Human Development Perspectives
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The books in this series address main and emerging development issues of a global/regional nature through original research and findings in the areas of Education, Gender, Health, Nutrition, Population, Social Protection and Jobs. This series is aimed at policy makers and area experts and is overseen by the Human Development Practice Group Chief Economist.
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Tackling the World's Fastest-Growing HIV Epidemic: More Efficient HIV Responses in Eastern Europe and Central Asia(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-06-22) Zhao, Feng ; Benedikt, Clemens ; Wilson, David ; Zhao, Feng ; Benedikt, Clemens ; Wilson, DavidThe Eastern Europe and Central Asia region has the world’s fastest growing HIV epidemic. Although still concentrated, the epidemic has diversified, affecting several key populations in many countries. This change has increased the number of people in need, the ways the epidemic can spread, and the complexity of formulating an effective strategy to combat it. At the same time, international funding is insufficient to cover the growing need, and domestic plans to cover the funding gaps, in many cases, fall short. In this environment, the need to use data to make the best possible decisions about using available funds is essential. Tackling the World’s Fastest-Growing HIV Epidemic tells the story of how, in 11 countries across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, small groups of decision-makers and experts came together to carry out innovative, groundbreaking analyses for each country. It details the steps these nations have taken to strengthen their HIV programs based on the findings while highlighting critical issues for the road ahead. In so doing, the book also shows the potential of what can be done with a mathematical model and how it can support real-life improvements in policy and more efficacious budget allocations. It is the record of a unique undertaking to improve public health investments that offers lessons for many communities.
Obesity: Health and Economic Consequences of an Impending Global Challenge(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020) Shekar, Meera ; Popkin, Barry ; Shekar, Meera ; Popkin, Barry ; Dayton Eberwein, Julia ; Dayton Eberwein, Julia ; Oddo, Vanessa ; Akuoku, Jonathan Kweku ; Shibata Okamura, Kyoko ; Schneider, Pia ; Block, Charlotte ; Provo, Anne Marie ; Provo, Anne MarieObesity is a global ticking time-bomb with huge potential negative economic and health impacts, especially for the poor. As of 2016, an estimated 44 percent of adults (more than 2 billion) worldwide are overweight/obese, and over 70 percent of them live in low- or middle-income countries, dispelling the myth that obesity is a problem only in high-income countries. The global obesity epidemic presents a formidable challenge to human capital acquisition, national wealth accumulation, and the goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Given the renewed global focus on human capital, its links to the obesity epidemic, and the growing evidence base for double- and triple-duty actions, there is both an urgent need for action and a great opportunity for engagement that will require both a whole-of-government and a whole-of-development partner approach. Countries and global partners need to act urgently to address this ensuing epidemic with emphasis highlighting interventions that require corrective public action rather than one of individual responsibility.
Risking Your Health : Causes, Consequences, and Interventions to Prevent Risky Behaviors(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014) de Walque, Damien ; de Walque, DamienBehaviors that pose risks for an individual’s health and that also represent important threats for public health, such as drug use, smoking, alcohol, unhealthy eating causing obesity, and unsafe sex, are highly prevalent in low income countries, even though they are traditionally associated with richer countries. Individual choices are an important part of the risky behaviors. Risking Your Health: Causes, Consequences, and Interventions to Prevent Risky Behaviors explore how those choices are formed and what are their consequences. Why do people engage in risky behaviors? Many different explanations have been proposed by psychology, sociology, economics or public health. One trait common to all these behaviors is that there is a disconnect – a function of both delay and uncertainty - between the pleasure or satisfaction provided by them and their consequences. Another characteristic of risky behaviors is that they rarely occur in isolation. Peer-pressure, parental influences, networks and social norms often play an important role in initiating, continuing, or quitting those behaviors. Even if they might often be the first to suffer, the consequences of risky behaviors are also rarely limited to the individuals engaging in them. In certain cases, such as second-hand smoking or HIV transmission, the link is direct. In other cases, the link is less direct but not necessarily less real: the long term health consequences of many of these behaviors are costly to treat and could stretch households’ finances and worsen poverty. Finally, these risky behaviors have consequences for society as a whole since they often trigger a non-trivial amount of public health expenditures and lead to declines in aggregate productivity through premature death and morbidity. Changing behaviors is tricky -- public health interventions via legislation with strong enforcement mechanisms can be more effective than simple communication campaigns informing consumers about the risks associated with certain behaviors, since translating knowledge into concrete changes in behavior seems to be hard to achieve. Economic mechanisms such as taxes (especially on alcohol and tobacco products), subsidies (such as free condoms), and conditional/unconditional cash transfers are also used to reduce risky behaviors (for example in HIV prevention). Of great interest to policy makers, academics and practitioners, this book assesses the efficiency of those interventions designed to reduce the prevalence of behaviors that endanger health.
No Small Matter : The Impact of Poverty, Shocks, and Human Capital Investments in Early Childhood Development(World Bank, 2011-02-24) Alderman, Harold ; Alderman, HaroldThe relative lack of attention to early childhood development in many developing countries remains a puzzle, and an opportunity. There is increasing evidence that investments in the nutritional, cognitive, and socio-emotional development of young children have high payoffs. Researchers and development practitioners are building on this evidence to raise the topic's profile and bring it to the attention of decision makers. This volume is an important contribution to these efforts. It thoroughly and carefully reviews the most recent empirical literature linking early childhood development outcomes, poverty, and shocks. In doing so, it brings an added perspective to the debate and makes the case that investments in the first years of life have the potential to be a critical component of poverty reduction strategies. The volume also goes beyond simply documenting the consequences of insufficient or inadequate focus on early childhood and identifies the range of policy options available to policy makers. The Human Development Perspectives series seeks to present thorough research findings on issues of critical strategic importance for developing countries. At its core is the perspective that investments in human capital are an essential aspect of efforts to promote global development and eradicate poverty. This volume makes it convincingly clear that investing in and protecting the human capital of young children is no small matter.