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.

12 Facts You Might Not Know About Acute Malnutrition From Generation Nutrition

RESULTS UK is partner of the Generation Nutrition campaign which aims to bring civil society and the public together to end child deaths from acute malnutrition. Generation Nutrition is calling on world leaders to take urgent action to tackle acute malnutrition and step up the global efforts to end child deaths from this preventable disease. They will be taking this message to world leaders at the UN in New York early next year.

The other day a friend asked me to give him one reason why he should use his voice for change and sign the Generation Nutrition petition. I gave them 12…

1. Hunger and malnutrition are NOT the same

1 pixHunger – a feeling of discomfort, weakness or pain – is the body’s response to a lack of food. The feeling of hunger can be sated if a child has access to adequate quantities of food. But tackling malnutrition requires a more comprehensive response. It means making sure that children have access to food that is good in both quality and quantity, and a balanced diet – rich in essential vitamins and minerals. It also means protecting children from illnesses, such as diarrhoea, which can stop their body from absorbing vital nutrients.

While the world has been tackling hunger for a number of years, the fight against malnutrition, is relatively new. Continue reading

0.7% Aid Bill Success – A Personal Reflection

This post comes from Steve Lewis, RESULTS’ Head of Global Health Advocacy.

Today the house of commons voted 146 to 5 to enshrine in law the Government’s commitment to spending 0.7% of its gross national income on overseas aid and international development. I am delighted that the bill has passed its third reading and now passes to the House of Lords for further debate. All of us here in RESULTS look forward to the New Year when the bill will – hopefully – be finally approved and become legislation.

0.7% blogI say finally because the 0.7% target is not a new thing. The United Nations agreed in 1970 (44 years ago) that all nations would move towards this target. In the early 1980s I worked in Ecuador and saw the pain of families who had to choose between educating their children or feeding them. Even worse, in 1985 I sat in my bedsit in South London and watched the horrendous footage of the Ethiopian famine. In 1985, with thousands of others I joined the World Development Movement (WDM) lobby of parliament. Since then for thirty years the people of Britain have been asking for the UK Government to make good on their promise.

In the debate in parliament today only 6 MPs opposed the motion, saying the country does not support international aid. RESULTS supporters will remember the huge ‘Enough Food for Everyone If’ rally in Hyde Park last year to know that that is not true. Those with a longer memory will remember the peoples’ march on Gleneagles in 2005, when there were so many young people marching to Scotland that the police implored Bob Geldorf to ask them to go home. The people of Great Britain have been staunch supporters of overseas aid for decades, recognising the injustice that those born here have a good standard of living, while those born in poverty in other countries can barely afford to eat or clothe their children.

I am proud of the perseverance of the UK churches and NGOs who for many years have been saying, ‘we don’t want charity for the world’s poor, we want justice’. And this is what this bill will deliver. The 0.7% target is a UN approved target, and will provide sustainable and regular finance to countries as they develop.

For the UK to adopt this target is especially important for the example it gives to other countries, so that other countries also step up to the plate. Other countries reached this target some years ago, and some countries give 1% of GNI for aid (surpassing the target). But the UK is the first of the major industrial economies to have reached the 0.7% target. Now it just needs to be enshrined in law and it will be a major incentive for other countries to do the same.

Blog photo 2 smallBritish aid saves millions of lives every year. Making it law that we will meet the UN target will allow DFID to plan better for the long term, to ensure that aid is the most effective that it can possibly be. It will also allow more space for political discussions on tackling the root causes of poverty, and will show the UK’s commitment to a more just and equitable world.

RESULTS calls on the Government to ensure that the bill is now discussed at the earliest opportunity in the House of Lords, to give it the best chance of becoming law before the general election next year.

When I stood in the cold outside parliament in 1985, with our banner requesting 0.7% legislation I did not imagine we would still be here 30 years later. But if we do achieve this bill into law in the new year I will still be proud of the people’s clamour that has finally been heard.

Steve Lewis
@owstonlewis

UK Commits to Saving 1.4 million lives through Immunisation

Dr Sharmin Zahan, Senior Program Manager for Health at BRAC, Bangladesh shares her thoughts on the UK’s pledge to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Last week, 27 November 2014, the International Development Secretary of State, Justine Greening MP, reaffirmed the UK’s position as leader in global immunisation with the announcement of up to £1 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for 2016-2020. The UK has been a long-standing supporter of Gavi since it was established in 2000. Previous contributions from the UK to Gavi have already saved millions of lives and led to significant reductions in child deaths across developing countries. In addition to existing commitments during this period, UK taxpayers are helping to immunise an additional 76 million children and save 1.4 million lives.

