Dear Colleagues,

This week features World Malaria day (25 April); it is also the first  World Immunization week ever. Nevertheless, we’ve chosen to highlight the ‘World Day on Safety and Health at work’ (28 April) in this week’s guest-editorial, written by a Colombian Emerging Voice, Mauricio Torres.

Enjoy your reading.

David Hercot,Kristof Decoster, Ildikó Bokros,Josefien Van Olmen, Basile Keugoung &Wim Van Damme


World Day on Safety and Health at Work – The urgent need to protect health and life at work

By Mauricio Torres-Tovar
Emerging voice from Colombia
Master in Public Health student (ITM)

 World Malaria Day

1. FT special report on malaria

Html & PDF

The Financial Times has a special report on the fight against malaria, and related policy & financing issues. Make sure you read the article by Andrew Jack.

The Guardian hosted a malaria roundtable discussion, with 14 experts. Sarah Boseley was also present, she also commented on World Malaria Day on her global health blog. Global Health Check did the same ( Oxfam’s Anna Marriott is not particularly fond of AMFm, it turns out).

2. BMJ (news) – Malaria resurges when complacency over control sets in or funding collapses, study concludes

Anne Gulland;

Progress in eradicating malaria is jeopardised if programmes to combat the disease are cut, a study has concluded.


 3. BMJ (news) – New centre sets out to better coordinate research into non-communicable diseases

Matthew Limb;

A global initiative designed to strengthen research into NCDs and improve collaboration between rich and poorer countries has been launched in London.

4. Foreign Affairs – Developing Symptoms – Noncommunicable Diseases Go Global

Thomas J. Bollyky;

NCDs are increasingly becoming the main health threat in developing countries. The best way for the West to help is by pushing for governance reform.


Some other NCD news from recent or upcoming conferences/workshops:

  •  At the Geneva Health Forum, a session tackled the many questions raised by the UN High Level meeting and resulting Political Declaration, in relation to decisions about NCD targets, indicators and monitoring and the form that a global platform to oversee NCD strategy and monitoring will take.
  • A seminar on the future of development in the context of non-communicable disease will be hosted by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) that may be of interest to many of you. The seminar will be live streamed for people interested in watching over the internet. To register to attend the event, please visit:  ( 9 May 2012 – 12.30 to 14.30: Global demographic shifts: Urbanisation and the 21st century burden of disease ).


Health Policy & financing

5. Lancet series on adolescent health

The Lancet’s latest Series on Adolescent Health, launched to coincide with the 45th Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development, argues that it is now time to put the young person, not the specific issue, centre stage. The editorial argues for putting adolescents at the centre of health and development. This more holistic vision is an important further step in taking adolescent health out of marginalised subspecialty existence into mainstream global health.

6. BMJ (news) – Agencies renew pledge to tackle measles after target to reduce deaths by 90% is missed

Anne Gulland;

Global health organisations have announced that they are redoubling efforts to tackle measles in light of new evidence showing that a target to reduce the number of deaths from the disease by 90% has not been reached. The announcement was made at a press conference on 23 April to coincide with the online publication of a paper in the Lancet – you find a Lancet Comment on the paper here. Sarah Boseley did the same (busy week for Sarah).

7. KFF – USAID Administrator Shah Launches Social Media Campaign To Garner Support To Improve Child Health, Survival

Under the slogan “Every Child Deserves a Fifth Birthday,” USAID on Monday launched a social media campaign featuring childhood photos of celebrities, global health leaders and lawmakers, with the aim of building support to fight preventable deaths of children. The one with Margaret Chan is particularly cute. Sarah Boseley already commented on the campaign (very busy week for Sarah).


In this Global Post article (which focuses on a recent KFF event), it is mentioned how difficult it is to raise child survival on the US political agenda in this presidential election year. CGD’s Amanda Glassman, for example, thinks that the US government should stop trying to promote multiple global health issues and settle on one. “You have three big goals or events, this summer around global health. Is it necessary to have one goal? You have the ‘AIDS-free generation,’ the family planning summit, the child survival call.”


8. Plos (essay) – Where There Is No Health Research: What Can Be Done to Fill the Global Gaps in Health Research?

Martin McKee et al.;

As part of a cluster of articles leading up to the 2012 World Health Report and critically reflecting on the theme of “no health without research,” Martin McKee (does he ever sleep?) and colleagues examine the question of what to do to build capacity in the many countries around the world where health research is virtually non-existent.


9. CFR report – The New Global Health Agenda

Oren Ahoobim et al.;

In The New Global Health Agenda: Universal Health Coverage, authors Oren Ahoobim, Daniel Altman, Laurie Garrett, Vicky Hausman, and Yanzhong Huang discuss the rise in support for universal health coverage and the financial benefits that may be reaped by implementing such schemes, and provide examples of models used to date by countries in establishing UHC.

This week, Blog 4 Global health also reported that Global Health Council calls it quits. This decision about the Council’s future comes after serious deliberations about the state of global health issues, the role of the Council as a convenor and the Council’s current operating model.


10. – African scientists urged to solve African health problems

David Dickson;

At the COHRED conference in Cape Town, South Africa’s science minister, Naledi Pandor, called for increased efforts by African nations to build both a greater ability to carry out research relevant to their specific health challenges, and the capacity to put such research to use.


In another article, Dickson reports on the urgent need for a global treaty on health research for the poor. “In the current financial and political climate, it is brave — some might say foolhardy — to propose a binding international treaty on the funding and coordination of research into health problems facing the developing world.  Nevertheless this is what the World Health Assembly is being asked to consider at its annual meeting in Geneva next month (21–26 May).”


