Dear Colleagues,

As you know, this weekend we celebrate World Health Day. WHO wants to draw attention to hypertension this year (in case you wondered, I never measure my blood pressure on Fridays). For obvious reasons India’s Supreme Court ruling against Novartis got most of the attention earlier this week (Hans Rosling even called it the global health event of the month). Later this week, attention moved towards Sweden where the Stockholm global health event  ‘Global Health – beyond 2015’ was livestreamed  (and tweeted about extensively, see #GH2015 ) – no doubt you will be able to watch the respective sessions online soon if you couldn’t attend the conference and missed the livestream. If you want to contribute to the Stockholm Declaration, you can still tweet your message  @UCGHR or mail to global.health@epiph.umu.se. You have one week to do so, the Declaration will be finalized around the end of next week. 

Today,  on April 5th, Action for Global Health also organizes a Twitter discussion to mark World Health Day – their Twitter debate will focus on the right to health. They want as many people as possible to join this debate using the hashtags #worldhealthday and #healthdebate. So don’t hesitate to have your say! Also this week, Laurie Garrett tweeted frantically about the new avian flu strain in China and Jim Kim laid out his vision for the future. Yet, for most ordinary citizens the massive offshore tax haven leak was the news of the week. Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis in Syria continues (see this Lancet Letter). 

In this week’s guest editorial, Emerging Voices Meena Daivadanam, Raoul Bermejo and Natalie Eggermont  reflect on their first day in Stockholm.

Enjoy your reading.

Kristof Decoster, Ildikó Bokros, Peter Delobelle, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme 

 

Editorial

 

Time to revolutionize global health? 

By Meena Daivadanam, Raoul Bermejo & Natalie Eggermont (EVs 2010 & 2012)

Greetings from cold Stockholm! The climate seems to be changing…. and not just for ‘climate change’. Amidst a relatively large Swedish ministerial presence and very much impressed by Richard Horton’s trademark intensity and BBC World journalist Nisha Pillai’s incisive comments, we were part of an eclectic mix of moderators, speakers and participants on the first day of the ‘Global Health – beyond 2015’ conference in Stockholm. “Global health is everyone’s agenda”, the opening video repeatedly highlighted this key message of the global health conference taking place at the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre. So, to let you get a flavour of the first day of this global health event, this editorial will be interspersed with relevant tweets, Facebook comments (using or not using quotation marks) and other questions, which kept pouring in throughout the day.

Read the rest here 

 


India’s Supreme Court  & Novartis decision

1.    KFF –  India’s Supreme Court Rules Against Novartis AG In ‘Landmark’ Patent Case

http://globalhealth.kff.org/Daily-Reports/2013/April/01/GH-040113-India-Novartis-Ruling.aspx

India’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected drug maker Novartis AG’s attempt to patent an updated version of a cancer drug (Glivec, used to treat leukemia) in a landmark decision that health activists say ensures poor patients around the world will get continued access to cheap versions of lifesaving medicines (not just patients with cancer). Novartis, however, said the verdict “discourages innovative drug discovery essential to advancing medical science for patients”.

Lots of media and analysts assessed the implications of the Court decision – see for example professor Brook Baker on  Health Gap, a view in the  Economist, one in Foreign Policy (by Miranda Kennedy), Amy Kazmin & Andrew Jack in the FT, Sarah Boseley in  the Guardian, James Love on Knowledge Ecology international, Tom Paulson on Humanosphere (who already pointed to the next battle ahead, the TPP), Arvind Subramanian with a very balanced assessment,  a Reuters analysis (saying Big Pharma can’t afford to move out of India), and a FT editorial emphasizing differential pricing as a way forward, combined with low-cost licenses to allow cheaper production by generic companies (as happened with HIV drugs).

Last but not least, an IP-health listserv discussion on the Novartis case also features a wealth of contributions & further analysis. “The posts offer a great summary of how the drug industry exaggerates and distorts claims of its contributions to innovative therapies, to justify exorbitant and unaffordable prices.”

