Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Cuba and Cholera: Good Hygiene and Good Government Can Save Lives

Almost five months ago, the Cuban government announced the end of a cholera outbreak in eastern Cuba. At the time, Cuba’s Public Health Ministry blamed the three deaths and 417 cases on overflowing toilets, heavy rains and contaminated wells. According to the government, thanks to its prompt reaction and the quality of the country’s public … Read more


The Next Health Challenge in the Hemisphere: Non-Communicable Diseases

This year in the Americas, 4.5 million people will die of chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.  While the countries of the region have made great strides over the past two generations in decreasing death rates from infectious diseases—they are no longer the leading causes of death in … Read more


Can You Heal Me Now?

Mobile phone subscriptions have overtaken fixed lines as the preferred method of communication across Latin America and the Caribbean, with penetration rates of almost 90 percent. Some forecasts indicate that subscriptions in the region could grow by 8.2 percent in 2010. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), mobile subscriptions globally will surpass the 5 … Read more


Black Medicine

When you’re sick, taking the right medicine is almost as important as finding a good doctor. But what if the medicine is fake? A black market in counterfeit or low-quality drugs is fast becoming the world’s newest health hazard. Although the extent of drug counterfeiting is very difficult to assess, in 2005 Peter Pitts of … Read more


Communications, Collaboration and Technology

Across Latin America, obstacles to health care access are similar. Beds are full, waiting rooms overflow, and treatment delays are common. Creating equitable access to health services requires addressing the ubiquitous challenges of escalating demand, rising citizen expectations and unrelenting pressure to do more with less. One solution is to find better ways of incorporating … Read more


Who’s Covered?

The recent debate over health care reform in the United States has highlighted the impact of poverty, race and labor market position on access to health care. But what about the region? New data from the 2010 AmericasBarometer surveys, covering every country in North and South America plus many in the Caribbean, suggest that, not … Read more


The Mobile Revolution in Rural Health Care

Around the world, mobile phone use is skyrocketing. In Colombia, there are more mobile subscribers per 100 inhabitants than in the United States. In Kenya, more than four out of every ten people are mobile subscribers—up from essentially zero just 10 years ago. And because phones are often shared within families, mobile access is even … Read more


Health Care Goes Local

Decentralization has emerged as a major tool for improving the delivery of health services in Latin America. But has it worked? This is a crucial question for policymakers in the region—and elsewhere—and not only in the health sector. One of the major public policy debates of our time is to what extent decentralization of government … Read more

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