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Developed countries can use advanced social security systems to protect households from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but developing countries face a bigger challenge. They typically have a large informal sector and limited social security coverage, which hinder the delivery of assistance at short notice. Yet, developing Asia is better equipped to cushion the economic impact of the current crisis compared to the global financial crisis of 2008.
Medical experts and institutions tell us that a critical but simple lifesaving action to reduce vulnerability to COVID-19 is literally in our own hands—regular handwashing with soap. Public awareness efforts underscore the need for greater behavioral compliance.
By Grant B. Stillman. Posted March 11, 2020
Unimaginable setbacks to Japan nine years ago from the triple disasters of the earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima emergency were used to pioneer new approaches to regional development and integrated reconstruction to build back better, safer, and greener.
Do the socioeconomic spillovers from sewage treatment plants in developing countries justify heavy investment in them?
Decent sanitation for all is crucial for rapidly urbanizing developing countries, such as India. As large volumes of wastewater in developing countries remain untreated, the investments in treatment facilities have not kept pace with the steady increases in population and urbanization and the resulting increases in wastewater volumes.
In October 2018, the world will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the seminal Declaration of Alma-Ata where the aspiration of “health care for all” was boldly declared. The realities have sadly fallen far short of the rhetoric—half the world lacks access to essential health services and 100 million people fall into financial catastrophe due to medical bills.
Increased prosperity in Asia and the Pacific has led to lifestyle changes with unwanted impacts. Studies have shown that as a result of economic progress, regions are shifting to a diet that is linked with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), particularly overweight and obesity. The World Health Organization estimates for 2015 show that about 15 million people aged 30–69 years die annually because of NCDs (Waqanivalu 2018).
Indonesia’s subsidized rice program, RASKIN (also known as Operasi Pasar Khusus), constitutes the longest running and the largest in-kind transfer for poor households in Indonesia. In 2010, government expenditure on RASKIN accounted for 53% of the total household-targeted social assistance. What has been the impact of this program on child health in Indonesia? Our recent paper (Gupta and Huang 2018) is, in this regard, the first attempt in the literature to analyze this issue in the context of Indonesia.
By Claude Bodart. Posted March 23, 2018
The rapid pace of aging in developed and developing countries, especially in Asia, requires data for informed decision-making to ensure the well-being of aging populations. But for many countries, data for sound policy-making, planning, and investment targeting have not been available. This has led to piecemeal public policies with little sense of priority.
By Soewarta Kosen. Posted February 2, 2018
Overweight and obesity are on the rise in Indonesia. The results of the Basic Health Survey, a national, community-based survey that measures body mass index (BMI), for 2007, 2010, and 2013 show the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity in Indonesia. Several combining factors increase overweight and obesity. These include the consumption of energy-dense food, the intensive advertisement of unhealthy food, and the consumption of unhealthy school meals.
What can countries in Asia learn from the Republic of Korea and Malaysia about sanitation and its economic impacts?
By Vedanti Kelkar. Posted January 19, 2018
In 2014, when I first moved to the Republic of Korea from India, I was impressed and awestruck by the country’s infrastructure and ease of mobility. Being an architect, the aspect I found most endearing of the city-wide master planning was the access and provision of toilets almost everywhere, be it at metro train stations, bus terminals, shopping plazas, parks, or even on mountain hikes. The convenience of having clean and hygienic toilets in public places was truly a gift for me during my stay there for a few years.
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