In the news: measuring success

The news week was dominated by the heartbreaking deaths of more than 20 Indian children who ate tainted school lunches. National Public Radio‘s coverage included a comparison that shows India has not been as successful in reducing childhood illnesses and mortality as some other developing countries.

The piece is an interesting accompaniment to The Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog this week, which takes on the usefulness of ranking countries by their failings—rankings often formulated by development organizations. “…The opinions of those working in development matter,” The Guardian says, “but not always in the way we think.”

School tragedy puts focus on poor health of India’s children

National Public Radio, July 17, 2013

We’re following the tragedy in India where more than 20 children died Wednesday after eating tainted food at their school as part of their midday meal program. This is a stark contrast to the stories of India’s economic rise that have dominated headlines for the past decade. Many in India have been lifted from poverty, and the middle class has greatly expanded, as have the ranks of millionaires and billionaires. Yet extreme poverty is still a problem, and India has not been as successful as some other developing countries when it comes to reducing childhood illnesses and mortality.

Read the article.

Five children look up at the photographer, smiling.

A group of young children in India. Photo: PATH/Lesley Reed.

Telling countries they’re the worst in the world doesn’t really help them

The Guardian, July 15, 2013

The west seems to be obsessed with ranking things…The urge to order things does not stop with pop culture and celebrities. In development, it extends to ranking countries, and not usually by their successes but by their failings. The human development index, the global peace index, the failed states index; time and again mainly northern-based organizations feel at liberty to opine about the progress of nations.

Read the article.

New head of UN Women discusses role

Al Jazeera, July 14, 2013

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a former South African deputy president, has been appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the head of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women… “The issue of human rights is definitely at the top of the agenda,” Mlambo-Ngcuka told reporter Safeeyah Kharsany. “[For] women in areas where there is conflict and women in areas where there is peace, domestic violence is huge problem across the board and in different parts of the world. [And] poverty, poverty, poverty—this is one of the biggest challenges facing women.”

Read the article.

Destabilizing the Jenny McCarthy public-health industrial complex

The Atlantic, July 12, 2013

This week, news leaked that The View, a popular daytime talk show featuring a panel of four women, is considering making Jenny McCarthy one of their hosts. This is a mistake, as it would provide a platform for a dangerous voice. Over the last decade, McCarthy has become one of the most prominent voices against vaccinations. She declared, as a fact, that vaccinations had caused her son’s autism, and promoted this idea in venues aimed at mothers, such as on Oprah. McCarthy later insisted that she had cured their son through a combination of diet and vitamins. She accuses the government of being afraid to confront “the truth” about vaccines. In the last year or so, although she now admits her son never had autism, she is still selling fear by talking about the schedule of vaccines as dangerous. She has put the full force of her celebrity to the task of convincing parents to leave their children vulnerable.

Read the article.

Posted in Featured posts, Maternal and child health, Nutrition, Vaccines and immunization | Permalink

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