material from one biological species to another, synthetic biology will permit the inten- tional construction of an entire organism.1 It has the potential to allow scientists to design living organisms distinct from any found in nature and to redesign existing organisms to have novel or enhanced qualities.2 The use cases of synthetic biology range from developing new therapeutics and vaccines for infectious disease to manufacturing novel biomaterials, biosensors, and biofuels. As scientists better understand biological systems, the potential applications of SynBio are anticipated to expand in scale and scope. The continued growth of the bioeconomy—defined as the “production, utilization and conservation of biological resources, including related knowledge, science, technology, and innovation, to provide information, products, processes and services across all economic sectors”—is giving space for synthetic biology technology to become a more significant part of the overall economic landscape.3 As with any technology that has a high potential for impact, SynBio presents a variety of pronounced opportunities, as well as risks. As the technology continues to mature and the number of market-ready applications grows, it is important for policymakers to consider how to promote the large number of opportunities the technology presents in the space of health and medicine, energy production, environmental recovery, food production, and more, while simultaneously protecting the public from foreseeable negative impli- cations and risks, such as weaponization, consumer safety, and ecological stability. Since synthetic biology bears significant similarities to previous biotechnology research on genetical- ly-modified organisms and recombinant DNA, existing regulations in the United States place the majority of synthetic biology products into the current biotechnology regulatory framework. As SynBio becomes more prominent though, it will be important for regulatory schemes to uniquely target the technology and its implications beyond those captured through biotechnology frameworks. Policymakers must continue to engage in the progression of the technology, understanding how regulation and governance must evolve to ensure the public can realize the opportunities, while being protected from the risks.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Biology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Younes Mahmoudieh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: When I visited Iran this summer, severe panic attacks, depression, and anxiety—longstanding byproducts of post-traumatic stress disorder—caused me to seek out a trauma therapist. After weeks of contacting Iranian pharmacies, hospitals, charities, and relief organizations, my prescriptions for Zoloft, Xanax, Ativan, and Clonazepam remained unfilled. Since the United States exited the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) and imposed new sanctions, this kind of shortage has become commonplace.
  • Topic: Health, Sanctions, International Community, International Court of Justice (ICJ)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Maggie Brady
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity, a book sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and boasting fifteen international authors, describes alcohol policies as authoritative decisions made by government or non-government groups designed to minimize or prevent the adverse consequences of alcohol consumption. This compilation of high-quality research and advice, in addition to the WHO’s other channels of communication, provides a blueprint for action for WHO member states designed to help governments around the world make national policies. This is necessary because many countries have no clear alcohol policies at all. Uganda, for example, has not reviewed its liquor laws since the 1960s, and China has no systematic data collection, legally enforceable drinking age, nor regulation over sales, despite rising alcohol consumption.
  • Topic: Health, World Health Organization, Governance, Culture, Public Policy, Indigenous, Alcohol
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Ben Bland, Alexandre Dayant, John Edwards, Stephen Grenville, Natasha Kassam, Herve Lemahieu, Alyssa Leng, Richard McGregor, Shane McLeod, Alex Oliver, Jonathan Pryke, Roland Rajah, Sam Roggeveen, Sam Scott
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The fight against COVID-19 has been the greatest challenge the world has faced since the middle of last century. As countries have fought to control the disease, they have closed borders, quarantined their citizens, and shut down economies almost entirely. The ramifications will reverberate for years, if not decades, to come. In April 2020, the Lowy Institute published a digital feature in which twelve Institute experts examined the ways in which the COVID crisis would affect Australia, the region and the world. In this new feature, Lowy Institute experts provide policy recommendations for Australia to address issues that are critical to our nation’s — and the world’s — successful emergence from the pandemic. Countries have turned inwards in an attempt to fend off the threat of an infection that is oblivious to borders. Some have seen globalisation as the cause of the crisis, and have focused on solving problems without recourse to the international institutions of global security and prosperity, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the G20. Yet global problems require international solutions. As the world emerges from the crisis, cooperation between nations will be more important than ever. Nation states cannot revive their economies purely through national solutions. They cannot address global threats, including the possibility of further pandemics, alone. Australia’s achievements in managing the COVID crisis have been exemplary. It has handled the health and economic emergency with great competence. But this is just the beginning of our crisis recovery. The challenges in our region, and the global problems that existed before COVID, have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Australia has already done much to address the domestic economic and health issues from the COVID crisis. But to shape a prosperous and secure future, it will also need to work in cooperation with other nations, large and small, allies and partners, on a much broader array of international issues ranging from the economic disruption across the region, pressure from China on trade, and development challenges in the Pacific, to increasingly competitive relations between the United States and China, the weakening of the World Health Organization, and the declining utility of the G20.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Health, World Health Organization, G20, Geopolitics, COVID-19, International Order
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, Australia, United States of America
  • Author: Francesca Ghiretti
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The bilateral relationship between Italy and China is back in the spotlight one year after the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. To date, Italy is the second hardest hit country by COVID-19 pandemic after China. Despite strict measures in place to limit the crisis, numbers keep rising, placing the national health care system under severe strain.
  • Topic: Health, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid, Propaganda
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Italy, European Union
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: On 25 March, one month after Russia registered its first confirmed case of Coronavirus, President Vladimir Putin announced a week of paid national holiday and invited Russians to stay home in a televised address to the nation. Further measures were subsequently introduced to limit the spread of the virus, while authorities prepared emergency plans to safeguard socio-economic conditions in the country. Initiatives included providing a new support package to businesses hit by the pandemic, a monthly bonus to medical personnel and the construction of new hospitals, following the Chinese model. Meanwhile, the constitutional referendum meant to extend Putin’s term limit as president was postponed. Originally scheduled for 22 April, this delay is due to Putin’s concern for public health and the multidimensional impact of the pandemic, a perfect storm involving quarantine measures, declining living standards, inflation and a weakened exchange rate, rising prices and increased job insecurity. Taken together, these challenges could jeopardise the outcome of the referendum. A recent poll conducted by the Levada Center in March highlighted a very slim majority (45 per cent) in favour of Putin’s constitutional amendments.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Soft Power, Coronavirus, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Italy
  • Author: Yara Hawari
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As of early September 2020 more than 27 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide, along with approximately 890,000 deaths. After many months of lockdown, countries are having to re-open despite growing infection rates and fears of a second wave while people adapt to a “new normal” which includes restrictions, social distancing and limited travel. At the start of the lockdowns, many Palestinians commented that the world now finally understood what life was like for them. Particularly in the West Bank and Gaza, the curfews, the closure of public spaces, the inability or difficulty to travel, lingering anxiety and perpetual uncertainty are features common to Palestinian life. However, this new global reality reflects only a fraction of the Palestinian experience of suffering from nearly a century of ongoing settler colonialism.
