News & Commentary

How India Can Improve its Take Home Rations Program to Boost Child and Maternal Nutrition, October 2018

In a blog article published in Brookings Future Development earlier this week, and based on four policy briefs developed by Pharos (available at, three Pharos staff and Dr. Rajan Sankar (Program Director- Nutrition at Tata Trusts) describe the current state of malnutrition in India and the challenges facing the government’s premier nutrition initiative under the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) — the Take-Home Rations (THR) program.

This multi-billion dollar government-financed program has tremendous potential to improve malnutrition across India, yet changes are urgently needed to make the most of it, including steps to improve THR formulation and composition; strengthen the diverse production and distribution systems that currently operate across India’s states; and enhance monitoring and accountability.

If adopted, the recommendations we make in our briefs would provide a more solid foundation for India to achieve its ambitious nutrition Vision 2022 targets and alleviate malnutrition for millions of children and women.

Are tough times ahead for countries graduating from foreign aid? March 2018

In a blog article published on Brookings Future Development and written by Dr. Gavin Yamey and Ipchita Bharali of the Duke University Center for Policy Impact in Global Health, along with three Pharos staff members, we compare countries where foreign aid has wound down with those that are likely to soon stop getting aid. The focus is on health, but the findings may apply to other sectors as well. We find that the upcoming country cohort—which includes Nigeria and Pakistan—appears to be weaker in many dimensions of macroeconomic performance, fiscal capacity, health systems and financing, governance, and equality. These differences may have important implications for country transition (“graduation”) from donor aid, in terms of timing, processes, transitional support, and related donor policies and should be considered by policymakers and the global community.

Health Affairs: Why President Trump Should Use Foreign Aid for Health to Make America Great, April 2017

In this Health Affairs commentary, Professor Sten Vermund, Dean of the Yale School of Public Health, and Pharos President Robert Hecht argue that maintaining and even increasing U.S. foreign assistance for global health is consistent with President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies, as well as contributing to saving millions of lives around the world. There is an urgent need to protect U.S. spending for global health, at a time when the Trump Administration is threatening to cut foreign aid dramatically.