In pictures: Reaching remote Maasai children with life-saving vaccines

Back in November, RESULTS UK led a delegation of journalists to Tanzania to explore how the country is improving child health through expanding access to routine immunisation. Tanzania is a great example of how low national income is not a barrier to making substantial gains in child survival. With support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Tanzania has reached impressive vaccine coverage rates, reaching 92% in 2012.

Despite this progress, challenges still remain with 95,000 children under the age of five continuing to die every year, predominantly from preventable conditions. With 77% of the population living in rural areas, the supply and delivery of vaccines in an uninterrupted “cold chain” is a major challenge. Furthermore, with semi-nomadic Maasai populations inhabiting the north east of the country, ensuring these communities are fully vaccinated is not an easy fleet. This photo story tracks our journey through Tanzania, from the central vaccine store in Dar es Salaam to remote dispensaries in Arusha province where vaccines are delivered to Masai children.

In less than a week, world leaders and development ministers will gather in Berlin for the replenishment of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which seeks to raise US$7.5 billion to immunise 300 million children between 2016 and 2020. If Gavi does not reach its funding target, children in countries like Tanzania, will be denied access to immunisation and their right to live a life free from preventable diseases. It is therefore critical that all donors meet this ambition and step up to the challenge to save 6 million lives.

Global Statement on Gavi Replenishment: Potential funding shortfall if donors don’t step up

In exactly one week, leaders and development ministers from around the world will gather in Berlin for the replenishment of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Established in 2000, Gavi is a public-private partnership which seeks to fund vaccines in the world’s poorest countries. The below statement highlights concern among civil society organisations across the globe about the potential funding shortfall if donors do not step up and ensure Gavi reaches its target of US$7.5 billion for 2016-2020. Failure to meet this target will have a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of children by denying their right to life-saving vaccines.

Leading international aid agencies and campaigners are warning that the world’s largest partnership for child immunization faces up to a $US 500 million funding shortfall for the next phase of its life-saving work, just one week before a crucial funding summit in Berlin.

Photo: Tom Maguire/RESULTS UK

Photo: Tom Maguire/RESULTS UK

Global leaders are considering their financial pledges to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, before travelling to Berlin for the meeting hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 27th. The meeting is the first big test of the international community’s determination to make 2015 a breakthrough year in the fight to end extreme poverty and preventable child deaths.

Gavi has set out a plan for 2016-2020 which would save up to six million lives and immunise more than 300 million children against deadly diseases. If donors fall short of the $US 7.5 billion cost of the plan, Gavi would likely not be able to fully meet countries’ demands for vaccines against conditions including rotavirus, HPV, measles-rubella and typhoid, and fail in its mission to expand immunisation to those children and communities currently excluded. This shortfall could result in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and large economic and productivity losses, and set back the ambition to reach every child with immunisation.

Speaking together, leading agencies including ACTION Global Health Advocacy Partnership, Save the Children, ONE, Global Poverty Project, BRAC, WorldVision and the Gavi Civil Society Steering Committee – say:

“We are deeply concerned that in this crucial year for development, donors may fall at the first hurdle. This is not just another obscure political meeting – it’s about the world’s poorest children.

“Gavi is ranked as one of the most transparent and effective development mechanisms in the world. All donors say they support immunisation and want to see Gavi fully funded. Words won’t vaccinate a child – what’s needed now is cash.

“There is still time for leaders around the world step up to ensure a successful replenishment for Gavi and a healthy future for millions more children. Many of Gavi’s key donors, including Germany, United States, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have yet to finalize and announce their pledges. We urge each of them to prioritize Gavi and increase their commitment significantly. We hope others who have already made strong pledges, such as the European Commission and the UK do all that they can to fill the gap.”

Campaigners also point to this meeting as an important marker for the ambition of the G7. “The Gavi replenishment will set the tone for Germany’s leadership of the G7; however maternal and child health needs to stay on the G7 agenda for the rest of 2015.”

Gavi was set up in 2000 as an innovative public-private partnership to transform immunization in poor countries, and it has already saved 6 million lives. Despite global campaigning and the widely-expressed view that  investing in Gavi is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of saving lives, current donor projections suggest that the replenishment could fall at least half a billion dollars short of its fundraising target.

