Dear Colleagues,

This week the world’s eyes are on the Philippines. From what we hear, Emerging Voices from the country are very much involved in the relief efforts. We wish them and their compatriots all the best. 

One of the key questions, of course, is whether this will turn out to be a wake-up call to the world, for example at COP 19 in Warsaw. It probably won’t. A bigger shock is needed still, sadly. So we side with David McCoy’s reluctant pessimism (in a BMJ blog), rather than with “Bill & Bill”’s optimism about the future in a recent interview with Wired.  In the interview, Gates said: “… in general, I’m very optimistic. We’ve got innovation—whether it’s new vaccines, new seeds, new ways of delivering things, connectivity. Even in education. … The pace of innovation is faster today than ever. You can be impatient about getting it out there, but nothing’s really taken away my optimism.” His buddy Clinton agreed: “Unless some extra-system threat like global warming turns out to be worse than we thought, or there is a breakdown in our defenses against biological and chemical weapons, we’re going to be OK. The whole history of humanity is just one long battle between conflict and cooperation and between us and them.  …” 

Somehow, we will need to find a way to capitalize on the voluntarism of people like these, while finding a way to thoroughly transform the global economy, which is needed in the eyes of us, pessimists, who are pretty good at seeing all the obstacles. By transformation we don’t just mean making the shift towards a low-carbon economy, as the two Bills probably want too. We rather imply the “system transformation” called for by 500 young activists, who are now heading from Brussels to Warsaw by train, as we speak. The ‘climate train’ is co-organized by Natalie Eggermont (PHM, and member of the HS Global Board), and the activists want to put pressure on the negotiators in Poland. These young people are the future, and they are right to still believe change is possible and think the – now – unthinkable, i.e. find a way to avoid catastrophic climate change, while creating a more socially just world in the process. The young generation will have to do it, as the older generations (including mine, I regret to say) tend to be “locked-in” in families, careers, ideas and ideologies, not  unlike the way our world is getting locked in unsustainable and high-carbon industries and energy systems, in spite of all the talk about the new sustainable development paradigm. So good luck to Natalie and her young colleagues. Let’s hope the British police is not present in the carriages.  

On a very different topic, and although I feel slightly uncomfortable raising this issue as a man, I also think the global health community should pay more attention to the ‘sexual objectification of women in music videos’ debate that the Guardian has run for a while now on its online pages. It’s a bit the teenage girl equivalent of the Grand Theft Auto debate for young boys, with Lily Allen’s funny (but also very controversial) video as the latest episode, with now also the issue of race thrown in the mix. I agree with Alain de Botton that none of us is fully normal when it comes to sex – most of us can only dream of the ‘pure mind’ Buddhism encourages, or, put in the words of another religious tradition,  “Let He Who Always Refrains From Sexually Objectifying Cast The First Stone”. Yet, for once I favour a nanny state (and, dare I say it, perhaps David Cameron has a point here). Back in the eighties, when I loved  Prince, probably somewhere from ‘When Doves Cry” on, the naughty purple musician didn’t get anywhere near the thinly veiled pornography our kids are being exposed to now in music videos. Not even in ‘Darling Nikki’, which upset Tipper Gore so much. Also, back then, it was about lyrics, if I remember well. Now, 7-year olds are watching this stuff, probably giggling their asses off. If we are serious about the need to empower girls and women in the South (like now with the Family Planning agenda in Addis, for example), perhaps we should get serious as well when it comes to our kids in the North. Global health is universal, post-2015. We presume the stars (like Rihanna, Miley Cyrus et al) are fully in control, when it comes to the content of their videos, but it’s not exactly clear to me how we are empowering our kids, boys and girls, through watching these videos. Big Tobacco and Big Food can get on our nerves, but so far we are a little bit shy to address this issue. Perhaps this cause needs a global health champion too – so far it’s been mostly Annie Lennox who has spoken on the issue (and David Cameron, to some extent). The fact that it’s often a mix of misogyny and racism makes the videos even more a problem, I think. But maybe I’m just getting old ? After all, GTA also seems to empower our boys mostly for a criminal career, isn’t, but fortunately, few actually start robbing their grannies or show off their baseball bat in the streets.  Could the same be true for these very suggestive videos? Perhaps, but only for teenagers, I think, not for under twelves. But obviously, music videos are just one symptom of the (necessary) broader debate on role models  young girls and boys are confronted with. 