Sharmin-Pic-parliament

The UK’s announcement prompted my memory of the Immunisation Advocacy Tour I attended in London earlier this year. It was not too long ago, just after World Immunisation Week in April 2014, that I visited the UK Parliament as part of an Advocacy Tour arranged by RESULTS UK. The purpose of my visit was to raise awareness among decision-makers and the public about the urgent need to ensure all children receive vaccines and the important role of Gavi in achieving this effort. I had the opportunity to meet DFID Senior Health Advisor Chris Lewis to discuss the UK’s critical role in funding Gavi. In parliament, I met with Martin Horwood, MP, Michael Connarty, MP, Lord Avebury, Jim Dobin, MP and Annette Brook, MP, in one-to-one meetings alongside RESULTS UK colleagues. Later in the week, I also had the opportunity to meet with Barroness Suttie and Nic Dakin MP over an informal dinner with RESULTS UK collegues in Camden, North London.

During these meetings, I was heartened to hear of all the MPs particular interest in hearing about Gavi’s impact on the ground in countries which receive Gavi funding, and the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in delivering immunisation activities. I felt privileged, particularly with the fact that Bangladesh has made enormous progress in immunisation in last two decades, in part due to significant funding from Gavi. Bangladesh is a classic example where immunisation is implemented through the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI). However, CSOs like BRAC’s community mobilisation for immunisation programme, run through community health workers, plays a critical role in ensuring greater coverage and equity of access to vaccines. In addition to support through Gavi, DFID provides a large amount of funding to BRAC through a strategic partnership approach, to implement health and other development programmes that ultimately impact on poverty reduction.

My short tour to London ended with a hope that the UK Government will remain a leading supporter to Gavi, as they have done since its establishment. During the last period, the UK contributed a third of Gavi’s total funding, with a pledge of £814 million in 2011 for the following 5 years. It therefore brought me immense pleasure to hear about the UK’s announcement of up to £1 billion for Gavi last week, especially when thinking about the millions of lives that will be saved over the next 5 years, both in Bangladesh and around the world.

I hope the UK’s contribution will be inspiration for other donors who are deliberating their contributions to Gavi at the moment. As donors prepare to gather in Berlin, Germany on January 27th 2015, it is time for all donors to follow in the steps of the UK and step up to the challenge to ensure Gavi is fully funded for the 2016-2020 period. If fully funded, Gavi will support countries to immunise an additional 300 million children over 5 years, saving up to 6 million lives – I personally can’t think of a better investment.

RESULTS welcomes launch of DFID Disability Framework to Leave No One Behind

Dan Jones, Campaigns Manager, reports on a major campaigning success for RESULTS and our partners…

Yesterday, on 3rd December – International Day of Persons with Disabilities – RESULTS UK welcomed the launch of the UK Department for International Development (DFID)’s first ever ‘Disability Framework’ at a Parliamentary event we helped organise as part of the Bond Disability & Development Group.

Parliamentary event to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3rd December 2014

Parliamentary event to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3rd December 2014

The event was chaired by Lord Low of Dalston CBE, one of RESULTS’ great parliamentary champions, and it saw Baroness Northover, the DFID Minister, launch the framework as well as great speeches from Fiona O’Donnell MP (a member of the International Development Committee in parliament), Dr Ray Lang from Leonard Cheshire Disability, Vladimir Cuk, who leads the International Disability Alliance, and it was also the first public engagement for Beverley Warmington, DFID’s Director for Asia, Caribbean and Overseas Territories and their newly-appointed ‘Senior Managerial Disability Champion’.

The panel of speakers

The panel of speakers

The launch of the framework comes after literally years of campaigning and advocacy by RESULTS and our many NGO partners working in close and powerful collaboration. Many of our grassroots groups will remember actions we took around the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and even before then, to raise the issues of disability and development and particularly how UK aid should support more children with disabilities to access a basic education.

Why is disability an important issue for international development and UK aid? The DFID framework makes this clear: one billion people globally have a disability, and 80% of these live in developing countries. Disability is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. One in five people living on under $1 a day has a disability. Discrimination and stigma about disability is still widespread in many countries (the UK cannot pretend we are above this) – and as a result, many people with disabilities are invisible, hidden away or excluded, prevented from participating in their communities and families. Children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school than any other group of children in many countries. People with disabilities are routinely excluded from sexual, reproductive and neonatal healthcare because it is too often assumed that they are not sexually active and not at risk of infection. People (especially women and children) with disabilities are at a much greater risk of violence and abuse. And people with disabilities face much greater barriers to gaining livelihoods and jobs than others. In Burma, for example, studies show that 85% of people with disabilities are unemployed, compared to a national average of 3.5%. A similar situation exists in many other countries. As Baroness Northover concluded at yesterday’s event “DFID is a poverty-relief agency – if we’re not reaching disabled people, what are we doing?

Baroness Northover launches DFID's Disability Framework

Baroness Northover launches DFID’s Disability Framework

All of these statistics risk ‘othering’ people with disabilities and making them sound like victims. They’re not, and describing the scale of these challenges in numbers isn’t enough. DFID’s new framework helpfully emphasises that “like everyone else, everyone with a disability has their own specific needs and experiences barriers in different ways”. The term ‘disabled people’ groups together a very wide range of individuals and different impairments, from physical to sensory to intellectual. Different approaches are needed, but what we hope this framework does is demonstrate both to DFID staff and to partner governments, other donor agencies and global initiatives that the UK is serious about prioritising, reaching and supporting individuals with disabilities. UK aid can lead a transformative change which enables more people with disabilities to become visible, overcome discrimination and isolation, and be the empowered, ambitious individuals we all want to be – contributing to our societies, making our own decisions, learning and earning a living to support ourselves.

