Dear Colleagues,

This week we had to cover the World Health Assembly going on in Geneva. We also cherry picked some important global health policy and financing updates. We couldn’t pass by the polemic surrounding findings at the Millenium Village project published in The Lancet as it raised a lot of reactions across the web. Finally we have some key aid and development issues we want to share with you. 

Enjoy your reading and don’t forget to comment and share the spirit here on our blog or on twitter.

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

 

Editorial

 

The sector-wide approach and universal health coverage: friends or foes?

By Vincent R. Okungu, Emerging voice 2010

In the 1990s, a few European donors and partner developing country governments acknowledged that the traditional project approach to the delivery and management of aid was not effectively improving population health even though donor assistance for the health sector was increasing. As a result, the sector-wide approach (SWAp) was proposed to replace the project approach.

Read the rest of the editorial here

 

 

World Health Assembly

 

Many things going on out there in Geneva. Find some of our recommended readings below. ITM’s Evelyn Depoortere attended the Assembly for the first time, and she shared her impressions in this blogpost.

1. WHO – Universal coverage is the ultimate expression of fairness

Dr Margaret Chan has been re-elected for a second term after an inspiring speech on the need for all countries to move towards universal health care. Richard Horton gives 12 more month to Chan to reform the WHO before getting into the objectives she gave herself in 2006: “I want us to be judged by the impact we have on the health of the people of Africa, and the health of women.” Civil society organizations call to action by having issued a statement on Monday which calls on world leaders to take a stand for UHC.

It seems we will all be singing UHC together in the coming years, and thanks to Thailand we already have a Global UHC Hymn!

Still, the WHO’s head keeps swinging between “Horizontal” and “Vertical” Approaches as we can see from this new Emergency plan to eradicate Polio.

2. R&D

Following April’s report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG), which concluded that a binding convention “is needed to secure appropriate funding and coordination to promote R&D needed to address the diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries and which constitute a common global responsibility.” Debates are taking place at the WHA on whether something should be done or not. US is blocking progress as expected but Argentina also complicates the process.

Global Health Europe‘s Stephen Matlin wrote a policy brief on the issue.

An essay in Plos by Suerie Moon et al. reflects on the importance of a global treaty to advance access to medicine as a global public good.

3. WHO reform

The Deutsche Welle ran an article entitled Who is really helping the WHO? which discusses that according to the People’s Health Movement the reform proposed by Margaret Chan is cosmetic and the influence of big pharmaceutical companies will remain.

Devi Sridhar, Lawrence O. Gostin, and Derek Yach in foreign affairs say that the WHO has to compete with NGOs and other Global Health Initiatives to get funding… but it deserves better!

 

Global Health Policy and Financing

 

4. Working Paper 5:  How can Disease Control Programmes Contribute to Health System Strengthening?

Bermejo R. et al.; http://www.itg.be/WPSHSOP

In a recently released working paper Raoul Bermejo and colleagues highlight the options for disease control managers in Liberia to effectively strengthen the health systems in their available leeway. This is the second country application of the model proposed by Van Damme et al. to clarify Health Systems Strengthening for managers of Disease Control Programs (DCPs) in  Sub-Saharan Africa. You can view the entire Working Paper Series of the Studies in Health Services Organisation and Policy here.

5. Global Public Health – Defining and assessing evidence for the effectiveness of technical assistance in furthering global health

Gary R. Westa et al.; http://www.tandfonline.com

Gary R. Westa and colleagues have reviewed the evidence on the effectiveness of Technical Assistance. Despite the fact that it absorbs a large share of ODA, they found limited evidence for its effectiveness.

6. Lancet – The US Global Health Initiative: where does it stand?

Jennifer Kates & Josh Michaud; http://www.thelancet.com/

Kates and Michaud, both working at KFF, comment in the Lancet on the progress of the US global Health Initiative. “Of the $63 billion originally proposed, only 55% ($35 billion) has actually been appropriated, leaving the GHI with a substantial funding gap” they say.

7. GFO – Health Centres Constructed in Ethiopia Were Not in Approved Workplan and Budget, Global Fund Inspector Says

http://www.aidspan.org/index.php?issue=185&article=3

OIG and Principal Recipient of Fund in Ethiopia are in disagreement on the eligibility of spending some of the Global Fund money to build Health Centers reports Global Fund Observer in its latest newsletter. Using Global Fund money to develop health infrastructure – together with health workforce – was one of the key strategies used by Ethiopia to strengthen it’s health system with Vertical programmes.

For those interested, the Aidspan 2011 annual report has been released.

8. AIDS Alliance – Tell the EU take the lead to end aids – The EU’s reponse

http://www.whatspreventingprevention.org/
Earlier in February, the International AIDS Allaince had launched a campaign to urge EU to maintain AIDS funding. The EU reacted by affirming that they would have a Programme of Action on Global Health  in early 2013 and that they willl maintain the principles of the  ‘EU Programme for Action to confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis 2007-2011’. They also stated that they would maintain support and advocacy for the Global Fund.

 

Research

 

9. Millenium Project Villages polemic

A number of bloggers and scientists have reacted to the paper published by Paul M Pronyk et al. on the reduction in child mortality observed in the “Millennium Villages.” See here, herehere, and here. The authors themselves acknowledged the way some results have been presented is misleading or wrong. In the end we do not see much evidence, only convictions as Andrew Harmer puts it: MPVs WILL work, MUST work. Cesar Victorahad warned us not so long ago that it is becoming more and more irrelevant to compare districts (even more villages I would say) as intervention and non-intervention. Obviously Pronyk did not take that paper into account.

10. Lancet – Poor-quality antimalarial drugs in southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa

Nayyar G et al. ; http://www.thelancet.com/
According to this study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, a third of malaria drugs circulating in Asia and Africa are counterfeit, BBC reports.

 

Aid & Development

 

11. David Cameron is unfit to chair the UN development panel – and here’s why

http://www.guardian.co.uk/

This Guardian article refers to Cameron’s “anti-development interventions” since the start of this year to prove the point that he is unfit for the job. In May he rejected the introduction of a financial transactions tax that could stabilize markets and raise money for anti-poverty programs globally, in April his government lead the charges against Unctad, in March his government joined the US and Canada in an attempt to remove all references to the human right to water from the declaration of Rio+20….and the list goes on. So is he really fit for the job?
Other important highlights:

  • Would a FTT not be part of a solution to address crippling aid and global challenges? AfGH calls on the EU to move forward.
  • Sustainable development is the only way forward,  says Jonthan Glennie in the Guardian Poverty Matters blog talking about the upcoming post MDG framework.

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