Statement signed by: ACTION Global Health Advocacy Partnership, Save the Children, ONE, Global Poverty Project, BRAC, WorldVision and the Gavi Civil Society Steering Committee, RESULTS Australia, RESULTS Canada, Global Health Advocates (France), CORE Group Partners Project (India), Health Education and Literacy Programme, Pakistan Civil Society Coalition Network for Health and Immunization, Asociación Mexicana de Vacunología, IMA World Health and American Cancer Society,  Alternative Santé Cameroon, CCAM Cameroon, PROVARESSC Cameroun.

For more information contact: Megan Wilson-Jones (megan.wilson-jones@results.org.uk)

Missed our January Conference Call? Listen here now!

Missed our Conference Call on 13 January, 2015? Fear not! A recording of the call is now available below.

The call covered:

  • 2014 campaign updates
  • Constituency Champion training reminders
  • The importance of 2015
  • Group general election campaign progress updates, challenges and successes
  • The action/2015 campaign (with guest speaker Tom Baker, Head of Campaigns and Engagement at Bond)
  • And some great questions from our grassroots groups!

Join our next call on Tuesday, 3 February 2015 from 8 to 9 pm by dialing 0844 762 0762, 0203 398 1398 or 0800 22 90 900 and when prompted enter 18723#. We have groups across the country; give us a call on 02077933970 or send Anja an email at anja.nielsen@results.org.uk to find out about your nearest group!

Finally, learn more about our General Election campaign by clicking here and read all about the action/2015 campaign here.

See you next time!

RESULTS UK Joins Global Launch of action/2015 Campaign

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, and we’ll keep saying it for the next 12 months: 2015 is THE year to take action and begin to see the end of global poverty.

As part of this, RESULTS UK has joined the global campaign action/2015, calling on leaders across the world to step-up and take action in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty. NGOs, faith-based networks, celebrities and grassroots groups from America to Zimbabwe are uniting in one of the biggest campaigns ever launched to make this, 2015, the year we decide to save nearly a billion lives.

How will we do this? We’ll start at home with the UK General Election, getting global development on the minds of all candidates through our General Election Campaign. Globally, we’ll be calling on leaders to make ambitious pledges at the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September and at the Climate Change talks in Paris in December, demanding that they commit to deals that could achieve: an end to poverty in all its forms; the meeting of fundamental rights, tackling inequality and discrimination; an accelerated transition to 100% renewable energy; and, finally, a world where everyone can participate and hold their leaders accountable.

These decisions can mean the difference between 360 million people living in extreme poverty (still too many, but huge progress from the 1.1 billion today) and the possibility of a rise to 1.2 billion people living on less than $1.25 a day. In the latter scenario, should global leaders fail to take action, it is estimated that 1 in 3 people globally could live on less than $2 a day by 2030.

That is why calling on leaders through action/2015 as one cohesive voice against poverty is so important; and it all launches today!

Campaigners across the world will mark the occasion in various ways, including:

  • A group of 15 year olds in Tanzania meeting with Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal to discuss their aspirations for the future and the action they want from political leaders,
  • Live broadcasts with well-known celebrities in South Africa where 15 year olds will speak about their hopes for the future,
  • And right here in the UK, some of Britain’s leading youth activists will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to urge them to seize the opportunities of 2015.

Civil Society in both donor and recipient countries will be participating today, and we hope you will too. You can get involved with the launch by taking a photo of yourself holding your “I am 15” message and posting it to Twitter and Facebook using the hashtags #Iam15 and #action2015. Then nominate three of your friends to do the same! Follow @action2015 on Twitter and like the UK action/2015 page on Facebook to follow the campaign’s progress across the country and the world.

This year could really be the turning point in our fight for global equity, if serious and binding commitments are made by world leaders throughout the year. In the words of 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai: “2015 must be the year the world wakes up and delivers a safer, more just future for children and young people. We all must play our part in ensuring this is the case. Do not let this opportunity go to waste.” Join us and all action/2015 partners in being a part of this global movement to end extreme poverty.

To find out more about action/2015, check out the campaign’s website!

Also check out this article from The Guardian about celebrity involvement in action/2015!

Phumeza Tisile defeated XDR-TB, but the treatment took her hearing. Let’s help Phumeza defeat the silence.

