The world stands at a crossroads, and so does the Global Fund. Not for the first time, admits our colleague Gorik Ooms. Yet, this time the stakes could be higher for the Fund.
Enjoy your reading.
David Hercot,Kristof Decoster, Ildikó Bokros,Josefien Van Olmen, Basile Keugoung &Wim Van Damme
The Global Fund at a crossroads, again… this time the stakes are even higher
Gorik Ooms (ITM)
During the first decade of its existence, the Global Fund (to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria) has been at a crossroads too often. This time, I fear the situation is worse than it has ever been before. In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the new general manager Gabriel Jaramillo argues that “the creation of the Fund was done on the basis of three feelings: emergency, fear and generosity”, and that now only “the best of them” remains: generosity. It reminds me of something we wrote for Global Health Governance about a year ago: “With the ‘AIDS is a security threat’ argument eroding, the right to health argument might be the only one that can preserve AIDS exceptionality – i.e. open-ended reliance on international solidarity.” I’m not writing this to suggest Jaramillo borrowed an argument from us; I’m writing this to express my sincere belief that the importance of Jaramillo’s analysis should not be underestimated.
1. Lancet (editorial) – South Africa’s AIDS response: the next 5 years
A Lancet editorial zooms in on South Africa’s new National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB 2012—2016, which started on April 1st. Meanwhile, the country’s National AIDS Council (SANAC) sacked its entire staff on the eve of the implementation of the plan. The Lancet expects the upheaval to be short-lived, though.
2. Huffington Post – Can Patent Pools Get More AIDS Drugs to Patients?
David de Ferranti;
De Ferranti wonders whether a patent pool for new drugs can help to make AIDS treatment more accessible. The key to a successful Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is persuading a critical mass of drug companies to join, he argues. For now, many of them seem to go for voluntary licenses, though.
The dire financial situation for HIV/AIDS was once again highlighted by MSF, when the organisation raised the alarm over the foreseen PEPFAR cut, in Obama’s budget proposal for 2013.
In a somewhat related blog post, Karen Grepin wonders whether the fact that the Global Health Council has decided to cancel its 2012 Global Health Conference in Washington, DC (presumably because there’s already the international AIDS conference this summer), means that HIV is the only real global health issue that people care about.
Health Policy & Financing
3. BMJ (news) – Number of people with dementia will reach 65.7 million by 2030, says report
Developing countries will be hit hardest by the worldwide increase in the numbers of people with dementia, says a report from WHO and Alzheimer’s Disease International.
4. Lancet (Comment) – A new resolution for global mental health
Rebecca S. Hock et al.;
The authors commend the 130th session of the WHO Executive Board for adopting a resolution calling for a comprehensive response to the global burden of mental illnesses.
5. Lancet (editorial) – Making hemophilia a global priority
April 17 is World Hemophilia Day. This year’s theme, Close the Gap highlights the disparities in care and unmet need if treatment for all—the goal set by the World Federation of Hemophilia—is to become a global reality. At a time when non-communicable diseases have moved up the global health agenda, governments need to be more aware of chronic genetic diseases, such as hemophilia.
6. BMJ (editorial) – Antibiotic drug research and development
The author wonders whether antibiotic drug research and development should be funded through public-private partnerships to succeed.
7. BMJ (feature) – How collaboration is providing new drugs for neglected diseases
Janice Hopkins Tanne;
Academia, industry, and non-profit bodies are partnering to find new ways of treating neglected diseases, Janice Hopkins Tanne reports.
8. Bloomberg – To seriously improve global health, reinvent the toilet
Check out how the Gates foundation is involved in global sanitation.
9. Humanosphere – Did media ignore Melinda Gates’ TED talk on family planning?
Speaking of the Gates Foundation: Melinda Gates gave a TED talk on family planning last week, aiming to change the global conversation on family planning. Tom Paulson reckons the press didn’t pay much attention to the talk. In March, the Gates Foundation and the Cameron government announced plans to hold a summit in London in July, to raise funds for family planning.
Related news: last week, over 600 parliamentarians from more than 100 countries met in Kampala, Uganda, for the 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, where participants discussed child and maternal health and nutrition. (Next week, we hope to have a guest editorial on the event.)
10. KFF – U.N. Appoints 27 International Leaders To ‘Scaling Up Nutrition’ Group To Address Maternal, Child Nutrition
On Tuesday, Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of 27 world leaders to address the issue of maternal and child nutrition in order to secure a future for nations around the world. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake chaired the first meeting of the Lead Group for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, which brought together the leaders of countries, organizations and sectors working to improve nutrition.