  • Topic: Health, Settler Colonialism, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Afrah Nasser
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After Yemen’s 2011 uprising broke out, the country went through a series of political upheavals and cycles of violence that tore the country apart, including the start of a full-scale civil war in 2014 and the Saudi- and UAE-led intervention in 2015. In a context where civilians have been deliberately attacked by all sides, COVID-19 has added a new layer to the unspeakable suffering for millions of civilians in Yemen, whilst Europe has reacted with development aid but has thus far failed to support need for accountability in the conflict.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Health, War, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Yemen, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Magdalena Stawkowski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Around the world, hundreds of thousands of people live in and around former nuclear test sites. Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan provides both a home and a livelihood for an estimated 50,000 people, but security measures are not yet sufficient to protect them from radioactive waste from the past. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Establish local education programs to prevent unintentional exposure to residual radioactivity ■ Encourage local authorities to promote radiation-safety programs ■ Cordon off and secure unmarked radioactive areas on nuclear test sites ■ Carry out regular radiation monitoring in villages close to nuclear test sites, as well as of livestock
  • Topic: Health, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Maurice Obstfeld, Adam S. Posen, Olivier Blanchard, Chad P. Bown, Cullen S. Hendrix, Ana González, Simeon Djankov, Anne-Laure Kiechel, Anna Gelpern, Sean Hagan, Adnan Mazarei, Christopher G. Collins, Simon Potter, Edwin M. Truman, Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The world's leading economic powers must cooperate more to combat the health and economic shocks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In a new PIIE Briefing, Peterson Institute experts outline how collective action by the Group of Twenty (G20) nations can make a difference. The PIIE agenda includes removal of trade barriers impeding the flow of medical supplies and food, and more money for research, testing, and disease control, especially for debt-burdened low-income countries. The World Bank and the World Health Organization need more resources to relieve suffering, and the International Monetary Fund must step up to stabilize the world financial system.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, G20, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julien Maire
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In March 2020, most countries implemented stringent measures—closing schools and workplaces, limiting public gatherings, and curbing travel—to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Using the Oxford Stringency Index and smartphone data from Google, Maire examines the effects of the stringent measures implemented in March–May 2020 on individual mobility. The results suggest that stringent measures were more effective at reducing individual mobility in higher-income countries than in lower-income countries and that the differences reflect factors such as extreme poverty, perception of risk, the share of vulnerable employment, number of hospital beds, age distribution of the population, and population density. Understanding how the effects of lockdown measures on individual mobility differed across countries is important to determine the effectiveness of such measures on health outcomes and their impact on economic activity.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Governance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sungchul Park, Hansoo Ko
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Effective as of July 1, 2018, South Korea set a new cap on employees’ weekly working hours, decreasing the maximum number from 68 to 52. In this study, we comprehensively analyze the effectiveness of the law’s implementation by observing changes in work time, health status, health care utilization, health behavior, monthly expenses, and satisfaction between pre- and post-implementation periods (2014–2017 vs. 2019). We find evidence of both intended and unintended consequences—and, in this last category, some are beneficial and some not. As intended, employees eligible for the 52-hour work week saw their average working hours decrease, while their monthly spending on leisure increased substantially. A beneficial unintended consequence was that work time also decreased in firms with less than 300 employees that had not yet implemented the 52-hour work schedule (they have done so since, in January 2020). Among adverse unintended consequences, the most notable were heterogeneous effects across employment types (full-time vs. precarious employment) and, in particular, negative impacts on precarious employees (that is, those facing relatively high levels of job insecurity). Despite almost no change in their work time, precarious employees saw substantial increases in outpatient visits and monthly expenses for health care, indicating suggestive evidence of adverse health consequences. Another adverse unintended consequence was that overall job satisfaction decreased among several groups of employees. This may reflect a heavy workload among employees still expected to work overtime, especially experienced employees or those working in large firms. While employment rates increased after the new schedule’s implementation, the majority were in precarious jobs. This has negative implications because of the adverse health impacts of being in precarious employment; also, the workload of experienced employees in this field might have intensified amid all the new hiring. Our findings suggest key policy recommendations for how to leverage the benefits of the 52-hour cap on weekly working hours while addressing its negative unintended consequences.
  • Topic: Health, Labor Issues, Employment, Labor Policies
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The humanitarian crisis in northern Syria is on the verge of becoming a COVID-19 catastrophe. A decade of conflict has left the healthcare system in ruins—and millions of displaced people in Idlib province were already suffering due to a lack of shelter and sanitation. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic posed to spread to an area with just 600 doctors and fewer than 50 adult ventilators for four million people, the situation is dire. Why is Idlib the last refuge for internally displaced Syrians, and what can donors, international humanitarian actors, and local organizations do to ensure that they are not left behind as the world grapples with COVID-19? This policy briefing by Tayseer Alkarim, Hanny Megally, and Leah Zamore delves into roots of the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, details the current capacity of the exhausted healthcare system amid the ongoing conflict, and examines what these constraints mean for mounting a response to the spread of the coronavirus. The briefing explains how donors and international humanitarian organizations can take action now to support local institutions, increase testing and treatment capacity, improve availability of PPE and public information, and press for an immediate ceasefire. The plight of Idlib is one of the most complex humanitarian dilemmas of our time, influenced by prolonged conflict, a looming COVID-19 outbreak, and the ongoing failure of the international community to take effective action. A further failure to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Idlib will cost lives—and risk global health security further by allowing the virus to spread in one of the places that is least-equipped to contain it.
  • Topic: Health, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Dr. Evan Ellis
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic will have profound and enduring negative effects on Latin America and the Caribbean, significantly impacting the security, interests, and strategic position of the United States. Department of Defense and other US senior leaders should begin planning now to mitigate or manage the consequences. The effects of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean, as in many other parts of the developing world, will be far more significant than is commonly anticipated for two reasons. First, the virus will likely play out across the region over an extended length of time owing to a variety of factors discussed later. Second, the pandemic’s mutually reinforcing health, economic, social, and political effects will combine to wreak far more havoc than anticipated in analyses that only consider disease propagation or effects on commerce. Together, these two dynamics of COVID-19 will leave a Latin America that is far sicker, poorer, beset by crime, violence, social unrest, and political instability than today. It will also leave a region with expanded People’s Republic of China (PRC) commercial presence and political influence, even while being more resentful of it.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Even as their lack of transparency worsens the public health crisis, the Supreme Leader and other officials have systematically gutted any civil society elements capable of organizing substantial opposition to such policies. Iran’s ongoing coronavirus epidemic has left the people with less reason than ever to trust the information and directives issued by their leaders. Part 1 of this PolicyWatch discussed the clergy’s role in aggravating this problem, but the state’s mistakes and deceptions have been legion as well. They include scandalous discrepancies between official reports after a period of denial that the virus had entered the country; a health system that was unprepared to deal with such a disease promptly and properly; and official resistance to implementing internationally recommended precautionary measures, such as canceling flights from China and quarantining the center of the outbreak. These decisions have sown widespread confusion about facts and fictions related to the virus, the most effective medically proven ways to control it, and the degree to which it is spreading throughout the country. As a result, an already restive population has become increasingly panicked about the future and angry at the state. Yet can the coronavirus actually bring down the regime? The harsh reality is that the state has left little space for opposition to organize around health issues, or any issues for that matter. Instead, it has sought to confuse the people and redirect their anger toward external enemies, even as its own policies contribute to the crisis.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Health, Public Health, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The clergy’s ambitions for global Shia revolution made the city of Qom uniquely vulnerable to the disease, and their resistance to modern medical science weakened the state’s ability to combat its spread. On February 19, two days before the Iranian government officially announced the arrival of coronavirus, an infected businessman who had recently returned from China to Qom passed away. The location and timing of his death illustrate how the Shia holy city and the religious leaders and institutions who call it home have played an outsize role in the disease’s disproportionately rapid spread inside Iran compared to other countries. How did this situation come to pass, and what does it say about the current state of the clerical establishment, its relationship with the regime, and its alienation from large swaths of Iranian society? (Part 2 of this PolicyWatch discusses the regime's role in the outbreak and its resiliency to such crises.)