RESULTS UK’s Executive Director, Aaron Oxley, shares the story of Phumeza Tisile, who defeated XDR-TB after a long and arduous treatment that caused her to lose her hearing. Phumeza has become a powerful advocate within the TB community, fighting to ensure others do not have to endure what she has. Aaron writes here to thank her for sharing her story, and to share how we all can help her to regain her hearing

Phumeza and Aaron in Cape Town in Jan 2014

Phumeza and Aaron in Cape Town in Jan 2014

When I was in South Africa in early 2014 for the Stop TB Board meeting and I learned that Phumeza was going to be there with MSF as they received the Kochon Prize, I knew there was only one person in the room I wanted to speak to that night. I was more than a little star-struck: there was someone who has done something I am very unsure that I’d have the strength to do myself, and turned something so horribly negative into something positive. Rather than just get on with her life, get over TB, and try to forget about it once she was cured, Phumeza has thrown herself right back into the fight to make sure that no-one else has to suffer and struggle as she did.

I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through what I went through with drug-resistant TB. The drugs alone are a nightmare; becoming deaf because of a drug’s side effects is life-destroying.
~ Phumeza Tisile, XDR-TB Survivor and Activist

Phumeza has become a prominent TB advocate since beating the disease.

Phumeza has become a prominent TB advocate since beating the disease.

Phumeza Tisile defeated XDR-TB (extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis), but the treatment, as it does for so many others, has made her deaf. Now, she now has the chance to receive life-changing surgery to regain her hearing. It took incredible courage and strength to beat XDR-TB, and Phumeza has bought those same qualities to her ongoing advocacy efforts in the fight against TB.

I admire this woman immensely, which is why I’m writing this blog post to let you know that Phumeza is currently raising funds so that she can undergo an operation to restore her hearing. This isn’t cheap: it will cost one dollar for every TB tablet she had to take during her treatment, but her doctors are confident she can hear again by means of bilateral cochlear implants.

It is impossible not to be moved by some very simple but tremendously challenging numbers:

Phumeza calling to 'fix the patent laws' to enable more people to access life-saving TB treatment around the world.

Phumeza calling to ‘fix the patent laws’ to enable more people to access life-saving TB treatment around the world.

Phumeza’s journey in numbers:
Number of times Phumeza was told she would die: 3
Days on treatment: 1340
Number of injections: 150
Number of pills swallowed: 20 000
To hear again: 1 dollar per pill (~US$20 000)

Phumeza’s proposed surgery date will be as soon as possible after the funds have been raised. I’m asking you to help make sure she can have the surgery sooner rather than later by considering making a donation to help this remarkable woman.

As a member of the global TB community, I know that without brave and strong voices like Phumeza’s it will take us even longer to finally win the battle against this deadly and debilitating disease. Tuberculosis still claims three lives every minute globally and is the leading cause of death in South Africa. It has taken so much from Phumeza, yet she has already given far more back: courage for those that come after her, inspiration for those on the front lines, and a voice for the millions in need. Please support her in her critical work.

TB Drugs in Kenya: A Grassroots Advocacy Success Story

Kenya is a country with a high tuberculosis (TB) burden: it is currently ranked fourth in Africa of countries with high TB incidences, only behind South Africa, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. In addition to this, the TB/HIV co-infection rate stands at 40%.

Early in 2014, Kenya reported a looming shortage of TB drugs, resulting from a lack of funding allocation for first-line TB drugs in fiscal year 2013/2014. As a result of this gap, the country used up all of the buffer TB stocks of first-line TB drugs, and by March there was an absolute stock-out of some of the drugs (like streptomycin, a key antibiotic used in TB treatments), while there was only a few months’ worth of stock of the rest of the drugs. As a short-term measure, the Government borrowed first-line TB drugs from Malawi.

The Ministry of Health also put a request in the supplementary budget of 2014, but the allocation was devolved to the districts with no guidelines on what to prioritise. The districts ended up utilising the funds for other needs and never prioritised purchasing TB drugs.

joyceAt the same time, the Ministry of Health reached out to the Global Drug Facility (GDF) for support in procuring one year’s supply of drugs to address the situation.  The GDF promised to procure for the country half of one year’s supply on the condition that the Government would put in the first half of the required amount (350 million Kenyan Shillings, roughly £2.5 million) to demonstrate its commitment to this course. The total amount required for one year’s supply is just short of £5 million.

With this kind of situation, if nothing was done urgently, the country was going to face an increase in new TB cases as those carrying the infection would not have been able to receive proper treatment and could thereby pass on the disease. There was also likely to be an increase in cases of  Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB  due to a lack of adherence to the prescribed course of medication.