 

Over to some recent journal articles then on the impact of TRIPS/TRIPS+ on India & China:

2.    HP&P – With the help of a foreign ally: biopharmaceutical innovation in India after TRIPS

Federica Angeli;

http://heapol.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/04/03/heapol.czt015.short?rss=1

This (timely) article investigates the implications of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which reached full-fledged implementation in 2005, for the patenting activity of Indian biopharmaceutical companies.

3.    Journal of Public  Health Policy – TRIPS-plus and access to medicines in China

Jing Chen et al.;

http://www.palgrave-journals.com/jphp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/jphp201313a.html

Ample evidence shows that TRIPS-plus provisions have seriously affected access to and availability of drugs in developing countries. This article focuses on IP and the health implications of limited access to medicines in China, explores the TRIPS-plus arrangements in Chinese IP laws and regulations, and makes suggestions for China’s negotiation strategy in resisting pressure from developed countries to tighten IP laws and regulations.

On a separate note, another big worry for Big Pharma is described by Andrew Jack in an extensive FT analysis (today), ‘Health care: big pharma, big data’. The article zooms in on the (looming) era of transparency for clinical trials (and more specifically on the role of the European Medicines Agency in this).

 

Stockholm global health conference & Post-2015

 

4.    Global Health Action (Editorial) – Beyond 2015: time to reposition Scandinavia in global health?

Peter Byass et al.;

http://www.globalhealthaction.net/index.php/gha/article/view/20903

This editorial is part of the thematic cluster ‘Global Health beyond 2015’, a collection of papers released in the journal Global Health Action just before the Stockholm conference ( and intended as a resource for the participants).

The Swedish Society of Medicine (www.sls.se) has taken the initiative of organizing a global health event in Stockholm from 4th to 5th April 2013 (see also our guest editorial of this week). The event is intended as a bottom-up framework, open to all with any kind of interest in global health. The framework is built around three pillars believed to be important in global health in the future. The global health community (with lots of participation from the young) is debating some of the key issues  (like NCDs, climate change, social determinants, inequity) in Stockholm, and, most importantly, will formulate a ‘Stockholm Declaration’, which will be published after the meeting (at the end of next week). This will be a statement developed during the meeting, including the Scandinavian perspectives likely to be brought to the forum, carrying popular rather than official or institutional authority. The statement will seek to achieve two aims. First, it will attempt to state where Scandinavian society stands in relation to global health and, second, define ways in which Scandinavia might prioritize engagement with the post-2015 global health landscape.

The latest on Stockholm then: again an interesting workshop and panel discussion today (Friday) at the Global Health Beyond 2015 Conference featuring young representatives of organizations such as PHM, IUHPE/ISECN, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, the INDEPTH network and the Lancet-UIO Commission on Global Governance for Health. Inequality, climate change, and poverty were high on the agenda, just like yesterday, with some powerful statements about the role of academia, the need for a people- and not disease-centred approach, putting resources where they are needed most, and bridging the research-practice gap (pleas were made for more education without borders; focusing on health and wellbeing in the post-2015 development agenda; the need to improve access to health care and essential medicine, and the importance of Alma Ata). (we reckon that by now, most of you are as jealous as we are on the people attending the event in Stockholm)

5.    Global Health Action – Global health post-2015: the case for universal health equity

Lucia D’Ambruoso;

http://www.globalhealthaction.net/index.php/gha/article/view/19661

The deadline for the MDGs, 2015,  is approaching. At that time a new global development infrastructure will become operational. Unsurprisingly, the discussions on goals, topics, priorities and monitoring and evaluation are gaining momentum. But this is a critical juncture. Over a decade of development programming offers a unique opportunity to reflect on its structure, function and purpose in a contemporary global context. This article examines the topic from an analytical health perspective and identifies universal health equity as an operational and analytical priority to encourage attention to the root causes of unnecessary and unfair illness and disease from the perspectives of those for whom the issues have most direct relevance.

Check out also another article in the same collection, ‘Only an integrated approach across academia, enterprise, governments, and global agencies can tackle the public health impact of climate change’.

6.    World we want – Health in the post-2015 agenda: a summary of the findings

http://www.worldwewant2015.org/health

This two pager gives a summary of the health thematic consultation that started in September 2012  and which has engaged plenty of people and organizations around the world, to seek their views on how best to ensure the health of future generations.