Continue reading

RESULTS launch major campaign for 2015 – A world free from poverty within a generation

Cover RESULTS UK Manifesto

We are pleased to announce we have officially launched our 2015 General Election campaign ‘Progress, partnership, opportunity; a world free from poverty within a generation’. The campaign launched on Tuesday evening with our monthly grassroots conference call, a recording of which can be accessed here; and with the publication of our manifesto for the General Election.

2015 is going to be a massive year for all of us. Not only do we have a UK General Election which will bring with it many new MPs – ready to be inspired to use their time in office to create positive change in the world- but in September the United Nations will agree -and states will begin to enact- the Sustainable Development Goals.

These new goals will set the global targets and ambitions on issues like poverty reduction, increasing access to education, improvements in gender equality, reduction in conflict…..as well as  on protecting our climate and environment for generations to come.

Pretty much every nation on earth will be signing up to enact the goals over the next 15 years. Get them right and in 2030 we could be looking at a world free from poverty, in which our climate is protected by strong international agreements. That’s worth fighting for.

So, to say there is a lot on the line would be something of an understatement.

That is why we are launching our 2015 campaign now – to start to build champions in communities around the UK and in Parliament among existing and incoming MPs. The UK will have a huge role to play in helping to deliver a successful set of goals.

Our campaign seeks to do three things:

1. To educate MPs, parliamentary candidates, and the UK public about some of the amazing progress that has been made in reducing global poverty and inequality over the past 15 years; about the incredible partnerships that have sprung up to deliver that progress; the opportunity that lies before all of us over the next 12 months to shape our common future.

2. For grassroots campaigners to build strong relationships with sitting MPs and Parliamentary candidates from all parties going into the general election.

3. To secure commitments from MPs and candidates to take specific actions on international development on their election or re-election.

To make this happen we need you! We’re currently recruiting a set of ‘constituency champions’, ordinary people who want to make an extraordinary difference and help us to deliver this campaign.

So if you want to use your voice ahead of the next election, and help us to ensure that global poverty and inequality are on every candidate’s radar, please let me know.

You’ll be able to join us for a day of training in either London or Manchester in January, and will be fully supported to get into action.

World AIDS Day 2014: Honouring their memories. Partnering toward a vaccine.

On World AIDS Day 2014, RESULTS UK shares this statement from IAVI, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. We will continue working to create the political will to end AIDS and other diseases of poverty. We call on politicians to commit to supporting the research that will develop the tools needed, and to renew their commitment to tackling stigma and ensuring all can access HIV education, treatment and care.

IAVI WAD2014_Lasting Protection

There have been major advances in treatment and prevention since AIDS was first diagnosed 33 years ago. But the HIV virus continues to devastate millions of people, families and communities around the world.

HIV has infected 78 million people – and half of them have died. Last year alone, 1.5 million people died from HIV/AIDS and 2.1 million – that’s 5,750 a day – became infected. Some 35 million people globally live with HIV today, including almost 6 million people under the age of 25 in sub-Saharan Africa.

Yet many people today mistakenly view HIV/AIDS as a manageable disease, as no longer an urgent priority. Funding for prevention research has flattened – despite optimism about promising advances in scientific progress.

“The tragedy of Ebola has been a stark reminder of the dangers of complacency,” said Margie McGlynn, IAVI President and CEO. “Now, more than ever before, we need to invest in the innovative research it will take to end these deadly diseases.”

On this World AIDS Day, IAVI and our many partners remember the millions of lives taken and torn apart by HIV/AIDS. And we honour their memories with a renewed commitment to build on the scientific momentum that will lead to a vaccine. Together, we can achieve a world without AIDS.

To learn more about the partnerships that will lead to an AIDS vaccine for all, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKfsJVLnjOE

Tweet your support by sharing: ‘On #WAD2014 we honor memories of millions taken by #HIV and recommit to partnering toward a vaccine for all http://bit.ly/1tjd3sy

For more information about how RESULTS UK works to promote research and development for HIV and poverty-related diseases, please contact Laura Boughey at laura.boughey@results.org.uk.

And to get involved with RESULTS UK’s grassroots groups of citizen advocates working on these issues please contact Tom Maguire at tom.maguire@results.org.uk. 

 

Keep pushing on getting MPs to Turn up, Save lives!

As we get closer to Friday 5th December and the Third Reading of Michael Moore’s Private Member’s Bill on enshrining the UK’s commitment to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on Overseas Aid, we now have 62 MPs who have committed to Turn Up and Save Lives.

However, we’re not there yet….we need at least 100 MPs to commit to turning up on the day in order to ensure that the Bill passes to the (hopefully) final stage – the House of Lords.

If you haven’t yet done so, reach out to your MPs as soon as you can. We suggest a call to their office – you should be able to find that by adding your postcode here:  http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Here is a great script if you need some good talking points. You can download those here: Supporter script – TUSL

Let’s make it happen!