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Religion, Shia, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Peder Østebø
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While all states face massive challenges when responding to COVID-19, some are in a more precarious position than others. In Venezuela, the pandemic arrived at the worst possible time for its citizens. Facing one of the deepest economic crises outside of wartime in recent years, its consequences have spilled over to all aspect of social life.1 However, the timing seems to have suited the leaders of the Venezuelan regime well. Rather than constituting a threat to the stability of a regime that has lost both democratic legitimacy and the capacity to provide services and security, the government of Nicolas Maduro (2013-present) has seemingly managed to consolidate itself after several years of instability. The starting point of the discussion is an apparent paradox: how can a regime with neither legitimacy nor capacity, two commonly invoked criteria for effective crisis management, strengthen itself during a crisis such as that spurred by COVID-19? The brief presents an overview of how the Venezuelan regime has responded to COVID-19, and how the government of Nicolás Maduro has applied different strategies to consolidate a favorable political status quo. It takes as its starting point three concepts, namely “state capacity,” “legitimacy,” and “power,” all of which are frequently upheld as fundamental for understanding the varying ways in which states have responded to the pandemic. It highlights how relative power relations have shifted in recent years, and how the pandemic has contributed to skewing the balance of power further in favor of the Maduro government.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South America, Central America, Venezuela
  • Author: Bhashkar Mazumder, Maria Rosales-Rueda, Margaret Triyana
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: We analyze the long-run and intergenerational effects of a large-scale school building project (INPRES) that took place in Indonesia between 1974 and 1979. Specifically, we link the geographic rollout of INPRES to longitudinal data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey covering two generations. We find that individuals exposed to the program have better health later in life along multiple measures. We also find that the children of those exposed experience improved health and educational outcomes and that these effects are generally stronger for maternal exposure than paternal exposure. We find some evidence that household resources, neighborhood quality, and assortative mating may explain a portion of our results. Our findings highlight the importance of considering the long-run and multigenerational benefits when evaluating the costs and benefits of social interventions in a middle-income country.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Poverty, Inequality, Economic Growth, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Aspen Institute
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics and the Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine & Society Program have together established an advisory panel to consider how the U.S. can better link the price of health technologies to the benefits they provide to patients while ensuring a sustainable healthcare ecosystem that supports innovation.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Health Care Policy, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In June 2019, the Aspen Health Strategy Group met for three days to explore the topic of antimicrobial resistance. We are pleased to present the final report from our work, based upon the group’s rich discussion. In the tradition of the thought-provoking conversations and dialogue on how to address critical societal issues — the hallmark of the Aspen Institute — the report includes five big ideas to address antimicrobial resistance.
  • Topic: Health, Public Health, Resistance, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Raffaello Pantucci, Abdul Basit, Kyler Ong, Nur Aziemah Azman, V. Arianti, Muh Taufiqurrohman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has redefined almost all spheres of modern life. While states around the world are redeploying their financial resources, energies and military capabilities to cope with the challenge of the coronavirus, terrorist groups across the ideological spectrum have positioned themselves to exploit the gaps created by these policy re-adjustments. Terrorist groups are milking people’s fears amid confusion and uncertainty to promote their extremist propagandas. The rearrangement of global imperatives will push counter-terrorism and extremism down the priority list of the international community. Anticipating these policy changes, existing counter-terrorism frameworks and alliances should be revisited to devise cost-effective and innovative strategies to ensure continuity of the fight against terrorist groups. With these considerations in mind, this special issue of the Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) features four articles that identify and assess important security risks around COVID-19, given its far-reaching social, economic and geopolitical impact. In the first article, Raffaello Pantucci reasons that COVID-19 will have a deep-seated and prolonged impact across government activity, both in terms of the categorisation of risks, as well as the resources available to tackle other issues. Perceptions of risk around terrorist threats may shift, with states grappling with stark economic, social and political challenges. At the same time, security threats continue to evolve, and may even worsen. According to the author, some of the tools developed to deal with the pandemic can potentially be useful in tracking terrorist threats. However, resource constraints will require states, on a global scale, to think far more dynamically about how to adequately buffer much-needed security blankets both within and beyond their borders. In the second article, Abdul Basit outlines the opportunities and potential implications that COVID-19 has created for terrorist groups across the ideological divide. According to the author, terrorist groups have exploited the virus outbreak to spread racial hatred, doomsday and end-of-times narratives. Among jihadist groups, IS has taken a more totalitarian view of the coronavirus pandemic, while Al-Qaeda (AQ) and the Taliban have used it as a PR exercise to gain political legitimacy. Far-right groups in the West have spun it to promote native nationalism, border restoration and anti-immigration policies. Terrorist groups have increased their social media propaganda to radicalise and recruit vulnerable individuals. At the same time, these groups have urged their supporters to carry out lone-wolf attacks and use the coronavirus as a bioweapon. In the post-COVID-19 world, revisiting existing counter-terrorism frameworks to devise more adaptable and cost-effective strategies would be needed to continue the fight against terrorism. In the next article, V. Arianti and Muh Taufiqurrohman observe that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a varied impact on Indonesia’s security landscape. On the one hand, it has emboldened IS-affiliated Indonesian militant groups to step up calls for attacks, with the government seen as weakened amidst a worsening domestic health crisis. On the other, ongoing indoctrination and recruitment activities of militant groups have also faced disruptions. According to the authors, counter-terrorism strategies will need to be reoriented as circumstances evolve, particularly in dealing with the arrest of militants and the subsequent processes of their prosecution and incarceration. Finally, Kyler Ong and Nur Aziemah Azman examine the calls to action by far-right extremists and the Islamic State (IS), which reveals varying degrees of organisational coherence in the respective movements. According to the authors, such variations influence these two groups’ preferred techniques, tactics and procedures adopted in seeking to exploit the health crisis. For its part, IS has a more organised hierarchical structure, even if it has increasingly granted autonomy to its affiliates to plan and execute attacks. In comparison, the absence of a central authority, or command structure in the far-right, can lead to a fragmentation of interests. These factors invariably create uncertainties in how, when and where extremists of both ilk may seek to operationalise an attack.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Health, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Luis Montesclaros
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: While engaging in hoarding behaviour at the national level may seem like a strategic move in response to household hoarding amid disruptions in trade, doing so can potentially trigger a repeat of the 2007-08 food crisis.
  • Topic: Security, Health, Food, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Angelo Paolo L. Trias
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Governments around the world are deploying their military forces to respond to COVID-19. Militaries can be helpful in responding to emergencies and disasters because of their organised and unique capabilities. But how can the military be useful in the fight against the coronavirus?
  • Topic: Health, United Nations, Military Affairs, COVID-19, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: S. Nanthini
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Irregular migrants already struggling with poverty, displacement and discrimination, will be one of the hardest hit communities by the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing stigmatisation and a lack of resources, they are often overlooked in policy conversations despite their especially high vulnerability to the virus.
  • Topic: Health, Labor Issues, COVID-19, Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jose M. L. Montesclaros, Mely Caballero-Anthony
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Many economies have already started to re-open in spite of growing COVID-19 active cases, but it may be for the wrong reasons, and some may be premature. Analysing the healthcare and fiscal capacity of countries provides insights on framing the logic of re-opening.
  • Topic: Health, Economy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mely Caballero-Anthony
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Averting the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic requires no less than a coordinated and effective global response with the participation of all actors at multiple levels of governance. Asia must seize the opportunity to define its role in this endeavour.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Health, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Developed by Brown University faculty with expertise in infectious diseases, emergency medicine, medical education, and instructional design, the training curriculum has been designed in accordance with World Health Organization standards, best practices, and guidelines. The training program, teaches and evaluates trainees on COVID-19 core competencies, including biology and transmission mechanisms; infection prevention and control; contact tracing; screening and triage; diagnosis and management; stabilization and resuscitation; health facility operations and surge capacity; and risk communication and public health messaging. Designed for ease of remote access, the training program is delivered virtually by Brown University trainers and is accompanied by real-time Q&A support. Tailored for each specific country setting in which it is delivered, the curriculum focuses on strengthening the capacity of health workers in resource-limited settings. The training utilizes a Training-of-Trainers model to engage master trainers and coach new trainers, allowing Project HOPE and CHRHS to quickly build a cadre of competent instructors who are able to train other health workers within their networks to respond efficiently to the threat of COVID-19 while also protecting their own health.
  • Topic: Health, Training, Data, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Harvey Galper, Reehana Raza
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: On March 13, Kenya reported its first case of COVID-19, and an additional 649 cases were reported in the following two months. As the pandemic spreads, Kenya’s policymakers are facing the first significant challenge to the country’s nascent intergovernmental system and will have to prioritize how to spend the country’s scarce resources amid existing fiscal constraints. Established in 2013, Kenya’s decentralized government structure gives the country’s 47 counties the primary responsibility of delivering health care services to their citizens. But historical and geographical factors have led to substantial variation across counties in both health care capacity and risk of contracting the coronavirus. To make critical decisions to control the pandemic, Kenya’s policymakers will need not only accurate data on the spread of the coronavirus but also county-specific data and analyses on health care capacity and population risk. With such county-level data, the national government can flatten the curve and better allocate the country’s limited resources in line with individual counties' circumstances.
