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CEGA in the News

Gates Foundation's Dr. Bertozzi talks about what's to come for HIV and TB

Feb 17, 2011 - Stefano Bertozzi, MD, PhD, director of HIV and tuberculosis programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, oversees grants in HIV vaccine development, biomedical prevention research, diagnostics development and resistance monitoring, and strategies for introduction and scaling-up of interventions. He spoke with Science Speaks about what he saw as the key developments in HIV/AIDS and TB in the last year and a half, as well as important trends coming up.

Religious Fanatics as Rational Actors

Jan 4, 2011 - Drawing on parallel research on radical religious Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Eli Berman argues that terrorists are best understood as rational altruists. Berman's rationalist approach offers new, rational countermeasures.

Surprising AIDS-treatment benefits, prevention strategy in epidemic regions of Africa

Dec 1, 2010 - Two teams of researchers at UC San Diego (including CEGA Affiliate Josh Graff-Zivin) and other U.S. and African universities and the World Bank have documented significant spillover benefits of a drug therapy to combat AIDS symptoms and a novel prevention strategy that focuses on girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, an area with two-thirds of the world's HIV infections.

Reuters Examines Conditional Cash Transfer Programs In Latin America

Sep 15, 2010 - Reuters examines a program providing cash incentives to "more than 2.6 million Colombians, mostly women with young children living in extreme poverty" in exchange for their participation in "health workshops" and their commitment to ensuring their children receive "regular medical check-ups," receive immunizations and "attend school at least 80 percent of the time."

Incentives Offer New Hope for Preventing HIV Infections (Postcard from Vienna)

Jul 21, 2010 - For the first time since our naïve optimism of the 1990s, we have some of the tools to effectively reduce the annual incidence rate of HIV (i.e. the number of new infections per 100 uninfected adults) through the application of government policy. This hope comes from a combination of new technology and a new appreciation of the power of incentives.

Free money: Here's an idea for foreign aid: Just hand over the cash

Jul 18, 2010 - Maria Nilza, 36, a mother of four in Brazil, prepared a meal using ingredients bought with her "Bolsa Familia" social plan card. "Bolsa Familia" was created by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to help poor people with a monthly pension ranging from 50 to 95 Brazilian reales (23 to 40 US dollars).

Malawi and Tanzania Research Shows Promise in Preventing HIV and Sexually-Transmitted Infections

Jul 18, 2010 - For years, the global community has zeroed in on behavior change as a key to fighting the global HIV epidemic. But so far, the approach has brought only limited success in reducing HIV infections in developing countries. The frustrations are especially evident in sub-Saharan Africa, which has two-thirds of the world’s HIV infections and an equally alarming share of new infections among adults.

The Uncertain Impact of Merit Pay for Teachers

Jun 8, 2010 - Should teachers be paid more if their students’ test scores improve? States that want access to federal funds through the Department of Education’s Race to the Top program must make teacher evaluations “that take into account data on student growth,” then use those evaluations to inform decisions on “compensating, promoting, and retaining teachers and principals.” Will financial incentives make our teachers more effective, or will they be yet another educational fad that comes and goes and signifies nothing?

Educational Research: Getting Better and More Powerful

Apr 30, 2010 - Can research influence policy? Most cynics think not, but when studies are of high quality, they can make a difference at least in the long run. Scorned for years both for its poor quality and its policy irrelevance, education research has arrived front and center, both in academia and in Washington. Much of the credit must go to Grover Whitehurst, who served for eight full years as George W. Bush's director of the Institute of Education Sciences.

Alain de Janvry on everything from GMOs to the Green Revolution

Apr 7, 2010 - Alain de Janvry is a French professor of Agricultural & Resource Economics. Teaching and researching at the University of California at Berkeley, at the high-level expert forum in Rome in October he called for a new paradigm of agriculture, that would push it forward for development, and would consider the roles of poverty, gender, and environment.

Africa Calling: Can mobile phones make a miracle?

Mar 1, 2010 - Ten years ago the 170,000 residents of Zinder were barely connected to the 21st century. This mid-sized town in the eastern half of Niger had sporadic access to water and electricity, a handful of basic hotels, and very few landlines. The twelve-hour, 900 km drive to Niamey, the capital of Niger, was a communications blackout, with the exception of the few cabines téléphoniques along the way.

Adult Male Circumcision as an HIV Prevention Tool: Should the Scale Up of an Efficacious Intervention Be Evaluated?

Jan 26, 2010 - The results of the three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of medical adult male circumcision have all agreed. As recently reviewed by the Cochrane Collaboration, male circumcision reduces the odds that a man will become HIV infected by somewhere between 38 % to 66 % over a period of 24 months. Furthermore, the incidence of “adverse events” was deemed low.

Diaphragm no defense against HIV, study in Africa finds

Jan 1, 2010 - Advocates for "female-controlled" AIDS prevention were dealt another setback Thursday after a three-year, multimillion-dollar study in Africa found that women who used a latex diaphragm for possible protection against HIV had the same infection rates as those who did not.

Sparking a Savings Revolution

Dec 31, 2009 - There’s an old saying about poverty: Give me a fish, and I’ll eat for a day. Give me a fishing rod, and I’ll eat for a lifetime. There are many variations in that theme. In Somalia, I heard a darker version: If I buy food, I’ll eat for a day. If I buy a gun, I’ll eat every day. But these days, there’s evidence that one of the most effective tools to fight global poverty may be neither a fishing rod nor a gun, but a savings accounts. What we need is a savings revolution.

Too Small to Fail

Dec 16, 2009 - The Telangana announcement and the subsequent proliferation of additional statehood demands is a good time to consider some of the broader theoretical issues in determining the optimal size of states. The work of Alberto Alesina (Harvard) and Enrico Spolaore (Tufts), on the optimal size of nations (The Size of Nations, MIT Press, 2005) provides some useful principles for thinking about the optimal size of states in the Indian context

Karthik Muralidharan: Economist Dedicated to Human Development

Dec 8, 2009 - Combining his love for economics and his commitment to improving the possibilities for millions of children around the world, Karthik Muralidharan, Ph.D., has dedicated himself to leveling the playing field through his research on improving education and health in developing countries. In countries like India, it’s impossible to be blind to the differences between the haves and the have-nots. Inequalities at birth impact the life prospects of children from the moment they are born.

Perhaps microfinance isn't such a big deal after all

Dec 5, 2009 - The evidence is arriving and the backlash has begun. The Boston Globe published an article in September, subtitled, “Billions of dollars and a Nobel Prize later, it looks like ‘microlending’ doesn’t actually do much to fight poverty.” Other media have weighed in on all sides, with The Wall Street Journal concerned about a microcredit bubble. What is going on?

UC Berkeley Receives $10.9 Million to Test Impact of Sanitation on Diseases

Nov 10, 2009 - The University of California, Berkeley has announced a five-year, $10.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to evaluate the effectiveness of several interventions in combating diarrheal disease in developing countries. The grant will fund researchers trying to determine how sanitation interventions delivered alone or as part of combined packages affect child health and well-being in Bangladesh and Kenya.