11. Globalization and health – Global health funding and economic development
Greg Martin et al.;
There is clear evidence that by investing in health improvements a significant increase in GDP per capita can be attained in four ways: firstly, healthier populations are more economically productive; secondly, proactive healthcare leads to decrease in many of the additive healthcare costs associated with lack of care (treating opportunistic infections in the case of HIV for example); thirdly, improved health represents a real economic and developmental outcome in-and-of itself and finally, healthcare spending capitalises on the Keynesian ‘economic multiplier’ effect.
12. CSIS (report) – Russia’s Emerging Global Health leadership
Judyth Twigg (editor);
There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this CSIS report on Russia’s emerging global health leadership – about 20 years after the Soviet Union’s involvement. Yet, the study also makes clear that Russia’s current development priorities in health are internal, not external.
13. GAVI – GAVI Alliance secures lower price for rotavirus vaccine
The GAVI Alliance has struck a deal for bulk buying rotavirus shots from GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, which cuts the price by two-thirds and will allow poorer countries access to them at around $5 per course. The vaccines combat the main cause of diarrhea.
14. Lancet – WHO plans new yaws eradication campaign
A massive push to free the world from yaws failed in the 1950s and 1960s. But WHO, emboldened by new research findings, has agreed to launch a second attempt. John Maurice reports.
15. Lancet (Viewpoint) – Balance between clinical and environmental responses to infectious diseases
Justin V. Remais et al.;
The authors claim management of environmental pathogens—at present dominated by clinical intervention—could benefit from an improved balance between clinical response and environmental action.
16. TMIH – Community participation and voice mechanisms under performance-based financing schemes in Burundi
Jean-Benoît Falisse et al.;
Community participation is often described as a key for primary health care in low-income countries. Recent PBF initiatives have renewed the interest in this strategy by questioning the accountability of those in charge at the health centre level. The authors analyse the place of two downward accountability mechanisms in a PBF scheme: health committees elected among the communities and community-based organizations (CBOs) contracted as verifiers of health facilities’ performance. Check out their findings.
Development & Aid
17. Jan Vandemoortele – Advancing the global development agenda post-2015: some practical suggestions
Excellent report on the MDG+ agenda, emphasizing that it is vital to define the process first and discuss contents later.
(as for my preliminary assessment: this is probably about the last thing the world needed: let’s go for the Big Society, worldwide now, after 2015, involving a weird mix of boosting economic growth, well-being and happiness, pseudo-green policy measures, preferential treatment for the financial sector, an anti-FTT stance and tax cuts for the rich – we hope Cameron at least finds some time to read this excellent blog post on Global Dashboard, on why the wellbeing & happiness agenda would benefit from some philosophy – and while we’re at it, maybe Aung San Suu Kyi can teach him a thing or two, too, now that he’s in Myanmar ) (KDC)
Now that UNCTAD is under heavy pressure from the powers that be, the outcome of the WB presidency race becomes even more important. (some former UNCTAD staff members & economists, including Dani Rodrik, already released a statement in which they complain about the interference).
But over to the World Bank: apart from a NYT interview with Kim himself, there were opinion pieces on Kim by a few Global Health people (Bollyky, Farmer). Check out also this nice CGD blog post on how Kim could be preferred by the Board – but that would require, among others, a totally new role for the WB in the 21st century.
Ocampo made a forceful case, stressing that the whole contest will test industrial nations’ commitment to an open selection process and an open, merit-based system. He also mentioned the Bank needs a change of culture, for example in terms of collaboration with the UN, and in dropping the ‘sense of superiority’ that is still all too common among WB staff (his words). (The Bank is off to a good start, it seems: it announced an open access policy, starting on 1 July. Read also Adam Wagstaff on this.)
The third candidate, Okonjo-Iweala sounded like Mitt Romney when she said her presidency would be in line with America’s values (which are, presumably, competition, merit, only the best will do, etc…). She also promised to focus on jobs. There she has a point.
- Charles Kenny is as upbeat as ever when he discusses climate change and the reaction of the human species to the challenge. Definitely doable, he reckons – perhaps the only thing he has in common with Paul “The Earth is Full” Gilding, who shows the same ‘can-do’ spirit. Their analysis of the crisis is totally different though.
- CESR published a short document on the FTT, from a human rights perspective.
- Most of you probably heard the news from the Wellcome Trust support for the ‘academic spring’ to open up science.
- Ausaid recently published a multilateral assessment.
- Private contributions are vital against the backdrop of the economic downturn (and decreasing ODA), claims a Global Humanitarian Assistance report.
- Finally, Owen Barder published this blog post: ‘Seven worries about focusing on results and how to manage them.’ (we admit that sounds a bit like ‘Snow White and the seven dwarfs’ including the happy end)