  • Topic: Health, Population, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Mirka Martel
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: The Institute of International Education (IIE) is studying the effects of COVID‐19 (coronavirus) on global student mobility on U.S. higher education campuses. Our aim in this series is to provide more information about the effects that COVID‐19 has had on international student mobility, and the measures U.S. higher education institutions are taking regarding international students currently on campus and those abroad, international students interested in studying in the United States, and U.S. students planning to study abroad. The first survey was launched on Feb. 13, 2020, and specifically focuses on the effects of COVID‐19 with regard to academic student mobility to and from China. As the COVID‐19 outbreak evolves, IIE will administer follow‐on surveys to the U.S. higher education community to monitor the unfolding situation and to keep the international education community informed.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Youth, Mobility, Higher Education, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Marek Wąsiński, Mateusz Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The coronavirus outbreak is spreading throughout the United States. After its initial underestimation of the threat, the Trump administration has acted to fight against the pandemic, including the introduction of a national emergency. The effectiveness of these actions will be an important factor in whether Trump is re-elected. The limits on social life despite the enormous financial support from the government and the Federal Reserve have dramatically slowed the economy, heading into a recession. Public debt will increase much more rapidly, which may force budget cuts in the coming years.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Health, Financial Crisis, Health Care Policy, Crisis Management, Donald Trump, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sebastian Płóciennik
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The prospect of dire economic repercussions from the coronavirus pandemic has prompted the German government to expand its intervention tools. The latest package puts the emphasis on helping the smallest companies and self-employed, offering more loan guarantees, as well as the possibility of temporary state purchases of shares in companies. The crisis is a challenge for fiscal policy—it will lead to a large deficit in public finances and to rising pressure on the German government to accept joint financial measures in the eurozone.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Fiscal Policy, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Iran’s official figures on cases and deaths from COVID-19 (the disease resulting from coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2) do not reflect the real scale of the pandemic in that country, which might be among the hardest hit in the world. The pandemic will deepen the economic crisis and disfunction of the state, becoming a challenge to Iran’s ruling elite. The regime might survive thanks to the security apparatus and, in parallel, continue its support of Shia militias in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, and the Syrian government. Only the succession of power after Ali Khamenei will be the real test of the coherence of the Iranian elite, and in case of disruption, it might result in the collapse of Iran’s theocracy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Government, Health, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Elites
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic
  • Author: Bartlomiej Znojek
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The spread rate of COVID-19 in Brazil is increasing and the policies of the federal government, headed by President Jair Bolsonaro, do not contribute to a slowdown in the pandemic. Bolsonaro downplays the threat and rejects restrictive measures as he priori-tises support for the economy. He has clashed with state governors who introduced restrictions and with the Federal Supreme Court, which defended their autonomy. The deteriorating situation in Brazil amid the pandemic and political situation diminish Bolsonaro’s chances of re-election in 2022 and may strain his government’s relations with EU partners.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Politics, Health Care Policy, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Jair Bolsonaro
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Xian Huang
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: On October 14, 2020, Xian Huang, Assistant Professor of Political Sciencee at Rutgers University joined Qin Gao, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work and director of the China Center for Social Policy for an event: "Social Protection under Authoritarianism: Health Politics and Policy in China." Why would an authoritarian regime expand social welfare provision in the absence of democratization? Yet China, the world's largest and most powerful authoritarian state, has expanded its social health insurance system at an unprecedented rate, increasing enrollment from 20 percent of its population in 2000 to 95 percent in 2012. Significantly, people who were uninsured, such as peasants and the urban poor, are now covered, but their insurance is less comprehensive than that of China's elite. With the wellbeing of 1.4 billion people and the stability of the regime at stake, social health insurance is now a major political issue for Chinese leadership and ordinary citizens. In this book talk, Xian Huang analyzes the transformation of China's social health insurance in the first decade of the 2000s, addressing its expansion and how it is distributed. Drawing from government documents, filed interviews, survey data, and government statistics, she reveals that Chinese leaders have a strategy of "stratified expansion," perpetuating a particularly privileged program for the elites while developing an essentially modest health provision for the masses. She contends that this strategy effectively balances between elites and masses to maximize the regime's prospects of stability.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Health, Authoritarianism, Political stability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Mfundo Mandla Masuku, Primrose Thandekile Sabela, Nokukhanya Noqiniselo Jili
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to provide a critical review of the proposed National Health Insurance Bill in South Africa with reference to the finance mechanisms and implications within the development context. This starts with a brief analysis of health coverage, looking at the international and local context and describes the development benefits of the NHI. The paper reviews the funding mechanisms with particular reference to the tax incidence of the different types of taxes that could be used to raise funds for the NHI. Fiscal policy implications of the proposed health care provision changes are also discussed, and the proposed NHI Fund evaluated, focusing on the impact on the achievement of a performance-based budgeting system. The paper concludes that the increase of income and consumption-based taxes could result in loss of welfare to society, as labour is discouraged from working and the poor are further disadvantaged through increases in taxes such as value- added tax.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Governance, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Sexual Violence Research Initiative
  • Abstract: This Knowledge Exchange seeks to expand our understanding of effective interventions for managing ongoing trauma resulting from child sexual abuse (CSA) and sexual violence through the lifespan, highlighting innovative and increasingly evidence-based body-mind approaches that are showing great promise in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other trauma induced symptoms, and exploring some basics about the neuro-biological underpinnings of body-focused interventions. We examine complex trauma and various aspects of recovery and healing, followed by an exploration of body-focused approaches. The Knowledge Exchange is not intended to be a systematic review of therapeutic options in cases of trauma and PTSD (for a recent meta-analysis of psychological and pharmacological interventions for PTSD and comorbid health problems, see Coventry et al., 2020), nor is it a review of cognitive-behavioral approaches or talk therapy more generally.