Anyway, I think it would be great if, say, Tim Evans or Julio Frenk address this issue, maybe with a funny video featuring themselves, Lily Allen-style? Why not at the next HSR symposium in Cape Town, in 2014? We could even organize a competition!  

In this week’s newsletter, we pay attention to big global health events like the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Recife, Brazil, and the international Family Planning Summit in Addis, Ethiopia. This week World Pneumonia Day and World Diabetes Day were also celebrated, and World Prematurity day is coming up (on 17 November). There is also quite some Global Fund related news after the Board meeting from last week. We obviously also celebrate the leakage of the chapter on Intellectual Property from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (via Wikileaks), and we greatly appreciated the fact that Museveni and his wife tested for HIV in public to encourage Uganda’s citizens to do the same.  Finally, we already want to inform you that ‘The Lancet Commission on Investing in Health Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation’ will publish its report on December 3.  Looking forward to it. 

In this week’s guest editorial, our colleague Werner Soors reflects on last week’s seminar in Barcelona on a global social contract for health.

Enjoy your reading.

Kristof Decoster, An Appelmans, Peter Delobelle, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme

 

Editorial

 

The Barcelona seminar: on social contracts and civil society

Werner Soors (ITM)

The beautiful Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona hosted a two-day seminar, Building a global health social contract for the 21st century, on 7th and 8th November. With such a title, no wonder friend and colleague Gorik Ooms was asked to give a key presentation. After all, he has been pioneering the concept of a global social contract for years. Less evident is that I – not a regular visitor of global health circles – was given the opportunity to witness the seminar, which was on invitation only. Let me stress here two things: (1) I am very grateful for this opportunity; and (2) no conflict of interest resulted.

Read the rest here 

 


 

Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

 

1.    Report – A Universal Truth: No Health Without a Workforce Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health Report

Global Health Workforce Alliance and World Health Organization;

http://www.who.int/workforcealliance/knowledge/resources/hrhreport2013/en/index.html

This report was commissioned by the Global Health Workforce Alliance Secretariat and the World Health Organization to consolidate the latest information available on human resources for health and inform the global community on how to attain, sustain and accelerate progress on universal health coverage. It was launched at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health. See also last week’s IHP guest editorial by some of the authors.

2.    BMJ (news) – Shortage of health workers is set to double, says WHO

Anne Gulland;

http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6804

For a nice short overview of the report, see also this BMJ news article. “The world could be short of nearly 13 million health workers by 2035 because of an ageing workforce, a shortage of trainees, and workers leaving for better paid jobs, says a report by the World Health Organization. It says that currently the world is short of 7.2 million doctors, nurses, and midwives but that this number will rise to 12.9 million by 2035 if the shortages are not tackled.”

Check out also a – less pleased – reaction to the report, on Science Speaks (by Mary Beth Powers).

3.    Recife final declaration  – The Recife Political Declaration on Human Resources for Health – Renewed commitments towards universal health coverage

http://www.who.int/workforcealliance/forum/2013/3gf_finaldeclaration/en/index.html

This was the final statement of the summit.

4.    Report Health Povery Action – The Health Worker Crisis: an analysis of the issues and main international responses

http://www.healthpovertyaction.org/news/new-report-health-worker-shortage/

Health Poverty Action launched a new report on the ‘brain drain’ of health workers from poor to wealthy countries. This brain drain threatens to undo recent improvements in global health and is about to get a lot worse.

5.    World Bank – Human Resources for Health: The Time Is Now for Concerted Action

Tim Evans;

http://blogs.worldbank.org/health/human-resources-health-time-now-concerted-action

Before hopping on the plane for Recife, Tim Evans wrote this blog post, focusing on three HRH challenges.

