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CGD in the News

June 11, 2015

Global Health Leaders Determined to Find Permanent Solutions after Ebola (CCTV Africa)

From interview:

"It's important for people to understand that weak health systems in Africa have negative consequences for people in Iowa, people in San Francisco, and people in Liverpool, England," explained Mead Over, senior fellow with the Center for Global Development. 

Watch full video interview here

January 4, 2015

If You Shouldn't Call It The Third World, What Should You Call It? (NPR)

From the article:

And when you think about it, "developing countries" are quite developed in some respects. In countries where government safety nets are practically nonexistent, people step forward to help out, says Mead Over, who studies the economics of health interventions at the Center for Global Development. "People donate money at a funeral to help the bereaved family, or people receive gifts from a neighbor to pay the doctor in a time of family emergency." We in the West, he says, often neglect social networks "and they wither away."

Read the article here

December 1, 2014

The Economic Cost of AIDS (CCTV America)

From the interview 

"Of the 35 million people who are currently infected with HIV, as mentioned in your previous segment, the vast majority of those live in extremely poor countries where the per capita income is less than $1,000." ...

"Typically the individual with AIDS will have to have to spend greater than the amount that he earns in order to stay alive." 




October 29, 2014

Ebola Outbreak (BBC World News)

Senior fellow Mead Over discusses the difference in response to Ebola by doctors on the ground and public health officials:

“I do think the Minister of Health in Liberia, for example, has to have a different perspective than the doctors who are working under the Minister of Health. And the same thing is true to a larger degree between Médecins Sans Frontières – which is a group of heroes, including by the way Craig Spencer  whom you mentioned earlier. These people are heroes treating people on the ground and their concern, quite properly, is with patients and with trying to do the best they can with those patients. So if I were an Ebola patient in Liberia or any of the other affected countries, I would want those Médecins Sans Frontières helping me. But if I’m the Minister of Health of Liberia, or Guinea or Sierra Leone, I think I would turn to the CDC and the public health experts to understand how to control this desperately serious epidemic.”

He also explains the potential economic impact of the outbreak:

“I was working with a team of more than a dozen World Bank economists and it was a multi-step procedure. It was a fascinating process to go through because we started with information from the ground…. [Then] we said, ‘What’s the probability of an outbreak in other countries?’ For example, Mali was one of the countries in our model. We had a probability for an impact in each of those countries and we scaled the impact they would have depending on two things. First, the number of cases they might have. And second, we allowed the impact to be diluted if the economy was larger. So for a country like the United States with an enormous GDP, enormous health care capacity, even though we had, you know, quite a measurable impact probability – which turns out to have been correct, we now have cases in Dallas and New York – that impact is absorbed by this very healthy American economy. But in Mali, that is not going to be the case. If that country’s epidemic gets out of control, they’re going to have serious economic problems, exactly like the ones we estimated for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.”

October 26, 2014

Fear, Not Ebola, is the Biggest Threat to West Africa's Fragile Economies (Vox)

From the article

Mead Over: I think that so far, I have not noticed that the funding itself is constrained. I think the constraint has been the sheer difficulty of building out the Ebola treatment centers, and particularly staffing them.

What I still don't understand is whether the international community has a plan for how to put properly trained, properly motivated, properly paid, and properly relieved health personnel in the Ebola treatment units.

So that's part of the answer. But the other part of the answer is that it's mathematically impossible for a linear progression to catch up to an exponential one, so we need to do something to ensure that the progression of the epidemic, in terms of new cases, slows down in other ways, other than through the construction of treatment units.

Read the article here

October 22, 2014

Ebola Fears Dragging Down African Economies (The Globe and Mail)

From the article 

“The epidemic is moving faster than we economists can work,” said a blog last week by World Bank senior economist David Evans and Center for Global Development senior fellow Mead Over.

“The latest information suggests that even the World Bank’s ‘High Ebola’ scenario may be optimistic,” they said. They cited especially the effect of “aversion behaviour” – the fear factor that leads to closed borders, reduced trade, suspended airline flights and the curtailing of commercial activities by multinational companies in West Africa.

The latest Ebola cases in Spain and Dallas “generate aversion behaviour towards Africa which threatens to persist and damage African economic growth for years to come,” the two economists said.

Read the article here

October 3, 2014

How Fear of Ebola Could Impact the US Economy (ABC News)

From the article 

Mead Over, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, told ABC News that since Nigeria has succeeded in containing the outbreak, he expects the United States’ stronger public health system to quickly contain the disease in Dallas or if any other infected traveler arrives elsewhere.

Any economic impact on the stock market or in travel is not the impact of the disease per se but the impact of largely irrational "aversion behavior,” Mead said. “The impact of aversion behavior on the markets is like a speculative bubble, but in reverse," adding he expects this “reverse bubble” to collapse in a matter of weeks, as Americans realize that a strong public health system can protect them.

Read the article here

September 22, 2014

Ebola Epidemic Threatens Economic Catastrophe in West Africa (CBC Radio)

From the interview: 

Mead Over: “Well, the recent history of these economies has been quite optimistic story. Liberia has been growing at 6 percent a year and Sierra Leone at more than 11 percent a year. That’s in comparison, for example, to the United States, which is growing at only about 2 percent. So these economies have been growing very fast, although from a very low base, and that’s been an optimistic story in Africa. And now growth has basically been negative for the past couple of months in these three core countries.”


Over: “It’s very important to realize that the economic impact is far greater than one can imagine based on the numbers of deaths. These countries do have other disease problems: children die of malaria, people are dying because they have HIV. And there are other common diseases in African countries. However, those other diseases don’t cause the panic that is being caused by Ebola and don’t have this problem with leading factories to shut down because of the fear of their workers. And because of the aversion behavior, as we call it in the World Bank report, the epidemic is not only much more serious than the number of cases would lead one to believe, but is also likely to extend longer into the future.”

[Note: Mead Over’s comments begin at 16:06]

Listen to the interview here

September 1, 2014

Ebola Claims Another Victim - Economic Growth (Voice of America)

From the article and segment:

Mead Over of the Center for Global Development said food price inflation and unemployment will not hit everyone the same way.

For example, in rural areas, subsistence farmers grow their own foods for home consumption and are largely protected from the economic fallout.  Over says traders will suffer because quarantining keeps them from selling and buying products. The likely result:  shortages of salt, vegetables and other common foods.

Over says the urban poor are hit hardest -- and are the most vulnerable to the spread of Ebola.

"Unlike in rural areas where people are not in very close contact," he said, "in the poor slums of Monrovia can the capitals of Guinea and Sierra Leone, people live cheek by jowl. So if an individual is infected in a slum where people live, the infected person is quite likely to infect all those immediately living with them."

Read the article and listen to the segment here

May 8, 2014

Is This Save The Children Ad Too Sexy For The Cause? (NPR)

From the article:

Save the Children, the aid organization founded in 1919, wanted to come up with a public service spot to promote its cause. A staffer lamented, "Moms and kids dying is just not a sexy issue."

And from those words a sexy ad was born.


Yes, it is weird. "Weird, almost obscene," says Mead Over, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. "But I think it likely to work with people who might otherwise immediately switch news feeds or type TLDR." (Confession, I had to look that up. It means "Too long; didn't read.")

Read the article here