Unfortunately, so far the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons (who met in Bali last week) don’t pay much attention to health, it appears. See Richard Horton on this neglect in his weekly Offline article: “A High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons met in Bali last week to discuss the post-2015 development agenda. … Their March 27 three-page communiqué doesn’t mention health once (if you exclude the reference to “healthy and productive forests and oceans”). The Bali result is a huge disappointment. So much preparatory work by so many people for such a weak and undistinguished outcome. The speakers at our Global Health Lab, which took place at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as the Bali meeting was taking place, warned of the risks of such failure. Andy Haines (LSHTM) asked if health would be central or peripheral post-2015. It is absent. Gillian Mann, who leads for DFID on post-2015 health policy, emphasised the importance of universal health coverage. Also absent. And Rebecka Rosenquist (Action for Global Health) simply asked for a coherent development framework post-2015. Absent too. Those who attended Bali and contributed to this lifeless conclusion should be ashamed of themselves.”

7.    Irin Plus – Activists fear less focus on HIV after 2015

http://www.plusnews.org/Report/97750/Less-focus-on-HIV-after-2015

PlusNews consulted experts to see how HIV/AIDS might fit into the post-2015 agenda.

Check out also the Aids Alliance’s position on this: what does the Alliance want in the new Framework?

8.    IPS news – World Bank Aims to End Extreme Poverty by 2030

http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/04/world-bank-aims-to-end-extreme-poverty-by-2030/

World Bank president Jim Kim was all over the development press this week. He unveiled a series of new institutional goals aimed at ending extreme poverty by 2030 and focusing on the promotion of “shared prosperity” – increasing the incomes of the poorest 40 percent in each country while placing increased focus on dealing with climate change. He also urged countries to “break the taboo of silence” around inequality. In a major speech at Georgetown University, Kim fleshed out themes that he first introduced last fall, outlining a vision for how the World Bank can evolve and remain relevant in the coming decades.

The Guardian also interviewed Jim Kim; for a summary of the interview see this Guardian article. According to him, global poverty is a bigger challenge than action on HIV. He wants bold action on climate change but says, somewhat surprisingly perhaps, that the environmental activists have failed to come up with a good plan so far (unlike the Aids activists at the beginning of this millennium). My guess is some of them actually have a plan – however, it’s probably considered too ‘leftist’ to be acceptable…

9.    NEJM (Review article) – Globalization, Climate Change, and Human Health

Anthony J. McMichael;

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1109341?af=R&rss=currentIssue

In an NEJM global health review article, Anthony McMichael examines the effects of globalization and international connectivity on human health, international health care, and public health activities. He discusses how several factors, including climate change, population growth, and the accelerated emergence of new infectious diseases, systematically influence population health. “For populations to live sustainably and with good long-term health, the health sector must work with other sectors in reshaping how human societies plan, build, move, produce, consume, share, and generate energy“.

To wrap up this post-2015 section, check out also this blog post on 10 potentially devastating public health threats. (thanks to ‘Best public health schools’)

 

Bird flu in China

 

10. Foreign Policy – Is this a pandemic being born?

Laurie Garrett;

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/01/is_this_a_pandemic_being_born_china_pigs_virus

Ducks, pigs  (plenty) and people (a few so far) have died recently in China. Garrett wonders whether these events are connected and whether we should all be worried. She has been following the news on the new avian influenza virus, H7N9, since the start of the reports (check her Twitter account for the latest info; see also this  BMJ news article for an update on the situation in China).

A Nature news article (by Declan Butler) describes how scientists are racing to explore the pandemic potential of the new flu virus, and a Reuters analysis zooms in on the ongoing discussions between experts from around the world, including on if and when to start making a vaccine.

Finally, CFR’s Yanzhong Huang explores whether the Chinese government has handled the  issue properly so far.

 

World health day 2013

 

11. Lancet (Editorial) – Raising the pressure on hypertension

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60780-1/fulltext

This Lancet Editorial zooms in on World Health Day (dedicated to hypertension this year).