 

Other blogs on Recife were from:

  • Sarah Dwyer (on Intrahealth ) – “If not now, when? Making a long term investment in the Global Health workforce”.  (as mentioned before, we hope the phrase ‘if not now, when?’ will one day get out of fashion in global health circles, just like the evergreen ‘the time is now’)
  • Frazer Goodwin (Save the Children) wrote a number of very insightful blogs, including one during the conference, on the two new factors taking into account which explain the much greater perceived need than before (“Two things are important –the assumptions on how many health workers are needed to provide health care to all included the provision of Universal Health Coverage, and the inclusion of the changing pattern of the burden of disease, including the inclusion of the burden of non-communicable diseases as they become more and more prevalent.”; she also regretted the low political engagement with the topic from richer, developed countries, with the exception of Ireland ( a country which doesn’t exactly fit the bill anymore, I think, since a few years).
  • In another blog post (see UHC Forward ), Louise Holly, a health advocacy adviser for Save the Children, examines data presented at the Third Global Forum. “The overarching message from the Forum is that UHC depends on health workers. And four critical dimensions of human resources for health are at the core of the concept of effective coverage and the right to health: availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality”.

Check out also the new website launched by Save the Children, coinciding with the Forum. The site explores the steps that countries need to take to build a health workforce that is fit to prevent and treat the causes of maternal, newborn and child mortality.  The website shows that many countries have made progress in reducing child mortality and strengthening health workforces thanks to strong political commitment and effective implementation of HRH strategies within broader efforts to strengthen health systems.

6.    Get involved into global health – Time to blossom? Renewed partnership of WHO and GHWA

Linda Mans (Wemos);

http://getinvolvedinglobalhealth.blogspot.ch/2013/11/time-to-blossom-renewed-partnership-of.html

A tough period of engagement between WHO’s Human Resources for Health staff and the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) secretariat over the last halve a year has eventually resulted in a better (defined) marriage, and presumably a division of labour for the coming years.

7.    Globalization & Health (Research) – Empirical impact evaluation of the WHO global code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel in Australia, Canada, UK and USA

Jennifer S. Edge & Stephen Hoffman;

http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/content/9/1/60/abstract

The active recruitment of health workers from developing countries to developed countries has become a major threat to global health. In an effort to manage this migration, the 63rd World Health Assembly adopted the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel in May 2010. While the Code has been lauded as the first globally-applicable regulatory framework for health worker recruitment, its impact has yet to be evaluated. The authors offer the first empirical evaluation of the Code’s impact on national and sub-national actors in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and United States of America. Results suggest a gap between awareness of the Code among stakeholders at global forums and the awareness and behaviour of national and sub-national actors. Advocacy and technical guidance for implementing the Code are needed to improve its impact on national decision-makers.

 

Family Planning summit in Addis

 

This week more than 3,000 political leaders, scientists, health care professionals, advocates and young leaders from around the globe  gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the third International Conference on Family Planning or ICFP2013, which ends today. Organized around the theme ‘Full Access, Full Choice,’ ICFP 2013 called attention to the wide range of health, social, and economic benefits of helping couples plan and space their pregnancies. The fact that it was organized in Ethiopia was obviously not a coincidence.

8.    Guardian – Teenage pregnancies and contraception access under spotlight at global summit

Claire Provost;

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/nov/12/teenage-pregnancies-contraception-global-summit

This article gave the background for the third international family planning summit which intended to build on the momentum of last year’s meeting in London.

9.    Guardian – African Union head calls for end to child marriage

Claire Provost;

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/nov/13/african-union-end-child-marriage

At the conference, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union, attempted to allay fears over a African population surge, and threw her weight behind calls to end child marriage.

10. FP2020 Partnership in Action – Progress report 2012-2013

http://www.familyplanning2020.org/images/content/documents/FP2020_Partnership_in_Action_2012-2013.pdf

The 2013 International Conference on Family Planning also saw the release of a new global progress report by Family Planning 2020, titled FP2020 Partnership in Action. It lays out a new frame work for the monitoring and evaluation of family planning so that countries can track their own progress in a way that informs decisions.

