Dear Colleagues,
As you may have already heard, a new society for health systems research will be established at the Beijing Health Systems Research Symposium. Some prominent health systems researchers from different settings are seeking to encourage interest in and ideas for the Society, to support the Working Group that has been preparing its launch. They wish to encourage discussion about the Society in the run up to more formal discussions in the Beijing Symposium. A place for the online debate has been set up here, where you can currently engage in discussions on five different topics.

The next World Health Summit is approaching and this time its motto will be “Research for Health and Sustainable Development.” Registration are open, so do not wait long if you want your voice to be heard.
Enjoy your reading.
David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Ildikó Bokros, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme


Editorial –

RIO+20 +33 social movements ÷ 80,000 voices = ?

By David Reggio, Santa Catarina, Brazil


Global Health Policy & Financing

1. WHO – Keeping promises

As Dr Chan begins her second term, she publishes an assessment of the achievements, setbacks and remaining health challenges.


2.    Lancet – Jim Kim takes the helm at the World Bank

Udani Samarasekera

Since July 1, Jim Kim is leading the World Bank. In the Lancet you find some comments on the appreciations of people in and around the World Bank about his nomination and the challenges ahead. In another Lancet piece, you find his bio.


3. Retraction Watch

In early May a paper published in PloS generated a lot of buzz as it criticized the conclusions of another paper published in the Lancet on fungibility of aid. Now that paper in PloS has been retracted completely and here is why.


4. Globalization & Health – The make or buy debate: Considering the limitations of domestic production in Tanzania

Producing drugs locally or purchasing them from abroad is a question of national importance in many low income countries. This article presents the perspective for Tanzania on the question.


5. Lancet – Moral decay at GSK reaps record US$3 billion fine

Glaxo has accepted to pay 3 billion in fine to the US government to prevent his case to go to court. It’s a pity because it would have been the occasion to document the malpractices of big pharmas in a more in-depth manner. On e-drug forum one member asked what the ability of low income countries would be to counter such practices? Any stake on that?
Tom Paulson likes to remind us that the former head of Global Health at the Gates Foundation has been involved in the current case against GSK as he has been working there before joining The Philanthropy. Of course there is no evidence of any (bad) link there, but just a fact.


Global Health Initiatives

6. Accountability workshop at the People’s Health Assembly

Members of the INCO-GHIs consortium are organizing an accountability workshop in Cape Town, South Africa, at the upcoming People’s Health Assembly. The workshop aims to engage participants from the ‘south’ and ‘north’ in a discussion around the role of civil society across the global-country-community level continuum, with respect to accountability processes. The workshop will pay particular attention to new global health initiatives (GHIs), given their role in enhancing NGO/CSO participation. There will be three consecutive interactive sessions, each centered around a theme: from GHIs to CSOs, upward and downward accountability, from the local to the global. Worth to join if you are attending the Assembly.


7. WHO Bulletin – Tracking global funding for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases

Amitava Banerjee

In this month’s bulletin there are many interesting articles. We selected this viewpoint on the challenges ahead for the scaling up of non-communicable disease control programmes in low- and middle-income countries. And they are numerous.


8. Financial Times – Gates Foundation in venture capital shift

Andrew Jack

In my view, this article illustrates Gates’s approach to global health. The Gates Foundation plans to take equity stakes in up to a dozen biotech companies this year, signalling a shift towards a “venture capital” approach at the world’s biggest philanthropic organisation. They are not looking for profit, but for accessibility of findings for a number of groups and countries they will determine. Equity-oriented risky investments?


9. Global Post – Obama administration closes Global Health Initiative office

Thanks to Tom Paulson we found this article on the probable closing down of GHI.

“Today, in a down-page blog on the GHI website, the administration announced that the Global Health Initiative’s office is closing.”



10.   Humanosphere – Melinda Gates on Colbert Report, family planning and ‘going to hell’

Stephen Colbert asks fellow Catholic Melinda Gates how she can support family planning and take the risk of going to hell as well as potentially turning the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation into a “slut factory.”


11.   Guardian – World leaders accused of backsliding on women’s rights

Robinson, M.

Mary Robinson observes that women’s rights are moving backwards with conservatives from all sides trying to block reference to the right of access to family planning, notably at the RIO+20 summit.


12.   CGD – At Long Last, Family Planning Is Back

May, J.

John May at the Center for Global development still believes that the upcoming summit is an indicator that things could get better for family planning in the coming months. He proposes four crucial elements for the renewed attention for FP to succeed.


National Policy and Financing

13. Lancet – US Supreme Court makes historic health ruling

Like many, many others, the Lancet covers the decision of the US Supreme Court which backs most points of the historic health care law of Obama.


14. HPP – Addressing access barriers to health services: an analytical framework for selecting appropriate interventions in low-income Asian countries

Jacobs B. et al.

In this month edition of Health Policy and Planning you find the final version of this article, presenting a framework for selecting appropriate interventions to address access barriers to health services in low-income Asian countries.

15. UNICEF – National health insurance in Asia and Africa

O’Connell Th.,

UNICEF has reviewed national health insurances through a landscape analysis across 72 countries and did a more in-depth analysis of nine countries. They found that most countries embrace UHC as a policy and are doing this through hybrid national insurance plans that are often poorly performing in terms of addressing the informal sector.


Development & Aid

There are still a lot of publications around RIO+20 on the web this week. You might want to read this one on the four tribes of MDG philosophers. Stephen Hale from the Guardian has a more from the optimistic perspective on post MDG frameworks.
On Science Dev Net, David Dickson gives his own assessment of the RIO+20.

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