WHO published a  Global brief on hypertension on the occasion of World Health Day 2013. The brief describes why, in the early 21st century, hypertension is a global public health issue. It describes how hypertension contributes to the burden of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure and premature death and disability. The document also explains how hypertension is both preventable and treatable and how governments, health workers, civil society, the private sector, families and individuals can join forces to reduce hypertension and its impact. “‘Our aim today is to make people aware of the need to know their blood pressure, to take high blood pressure seriously, and then to take control,’ said Margaret Chan earlier this week,” according to the U.N. News Centre. You find the WHO press release here.

 

Lancet  Oncology series on cancer control in Africa

 

12. Lancet (Comment) – Cancer control in Africa: which priorities?

Sandro Vento;

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(13)70022-6/fulltext?_eventId=login

Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to have a greater than 85% increase in cancer burden by 2030. Increased life expectancy and the continued presence of infectious diseases that are associated with risks of malignancies make cancer an increasing problem in the region. A new Series   published in The Lancet Oncology focuses on cancer control in Africa. The seven papers in this series outline the current situation, detailing barriers to care, and present ideas to advance cancer care and control in the region. Vento comments on the Series and lays out the priorities for cancer control in Africa.

 

Polio

 

13. KFF – GPEI Announces ‘Endgame’ Plan To Eradicate Polio By 2018

http://globalhealth.kff.org/Daily-Reports/2013/April/03/GH-040313-Polio-Eradication-Plan.aspx

A new global plan aims to end most cases of polio by late next year, and essentially eradicate the paralyzing disease by 2018 — if authorities can raise the $5.5 billion needed to do the work…,” the Associated Press reported this week. The plan was announced at the Gates Foundation’s premises in Washington, on Tuesday.

A Global Post article also reflected on the plan. The security problems in Afghanistan, Pakistan & Nigeria are a key challenge, but also the use of the oral polio vaccine, this article contends. The new plan advocates a switch to injectable vaccine.

 

BRICs & health

 

14. Lancet (Editorial) – Banking on the BRICS for health?

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60781-3/fulltext

This Lancet editorial zooms in on the recent BRICs summit in Durban. The big news was the establishment of a BRICs development bank. This editorial argues ‘A true development bank should support health as well as infrastructure. However, in the final communiqué from the Summit, health issues were notably absent. Furthermore, there was no mention of the Delhi communiqué, agreed by the BRICS health ministers in January, which identified several priority areas for the nations, including non-communicable diseases, mental disorders, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.’ That is a shame, especially given the domestic health situation in these BRICs.

15. CFR (working paper) – Enter the Dragon and the Elephant: China’s and India’s Participation in Global Health Governance

Yanzhong Huang;

http://www.cfr.org/asia/enter-dragon-elephant-chinas-indias-participation-global-health-governance/p30332

In a new working paper, “Enter the Dragon and the Elephant: China’s and India’s Participation in Global Health Governance,” Huang examines these two leading emerging countries’ role in global health governance and how further participation can be complicated by domestic health challenges. Check out also the blog post in which he introduces this new working paper.

On the CFR website, you also find a chapter by Yanzhong Huang in the book ‘A growing force: civil society’s role in Asian regional security’, titled: “Global Health, Civil society and regional security”. This chapter examines the potential and actual roles of health-related CSOs in three security paradigms: human security, national security, and international security.

Last weekend, CGD’s Victoria Fan wrote a blog post on the importance of transparency in China’s health aid to Africa.

 

Health Policy & Financing

 

16. Impact magazine (special issue) – Report on Global Giving – a new era of philanthropy and investment in global health

http://psiimpact.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/impact-issue12.pdf

In this issue of Impact magazine, PSI partners with Devex. They offer a special report on the new era in philanthropy and investment in global health. ( a must-read)

Tom Murphy lists six key trends covered in the report that struck his attention (on Humanosphere).

17. Lancet (Comment) – Maternal mortality and morbidity: a human rights imperative

Navanethem Pillay;

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60135-X/fulltext?_eventId=login

The 2012 Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled ‘Technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity’,  is a tool that can be used to reinforce crucial partnerships (i.e. of the health sector with other sectors), Pillay argues. She says the guidance translates human rights norms and standards into concrete policy action and aims to make human rights more accessible and practical for policy makers.