In response to this situation, KANCO adopted the responsibility of advocacy to ensure there was allocation and procurement of TB drugs across Kenya. Various advocacy strategies were employed, including:

  1. Petition letters: KANCO led other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in drafting petition letters to relevant Members of Parliament. Unfortunately, there was not a single response from Parliament.
  2. One-on-one meetings with MPs: KANCO again held several one-to-one meetings with MPs using the RESULTS model of advocacy. The outcome was a lengthy discussion in Parliament about the status of the TB drug stock out. However, once again no immediate action resulted from this.
  3. Letters from the infected and affected communities: The RESULTS model of advocacy was then employed, in this instance to mobilise affected communities to write letters to their MPs. One MP called back to ask for details, but the action did not result in any further intervention.
  4. Traditional and social media: Seeing that the problem was still persistent, KANCO held a press briefing with about 20 media outlets present. At the same time, a hashtag was developed and grassroots campaigners were encouraged to take to Twitter, tagging all the leaders, MPs and others whose handles were known. One MP picked up the tweets and responded with an expression of interest in taking on this issue. She provided her email and asked to be furnished with all the details of the stock out. She was emailed the detailed account of the situation and the efforts that had been put to try and address it. In response, this MP held a press conference charging the Parliamentary Health Committee to address the issue.

These advocacy actions finally resulted in success for KANCO, grassroots campaigners, and the Kenyan population. Within just a few weeks  the Government announced a £2 million allocation for TB drugs. Persistent advocacy and widespread support facilitated through social media meant that political will was fostered to combat the TB drug shortage, saving lives and improving the health of Kenya. Naturally there is still much work to do – the remainder of the money needs to be sourced, and a longer term commitment needs to be made. But this persistent action by civil society has now ensured that the issue is high on the agenda of legislators.

Article adapted from a Case Study presented by Joyce Matogo of KANCO Kenya.

 KANCO is a partner of RESULTS UK, the two organisations collaborate, with others, in the ACTION Global Health Partnership. 

Follow KANCO and ACTION on Twitter.

No Cure for Ebola: the Importance of Global Health Research and Development

This blog is part two of a two-part series on Ebola, highlighting critical challenges in global health which have hindered the ability of the world to effectively respond to this emerging health threat.

In this second blog we explore how a lack of investment in research and development (R&D) for poverty-related diseases can have devastating consequences – in the first blog we looked at how weaknesses in health systems have undermined efforts to fight the disease.

Ebola is a scary phenomenon. There are currently no treatments or vaccines specific for the disease, and general anti-viral treatments have not been found to work. It causes internal bleeding, and while patients’ bodies do eventually create an immune response to fight the virus, by this time too much damage has occurred. Death rates are around 50%.

Photo: EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie

Photo: EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie

This has meant that, for the vast majority of the nearly 20,000 Ebola patients in West Africa so far, ‘treatment’ has simply been supportive, helping the patient’s body to maintain hydration and electrolyte levels; whilst trying to prevent further spread through isolation, contact tracing and proper protection from bodily fluids for those interacting with patients.

Yet over the past decade, a wide variety of potential treatments and vaccines have been explored in ‘basic’ and ‘applied’ research studies involving animals, but have then sat on the shelf gathering dust. Only very recently has high political and public interest in developed countries fast-tracked many into either small ‘phase I’ human trials, or even into use as ‘experimental treatments’ for individual patients, in partnerships between pharmaceutical and public funding bodies.

These products include antiviral drugs, blood transfusions from surviving Ebola patients, other antibiotic treatments, and vaccines using Ebola virus particles that are missing genetic materials and cannot replicate. Results have been mixed and inconclusive so far: some patients survive, but attribution is difficult; some sadly do not. Given enough products moving steadily along this ‘pipeline’ – which we have now achieved, albeit belatedly – doctors will eventually get what they need to fight Ebola.

But it will still likely take many months, and would usually would take years, as promising products pass through the final large-scale ‘phase III and IV’ trials to prove safety and efficacy before they become available to the public. The process will not be quick enough to save those facing Ebola now, and of course has already failed those who have died.

This applies not just to Ebola, but to the wider burden of infectious disease that currently causes untold disruption to both health systems and economies in low and middle income countries. As increasing trade and global integration continues, addressing the infectious diseases that affect these countries will become ever more of a global challenge.