11. Lancet – Scaling up of family planning in low-income countries: lessons from Ethiopia

Daniel T Halperin; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62032-2/fulltext

Not much comment is needed here – everybody knows the FP success-story of Ethopia in recent years. See also this op-ed by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus  in AllAfrica.com.

The Lancet Global Health also ran a few blog posts this week, related to the summit in Addis,  for example Integrated child marriage prevention and adolescent family planning, and one on the importance of Community Health Workers. “CHWs can also help to reduce the cultural barriers to uptake of family planning services in rural Africa. They understand the social dynamics of their communities and can effectively carry out counselling and distribution of condoms and birth control pills with limited resistance from members of the community. They are regarded as the “best buy” in global health as they promote community acceptance of contraceptives and use.”  “Investment in family planning requires adequate funding of community-based family planning programmes, with expanded roles for CHWs. This is a smart investment in the best interests of all as Africa’s population rises.”

12. Maternal health task force  – Beyond Access To Respectful Care and Informed Choice: Reflections from the International Conference on Family Planning

Kelsey Holt;

http://maternalhealthtaskforce.org/discuss/wpblog/2013/11/13/beyond-access-to-respectful-care-and-informed-choice-reflections-from-the-international-conference-on-family-planning/

Yet another account from the summit in Addis. Holt emphasizes the importance of quality of care. Nice and short blog post.

13. WHO – Programming strategies for postpartum family planning

http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/family_planning/ppfp_strategies/en/index.html

This publication is designed to be used by programme planners and managers as a resource when designing interventions to integrate postpartum family planning into national and subnational strategies. Postpartum family planning should not be considered a ‘vertical’ programme, but rather as an integrated part of existing maternal and child health and family planning efforts. Successful interventions for postpartum family planning require holistic and evidence-based programme strategies that contribute to strengthened health systems and sustained improvements in high-quality services that put people at the centre of health care.” This new resource for  health program managers and policy makers was released at the International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, and aims to improve access to family planning for women after childbirth and during the first 12 months of motherhood.

14. KFF Analysis – Donor Government Assistance for Family Planning in 2012

http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/8510-donor-government-assistance-for-family-planning-in-2012.pdf

A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds donor governments provided about $900 million in bilateral funding for family planning programs in 2012, and an additional $432 million in core contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

 

Global Fund update

 

15. Global Fund Observer (issue 231)

http://www.aidspan.org/gfo_article/main-decisions-made-board-meeting-6

On 7–8 November 2013, the Global Fund Board held its 30th meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Global Fund Observer dedicated many items in its latest newsletter to the meeting. See here. With news on the main decisions made at the Board meeting, on a revised eligibility policy, also a news item on a  meeting on 8–9 October from the Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee (SIIC)  which made decisions in four areas related to the new funding model (including on HSS guidance), …

16. Huffington Post – Learning from Africa

Mark Dybul; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amb-mark-dybul/learning-from-africa_1_b_4253206.html

This year, 13 African heads of state serve as champions for efforts to secure resources for the next three years, ahead of the GF replenishment conference to be hosted by the United States in early December. Other encouraging developments are taking place in Africa too, Dybul says.

Meanwhile, the GF predicts a strong replenishment. (but let’s just ask the NSA)

17. Aidspan – Dybul Calls For an Approach Based on Where Countries Are on the Development Continuum

David Garmaise; http://www.aidspan.org/gfo_article/dybul-calls-approach-based-where-countries-are-development-continuum

The Global Fund needs a more strategic approach to investing, according to Mark Dybul. “The countries we support are in different stages in a continuum from fragile state to self-sufficient,” Dr Dybul said in the Report of Executive Director to the Board meeting just concluded in Geneva. “Therefore, how the Global Fund supports countries should be based on the epidemiology of the three diseases as well as the wider realities, challenges and opportunities for each of the stages in the development continuum, including the state of the underlying health system.” He gave some examples of how the Secretariat is already applying the concept, although it’s still under development.

In the same Report, he also said that issues related to the vulnerability of women, in particular young women, are not receiving adequate attention at the Global Fund.