18. Health Diplomacy Monitor (March issue)

http://www.ghd-net.org/sites/default/files/HDM%20-%20Vol%204%20Issue%202.pdf

This issue focuses on indigenous peoples’ health and more specifically on the  need to enhance indigenous participation in global health through the right to

self-determination.

19. WHO Bulletin April issue

http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/91/4/en/index.html

This new WHO Bulletin Issue has an editorial on preventing cryptosporidiosis & the need for safe drinking water, and also articles on the ‘Untapped potential of health impact assessment’ (see here )   and the ‘Deployment of community health workers across rural sub-Saharan Africa: financial considerations and operational assumptions’   (see here). On the latter issue, read also Thomas Schwarz’s blog post (on 1 million CHWs by 2015).

20. Plos – Untreated Pain, Narcotics Regulation, and Global Health Ideologies

Veronique Fraser and colleagues;

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001411;jsessionid=4F54B9ACDA938679FA574494CBCA76C1

Fraser and colleagues call for a concerted global effort to reduce global inequalities in untreated pain which must attend to the complexity of pain and promote multimodal, multidisciplinary pain management.

21. World Bank Governance for Development (blog post) – How can public service providers do better? Pay versus ‘prosocial motivation’

Willy McCourt;

http://blogs.worldbank.org/governance/how-can-public-service-providers-do-better-pay-versus-prosocial-motivation

A must-read for the PBF community, we reckon. McCourt draws attention to recent work of Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist (the post’s relevance goes beyond the health sector, though).

22. UHC forward – Bridging the health sector gap

Kyle Beaulieu;

http://uhcforward.org/blog/2013/apr/1/bridging-health-sector-gap

Beaulieu wrote this blog post on the recent “Scaling up Health Insurance and Financial Protection in Health” workshop (28 March), co-hosted by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank.  Speakers were, among others, Julio Frenk & Robert Hecht.  Frenk identified two themes as essential to introducing and expanding health insurance: coordination and transparency. Other speakers at the event focused on the importance of institutions (people need to trust them) and an explicit benefit package.

23. Scidev.net – Invest in health systems for a balanced approach

Irene Akua Agyepong ;

http://www.scidev.net/en/health/health-systems/opinions/invest-in-health-systems-for-a-balanced-approach-1.html

Funding for programmes that target major diseases should be matched by investment in the health systems that underpin them, says Ghana’s Irene Akua Agyepong. “To move forward, a third way is needed: a two-pronged approach that addresses health systems issues in their own right alongside the specific programmes that rest on this common foundation. As a first step, global health agencies could agree to pool a certain percentage of their funds in joint programmes to strengthen the health systems that are undermining goals in many countries. Ideally, every dollar that goes to a selective intervention should be matched by a dollar on systems strengthening.”

24. Aidspan – Funding the Fund: recent developments

David Garmaise;

http://www.aidspan.org/gfo_article/funding-fund-recent-developments

There have been several developments recently concerning funding for development and, specifically, for the Global Fund. This article provides a summary of these trends and developments, for example on CSOs appeal to BRICs countries, the upcoming pre-replenishment meeting in Brussels, a call for East African governments to invest more, ….

25. Chatham House – Gene Patenting: Consequences for Global Health

Anna George;

http://www.chathamhouse.org/media/comment/view/190565

In February, Australia’s Federal Court handed down a decision relating to whether isolated but otherwise unmodified human genetic material is patentable in Australia. The decision confirmed US Myriad Genetics’ patent over the BRCA1 gene mutation linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The ruling was met with surprise by scientific and health experts, who expressed concern that this category of privately owned patents would limit access to genetic testing and have negative consequences for research and innovation.

26. BMJ (Feature) – Doctors and the alcohol industry: an unhealthy mix?

Jonathan Gornall;

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1889

Jonathan Gornall reports on an ideological schism over working alongside the alcohol industry that is dividing the public health community.

