Sunday, October 18, 2009

ADB Supports Nepal's Drive to Bring Unregistered Citizens in from the Cold

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - A Government drive to increase the number of poor Nepalese with legal identity documents, which are required to gain access to essential benefits and services, is to receive support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

A $2 million grant from the ADB-administered Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) will fund awareness raising programs and intensive registration campaigns.

"The poor and vulnerable in Nepal have very little access to goods, resources, and opportunities such as social welfare benefits or free school textbooks, and one of the reasons for this is they don't have legal identity documents, such as birth, citizenship, migration, marriage, and death certificates," said Jogendra Ghimire, counsel at ADB's Office of the General Counsel.

It is estimated that at least 75% of Nepal's population do not have a birth certificate, and that between 3 million and 5 million people eligible citizens have not acquired citizenship.

An outdated and complex legislative framework, burdensome procedures, low awareness among Government officials and the general public, high registration costs, discrimination, and low capacity have all contributed to the lack of legal documentation among the poor.

The ADB project will be implemented over four years in the districts of Kathmandu, Jhapa, Ilam, Bhaktapur, Latitpur, Palpa, Rupandehi, Mustang, Kailali, and Dang. It will aim to provide birth certificates and other identity documents to at least 80% of residents in the target areas, and ensure individual details are logged in a computerized civil registration system able to be accessed by relevant Government departments. Registration training for civil servants and a public awareness campaign will also be conducted.

The JFPR was established by the Japanese Government and ADB in May 2000 to provide direct relief to the poorest and most vulnerable segments of society while building up their capacities for self-help and income generation.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Doctors Calling for Health Insurance Reform

Doctors know as well as anyone that inaction on health insurance reform is no longer an option. They’ve seen first-hand what’s broken about our health care system; how, despite the fact that we spend twice as much as any industrialized nation, we aren’t any healthier for it. They’ve seen what happens when their patients’ coverage is retroactively canceled just when they need it most. The heartbreak a family endures when they can’t afford the care they need. Or the aftereffects of going too long without a regular checkup or screening. Doctors also spend far too much of their time running down forms and quibbling with insurance company bureaucrats, instead of caring for patients. One recent study found that the average physician spends 142 hours every year interacting with health plans, to the tune of $68,274 per physician per year.

For all these reasons, doctors joined President Obama at the White House this morning to join the push for health insurance reform.

Over the past week, OFA has been organizing events for health insurance reform with doctors and nurses across the country. At a “Roundtable” event in Gainesville, FL, Dr. Rob Hatch said the health care status quo is unsustainable and unacceptable. Here’s his quote from an article in the Gainesville Sun:

"It's just inexcusable. It's absolutely inexcusable and we need to do something about it. One reason our health care is so bad is that we have so many uninsured people," Hatch said.

In Albany, Georgia, about half a dozen doctors are planning to make 40,000 calls for health insurance reform. They’re talking to locals about what reform will mean for them, answering questions, debunking rumors and asking them to call on their senators and representatives to support President Obama’s plan. Here’s an excerpt from the piece on WALB News:

"I was calling to discuss health care reform with you," said Dr. Tania Smith, of Prestige Pediatrics.

Public opinion over health care reform remains divided and now these south Georgia health care professionals are weighing in. They joined forces with Organizing for America to push reform now.

"Right now people are looking for answers, they're looking for the truth about health care reform and doctors are a great place to start," said Ken King, Organizing for America.

Pediatrician Tania Smith is on the front line of this debate. While critics worry the President's plan may take decisions away from doctors, she feels insurance companies are already doing that. "As the system is going now we have a lot of people who are medically ignorant making decisions and denying claims and making insurance populations where you don't have any wellness visits included in your plan," said Smith.

As part of our multi-pronged work with doctors, we recently launched an effort asking doctors to write and send “Letters to the Editor” to their local papers to make the case for reform. Have you written a LTE to your hometown paper?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

South Asian youth declaration on climate change

Read the declaration made by youth at the South Asian Youth Summit on Climate Change held on 6 September 2009 in Dhulikhel, Nepal. Youth express their concerns and are deeply perturbed by the impacts and causes of climate change on human and natural systems and reaffirm the fundamental relationship between human and natural systems. For details, click here.

SOURCE: [E-civicus] e-CIVICUS 455 14 September 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Few pics of Indonesia Earthquake 2009 !!!