Ensuring access to quality reproductive health and family planning services is fundamental to human development results and is a top priority in the Bank’s 2007 Healthy Development strategy.
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Some actions and programs can help lift more people out of poverty: Improving access to and upgrading the quality of basic rural infrastructure, such as roads, irrigation schemes, electricity supplies... Show More + and water and sanitation. After all, 90 per cent of the poor live in rural areas. Supporting children in rural areas to start school at a younger age and broadening access to education among minority communities is key to reducing poverty. Scholarship, school feeding, targeted cash transfer and similar programs have been shown to help reduce drop-out rates later in secondary schools. An integrated program to reduce child malnutrition, with systematic monitoring of child growth by health facilities, will be a priority in reducing poverty. Community-based programs can reduce open defecation and improve feeding habits, food fortification and micronutrients. An increase in the coverage of the Health Equity Fund – a scheme that provides free health access to the poorest –and broadened outreach to spread awareness of the health benefits of the fund can also contribute to reducing child malnutrition.Tighter controls imposed on private providers and suppliers of medicine outside the public health system to combat counterfeit drugs can help improve health care quality.Programs to enhance the profitability of rice production through supply of improved seeds and more effective rural extension services can help farmers shift from subsistence to commercial farming. There are also policies and programs that help prevent the near-poor from slipping back into poverty. Promoting crop diversification beyond rice will be important. Rural families will also benefit from more opportunities for off-farm jobs and from increased efforts to promote industries and service sectors in both urban and rural areas.Further efforts to implement a National Social Protection Strategy could especially support the non-poor.Continued progress in poverty reduction is possible. Helping families who just escaped poverty stay out of poverty is possible. With strong policies and programs to reduce poverty, both goals are within reach. Indeed, such policies and programs are vital if the new hope and expectations of Cambodians that have been encouraged by the past decade of rapid economic growth are to be met. The government of Cambodia and the World Bank Group are jointly organising a workshop to disseminate a poverty assessment report in the afternoon of February 20, 2014, at Phnom Penh Hotel, which will provide an opportunity to discuss challenges and actions to reduce poverty further. Show Less -
What do France and Sweden have in common ? They are among the few European countries which are not experiencing a dramatic decline in birth rates – in large part thanks to effective public polici... Show More +es. In Poland women have an average of 1.4 children during their life. The numbers are almost identical in Italy, Spain, Germany. They are even lower in some East Asian countries, 1.2 in Korea, 1.15 in Singapore. Despite such difference experiences in other countries France and Sweden have managed to maintain the birth rates around what is needed to replace generations. So, what are these two countries doing ? What do their policies have in common ?Not only experienceActually – not that much. The two systems differ in almost every respect. They are based on different philosophies, they are aimed at different objectives, and they include different measures.The decision to have a child is probably one of the most important a couple, and a woman, can make. It is a decision that is influenced by a multiplicity of factors as we know from our own experience. It is hence no surprise that research cannot identify any single measure that has a substantial impact on birth rates. Each measure has its rationale and its usefulness – for example well-targeted family benefits can help reduce the number of children who grow in poverty – but in and by itself it does not raise the birth rates. What works is a combination of measures.In today’s world, women often feel they may have to choose between a fulfilling professional and social life and a successful family life. When they have to make such a choice, at least some of them will decide not to have children. Interestingly countries that have tried to support traditional family models have been unsuccessful at raising birth rates, probably because they made the need for a choice between motherhood and “modernity” even starker. What successful countries have done is to make it possible for women to have both: a fulfilling professional and social life and a successful family life.The way this is done reflects each country’s culture. The current French family policy is the result of a compromise between the objectives of raising fertility, providing income support to families, and promoting the work-family balance. Swedish family policies are not directly aimed at encouraging childbirth: their main goal has rather been to support women’s participation in the labor force and to promote gender equality. Yet, both sets of measures work. They work because they respond to the actual issues families, and especially women, are facing in a given cultural context. They also work because they are accompanied by policies aimed at supporting broader and complementary social changes, for example a greater focus on gender equity. There is no magic bullet. And there is no “global good practice” that Poland could adopt and replicate. What has worked is to find ways in each culture, in each society, to make it possible for women, not to have to choose between job and family. What has worked is to engage with women, and with their husbands or partners, to discuss what they need so they can have both. Show Less -
Cambodia’s GDP growth averaged 8.2 % between 2000-2010, becoming the 15th fastest growing economy of the world, according to the World Bank. The country’s economic performance remains strong – 6.9% in... Show More + 2011 – driven by robust expansion of exports, private investment and consumption. This is a remarkable achievement for the Cambodian people, who have worked hard to overcome conflict and fragility. During the same period, maternal mortality has dropped by over half and child mortality by almost two thirds, already exceeding Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets.Despite these impressive accomplishments, malnutrition remains a serious problem. Nearly 40% of Cambodian children under the age of five are short for their age, according to the 2010 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey – one of the highest rates in the region. Twenty-eight percent of children in the same age group are underweight, 10.9% of which are dangerously thin and 55% anemic.Why should we be concerned? Malnutrition has irreversible effects on health and human development. The first 1000 days, starting with pregnancy up to a child’s second birthday, are considered a critical “window of opportunity” when poor nutrition can result in stunted growth, diminished immune response, impaired intellectual ability, poor school performance and lower economic productivity. Early life malnutrition is also associated with increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other non communicable diseases later in life.This means that the economic costs of malnutrition are substantial and need to be addressed to sustain Cambodia’s future economic growth. It is estimated that individual productivity losses are approximately 10% of lifetime earnings. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies alone cost Cambodia over US$140 million each year.The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) recognises the challenge. In May of this year, the government convened a National Seminar on Food Security and Nutrition to strengthen the national response and has taken significant steps toward improving nutrition. However, tackling nutrition requires a multi-sectoral approach, including improved maternal and child care practices, and more equitable access to clean water, sanitation, and health services. This is a challenge for many governments.This is why it is important for civil society, donors and other partners to work with Cambodia, engaging the principles of development effectiveness. The World Bank and bilateral partners such as Australia and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) can contribute by mobilizing global knowledge and resources to ensure that the full spectrum of development work ranging from health, water and sanitation to gender will have a positive impact on nutrition. Show Less -