Recently Oxfam’s Duncan Green and Sanjay Basu also wrote nice blog posts on NCDs (respectively on ‘why tobacco does not have its own Global Fund yet, in spite of the 6 million deaths every year’, and ‘soda in LMICs’). The issue of the relationship between the public health community and the private sector was also extensively discussed in Stockholm yesterday ( and will also be a key focus today, no doubt).

27. Equinet Africa Discussion paper (Interim Working Paper) – Concepts in and perspectives on global health diplomacy

René Loewinson et al.;

http://www.equinetafrica.org/bibl/docs/GHD%20concept%20paper%20Jan2013.pdf

René Loewinson was one of the stars yesterday in Stockholm. She also wrote this Equinet Africa discussion paper recently, on concepts in & perspectives on global health diplomacy. This working paper has been developed to draw input from those working in the field on African approaches to and perspectives in health diplomacy. It is being circulated to critical thinkers, diplomatic, official, civil society, technical and other actors and forums on the continent for their input on the discussion points and a revised version integrating and acknowledging these inputs will be prepared in the second half of 2013.

Equinet’s April newsletter issue has two editorials. They address issues that have great significance to African health systems – medicines access and health worker migration. In the first one, Germán Velásquez raises concern that the latest joint WHO, WTO and WIPO publication, in its silence about health and access to medicines, effectively subordinates the right to health to international trade rules. A more direct challenge to patent systems is argued for. In the second editorial, Yoswa Dambisya and colleagues raise concern about a different issue. They ask why African countries have become so silent on implementing the Code on International Recruitment of Health Workers, given their prolonged struggle to obtain it. Both raise questions about the effectiveness of global level diplomacy as a platform for addressing key issues affecting public health in Africa.

28. Science Speaks – As anti-prostitution pledge heads to Supreme Court, public health leaders file brief against it

Antigone Barton;

http://sciencespeaksblog.org/2013/04/04/as-anti-prostitution-pledge-heads-to-supreme-court-public-health-leaders-file-brief-against-it/

The case of the “anti-prostitution pledge” heading for the (US) Supreme Court this month focuses on whether the requirement that groups funded by PEPFAR create policies “explicitly” condemning prostitution is compatible with the First Amendment. A brief filed Wednesday in the case asks also if the requirement is compatible with the interests of public health. The filing Wednesday of an amici curiae brief from public health experts and organizations supporting the legal challenge to the “anti-prostitution pledge” asks the Supreme Court to uphold an appeals court’s injunction against the requirement, and to allow “the marketplace of ideas to continue generating best practices in the fight against HIV/AIDs, regardless of ideology.” Barton reports on the brief.

 

Global Health announcements

 

  • 2013 Be-Cause health seminar: The preparation for the Annual Seminar of Be-cause health in collaboration with Medicus Mundi International this year has kicked off. Its working title is “”Health-y answers to comple#ity: Are we able to move beyond the control panel?”. The seminar will take place on 28 November 2013 at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. The Be-cause Health seminar 2013 aims at “sharing experiences and ideas in order to better understand and cope with complex environments, particularly in the field of health”. The conference will bring together over 300 stakeholders from all over the world, including field level actors, public health specialists, policy makers, program managers, directors, scholars, technical assistants, NGO representatives, health activists, community actors, and selected representatives from the private sector. The idea is to tackle the issue of complexity and leadership from a practical angle with a focus on learning. Important: the organizers call for relevant Stories on their website from now on.  The deadline of this Call for stories is May 15th. Do forward this Call within your network.

 

Research

29. Lancet (Comment) – The Lancet journals welcome a new open access policy

The Lancet editors;

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60720-5/fulltext

No comment is needed here, we guess.

Check out also a nice blog post by CGD’s Rachel Silverman who  recently attended the Evidence Live conference in Oxford, hosted by the BMJ and Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM). She was impressed with the discussions there and left feeling that the global health and development fields would be wise to pay close attention to current debates in medical research, both to emulate proven successes and avoid dangerous pitfalls. Keynote speakers at the event helped to dissect the many stages between primary research (i.e. a trial or other study) and evidence-based practice (i.e. how that research is applied by a Ministry of Health or doctor’s offices) – and all that can go wrong in the process.