18. Aidspan – The New Funding Allocation Methodology Explained (version 2)

http://www.aidspan.org/page/other-publications#798cebccb32617ad94123450fd137104

On 14 June 2013, Aidspan published an article in Global Fund Observer entitled “The NFM Allocation Methodology Explained.” It was based on the information publicly available at that time. Since then, several more pieces of the puzzle have been filled in. “The New Funding Model Allocation Methodology Explained (Version 2) provides an updated explanation based on information made public by the Global Fund as of 11 November 2013.

 

Other maternal & child health news

 

19. Lancet (Editorial) – Delivering action on preterm births

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62354-5/fulltext

Every year, roughly 15 million babies—more than one in ten—are born prematurely, and about a million die from complications associated with preterm birth. World Prematurity Day, on Nov 17, is an opportunity to assess progress in tackling premature birth worldwide. This Editorial states that implementation of existing interventions such as kangaroo mother care, and antenatal corticosteroids in low-income and middle-income countries must be a top priority.

20. Lancet (Comment) – Caring for preterm babies is a test of how we respond to our most vulnerable citizens

Rebecca Kadaga et al.;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62305-3/fulltext

This Comment highlights the actions taken in Brazil, Uganda, and the UK since World Prematurity Day last year. Kadaga concludes: “Our health systems can be judged by how we care for newborn babies, especially preterm babies who can die, or be saved, by an effective health system. Is saving newborn lives not an important measurement and fitting indicator of universal health coverage in the post-2015 environment?

Read also the following (early online) Lancet Global Health Comment – “A solution pathway for preterm birth: accelerating a priority research agenda”. “Preterm birth is a final common pathway for many complex pathological processes. A comprehensive research agenda is therefore needed to accelerate identification of mediators of preterm birth and innovative solutions. To forge a road map for this action agenda, the Gates Foundation, the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), March of Dimes (MOD), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and WHO convened meetings of experts to develop a research agenda that spans the range of discovery, development, and delivery science needed to drive global change. This Comment summarises this solution pathway and the next steps toward its implementation.”

 

Infectious diseases

21. Lancet  – Offline: How close are we to an AIDS-free world?

Richard Horton;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62334-X/fulltext

Closer than we sometimes think, Horton argues, reporting on the recent conference in San Francisco, even if we should refrain from Orwellian news-speak where the end is not really the end.

22. African Brains – Invest to save: meeting of Ministers of Finance and health on domestic financing for health

http://africanbrains.net/2013/11/11/invest-save-meeting-ministers-health-finance-domestic-financing-health/

A high-level political meeting on increased domestic funding for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in Addis Ababa met on November 11-12. We couldn’t find much news on this, yet, though. This was the concept note.

23. WHO – New malaria vaccines roadmap targets next generation products by 2030

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2013/malaria-vaccines-20131114/en/index.html

The world should aim to have vaccines which reduce malaria cases by 75%, and are capable of eliminating malaria, licensed by 2030, according to the updated 2013 “Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap”, launched earlier this week. See also a Scidev  article on this new roadmap.

24. Lancet (Correspondence) – Malaria vaccine technology roadmap

Vasee S Moorthy et al. ;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62238-2/fulltext

The malaria vaccine technology roadmap was initially published in 2006. On Nov 14, 2013, WHO published the first comprehensive update to this global strategic research and development roadmap,  the result of extensive consultations with scientists and public health experts from non-endemic and malaria-endemic countries, industry, non-governmental organisations, and funding agencies. The updated roadmap includes two new strategic goals to be met by 2030: vaccines to achieve malaria elimination in multiple settings and vaccines that are highly efficacious against malaria disease.

25. CSIS report – Drug resistant malaria: a generation of progress in jeopardy

J. Christopher Daniel;

http://csis.org/files/publication/131107_Daniel_DrugResistantMalaria_Web.pdf

This report is a primer on artimisinin resistance, aimed at a non-technical audience. (That would include me )

In other malaria news, also at least partly aimed at a non-technical audience, the WSJ reported on a probe by US investigators “into the widespread theft and black market resale of malaria drugs donated to Africa by the US government”. The newspaper examines how “organized theft is plaguing the multibillion-dollar aid effort, according to people familiar with the investigation, raising questions about the supervision of donations in corruption-ridden nations,” (focusing on both the GF and the PMI) and notes “the effort has been partly hijacked by organized networks that steal large quantities of donated malaria drugs and ship them from East to West Africa, where they end up for sale at street markets, according to people familiar with the U.S. investigation”. 