  • Topic: Health, Trauma, Mental Health, Sexual Violence, PTSD
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hanns Kuttner
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Early in the COVID-19 epidemic, many gloomy images emerged of what might be ahead. In one, hospitals would be overrun by more COVID-19 patients than they could treat. Models developed at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) provided numbers that supported the image. For the most part, overrun hospitals did not happen. Things turned out better because America’s hospitals did better than the IHME model thought they could. Hospital productivity has proved to be greater than anticipated in the IHME model. Productivity determines how many patients hospitals can serve. Productivity reflects how many beds a hospital has and how many days each patient stays in a bed. The most common pattern in hospitals, patients who are discharged alive and do not require time in an intensive care unit (ICU), provide an example. Length of stay for that group has been a third shorter than assumed in the IHME model. The data required to tell the adaptability story in detail is not yet available. Only a qualitative assessment is possible at this point. Hospitals adapted in ways not anticipated in the IHME model. For example, they delayed elective surgical procedures, freeing up beds. The story will become more detailed as data about hospital admissions and the clinical course of COVID-19 patients becomes available.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Health Care Policy, COVID-19, Pharmaceuticals
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Throughout the United States, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is exploiting COVID-19 in an effort to reshape the global order and enhance China’s international leadership at the expense of the US. A range of prominent commentators further assert that the Trump administration bears much of the blame for this turn of events. This argument tends to rest on twin assumptions:1 China is winning the battle of narratives when it comes to comparative national competence and its decisiveness in responding to its COVID-19 outbreak. The Trump administration is damaging America’s standing by getting off to a bad start in its response to the pandemic, exposing the underlying weaknesses of American institutions and preparedness for such a crisis. These arguments correctly acknowledge that the global pandemic is occurring within a context of US-China strategic, political, and economic competition and/or rivalry. This is the point of warnings to the administration that there is more at stake than containing and managing the virus, even if that is the immediate priority.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Health, National Security, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Liselotte Odgaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report addresses China’s approach to development in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the Arctic. China has worked through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to meet Russian demands for continued regional primacy in Central Asia, helping Beijing foster economic and social dominance, access strategic energy resources, and treat the Uyghur minorities as a problem of terrorism rather than a development issue. In Southeast Asia, China has worked through the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to meet regional demands for soft and hard infrastructure to legitimize China’s growing strategic presence. China is therefore able to undermine the regional economic and security foothold of the US alliance system and challenge the interpretations of the Law of the Sea that legitimizes the military presence and activities of extra regional powers. In East Africa, China has cooperated with the African Union (AU) and the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to address regional demands for hard and soft infrastructure without political conditions, to link antipiracy problems to problems of poverty, and to mediate local civil wars. This has helped China establish an economic and strategic foothold at the intersection of the Indian Ocean and Middle East, projecting power far from its shores. In the Arctic, China has established research stations that function as both environmental research laboratories and military surveillance stations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Health, Foreign Aid, Regulation, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Husain Haqqani, Aparna Pande
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The world’s most populous region, South Asia, with almost 1.9 billion people living in eight countries, has so far had fewer reported infections and fatalities per capita from the novel coronavirus than projected in early models. However, the region is unlikely to escape the widespread disruption and damage felt across the globe, and its worst health-care crisis may be yet to come. In South Asia, as in other regions, the COVID-19 pandemic is testing the capacities of states to provide security and effective healthcare and to maintain essential services. It is also having an impact on fragile democratic institutions and societal bonds, in addition to putting considerable strains on the economy. [...] Following is a country-by-country report, with inputs from experts on the ground, on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact in South Asia and its human, economic, and political consequences.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The North Korean government response to the coronavirus has been extreme, but prudent and reasonable in context. It has closed the border to China almost entirely to both goods and people though surely some transports are still getting through. No travel is allowed to or from China although there must be exceptions to this rule as well. The state (under the banner of the Red Cross, whose branch in North Korea operates as a government entity) has dispatched people around the country to inform people about the virus. No reports have been confirmed at this time of writing, but exile journalists based in South Korea have reported several deaths from the virus from North Korea. Its actions have been blunt and all-encompassing, mainly because the state lacks the necessary capacity to act differently. North Korea doesn’t have the sort of equipment required to monitor people coming from China or to test people at the pace required.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Authoritarianism, Border Control, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Rajabrata Banerjee, Ronald Donato, Admasu Afsaw Maruta
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This study empirically examines the effects of financial inclusion on economic development, – economic growth, education, health, and income inequality – in 20 Asian countries in the period 2004-2015. The financial inclusion index at an aggregate level is constructed using a hybrid methodology (reported in the previous paper) and we empirically examine its relationship with particular development outcomes. We then disaggregate the index into the three dimensions of financial inclusions – access, usage, and quality – and further into the top two indicators from each dimension based on principal component analysis scores (reported in the previous paper), to examine whether specific dimensions or indicators are more strongly associated with particular development outcomes than with others. Our results show that aggregate financial inclusion has a strong positive effect on all development outcomes and this effect improves for countries with lower political risk. At the dimension level, while usage is the only dimension impacting on economic growth, and access is the only dimension impacting on health outcomes, both usage and access influence education and income inequality. Moreover, the top ranked indicators in each dimension exert a far greater positive influence on development outcomes than the second highest ranked indicators. Our findings show that adopting a single blanket policy may not be appropriate to realise the full potential of financial inclusion in a less developed country. Policy prescriptions should therefore target specific dimension and indicators of financial inclusion to maximise the positive effect on development outcomes.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Finance, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The spread of the novel Corona Virus COVID-19 from the Chinese province of Hebei across the world has resulted in a global pandemic of catastrophic proportions. Certain countries have been affected more severely than others, and there have been glaring disparities in how national governments have responded to the outbreak. In addition to the global death toll of 400,000 (and counting), the industrial and financial disruption has been severe, with the Asian Development Bank estimating the loss to the global economy at between USD$ 5.8-8.8 trillion.1 To overcome the current crisis, and work toward a vaccine, global solidarity, including cooperation through multilateral organizations like the World Heath Organization (WHO), is desperately needed.
  • Topic: Health, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The euro never challenged the US dollar, and its international status declined with the euro crisis. Faced with a US administration willing to use its hegemonic currency to extend its domestic policies beyond its borders, Europe is reflecting on how to promote it currency on the global stage to ensure its autonomy. But promoting a more prominent role for the euro is difficult and involves far-reaching changes to the fabric of the monetary union.
  • Topic: Health, European Union, Currency, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Reinhilde Veugelers, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This Policy Contribution proposes a staged support scheme to tackle the COVID-19 vaccine challenge and a moon shot programme to meet the challenge of future pandemics.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Innovation, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dan Gottlieb, Mordechai Kedar
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus crisis has exposed Arab and Islamic notions of fraternity, mutual commitment, and solidarity as hollow rhetorical slogans. Each country in the region is focused entirely on its own efforts to survive economically, socially, and politically as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Hanan Shai
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Amid the debate on the coronavirus crisis, there is broad agreement on three issues: The nation-state has failed to check the spread of the virus, quickly and with few people being infected, by using its autonomous capabilities, which turned out to be meager. Trans-state bodies that derived their economic capabilities from the state have failed in their role of assisting it. The idea of globalism is fundamentally true, and the problems that have emerged in the crisis must be remedied by strengthening the states and, at the same time, as concluded by French President Emmanuel Macron, the trans-state bodies. This study contends that globalism in its current form has failed and collapsed, just as communism and other social frameworks failed and collapsed before it. The reason for their collapse was that all of them were based on delusory utopian ideas. These utopian ideas are grounded in a dominant European liberal discipline whose founders abandoned the scientific revolution at the beginning of its path, abjured rational thought, and continued, like the church, to adhere to faith-based thought, feelings of the heart, and delusions of the imagination. Another liberal discipline, less well-known, is the rational one. Committed to truth and to the absolute laws of nature, it was adopted by the Anglo-Saxon democracies, which, thanks to its values, experienced long periods of growth and prosperity. On three occasions this discipline could be mobilized to help rescue Europe from calamities that its utopian conceptions had caused.
  • Topic: Health, Global Focus, State, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Mordechai Chaziza
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The Middle East was already plagued by war, famine, and wholesale death in the form of multiple civil wars when the outbreak of Covid-19, a novel coronavirus, added pestilence to the mix. The pandemic offers a unique prism through which to assess the way China interacts with Middle Eastern states in time of crisis. While many countries in the Middle East suspended bilateral air travel, repatriated their citizens from China, and prevented Chinese workers from returning to the region, the same governments also sought to maintain close relations, expressed support for Beijing, and delivered aid to China. The findings show that at least for now, the relationship between China and the Middle Eastern states remains close. However, it may take months to see the full ramifications of the pandemic in the Middle East, so it is too soon to tell how China’s interactions with the countries of the region will develop.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health, Bilateral Relations, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Katerina Davidova, Vít Havelka, Jana Juzová, Christian Kvorning Lassen, Danielle Piatkiewicz, Zuzana Stuchlíková
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Experts from EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy comment on the State of the Union address (SOTEU) given by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on 16 September 2020. Topics of the commentaries: Christian Kvorning Lassen: General Impressions – A Visionary Speech Challenged by Political Reality; Christian Kvorning Lassen: A Stronger European Health Union is Needed; Christian Kvorning Lassen: Migration – Ambitious rhetoric, dubious feasibility; Danielle Piatkiewicz: Multilateralism: Europe’s Call to Global Action – Taking the Lead; Kateřina Davidová: EU’s climate momentum not quashed by the pandemic as new target is presented; Jana Juzová: European Neighbourhoods – Vague Reassurances, Economy First; Zuzana Stuchlíková: Next Generation EU, Rule of Law and Conference on the Future of Europe; Vít Havelka: The EU and the UK fights over blame for Brexit fiasco
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Migration, European Union, Multilateralism, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jens Bastian
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Coordinated Covid-19 crisis management among EU member states took weeks to develop. The initial response was slow, at times contradictory, frequently displaying nation-state unilateralism and obviously divisive. An unprecedented architecture of fiscal and monetary partnership is now building in Europe. The ECB is taking the lead in this construction process, with national governments asserting their political prerogatives while the Commission in Brussels is careful not to overstep the national sovereignty of its member states. As the crisis response to Covid-19 has highlighted manifest fault lines among EU member states, these divisions could morph into bigger controversies during uncoordinated exit strategies. Once the cessation of economic activity can start to unwind, the debate across Europe will accelerate over budget rules, further relief programmes and the demand for debt forbearance.
