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  • 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
  • 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: 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: 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: 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
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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
  • 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: 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: 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: Laura Brewington, Kelli Kokame, Nancy Lewis
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Climate change impacts--temperature and rainfall changes, extreme events, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification--are amplifying health risks in vulnerable populations throughout the Pacific Islands, and also influence their mobility. This nexus of climate change, health, and migration is evident in the experience of the Marshall Islands. The nation and its population are dispersed over almost two million square kilometers of ocean, with sizeable diasporas in the United States. Climate impacts in the Marshall Islands exacerbate ongoing health threats, such as limited drinking water supplies, inadequate nutrition, and poor infrastructure. The out-migration of Marshallese is largely motivated by health, economic, education, and environmental reasons; therefore, planning for migrant movements should include adaptation strategies that also reduce health risks. A better understanding of how health, mobility, and climate change interact will help shape policy responses and provide useable climate information for focused, timely interventions that maximize health and well-being among populations in motion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Migration, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific, Marshall Islands
  • Publication Date: 12-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: This project maps the trade, investment, employment, business, diplomacy, security, education, tourism, and people-to-people connections between the United States and the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the national, state, and local levels. Part of the Asia Matters for America initiative, this publication, the one-page connections summaries for states, and the AsiaMattersforAmerica.org website are resources for understanding the robust and dynamic US-ASEAN relationship.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Agriculture, Diplomacy, Health, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Asia, North America, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Prabir De
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the health and economies of countries in the Bay of Bengal. India, Bangladesh, and Nepal are the region’s most affected countries in terms of COVID-19 cases and deaths, followed by Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It seems that Bhutan and Thailand, the least affected countries in the region, have successfully escaped the brunt of the pandemic. All these countries implemented strict lockdowns as early as March 2020, and the region’s recovery rates have been relatively high. However, the devastation from the pandemic did not reach its peak until after the lifting of lockdowns. The economic costs of the pandemic have soared and are still climbing. Today, most Bay of Bengal countries are facing a second or third wave of COVID-19 infections. India has been badly hit by a huge second Coronavirus wave, registered daily cases over 400,000 since Aril 2021. The damage being done by these additional waves is more intense than their predecessors. The Bay of Bengal countries are now looking for COVID-19 vaccines. India serves as the region’s primary producer of immunizations. Two Indian pharmaceutical companies have launched vaccines, with five more firms in the race to launch their own treatments. When vaccines are developed in India, they are easier to distribute across the region. In terms of availability, accessibility, and affordability, India’s vaccines are better suited to the needs of the region. In recent months, India has successfully supplied over 18 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to many Bay of Bengal countries, with Thailand being a notable exception. India has also ensured more supply of the vaccines in the neighborhood.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, India, Nepal, Thailand, Bhutan, Bay of Bengal
  • Author: Mauricio Fiore, Taniele Rui
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Social Science Research Council
  • Abstract: Spread across Brazil and attaining an unparalleled political force, therapeutic communities are as inescapable in the debate on drug policy as they are complex to define. Although they are not a Brazilian creation, they have been operating in that country for decades, and their dissemination intensified in the 1990s. In 2011, they were officially incorporated into Brazil's Psychosocial Care Network (Rede de Atenção Psicossocial, or RAPS). Since then, therapeutic communities have been at the center of public debates about their regulation; about how they should—or even if they should—be a part of the healthcare system; about the level of supervision to which they should be submitted; about their sources of funding, particularly whether or not they should have access to public funding; and, most importantly, about the quality of the services they offer and the many reports of rights violation that have been made public. However, a well-informed public debate can only flourish if the available information is based on sound evidence. The SSRC’s Drugs, Security and Democracy Program is concerned with the policy relevance of the research projects it supports, and the debate around therapeutic communities in Brazil points to a clear need for impartial research that addresses different cross-cutting aspects of this topic in its various dimensions: legal, regulatory, health, and observance of human rights, among others. It is in this context that we publish this working paper series on therapeutic communities in Brazil. The eight articles that compose this series offer a multidisciplinary view of the topic, expanding and deepening the existing literature and offering powerful contributions to a substantive analysis of therapeutic communities as instruments of public policy. Although they can be read separately, it is as a whole that the strength of the eight articles that make up this series becomes more evident. Even though they offer different perspectives, they are complementary works in—and already essential for—delineating and understanding the phenomenon of therapeutic communities in Brazil.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Domestic Policy, Community
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America