26. WHO – Pneumonia still responsible for one fifth of child deaths

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/world-pneumonia-day-20131112/en/index.html

Pneumonia remains the single biggest killer of children under 5 globally, claiming the lives of more than 1 million girls and boys every year. But pneumonia deaths are preventable. As countries marked World Pneumonia Day on 12 November, WHO, UNICEF and the GAVI Alliance highlighted 5 essential actions that can help end child deaths from this disease.

27. Lancet Global Health (Comment) – Innovations in pneumonia diagnosis and treatment: a call to action on World Pneumonia Day, 2013

Amy Sarah Ginsburg et al.;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(13)70117-7/fulltext

In recognition of the 5th annual World Pneumonia Day on November 12, the authors issue a call to action for innovations to defeat childhood pneumonia. A comprehensive strategy to address childhood pneumonia should include the development and delivery of solutions designed for low-resource settings that are reliable, accurate, automatic, and appropriate for use in infants and young children.

28. Lancet (World Report) – Middle Eastern countries scramble to stop spread of polio

Dara Mohammadi;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)62289-8/fulltext

As Syria confirmed its thirteenth case of polio this week, Middle Eastern countries were beginning to vaccinate millions of children in the region. Dara Mohammadi reports.

AP also reported that some 21 nations in the Middle East and nearby regions have jointly made the eradication of polio an emergency priority.

The Lancet also features a Comment on polio lessons from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

 

Health Policy & Financing

 

29. BMJ (blog) – Ecology, politics, economics and violence – the wider role of health professionals

David McCoy;

http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2013/11/13/david-mccoy-ecology-politics-economics-and-violence-the-wider-role-of-health-professionals/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bmj%2Fblogs+%28Latest+BMJ+blogs%29&g=widget_default

A must-read. McCoy attended a Medact conference on the interfaces between health, politics, ecology, economics, and violence. “The conference was designed to draw attention to a set of three interconnected crises that are set to spiral out of control and reverse improvements in health that have been made worldwide over the past few decades. These are: 1) war, violence, and militarisation; 2) ecological degradation and climate collapse; and 3) enduring poverty and widening inequality.

30. IPWatch – Wikileaks’ Release Of TPP Chapter On IP Blows Open Secret Trade Negotiation

William New; http://www.ip-watch.org/2013/11/13/wikileaks-release-of-tpp-chapter-on-ip-blows-open-secret-trade-negotiation/

This week, Wikileaks released the Trans-Pacific Agreement partnership’s draft intellectual property chapter. The leak confirmed the fears of public interest groups that this is an agreement heavily weighted toward big industry interests.

See also the Guardian coverage of this massively important leak, as well as a summary by Public Citizen and KEI analysis (including some country positions).

31. World Diabetes day – Special report in FT

http://www.ft.com/intl/reports/combating-diabetes

Read all about this increasing NCD threat in the Financial Times.

32. WSJ – Help Wanted: Global AIDS Coordinator

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/11/08/help-wanted-global-aids-coordinator/

Eric Goosby, head of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy and the U.S. global AIDS coordinator, last week stepped down from his post. The WSJ reflects on his time in office and PEPFAR’s evolution, and names four candidates said to be under consideration to serve as his replacement.

33. Lancet Global Health (Comment) – Worldwide reduction in blindness: making progress?

Robert J. Casson;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(13)70140-2/fulltext

Even if 31·8 million people were blind in 1990, and in 2010, 32·4 million were blind according to the WHO definition, some progress has been made in recent decades. However,  a shocking discrepancy of up to 50 times difference in the prevalence of blindness remains between developed countries and developing regions.