  • Topic: Health, European Union, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Basheer M. Nafi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: There is no doubt that it is a terrible pandemic, but it seems that modern humans have yet to gain the level of wisdom necessary to see through to the catastrophic consequences of their way of life, organizations, and relationships.
  • Topic: Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ali Akbar Dareini
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Coronavirus is killing Iranians, so does Trump by waging a campaign of economic and medical terrorism. Its refusal to lift the sanctions exacerbates the already-tense relations between Tehran and Washington and pushes Iran to redefine its foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Sanctions, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Sales of medical masks, gloves, adhesive tapes and other protective equipment have soared in the Middle East after the spread of COVID-19 and especially after the WHO raised the virus global threat assessment to its “highest level” on February 29. This led to an increase in demand for masks to a degree of “obsession" at times, raising regional concerns after the increase in its price along with risking its supply and the formation of a parallel market. Although the subject of medical masks may fall under public health matters, measures taken to address its economic use actually have to do with the adopted governmental policies to deal with fighting the pandemic on state levels. These policies include, but are not limited to, enhancing healthcare infrastructure, monopoly prevention, consumer protection, relaunching inactive factories specifically after the disruption of imports from China as one of the largest global masks suppliers.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Ido Yahel
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In the latest edition of Tel Aviv Notes, Ido Yahel examines the emergence of the coronavirus in Syria and its implications for the war-torn country and the region.
  • Topic: Health, Syrian War, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Simona Guagliardo
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: As the Juncker Presidency hands over its mandate baton to Ursula von der Leyen, all eyes are on the energised new President and her ambitions bestowed upon her cabinet. Despite some progress, more efforts to improve Europe’s health policy is still needed if it is to tackle unprecedented challenges like demographic changes, environmental degradation and the rapidly changing world of work. Newly-appointed Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides has been entrusted with a considerable portfolio, indicating an arduous yet promising five years ahead of her. In this Policy Brief, policy analyst Simona Guagliardo argues that von der Leyen’s agenda for a “Union that strives for more” offers a unique opportunity to build a strong case for placing health and well-being at the centre of her policy triad: economic growth fuelled by technological innovation and environmental protection. The EU and its member states must recognise the centrality of people’s health and well-being vis-à-vis economic growth; ensure that health is a constant factor in all policymaking; and deliver on their promises of social fairness, equality and inclusion.
  • Topic: Environment, Health, Science and Technology, European Union, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Claire Dhéret, Simona Guagliardo
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: he COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the unpreparedness of European health systems to absorb a health crisis of this magnitude. In order to fix these existing structural weaknesses and effectively deal with the health challenges brought on by the current pandemic, we need to build a ‘Europe of Health’; an EU public health policy that works across borders and lives up to its citizens’ expectations. Following on from the Franco-German initiative for European recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Claire Dhéret and Simona Guagliardo outline a twofold strategy to foster ‘EU health sovereignty’ and reinforce the EU’s international leadership in health at a time when multilateralism is seriously jeopardised: Foster EU health crisis management capabilities by empowering existing structures, prepare a European stockpile of strategic medical products and equipment, and make better use of the Single Market in the area of health. Strengthen the resilience of national health systems by promoting modern, innovative and patient-centred care, and encourage the creation and use of a common, EU-wide evaluation framework for health care.
  • Topic: Health, European Union, Crisis Management, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Weronika Michalak, Dr hab. Zbigniew Karaczun
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: The phenomenon of climate change, observed for years and constantly intensifying, has had a negative impact on health, significantly deteriorating the quality of life of people in many regions of the world, including Poland. Already now we are dealing with increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomena; hurricanes, storms and increasingly longer heat waves no longer surprise us. Unfortunately, this is merely the beginning of the negative effects of climate change. Others will come before long. In the coming years, many other new threats will be observed, such as flooding of ocean islands, desertification of areas exposed to water scarcity or serious loss of biodiversity, which will translate into food security. Unfortunately, it does not end there.1 The greenhouse effect is a process by which radiation from the Earth’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without this atmosphere. We can differentiate short-term solar radiation (0.15-4.0 nm) and long-term radiation. Thermal radiation escapes into the cosmic sphere and heat radiation returns to the ground, being stopped by a layer of GHG – greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, water vapor etc.), which warm up Earth’s athmosphere to a dangerous level – even a 1°C degree increase (in comparison to pre-industrial level, when emissions stared to rise) in the average world temperature can be detrimental to human health and change the conditions of life on this planet (Figure 1). However, we currently face a risk of global warming even up to 3°C degrees, unless GHG emissions are significantly reduced. Any further rise of the global temperature will have deteriorating impact on people and whole humanity, as well as staying at the current level of emissions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Food, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Global Focus
  • Author: Nadim El Jamal, Ulfat Usta, Mona Nasrallah, Elie Al-Chaer, Ghassan Hamadeh, Hussain Isma'eel
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The shortage of foreign currency caused by the multiple crises in Lebanon threatens the availability of pharmaceutical products, with patients experiencing shortages of many drugs despite an importation subsidy system for pharmaceuticals financed by the Central Bank’s foreign reserves. This paper describes Lebanon’s pharmaceutical supply chain and the Central Bank’s subsidy system and proposes recommendations to ensure the continuous availability of medication on pharmacy shelves.
  • Topic: Health, Drugs, Medicine , Pharmaceuticals
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Ross Harrison, Amir Afkhami, Amira Roess, Omid Nikfarjam
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has the potential to push public healthcare systems in the Middle East past their current capabilities.The number of coronavirus cases in the Middle East has risen to nearly 60,000, double the amount only a week ago. How will this current pandemic impact the region’s health care systems and preparedness for future crises? The Middle East Institute (MEI) will bring together a panel of experts to look beyond the immediate impact of COVID-19 on public healthcare systems in the Middle East. This group of experts will discuss the long term effects on the region's public health systems and if this will cause them to become more resilient in the face of future threats. What will this current crisis mean for the future of the region’s health care systems? What steps should public health services be taking now to ensure they will be better prepared for the next pandemic? What is the role of international organizations like the World Health Organization to help regional public health services build resilience into their systems?
  • Topic: Health, World Health Organization, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Michael Shoebridge
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: National Cabinet is meeting to begin the pathway to get Australia back to work and school. That's while we are still in the midst of 'flattening the curve' and in a world without a vaccine or even effective therapeutic treatment to reduce death rates from the virus. So, how might Australia return to work without getting back on the elevator of exponentially growing infection and deaths? This Strategic Insight sketches out that path, with the answers involving mass testing, and companies funded and supported to do rapid testing, data collection and analysis. It will rely on smartphone apps for data collection to enable outbreak suppression and contact tracing. Critically, national cabinet must communicate how this new approach will work alongside the existing social distancing restrictions, which will need to remain in place for months to come. The hygiene and distancing protocols for this 'return to work' will be easier for advanced manufacturing workplaces, it turns out, as those workplaces are already pretty socially distant, with low levels of staffing and high levels of automation. A lot of construction work is mainly outdoors and is also now more mechanised than labour intensive. And a regime of testing workers on arrival, combined with strict workplace health protocols, will probably be feasible for many other manufacturing, large-scale agricultural and white collar workplaces—including our parliaments. Small businesses will struggle in the absence of almost ubiquitous community testing, unless ‘precinct’ approaches provide testing and health hygiene for facilities that house groups of such businesses (shopping centres and business parks are examples). This diversity across workplaces and organisations means that taking the path advocated here—tests, data, apps and surveillance—will involve a clear and pervasive communication effort between our leaders and our people. Confusion about who’s in, who’s out, which businesses can start planning to get back into operation in facilities now closed and which must stick to what they have now will unravel this approach. And being able to explain how the health surveillance approach has been designed to work with our democratic society and to not be a part of any future national security surveillance powers will be key to bringing different parts of our population along. Again, this communication task is a job for the national cabinet.
