Angola's economy has been devastated by a global collapse in oil prices and the country's health sector is suffering as a result, with widespread shortages of critical medicines and supplies. The health system had experienced uneven development in the wake of a decades-long civil war that ended in 2002, but the government and its partners had made advances in improving access to health services and reducing the spread of communicable diseases. Those accomplishments are now at risk. Read more.
Under 12 years of Angela Merkel's chancellorship, Germany has emerged as a leader in global development. Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union, has touted this rise in the current national election campaigns as evidence of her commitment to human rights and global development issues.
But other parties have expressed concern about a development policy they say is too focused on a single issue: stopping the influx of refugees and migrants to Europe. They warn that by roping ODA into a key domestic policy debate, Merkel and her CDU party have politicized development.
Development experts are frustrated at how little airing these issues have had during the current campaign, even as Germany's approach to them becomes increasingly significant. Read more.
The unusual harmony between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her main opponents may mask future problems for the country. Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) have not been pushed to articulate detailed positions on issues like the future of Germany’s economy, including growing inequality, or the German role on the international stage. The anti-climactic campaign has also crowded out disaffected voters, who are frustrated with the country’s current trajectory. Read more.
Ghana is at the cutting edge of a global push to introduce CHWs in a bid to achieve universal health coverage. The model has been around for decades, but health officials here say there is much to learn from previous attempts — especially better integration into existing health systems — to ensure these new efforts will actually help deliver better health coverage. Read more.
While stemming the flow of Africans fleeing to Europe has always been an aspect of Germany’s approach to the continent, the 2015 influx elevated it to an almost singular goal. Aid and development assistance are now increasingly linked to efforts to reduce migration. And Germany has demonstrated a willingness to strike or be party to arrangements with countries on the continent that have abysmal human rights records but can be helpful in curtailing new arrivals.
Zambia is moving forward with mandatory HIV testing for all patients who visit government health facilities, according to Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya. The move appears to contradict WHO recommendations against mandatory or coerced testing. And it has sparked an outcry among international and local HIV activists, who are pushing the government to reverse its decision. Read more.
A new campaign against small-scale mining, known in Ghana as galamsey, has begun to sour the country's relations with China. Chinese nationals are frequently portrayed as funding and accelerating the boom in small-scale mining operations, which has caused widespread land erosion and contaminated vital rivers. Development experts are worried the rift could lead to disruptions in future funding. It has also put a new government in the difficult position of choosing between a key partner and its campaign promises to crack down on galamsey. Read more.
In a country where about 45 percent of the 28 million people live in rural communities miles from health clinics, with no reliable form of transportation, the Ghanaian government began deploying thousands of community health workers in 2016 to bridge the gap in access to health services. Trained in basic health care, the CHWs assist in emergencies and also — as important — take steps to prevent those emergencies from happening.
“We believe,” said Nathaniel Ebo Nsarko, who heads Ghana’s chapter of the One Million Community Health Workers Campaign, which is helping coordinate the deployment, that “this is the answer to universal health."
Even as HIV researchers buzzed about scientific advances and policymakers championed significant gains, the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science was dominated by concerns over global funding and worries that continued drops might undercut recent progress.
The most acute concerns center around the United States, the largest global donor to HIV care. If Congress adopts President Donald Trump's proposed 20 percent cut in funding for HIV programs in ongoing budget negotiations, the world could see as many as 90,000 additional AIDS-related deaths starting next year, according to some estimates. Read more.
The world is on track to put 30 million HIV patients on treatment by 2030 — a critical benchmark to actually end the AIDS epidemic. Yet campaigners know that reaching the remaining 10 million people will be harder in some ways than the 19.5 million who are already accessing life-saving drugs. HIV advocates hope that a combination of scientific breakthroughs and experience-informed social outreach can bridge the final gaps in treatment. Read more.
All of my coverage of this year's G20 through the July summit in Hamburg, Germany:
World leaders at the G-20 summit reached a consensus on an array of development issues, from investment in Africa to pandemic preparedness, during their two-day meeting in Hamburg, Germany, this weekend.
Yet amid one of the most visible policy rifts between the United States and the rich-country grouping, many analysts and advocates are concerned that those areas of consensus papered over broader disagreements on trade, finance and climate that will ultimately have a greater impact on the developing world. Read more.