Why Youth? Why Now?

The ad, which ran in Trinidad and Tobago, was one of 30 television spots produced by PSI/Caribbean across 11 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. The target audience for this ad was very specific: middle-class, “uptown” young women. The message was clear: insist your man wear a condom. Other ads produced by PSI/Caribbean as part of its Got It? Get it! campaign target the kind of young man who wears his machismo on his sleeve, poorer women, sex workers and other niche demographics. The goal of promoting condom use is the same across each group.

“The Caribbean is a very sexualized culture,” observes Kerry Singh, marketing and technical director for PSI/Caribbean. “Between reggae, dance hall and soca music, the average young person is put in a sexual light at a very young age.” The data bear out. According to a 2011 UNICEF report, Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the highest proportion of adolescent females claiming to have had their sexual debut before age 15. There is no equivalent data for men, but, according to Singh, social pressures encourage young men to have children at a young age. “Among black Caribbean male youth, there is a tendency to think that once you are 17 and you don’t have a child on the way, there must be something wrong with you,” says Singh.

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Healthy Dose February 3, 2012

New Study: Global Malaria Deaths Much Higher than Previously Thought


A new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and published in the Lancet shows that Malaria has killed more than 1.2 million people a year. That is nearly 50% above previous estimates. The Daily Star reports:

But there is also good news: deaths from the mosquito-borne disease have in fact been falling sharply thanks to access to better drugs and insecticide-treated nets.

Published in The Lancet on Friday, the study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle, says malaria killed at least 1.2 million people worldwide in 2010.

The estimate will be a likely shock for health policymakers. Only last September the UN-backed Roll Back Malaria (RBM) calculated mortality in 2009 at 781,000.

The higher figure, say the US researchers, derives from wider and more reliable data, including use of a technique called “verbal autopsy”.

Under this, investigators interview relatives of someone who has recently died in order to help pinpoint the cause of death. In many poor countries which lack medical infrastructure, mortality is often poorly probed or misidentified.

The new study skewers the belief that the overwhelming majority of malaria deaths occur among the under-fives.

In 2010, more than 78,000 children aged five to 14, and more than 445,000 aged 15 or older, died of malaria, together accounting for 42 percent of the total.

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An Interview with WEF Founder & Executive Chairman Prof Klaus Schwab

KATE ROBERTS: You have brought some of the most influential people together through the World Economic Forum, and about seven years ago you formed the Young Global Leaders. Why did you decide to start the Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers programs?

Prof. KLAUS SCHWAB: Fifty percent of the global population is less than 27 years old. It was very interesting that when I created the Young Global Leaders, it was difficult to find people who were already in very responsible positions below the age of 40. That has changed dramatically, which shows the age of leaders is coming down. Our Young Global Leaders are usually between 30 and 40, and we have to capture the energy and the spirit of those who are between 20 and 30. That was the reason for the creation of the Global Shapers.

KR: Much of your work in philanthropy focuses on social entrepreneurship. How can the Global Shapers become social entrepreneurs within your definition of the term?

KS: Social entrepreneurship has to be seen in a much wider way today. What we need to do is engineer society to move from a basis of self-interest toward a basis of serving society. What we want to do with the Global Shapers is to stimulate young leaders to be much more engaged into society on the local level, but through the Forum also on a global level.

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Healthy Dose February 2, 2012

Top UN Humanitarian Official Visits Sudan Crisis Zone

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos is in Sudan to visit the embattled states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. She expressed her concerns about the humanitarian situation as fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people since September.

USG Valerie Amos“South Sudan faces significant challenges, including hundreds of thousands of people displaced in 2011, people returning from Sudan and refugees from the ongoing conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan,” said Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

“In addition, conflict, poverty, and increasing food insecurity are having a major humanitarian impact. The people of South Sudan need our support,” said Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, when she met with met with representatives from aid agencies in Juba, the capital.


A relatively small number of aid organizations are dealing with about 30 simultaneous emergency operations in the vast and remote country prone to inter-ethnic conflict and insecurity. Aid workers briefed Ms. Amos on their efforts to distribute aid in Jonglei state, the scene of inter-communal clashes in late December and early last month.

“I am concerned about the scope and magnitude of the violence communities have inflicted on each other in Jonglei, as well as about the conflict between rebel militias and the army that has killed, wounded and displaced so many,” said Ms. Amos.

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What’s different at Davos

The following post is by Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI, and originally appears in the Washington Post Davos Blog.

There were two promising agendas discussed at this year’s World Economic Forum, where global finance and business leaders rub elbows every January, with some social entrepreneurs and NGOs like mine thrown in the mix.

First, the population taboo was broken.

At panel discussions around the planet’s 7 billion population threshold and environmental sustainability questions, participants are slowly but steadily finding ways to talk about an issue that for too long has been considered off-limits in gatherings like this.

Meeting the unmet need for modern contraception on the part of women around the world is understood to be important, vitally important, to the trajectory the world’s population takes during the next several decades.

Are we heading toward 8 billion by mid-century? Or 10.5 billion? Not only is that difference significant, it is also something we can do things about. Demography is not destiny, necessarily. Nor is a planet with more than 10 billion inhabitants inevitable.

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Getting to zero new HIV infections in Zambia

The following post is by Dr. Mannasseh Phiri, Country Representative in Zambia for PSI. Mannasseh writes a weekly column in the Sunday Post in his personal capacity and originally appears in Zambia’s Sunday Post. During the lead up to (and for a few days after) World AIDS Day (WAD) 2011, I appeared on 3 radio stations and

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Healthy Dose February 1, 2012

India Has Massive Health Disparity Between Girls and Boys

New data reveals a significant gap between young boys and girls when it comes to health in India. The Times of India reports:

Bonda girl - Orissa-IndiaInfant (0-1 years) and child (1-5 years) mortality are declining in India and across the world, though not as fast as was hoped in India. Simultaneously, most of the world is experiencing a faster fall in female infant and child mortality than in male, on account of well established biological factors which make girls better survivors of early infancy given equal access to resources. The world’s two most populous countries, however, buck this trend.

Newly released United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs ( UN-DESA) data for 150 countries over 40 years shows that India and China are the only two countries in the world where female infant mortality is higher than male infant mortality in the 2000s. In China, there are 76 male infant deaths for every 100 female infant deaths compared with 122 male infant deaths for every 100 female infant deaths in the developing world as a whole.

The released data has found that India has a better infant mortality sex ratio than China, with 97 male infant deaths for every 100 female, but this is still not in tune with the global trend, or with its neighbours Sri Lanka (125) or Pakistan (120).

When it comes to the child mortality sex ratio, however, India is far and away the world’s worst. In the 2000s, there were 56 male child deaths for every 100 female, compared with 111 in the developing world. This ratio has got progressively worse since the 1970s in India, even as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Iraq improved.

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