The West Africa Ebola outbreak has so far killed just over 7,000 people during its six-month duration; in comparison, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) both kill over 4,000 people every day. They are just two of the so-called ‘poverty-related and neglected diseases’ that kill nearly 14 million people every year and for which, as for Ebola, there are no treatments available. For others, such as for TB, the infections have become resistant to existing drugs or the treatments are painful and difficult to use and needed for long periods of time.

Despite these pressures, only 4% of all new products registered over the last decade were for poverty-related diseases. The ‘shelves’ of global health R&D are gathering huge amounts of dust. In asking what can be done to prevent another outbreak of a similar disease – or prevent the daily tragedy of HIV/AIDS or TB – we must therefore ask: how can we ensure that potential products to prevent and treat life-threatening or debilitating conditions are prioritised, funded and brought forward?

The huge under-investment that is delaying and stalling progress has been attributed to flaws in the current method of funding research and development (R&D). At the moment, companies will usually risk investing in a product only if it could generate a significant financial return. Almost by default, this is not possible for many poverty-related and neglected diseases.

However, ways round this problem are already producing strong results. The UK Government has historically been a champion of ‘Product Development Partnerships’ (PDPs), which generate partnership between the sectors, pooling donor and philanthropic funds with academic and private sector expertise and resources, and also building medical research capacity in affected countries.

PDPs have been instrumental in bringing through 37 new therapeutic products for poverty-related diseases registered over the last decade; including a UK-funded paediatric antimalarial, five new diagnostic tests for TB, and the first internal ring to prevent HIV infection in women. The Government is also exploring options to better fund R&D through public money via targeted grants, ‘milestone prizes’, and the further pooling of information and funds with other donors.

Whilst a great start, the gaps in donor finance for global health R&D are still huge – around $1 billion every year for just TB, for example. As Justine Greening said in 2013, “the development of new technologies is vital if we are to improve the health of the poorest people through better treatment and prevention”.

Ebola is just the most recent example of why the Secretary of State is right, and why the UK Government must now follow through on its leadership in investment and support for Global Health R&D.

For more information, please contact Laura Boughey, Health Advocacy Co-ordinator at RESULTS UK, at laura.boughey@results.org.uk.

 

Recording of General Election campaign webinar now available

On Tuesday, we hosted the first webinar of our General Election campaign to get you up to speed on everything you need to know to kick start your campaign, including the:

Key Dates,
Key People,
Key Facts,
Key Objectives and
Key Actions

The keys to your campaign!

To listen to the webinar, simply open the following link: http://momentum.adobeconnect.com/p4so43crfne/

Want to find out more about our General Election campaign and how you can get involved? Drop Tom at the campaign team an e-mail at tom.maguire@results.org.uk or give the office a call on 0207 793 3970. We would love to hear from you.

Ebola: Why the world is still unprepared to respond to emerging health threats

This blog is part one of a two-part series on Ebola, highlighting two critical challenges in global health which have hindered the ability of the world to effectively respond to this emerging health threat. In the first blog we look at how weaknesses in health systems have undermined efforts to fight the disease. In the second, we explore how a lack of investment in research and development (R&D) for poverty-related diseases can have devastating consequences. The first blog comes from RESULTS UK’s Child Survival Advocacy Officer, Megan Wilson-Jones. 

The year of Ebola

Christmas is a time for reflection. As we prepare for 2015, we can’t help but think of the year that has gone by. What went well? What didn’t? What stands out in our memory?

For many working in global health, Ebola has dominated the last year. To date, there have been 17,942 cases of the Ebola virus disease and 6,388 deaths recorded, as reported on 10 December by the World Health Organisation. Almost all cases and deaths are isolated to just three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola has caused substantial fear and stigma around the world due to its high case-fatality rate, killing on average about half of those it infects. Perhaps most unsettling, however, is the lack of an effective cure or preventative vaccine.

Photo: EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie

Photo: EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie

While Ebola has grabbed the attention of the world, the harsh reality is one in which Ebola kills less people than many other poverty-related diseases. Malaria alone has caused 70 times more deaths this year, while HIV/AIDS in the African continent has killed more people than malaria and Ebola combined. As the global health community grapples to understand why different diseases or public health emergencies get more attention than others, Ebola serves to highlight a fundamental issue around the critical importance of strong national health systems that are within reach of every person. The social and economic repercussions of not investing in these systems to respond to emerging threats, and other existing health challenges, are devastating.

