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Pandemic Perspective: What The 20 Poorest And Richest Countries Spend On Health Care

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Of the world’s poorest states, the Democratic Republic of the Congo spends the least per citizen on health care — $19 per person annually.

And in Sierra Leone, the highest health spender south of the Sahara, it’s over triple — $66 per capita.

That’s still just a fraction of how much the world’s wealthiest countries spend on each of their residents’ health. In the United States, the number is nearly $10,000. Half of the 20 richest countries spend at least $5,000 per person.

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While experts warn that higher health spending doesn’t necessarily lead to better outcomes, it helps in a pandemic.

These budgets fund hospitals. They pay for doctors and cover the cost of essential medical supplies and services, like intensive care beds, medication and ventilators.

Strapped health-care budgets and weak infrastructure imperil the coronavirus response and longer-term health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa, where the world’s poorest countries are clustered, but that’s only part of the picture. For these countries, which have already battled other outbreaks – AIDs, Ebola and tuberculosis – the playbook has always looked different.

As confirmed cases of the virus mount across developing and underdeveloped countries previously spared by the virus, disparities in testing capacity mean current caseload estimates in low-resource countries likely undershoot the true scope of the disease, says Dr. Andrea Tenner, who oversaw isolation units in Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola outbreak and is helping to develop emergency care in Tanzania.

On top of this, poor record keeping of cases and deaths is making it even harder to fully measure the scope of the virus. Facing a dearth of reliable and consolidated national numbers, many governments are flying blind as they roll out a response to the outbreak.

“The documentation [of deaths] is mostly paper,” Tenner recalls of her experience working in these countries. “It’s hard to follow.”

Also, sub-Saharan Africa, which is critically dependent on imported medicinal and pharmaceutical products, faces acute shortages in the supplies needed to treat COVID-19.

According to a report by the United Nations Commission for Africa, nearly 94 percent of Africa’s total stock of pharmaceutical products are imported. And at least 71 nations have already imposed limitations or full bans on exports of essential COVID-19 supplies, forcing many of the poorest countries into bidding wars over highly urgent, highly priced medical products.

“What’s going to happen to countries having to choose between supporting populations living with malnutrition or starvation or getting personal protective equipment for hospitals?” Tenner says. “And it’s very hard to enforce these kinds of regulations with people [who are] … eating what they earn every day. They can’t stay home for two weeks and survive.”

These inequities run deeper than any single medical resource: World Bank research in 2015 suggests that 54% of all deaths in low- and middle-income countries could have been prevented with adequate prehospital or emergency care.

Not all the challenges have to do with money or material resources. Many sub-Saharan countries must grapple with people not showing up to get medical care, especially during an infectious disease outbreak.

Peter Berman, the head of University of British Columbia’s School of Public Health, says in Ethiopia, for instance, citizens were significantly more reticent to seek medical care during the Ebola crisis. This led to an increase in mortality from other, often-preventable causes.

“People will drastically reduce their use of very important measures that are available to address other causes of disease and mortality,” Berman said. “They will stop bringing their children for treatment for respiratory infection or diarrheal diseases. They will stop getting immunized because they’re afraid to go to the clinic. They will stop getting more treatment for tuberculosis, malaria, [HIV] or other problems that are prevalent.”

Yet, even in the face of cultural factors like these, research shows that having money isn’t all it takes to keep people healthy anyway.

A 2019 report on global health security by researchers at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Economist Intelligence Unit demonstrate major vulnerabilities for countries — poor and rich — when it comes to defense against a pandemic. Despite their wealth, some of the richest countries were less prepared to deal with a pandemic than researchers expected.

Jessica Bell, one of the report’s leads, explains: Wealthier countries often didn’t prioritize health systems and disease prevention in ways tantamount to their resource power.

That’s why how a nation spends the money it does have can be more important than the dollar amount of a nation’s wealth, regardless of whether there’s a pandemic.

“Imagine that if we spend $100 per capita to build up very high-level hospitals which treat sophisticated diseases — that doesn’t do much for the general population,” Berman says. “If we spent that same money on assuring that everyone is immunized or treating these children’s infections and so on, we could see a very significant drop in mortality at the population level.”

When it comes to a pandemic, past experience helps these countries, too, says Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious diseases physician and vice chair of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Global Health Committee. She cared for patients with Ebola in Sierra Leone and worked with HIV- infected patients and patients with tuberculosis in Ethiopia.

“You have the experience of standing up the infrastructure, having a health care workforce that has been deployed and working with those high-consequence pathogens. You have people, again, that are trained to do contact tracing, which is important,” Kuppalli says.

Poor countries are used to leveraging extremely limited resources, Kuppalli and Tenner say, which is not something countries like the U.S. are used to. Tenner, who is now helping the city of San Francisco respond to COVID-19 outbreak, described drawing from her experience in Africa: she’s begun giving patients nebulizer treatments in the open air rather than in buildings, to lower the risk that medical workers are exposed to the coronavirus.

“In the U.S., treating patients outside is not something we ever do,” Tenner says. “In Ethiopia, I worked in a clinic where we saw a lot of [tuberculosis] patients and we saw all of them outside.”

Despite these mitigating factors, Tenner is worried that the poorest countries may lose out to wealthier ones in the global grab for medical supplies — a devastating hit.

“They could be bidding against San Francisco, against New York or Seattle, or Dar es Salaam in Tanzania or Freetown [in Sierra Leone],” she says.

“When you’re in those bidding wars, the highest price wins.”

Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/06/13/864563401/pandemic-perspective-what-the-20-poorest-and-richest-countries-spend-on-health-c?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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Security and Sustainability Forum-With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider. 10/22/2020

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Steering Societies Beyond GDP to the SDGs

With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider

October 22, 2020

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm EDT

The next webinar in the SSF series, with ecological economist and futurist Hazel Henderson, will address how the UN SDGs can and should replace GDP as the basis for valuing society leading to an economy based on planet protection and human wellbeing. Claudine Schneider is Hazel’s guest.

GDP accounts for all the public expenditures as “debt” while ignoring the value of the assets they created. If GDP were to be corrected by including the missing asset account, these debt-to-GDP ratios would be cut by up to 50% — with a few keystrokes! Learn why money isn’t what you think it is and why that matters to life on Earth in the next two webinars with Hazel and guests.

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Claudine Schneider is a former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island. She was the first, and to date only, woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island. She is founder of Republicans for Integrity, which describes itself as a network of “Republican former Members of Congress who feel compelled to remind Republican voters about the fundamentals of our party and to provide the facts about incumbents’ voting records.”

October 22nd webinar with Claudine Schneider and Hazel

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

[email protected]

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/63564-2/

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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