30. Plos (Policy Forum) – Big Data Opportunities for Global Infectious Disease Surveillance

Simon Hay et al.;

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001413;jsessionid=4F54B9ACDA938679FA574494CBCA76C1

Simon Hay and colleagues discuss the potential and challenges of producing continually updated infectious disease risk maps using diverse and large volume data sources such as social media.

31. BMC Public Health – Scaling up prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programs in sub-Saharan African countries: a multilevel assessment of site-, program- and country-level determinants of performance

Etienne Audureau et al.;

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/13/286/abstract

Uptake of PMTCT programs remains challenging in sub-Saharan Africa because of multiple barriers operating at the individual or health facility levels. Less is known regarding the influence of program-level and contextual determinants. In this study, the authors explored the multilevel factors associated with coverage in single-dose nevirapine PMTCT programs.

32. Three HNP discussion papers – The role of faith-inspired health care providers in Sub-Saharan Africa and public-private partnerships

Edited by Jill Olivier and Quentin Wodon;

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2012/11/17481107/africa-role-faith-inspired-health-care-providers-sub-saharan-africa-public-private-partnerships-vol-1-3-strengthening-evidence-faith-inspired-health-engagement

(see also here )

This three volume series (from the end of 2012) aims to strengthen  the evidence for faith inspired engagement in health in sub-Saharan Africa and focuses on the  role of faith-inspired health care providers in sub-Saharan Africa and public-private partnerships. The series assesses the role and market share of faith-inspired providers and the extent to which they are involved in and benefit from public-private partnerships. The purpose of this series of three HNP discussion papers is to round up various analytical perspectives and emerging research on faith engagement in health in Africa from a range of researchers and practitioners from the north as well as the south. The series is structured into three volumes: a first volume on the role and market share of faith-inspired providers and public-private partnerships, a second on satisfaction and the comparative nature of faith-inspired health provision, and the third on mapping of faith inspired provision and the extent to which faith-inspired providers reach to the poor.

33. Plos – Supervised and Unsupervised Self-Testing for HIV in High- and Low-Risk Populations: A Systematic Review

Nitika Pant Pai et al.;

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001414

By systematically reviewing the literature, Nitika Pant Pai and colleagues assess the evidence base for HIV self-tests both with and without supervision.

 

Miscellaneous

 

In this section, we just want to draw your attention to the following news and articles:

 

  • OECD aid drops for the second year in a row (see the Guardian and  Euractiv for some more coverage). In 2012, aid provided by members of the DAC – the club of rich countries – came to $125.7bn, or 0.29% of their combined gross national income (GNI), well short of the UN target of 0.7%. The 2012 figure was a 4% drop in real terms compared with 2011. There is also a noticeable shift in aid away from the poorest countries and towards middle-income countries, according to the OECD.  Adrian Lovett, Europe executive director at the ONE campaign, said the drop in aid to the LDCs went against the rhetoric of focusing on the needs of the poorest people. Many EU countries are performing worse than before, and Brussels has called on member states to honour their aid commitments as their contributions to the world’s poorest countries fell by €2.3 billion in 2012. (see also this article in the Guardian, reporting on the statements made by the UN undersecretary general for the least developed countries, today in Paris).
  • In a nice blog post, Tom Bundervoet (WB) explores whether the Northern stereotype (“poor but happy”) is true for Africa. Apparently not.
  • Nicholas Stern  considers 2013 as a pivotal year for climate change, politically speaking.
  • Very nice blog posts also on the Broker (in the inequality debate) – see here (David Woodward, on  ‘breaking the avaricious circle of global inequality’, a must- read!!!) and here).
  • Woodward was probably as pleased as most of us when hearing about the offshore tax haven leak – reported in the Guardian and other global media. The leak of 2m emails and other documents has the potential to cause a seismic shock worldwide to the booming offshore trade. Pressure on David Cameron (with a view on the G8 summit) is already mounting – he needs to take action on tax havens.
  • “A renewed global partnership for development”: report of the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda (March 2013): in its second report, “A renewed global partnership for development,” the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development looks at the possible features for the global partnership for development in the post-2015 era.
  • The next big debate in development will be between technocrats and humanists, argues Hugh Roberts ( in the Guardian ).

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