Investing in health systems

The three countries facing the largest burden of Ebola are amongst the poorest countries in the world, and have some of the most fragile health systems. Insufficient investments in the infrastructure, healthcare workforce, health information systems and medical supplies and equipment over decades have undermined the ability of these countries to effectively respond to Ebola. In neighbouring countries such as Nigeria, Mali and further afield in the USA, the virus was rapidly contained and controlled as a result of comprehensive primary care in place.

Strong health systems are not simply about ensuring sufficient financial resources. However health financing, whether from foreign or domestic sources, is a key building block for developing resilient health systems around the world. The high-level Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems in 2009 recommended that a minimum of US$60 per capita spending on health by 2015 would allow provision of a basic package of essential services. This is well above the average of US$31 per capita spent in low-income countries, of which on average less than half comes from government sources. Until governments in low-income countries move towards financing the majority of health, donors such as the UK need to prioritise investments in health systems alongside more targeted and vertical disease-specific support. This is also important for large multilaterals, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance which channel significant amounts of funding for global health.

Lessons learnt

Ultimately it is the responsibility of national governments, with support from external partners, to develop and implement strategies to build resilient health systems which are able to respond to all the health needs of the population; be that Ebola, malaria or the next public health emergency. However, in the short-term international partners including donors, multilaterals and civil society, have a critical role to play in supporting and building national health systems, in coordination and in-line with national plans and strategies. This is not only essential to control and contain Ebola, but also to mitigate the risks Ebola poses to routine services.

Investing in health and health systems is unquestionably one of the most cost-effective approaches to drive economic and social development in poor countries. Ebola is a harsh reminder of how a lack of investment in health systems is undermining our ability to respond to not only today’s threats but also tomorrow’s health challenges. As we prepare to enter 2015 the key question still remains, will the lessons from Ebola finally turn into meaningful action?

 

 

 

Steady Progress in Cambodia: Report of a Parliamentary Delegation to Cambodia

Earlier this year, RESULTS UK led a cross party parliamentary delegation to Cambodia, and today we launch Steady Progress in Cambodia, a report which outlines our findings and recommendations from our experiences in South-East Asia.

The trip explored in detail some of the remaining health challenges in Cambodia’s, particularly its high rates of TB and under-five child mortality. The delegation was attended by Baroness Alison Suttie, Mark Pawsey MP, Michael Connarty MP and Nic Dakin MP, as well as RESULTS staff members Megan Wilson-Jones and Steve Lewis. Then Health Advocacy Officer Jess Kuehne and RESULTS board member Reg Davis also attended the delegation.

CambodiaRep_Nov14_web.1

Cambodia is a nation that has made significant progress since its health system and infrastructure were devastated by Khmer Rouge rule in the 1970s. From a workforce of 600 doctors, there remained only 50 after the fall of the regime. This report details how progress has been made, but also highlights that significant challenges remain.

The delegation visited a number of sites in connection with the health and education challenges faced in Cambodia, including community health centres working with TB patients through projects supported by TB REACH and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM). The site visits illustrated Cambodia’s continuing struggle as one of 22 high burden TB countries and showed the importance of continuing the international aid that has seen 40,000 individuals diagnosed and treated for the disease since 2003. The report also details findings from the delegation’s visit to the Samdech Ov Hospital, where participants learned about the importance of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s work in increasing rotine immunisation coverage from 60% to 95% in just 10 years (2002 to 2012). Despite this, there are still 14,000 children under the age of five in Cambodia who die from mostly preventable and treatable disease every year, a challenge that must be addressed.

The delegation’s visit to the Ang Suong Primary School in Cambodia’s Takei Province, an institution supported by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is also discussed in the report.  Cambodia has received $38 million of funding since 2006 from the GPE to improve the country’s education system, which has helped to reduce the number of out of school children in Cambodia by 60,000 in just five years (2006 to 2011). Again, progress has been remarkable, but challenges remain. In the case of education, it is not only about getting children into school, it is also critical that the quality of education is high.

The report highlights a number of key findings from the delegation and includes recommendations for both the UK Government and the Cambodian Government. It is vital that the progress seen in Cambodia does not stall and that investment in health spending, especially to address TB and under-five child mortality, remains a priority. The linked nature of health and education is also a key aspect of the report, and it is made clear that future progress in the health, well-being, and economic status of the people of Cambodia relies on a comprehensive and cross-cutting approach to development.

You can read the report here.

Follow Megan Wilson-Jones or Steve Lewis on Twitter.