34. Health and Development: Fifty Years of French Cooperation in Africa

Dominique Kerouedan et al.;

http://www.college-de-france.fr/media/dominique-kerouedan/UPL7402657274592718468_Health_and_Development__Fifty_Years_of_French_Cooperation_in_Africa.pdf

A publication from 2011, when France held the presidency of the G8 and G20. Kerouedan and colleagues looked back at the key steps of the French technical cooperation in the field of health, including profound changes observed in Africa over the last thirty years with regard to nutrition, health and demographics.

35. Huffington Post – A Victory for LGBT Health in the Americas

Nils Daulaire; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nils-daulaire/a-victory-for-lgbt-health_b_4262367.html

At the annual meeting of the Pan American Health Organization in October, delegates from governments throughout the region unanimously passed a resolution titled ‘Addressing the Causes of Disparities in Health Service Access and Utilization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Persons,'” Nils Daulaire writes in the Huffington Post’s “Gay Voices” blog. “By passing this resolution, health authorities in the Americas have pledged to promote equal access to health services for those in the LGBT community, taking into account the widespread stigma, discrimination, and persecution experienced by many in the population. This is a huge victory, as approval of the resolution marks the first time any United Nations body taken steps to address discrimination in the health sector against LGBT persons.”

36. Economist – Private health care in Africa: a middle way?

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21589925-insurers-have-spotted-opening-no-frills-life-saving-health-care

Insurers have spotted an opening for no-frills but life-saving (private) health care”, this Economist piece argues. Looks like an unstoppable trend. So even more urgent to align the private sector on public goals.

37. Economist – Searching for a cure

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21589880-patching-up-obamacare-will-be-difficult-searching-cure

Obamacare is in trouble, after the double hiccup of the technological problems to enroll, and the fact that some people lost their old health insurance plans, contrary to Obama’s promises.

Meanwhile, Obama is trying to fix the issue (see the Guardian for the latest), via a one year extension. As for his political credibility, good there’s no presidential election campaign needed anymore.

38. UHC Forward – Health care: a democratic dividend?

http://uhcforward.org/blog/2013/nov/13/healthcare-democratic-dividend

Empirical studies have linked democracy to improved social indicators, but debate rages on the causal mechanisms at play. Africa shows there is no straightforward link between multiparty electoral democracy and better healthcare outcomes. In the words of a – quoted – Mr. Berman: “There are autocratic governments that care about the people and there are autocratic governments who don’t. It’s the argument about the benevolent dictator. And then there are democracies like Ghana where their politicians respond to a broad public demand, and then there are democracies where the politicians respond to narrower interest groups which have political power. There is no simple equation between democracy and caring about public health.”

 

Global Health podcasts  & videos

 

  • In the editorial, Werner already referred to Martin McKee’s speech on the challenge of UHC in developing, emerging and developed countries – for the video of his keynote speech in Barcelona, see here.
  • Agnes Binagwaho gave a UCL Lancet lecture on the topic “Charity does not rhyme with development”.    (To quote the purple little one: “a sign of the times”)

 

Emerging Voices

 

39. Plos One – Perceived Quality of Care for Common Childhood Illnesses: Facility versus Community Based Providers in Uganda

Agnes Nanyonjo et al.;

http://www.plosone.org/article/metrics/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0079943;jsessionid=D744EFF51C02CB6BB33FAD8B74CC6A50

In this article, EV 2012 Agnes Nanyonjo compares caretakers’ perceived quality of care for under-fives treated for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea by community health workers (CHWs) and primary health facility workers (PHFWs).

40. Award for EV 2010 – Dr Irene Masanja wins Malaria Journal prize

http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2013/11/13/dr-irene-masanja-wins-malaria-journal-prize/

At the 6th MiM – Pan African Malaria Conference in October, Malaria Journal sponsored the prize for the Best Emergent Scientist, which is awarded to the scientist who gave the best oral presentation. Malaria Journal is pleased to announce the winner of the award is Dr Irene Masanja, a Senior Research Scientist from the Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania. She is a former EV.