11.    CGD – Is the Global Fund getting better ?

Victoria Fan;

Fan argues the Fund is rapidly transforming for the better. ( if only the world had more bankers…)


12.    Lancet (Editorial) – TDR: a time to live or die?

Since 1975, the UN Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) has been examining needs and gaps in health research on the diseases of poverty. In spite of persistent claims that TDR has had its time, it has proved the critics wrong recently. On April 16, under the leadership of TDR, The Global Report on Research for Infectious Diseases of Poverty was released. It advocates innovative and cross-disciplinary research to improve health in developing counties. The report is aimed at policy makers, funders, and research leaders. And this Lancet editorial is very fond of some of the messages.


13.    BMJ (Features) What will a doctor bring to the World Bank?

Bob Roehr;

(We are tempted to say: a cure). But Bob Roehr looks at Kim’s credentials and what is expected of him.


In a piece of a few weeks ago, Gregg Gonsalves assessed some of the commotion around Kim (especially among development economists).


14.    Health and Human Rights (Perspectives) – The Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health: Establishing international processes for state reporting to an independent monitoring body

Benjamin Mason et al.;

To create state accountability for the UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s health, the WHO has convened a Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health to recommend international institutional arrangements conducive to realizing this commitment. With the commission set to deliver its final report in May 2011, this Perspective raises key issues to assist in its rapidly evolving efforts, analyzing the importance of independent monitoring bodies as a means to ensure state reporting, oversight, and accountability.


15.    Swasthya Mundial – Surgery in the Global South and Why It Matters

Last week Karen Grepin already dwelled on the issue of surgery in resource-poor settings; this week we came across this post.


Finally, some global health related news relevant for some of our American readers (but not only for them, we think):

  • Now that PEPFAR seems to have 1.5 billion available or unspent (‘stuck in the pipeline’, is the word), debate is starting on how that money should be used. In Kenya, HIV activists  demand that PEPFAR release some US$500 million for HIV programmes in Kenya;  in the Huffington Post, Suzanne Ehlers argues for investment in voluntary contraception, …   (to be continued, obviously)
  • Meanwhile, a future (potential?) vice-president, Senator Marco Rubio, has given a foreign policy speech, in which he also expressed support for PEPFAR and other global health aid programs of the US. It’s too early to talk of a “Rubio-doctrine”, but at least this Republican seems to have crossed the global health Rubicon.




16.    African Development Bank group (Working Paper) : Role of Fiscal Policy in Tackling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Southern Africa

John C. Anyanwu et al.; PDF 

Southern African governments could use public spending in their battle against the extremely high rates of HIV/AIDS in their countries and still achieve a positive economic impact, argues a new paper from the African Development Bank. The paper examines the cases of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, which have the highest adult HIV prevalence in the world, and says these countries could increase productivity and GDP through government fiscal action on HIV/AIDS treatment.


17.    Aids research and treatment –  Review Article: Are Expert Patients an Untapped Resource for ART Provision in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Tom Decroo et al.;

The authors developed a conceptual framework to analyse how PLWHA can become expert patients and performed a literature review on involvement of PLWHA as expert patients in ART provision in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper revealed two published examples: one on trained PLWHA in Kenya and another on self-formed peer groups in Mozambique.


18.    Discussion paper – Rethinking Health Sector Wide Approaches through the lens of Aid Effectiveness

Andrew McNee;

A nice paper from a while ago (February 2012) – you find a short summary in this blog post.


Development & Aid


19.    CGD (Report) – The Global Financial Crisis: The Beginning of the End of the “Development” Agenda?

Nancy Birdsall;

In this paper, written as the introduction to ‘New Ideas on Development after the Financial Crisis’, Nancy Birdall discusses two themes. The first is the pre-crisis subtle shift in the prevailing model of capitalism in developing countries—away from orthodoxy or so-called market fundamentalism—that the crisis is likely to reinforce.

The second theme is: will the financial crisis, which is likely to be remembered as marking the end of Western economic dominance, be a trigger for a new twenty-first-century approach to collective action on global problems?

20.    MGO Working Paper – Beyond the Millennium Development Goals – Agreeing to a Post-2015 Development Framework

Alex Evans & David Steven;

You can find a short summary of the key messages of this brand new WP here.

In the same MDG+ discussion, Claire Melamed also provides three possible post-2015 frameworks which seem to be implied by current discussions: the Christmas tree, the jigsaw & bullseye. The Guardian also had an article on MDG+, claiming that the post-2015 MDGs should focus on sustainability, equity and reaching the poorest of the poor.

Some more D&A articles:

  • There are plans for a second ‘Make Poverty history’ campaign.
  • In Foreign Policy, Charles Kenny says that if you want to do development work, you should probably get an MBA and a job in a multinational.
  • The OECD urges the EU to ensure policies in areas such as migration, trade and fisheries do not undercut its development goals.
  • Climate change should be framed as a human rights issue, claims Olivier de Schutter. You probably also heard about the Royal Society report from earlier this week on likely disasters this century, if we don’t stabilize population. ‘Population bomber’ Paul Ehrlich outdid them with some even more gloomy forecasts. He called for a massive reduction in the number of humans (1.5 – 2 billion is about right, he feels) and for natural resources to be redistributed from the rich to the poor.
  • KPMG International and ODI released the results of their new ‘Change Readiness Index’ which provides insight into which countries are better prepared to cope with change and take advantage of the resulting opportunities. The Change Readiness Index captures government capability and the capability of a country as a whole – including the private sector and civil society – to manage and respond effectively to change.
  • How not to write about Africa: a balanced piece in Foreign Policy, on typical dodgy covering on Africa in the West. For the more visual types among you, this hilarious video on African men and Hollywood stereotypes hammers the message home – see bottom of the blog post.

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