  • Topic: Health, Labor Issues, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Özge Karadağ Çaman, Selma Karabey
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The relationship of human health with social and the environmental factors has long been among the issues that have been dwelled on especially since the beginning of the 19th century. The field of medicine springing from these studies is known as “Social Medicine”. Although developments in pathology and microbiology caused the importance of social factors in the etiology of diseases to be set aside at the end of the 19th century, social medicine has acquired its currency again in later years. Indeed today, we need to read and understand the principles of social medicine more than ever.
  • Topic: Health, Inequality, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Health Statistics of the Provinces of Turkey created for the Urban95: Data-Driven Policy Tool Project with the Health Statistics of the Ministry of Health from 2018
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Statistics, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • Author: Zurab Batiashvili
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The novel coronavirus (COVID 19) and its side-effects have transformed the contemporary world. Since the pandemic is just now starting, no one really knows what the world will be like after the virus. However, we can confidently say that there will be serious changes as a result of which our planet will no longer be what it was prior to the spread of this virus. These changes naturally concern the Middle East as well. Much like the majority of other states, Middle Eastern countries were also mostly unprepared to meet the pandemic. Many of the governments in the region could not or did not take the impending threat seriously when the virus was spreading in China. Due to this, at the initial stage many governments simply covered up or ignored the facts of the virus spreading in their countries. A little later these governments were forced to admit the existence of the problem, yet they mostly blamed their political rivals for the creation and spreading of the virus. Such an attitude was facilitated by the fact that conspiracy theories are rather popular among Middle Eastern societies and governments. Covering up and disregarding the problem later produced a boomerang effect for these countries and their citizens. Most of the Middle Eastern governments went on to introduce radical measures (closing places of prayer where mass gatherings take place). However, in many cases these measures were already too late in coming – the coronavirus had spread throughout the entire Middle East. At the same time, the spread of the virus in the Middle East is further facilitated by the faulty healthcare system, the lack of doctors, the low level of education, unending civil wars, conflicts and a large number of refugees as well as the desire of governments to hide the actual data as much as possible (for example, according to the official Syrian statistics, only one person was infected with the novel coronavirus before March 25 while the Assad regime introduced a curfew in the capital city of Damascus in order to combat the illness. According to independent sources, the novel coronavirus has already spread all over Syria and there are casualties, too). At the same time, many Middle Eastern states lack sufficient medical equipment in order to analyze and fully document persons who have contracted the virus.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, COVID-19, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Snehal Shah, Avani Kapur, Abhishek Andasu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: he National Health Mission (NHM) is Government of India’s (GoI’s) largest public health programme. It consists of two sub-missions: National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), and National Urban Health Mission (NUHM). Using government data, this brief reports on: GoI allocations and releases; Incentives and penalties to states under conditionality framework; NHM approvals and expenditures as per programmatic components; and Outputs and outcomes.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget, Social Policy, Public Policy, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin or SBM-G is the Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship rural sanitation programme run by the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MJS). Using government data, this brief reports on trends for SBM-G along the following parameters: Allocations and expenditures; Physical progress of toilets built; Expenditures incurred under Information, Education, and Communication (IEC); Solid Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) activities; and Coverage and Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Infrastructure, Budget, Social Policy, Rural, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Tenzin Yangki
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This brief reports on two schemes: a) The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Government of India’s (GoI’s) maternity benefit scheme aimed at providing partial compensation for wage loss and improving health seeking behaviour of pregnant women and lactating mothers, and b) the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) aimed at incentivising institutional and safe delivery to reduce infant and maternal mortality. Using government data, this brief reports on: Trends in allocations, releases, and utilisation; Coverage and payments; and Outputs and outcomes.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget, Women, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ritwik Shukla, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Ayushman Bharat, under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) was launched by Government of India (GoI) on 23 September 2018. The programme consists of two initiatives: (1) The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY); and 2) The establishment of 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs). Using government data, this brief reports on the following indicators: GoI allocations and releases; Eligibility and claims under PMJAY; and Number of operational HWCs and diseases screened.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Health Care Policy, Budget
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Ritwik Shukla
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Integrated Child Development Services is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship programme aimed at providing basic education, health, and nutrition services for early childhood development. This brief uses government data to analyse ICDS performance along the following parameters: Allocations, releases, and expenditures, Component-wise trends, Human and physical resources, Coverage, and Malnutrition status.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Budget, Children, Food Security, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Neha Agarwal, Ambarish Karunanithi, Anju Dwivedi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The rapid proliferation of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission has necessitated the safe collection, conveyance, and treatment of faecal sludge and septage. Accordingly, the National Policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM), 2017, sets the imperative for streamlining the citywide sanitation service chain. In doing so, it promotes closing of the resources loop through recycling and reuse of treated wastewater and faecal sludge-derived biosolids. The 2017 amendment to the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, lays down clear standards and guidance for recycling of treated wastewater. However, a regulatory lacuna concerning biosolids -whose use as a fertilizer in agriculture has been shown to enhance crop yields and reduce the burden of synthetic fertilizers - deters local action in accessing opportunities for their recycling formally. This guidance note, reviewing international biosolids regulations, is intended as an aid for policymakers and regulators at the national and state level in developing a standard for biosolids utilization in agriculture which is easy to interpret and implement, promotes their scientific and safe reuse, and ensures the protection of the health of the users, the local communities, the consumers, and the environment at large.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Environment, Health, Sanitation, Recycling
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Dyan Mazurana, Anastasia Marshak
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The United Nations and its partner agencies have pledged to focus on the problem and eradication of early, child, and forced marriage. On November 12, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on child, early, and forced marriage. As part of this resolution, the General Assembly highlighted the need for better data collection and disaggregation of that data for improved analysis and learning. This report is a comprehensive and user-friendly concept note for a database on child marriage in humanitarian settings, a first step in eradicating the problem. The report identifies the existing knowledge and data on child marriage in humanitarian settings, gaps in that evidence base, and provides recommendations for moving forward with the creation of a comprehensive database. The authors interviewed key stakeholders on child marriage across program, policy, and academia in combination with a comprehensive literature review. The report was commissioned and funded by Save the Children U.S.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Children, Basic Data, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Mark Wentling
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: It is my opinion that the interest of the United States is best served in most African countries by improving the basic welfare of their people. The effectiveness of U.S. aid in Africa can be enhanced by focusing on the least developed countries. Helping address basic human needs, notably in the areas of education and health, should be top priority, especially the education of girls. Increasing agricultural production to improve nutritional health also deserves greater attention. Assistance funding needs to be stable and independent of political and diplomatic considerations. The composition of U.S. overseas missions and cumbersome bureaucratic processes must be revised to permit the effective and timely implementation of this new strategy. These changes are necessary to raise hopes for a better future for millions of Africans and to strengthen the role of the U.S. in Africa.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Foreign Aid, Pandemic, Girls
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Rosie Collington
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The list prices of analogue insulin medicines in the United States have soared during the past decade. In the wake of high-profile cases of prescription medicine “price-gouging”, such as Mylan’s EpiPen and Turing-acquired Daraprim, actors across the insulin supply chain are today facing growing scrutiny from US lawmakers and the wider public. For the most part, however, the role of shareholders in the insulin supply chain has been overlooked. This paper considers the relationship between profits realized from higher insulin list prices, pharmaceutical innovation, and the financial structures of the three dominant insulin manufacturing companies, which set list prices. It shows that despite claims to the contrary, insulin manufacturers extracted vast profits from the sale of insulin products in the period 2009-2018, as insulin list prices rose. Distributions to the company shareholders in the form of cash dividends and share repurchases totaled $122 billion over this period. The paper also considers the role of other actors in the insulin supply chain, such as pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), in the determination of list prices. The data and analysis presented in the paper indicates that financialization could be considered in tension with not only the development of new drugs that will be available to patients in the future, but also the affordability of products that already exist today.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Health Care Policy, Finance, Price