 

Research

 

41. BMC Health services – Studying complex interventions: reflections from the FEMHealth project on evaluating fee exemption policies in West Africa and Morocco

Bruno Marchal et al.;

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/13/469

The importance of complexity in health care policy-making and interventions, as well as research and evaluation is now widely acknowledged, but conceptual confusion reigns and few applications of complexity concepts in research design have been published. Taking user fee exemption policies as an entry point, the authors explore the methodological consequences of ‘complexity’ for health policy research and evaluation. They first discuss the difference between simple, complicated and complex and introduce key concepts of complex adaptive systems theory. They then apply these to fee exemption policies.

42. BMJ (Editorial) – Determinants of childhood mortality

Andrew Hodge;

http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6632

MDG 4 calls for a reduction in the mortality rate in under 5s by two thirds between 1990 and 2015. Despite an impressive 47% drop in the global rate since 1990,

the rate of decline is too slow to meet that target, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. It is therefore important to know why some countries are making poor progress. Despite previous studies, there is no strong evidence base defining the determinants of cross country child mortality, which would be an important step towards developing effective policies to tackle high death rates. In this editorial, Hodge comments on a new study by Hanf and colleagues in BMJ which revisits the associations between global factors—such as socioeconomic conditions, health variables, and political contexts—and national rates of death in under 5.

In other research news, the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), a new public health partnership that is bringing Japanese know-how and investment to the global fight against infectious diseases, announced grants of $5.7 million to six global partnerships working on innovative drugs and vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and Chagas disease. (see the press release from the fund)

43. Lancet (Book review) – Connection between wealth and health?

Michael Marmot;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2813%2962355-7/fulltext

Marmot reviews the book by Angus Deaton,  “The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality”. Great book, he says, but Deaton doesn’t pay enough attention to the social determinants of health.

 

Global Health bits & pieces & announcements

 

  • ITM’s annual colloquium in Bangalore on Neglected diseases & HS, takes place on 21-23 November, in collaboration with IPH Bangalore – stay tuned for this via  #colloq13 on Twitter, (check also@IPHindia)  and via blogging by reporters on sessions (here).  The colloquium website is here. 
  • Upcoming webinar:  Our Commitment to Child Survival, What is at Stake?  A Webinar Presentation with Tessa Wardlaw, Associate Director, Division of Policy and Strategy, UNICEF Headquarters – 22nd November 2013 – 3pm, GMT.

The Countdown to the Millennium Development Goals has started and we are 777 days away.       What progress has been made in reducing child mortality since 1990? And where in Sub-Saharan Africa?    What can we learn from these experiences to accelerate child survival?    What are the challenges in estimating child mortality? And how did the UN Interagency Group on Child Mortality Estimation (UN-IGME) address these?      What if the MDGs are not met? “

You are invited to participate in this webinar with Tessa Wardlaw, Chief of the Data and Analytics Section and Associate Director in the Division of Policy & Strategy at UNICEF Headquarters. The special key note speaker will highlight the key findings of the 2013 High Level Progress Report “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed”.

To join the online webinar,  Go to https://unicef200.webex.com/unicef200/j.php?ED=271028947&UID=1704113617&PW=NODVlNmNiYThl&RT=MiMxMzY%3D.

Because of a limited number of participants’ coverage, you can register early by sending an email to: nade@unicef.org

  • For an update on the upcoming Prince Mahidol conference in Bangkok, in January 2014, check out  the website. The conference is on ‘Transformative learning for health equity’ this year.

 

Miscellaneous 

 

  • Alex Evans wrote a nice blog post on how to defuse the 2 climate finance  & post-2015 development finance time bombs (see Global Dashboard )
  • ODI published a  new report on ‘Game changers: global policy priorities for the post-2015 agenda’ (with Jonathan Glennie as one of the co-authors).

Glennie also wrote a nice contribution for the Guardian – on the need to reframe development “aid”.

  • Euractiv reports on an upcoming trade deal of the EU with Western Africa, in three months from now, “if all goes well”, according to Karel De Gucht. The EPA would thus be with West Africa’s 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
  • See also this briefing note from November by San Bilal on EPAs- “Trade talks set to disrupt Africa- Europe relations and poison the upcoming Africa-EU Summit”.

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