Stories by Tanvi Nagpal

Expert Voices

Global nutrition has improved, but targeted investments still needed

India, Bihar, Bodhgaya, A family eating vegetarian street food in Bodh.
A family eating vegetarian street food in Bodh, India. Photo: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images

Progress in reducing malnutrition has been slow and uneven, according to the newly released 2018 Global Nutrition Report. Although donors exceeded the $19.6 billion commitment they made in 2013, disbursing $21.8 billion two years ahead of schedule, the report also found that official development assistance is still too low.

The big picture: Malnutrition imposes high socioeconomic costs, the majority of which are borne by children, young adults, and women. While the quality of data on both problems and solutions has improved, more investment is needed in programs specific to nutrition, especially in the most challenged countries.

Expert Voices

In potential boon to urban poor, Gates Foundation recommits to toilet tech

Microsoft founder Bill Gates (R) talks next to a container (L) with human feces during the 'reinvented toilet expo' in Beijing on November 6, 2018.
Bill Gates talks next to a container of human feces during the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Nov. 6. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

At the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Nov. 6, Bill Gates committed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to scaling up its investments in new toilet technologies. Eight companies based in India, China, the U.S. and Thailand, which had previously received grants from the foundation, displayed their pathogen-killing toilets and small-scale waste treatment plants that can disinfect fecal sludge.

Why it matters: 4.5 billion people don’t have access to safely managed toilets or still defecate in the open. Lack of safe sanitation leads to diarrhea (a leading cause of death among children under 5), infections such as schistosomiasis and trachoma, and vector-borne diseases such as West Nile virus. There's widespread consensus that greater support from donors such as the foundation and international banks is critical to extending basic sanitation services, especially to the world’s poorest.

Expert Voices

Uncertainty looms for 4 million left off a citizen list in Assam, India

Members of Parliament hold placards against the non-inclusion of over 40 lakh people in Assam's National Register of Citizens during a protest in Parliament in New Delhi on July 31, 2018.
Members of Parliament protest the exclusion of 40 lakh people from Assam's National Register of Citizens in New Delhi, on July 31, 2018. Photo: Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images

The Government of Assam, a northeast Indian state, published a list of official citizens on Monday that excluded 4 million people, heightening fears of unrest and violence. The list, called the National Register of Citizens, left off those who could not prove they came to Assam before March 24, 1971, when Bangladesh (previously West Pakistan) declared independence and millions fled, with over 900,000 settling in Assam.

Why it matters: The list has renewed panic among residents, mainly Bengali Muslims, who have neither the desire nor the ability to return to Bangladesh. The register has already stripped many of the right to vote, own property or access any other social services, and six detention camps now house more than 800 people who have been declared non-residents. It is unclear what will happen to these “illegals” who are now essentially stateless, much like the Rohingya who fled Myanmar and live in camps in Bangladesh.

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