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Maria Laura Alzúa, Noemi Katzkowicz
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS)
  • Abstract: Empirical literature analyzing the effect of pay-for-performance programs (P4P) for healthcare providers on maternal care and newborn health outcomes is scarce. In 2008, Uruguay’s Ministry of Public Health implemented a P4P called Metas Asistenciales (Healthcare Goals), a country-wide program that grants healthcare providers an economic incentive for complying with certain maternal and newborn healthcare goals. Health organizations use these funds to provide maternal and child health services. Using administrative records and a difference-in-difference methodology, we evaluate the effect of the Metas Asistenciales program on maternal and newborn health outcomes. We find that in the institutions affected by the program, 10 percentage points more women received an adequate number of prenatal checkups and pregnancy detection in the first trimester improved by 5 percentage points. We also found better results among newborns for indicators related to birth weight, premature births, and stillbirths. In sum, the program had a positive, significant impact on the rate of pregnant women’s utilization of health services and on newborn health outcomes. This study thus provides evidence supporting the idea that economic incentives are a promising tool for incentivizing healthcare providers to achieve better health services in developing countries.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Children, Birthing
  • Political Geography: South America, Uruguay
  • Author: Bilal Siddiqi, Maarten Voors, Johannes Haushofer, Oeindrila Dube, Darin Christensen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Developing countries are characterized by high rates of mortality and morbidity. A potential contributing factor is the low utilization of health systems, stemming from the low perceived quality of care delivered by health personnel. This factor may be especially critical during crises, when individuals choose whether to cooperate with response efforts and frontline health personnel. We experimentally examine efforts aimed at improving health worker performance in the context of the 2014–15 West African Ebola crisis. Roughly two years before the outbreak in Sierra Leone, we randomly assigned two accountability interventions to government-run health clinics — one focused on community monitoring and the other gave status awards to clinic staff. We find that over the medium run, prior to the Ebola crisis, both interventions led to improvements in utilization of clinics and patient satisfaction with the health system. In addition, child health outcomes improved substantially in the catchment areas of community monitoring clinics. During the crisis, the interventions also led to higher reported Ebola cases, as well as lower mortality from Ebola—particularly in areas with community monitoring clinics. We explore three potential mechanisms: the interventions (1) increased the likelihood that patients reported Ebola symptoms and sought care; (2) unintentionally increased Ebola incidence; or (3) improved surveillance efforts. We find evidence consistent with the first: by building trust and confidence in health workers, and improving the perceived quality of care provided by clinics prior to the outbreak, the interventions encouraged patients to report and receive treatment. Our results suggest that accountability interventions not only have the power to improve health systems during normal times, but can additionally make health systems resilient to crises that may emerge over the longer run.
  • Topic: Health, Infectious Diseases, Health Care Policy, Mortality, Public Health, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: West Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: David Steven, Alex Evans
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: World Politics Review
  • Abstract: Just months after reports emerged of a novel coronavirus spreading in central China, our world, and all of our individual worlds, have been transformed by what has become a terrifying pandemic. Governments around the globe are taking unprecedented steps to restrict movement and limit social contact among their populations to contain the virus’s spread. Growing numbers of the world’s inhabitants are now living in either voluntary or imposed isolation, or preparing to. The articles collected here look at what governments, other global actors and individuals must do to survive the crisis and navigate the new world beyond it.
  • Topic: Health, Public Health, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Yahya Abou Ly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: The empirical context of this research is in an environment where malnutrition is a real public health concern. The objective of this study was to identify the determinants of the nutritional state of children under the age of five years in Mauritania. Using data obtained from multiple indicators cluster surveys (MICS) in Mauritania in 2007 and 2015, we undertook fixed-effects clusters techniques to control for unobserved heterogeneity. The empirical results demonstrate that the age and sex of a child, level of education of the mother, the standards of living of the household, the area of residence, the availability and use of health care services and access to drinking water are all important factors for the good health of children in Mauritania. These findings suggests improvements in nutritional health, for example, by education of girls until completion of secondary school; an improvement in the conditions of households that are headed by women and an expansion in the coverage rate of multi-purpose health centres.
  • Topic: Health, Food, Children, Food Security, Child Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mauritania
  • Author: Negou Kamga Vincent de Paul, Nda’chi Deffo Rodrigue
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Despite free basic vaccines administered by the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), there is still a fairly high death rate of children aged 0-5 worldwide due to vaccine-preventable diseases. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region due to low levels of vaccination. This study analyses the effect of birth order on the immunization status of children in Cameroon, considering the contribution of cultural, economic and community factors. To do this, it uses data from the Demographic and Health Surveys of 1991, 1998, 2004 and 2011 produced by the National Institute of Statistics with the support of UNFPA, UNICEF, the World Bank and USAID. The EPI module was administered to 3,350, 2,317, 8,125 and 25,524 children under five in 1991, 1998, 2004 and 2011, respectively. The multinomial probit model makes it possible to find that birth order has a negative and highly significant effect on the full and timely immunization of children under five and the impact increases with birth order. Moreover, the impact of birth order increases after adjusting for cultural factors. This increase indicates that, beyond the effect of birth order, cultural factors are at the root of prejudices leading to the abandonment of children. Considering children under two years of age, and vaccines taken during the first four months, the corresponding birth order effect points to the benefits of routine immunization and response campaigns in promoting immunization of children under five.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Health Care Policy, Children
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Peter Maurer
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Peter Maurer is the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This interview was conducted at the beginning of March, before the COVID-19 outbreak had reached pandemic levels. Since that time, the ICRC has been adapt- ing its operations to respond to the disease’s impacts in conflict-affected countries. President Maurer wrote about his concerns for vulnerable populations in an opinion column in The Guardian, published 27 March 2020.
  • Topic: Health, Humanitarian Aid, Humanitarian Intervention, Violence, Civilians, Medicine , Red Cross, ICRC
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Rowe, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: In October 1945, Alexander Fleming, Howard Florey, and Ernest Chain each received an almost identical telegram from Stockholm, Sweden. The Nobel Prize Committee, these messages read, was pleased to inform the three British-based scientists that they had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, for the ‘discovery of penicillin and its curative action in various diseases.’ This was not surprising news. In fact, a year earlier, two major newspapers had informed their readers that Fleming would receive the prestigious award in 1944. Although the reporters’ stories were a year ahead of their time, they were right that the global scientific community had generally agreed that the world’s first antibiotic was a landmark in medical history worthy of Nobel Prize recognition. It was simply a question of when, not if, the prize would be awarded.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, History, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Sweden, Global Focus
  • Author: Nicole Froio
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)
  • Abstract: As numbers of COVID-19 cases in Brazil steadily rise into the thousands, favela community leaders in vulnerable communities have raised concerns about the difficulties of complying with preventative measures in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas because of the lack of consistent water services. President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-science response to the global pandemic, which has included calling the virus a “little flu” and urging businesses to re-open despite World Health Organization advice, has worsened the situation for vulnerable communities in Brazil.
  • Topic: Health, Inequality, Public Health, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Natasha Banks, M. Anis Salem
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cairo Review of Global Affairs
  • Institution: School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo
  • Abstract: A roadmap for a sustainable future without wasteful subsidies and mismanagement.
  • Topic: Health, Food, Food Security, Sustainability, Human Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North Africa, Egypt, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute for Economics & Peace
  • Abstract: The journey out of this global recession will be long and arduous. However two factors may assist countries along this path. The first is high levels of Positive Peace, guaranteeing effective institutions, social cohesion and transparent, representative governments. The second is favourable economic conditions before the onset of the pandemic.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Economics, Health, Global Recession, Violence, Economic Policy, Institutions, Peace, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus