Choose ONE of the topics below (your choice) to write a policy brief. Assume the role of a government official, writing a policy brief from you, the Secretary of Health, to the Minister of Finance.

Your paper should be four pages long, double-spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman font. 

As a policy brief, the paper should be written in a very clear and very crisp manner, with short sentences, short paragraphs, and as few words as possible.

Each paper needs to be written in a manner that will allow the aide of the Minister of Finance to brief him on it in about 3 minutes in a car on the way to some meeting, since that is what often really happens.  Each paper should be written about a country in a different region of the world.  The papers should be written on low- or middle-income countries, since they are the focus of the course.  This will allow you to use the papers to explore health and development issues in a variety of settings.

The paper should answer the following questions:

  • What is the nature and magnitude of the problem?
  • Who is affected by it?
  • What are the risk factors for the problem?
  • What are the economic and social consequences of the problem?
  • What few priority steps do you recommend be taken to address the problem and what is your rationale for these recommendations?

First Paragraph of Policy Brief:

Each paper must begin with this “one paragraph tells all summary.” 

The briefing note should follow the above outline, with one exception.  It should start with a single paragraph that summarizes for the minister all of the points you want to make.  That summary paragraph would read something like:


 “About AAA people die every year of TB in our country. The incidence of TB is YYY.  About UUU people in our country get drug-resistant TB every year and about HHH% of those who are infected with HIV have active TB disease.  TB affects largely the urban and rural poor and stems from poverty, general ill health, and the lack of coverage of our health services. TB causes illness for an extended period, stops people from working, causes them to spend large amounts on health, and leads many families into poverty.  DOTs is a low cost approach to TB diagnosis and treatment that we are not using sufficiently.  We must immediately expand our DOTs program, starting in the north, where the disease burden is highest.  We must increase case detection and treatment success rates. We must also pay special attention to the diagnosis and management of drug-resistant TB and to TB/HIV co-infection.”

Please choose one of the following topics:

1. For a country of your choice, the key nutrition issues faced by the country, who they most affect, key risk factors, their link with health and economic development, and what might be done to address them in cost-effective ways.

2. For a country of your choice the key issues in women’s OR  children’s health, who is most affected by them, key risk factors, the links between these issues with social and economic development and what might be done to enhance the health of women and children in the poorest countries in cost-effective ways.

3. For a country of your choice the burden of a particular infectious disease or a group of the most important infectious diseases, the people most affected by this disease or diseases, key risk factors, the economic and social costs of the disease(s), and what might be done to address the disease(s) in cost-effective ways.