Dear Colleagues,

 

This week we celebrated Labour Day, so it’s appropriate that the call for the 2013 Emerging Voices edition has been finalized.  Check it out on IHP or on the EV website. We’re looking forward to this year’s applicants! 

 

Some weeks ago we already informed you that the EV4GH 2013 venture will be linked to the AIDS in Africa Conference (ICASA), ‘Now more than ever: targeting zero’ in Cape Town, South Africa, 7 to 11 December 2013. The EV programme, a blended training program for young researchers on health research and scientific communication,  will be hosted by the School of Public Health and Centre for Research in HIV and AIDS at the University of the Western Cape. Within the broad field of HIV in Africa, EV4GH 2013 will have 3 thematic tracks: a clinical track, a prevention track, and a health systems track. Candidates can only apply for one track.

As the call says, “We are looking for young individuals who want to deepen their own expertise in the field of HIV; to cross disciplinary and sectoral boundaries and learn from and with colleagues who are addressing HIV in Africa, using different perspectives, and who are committed to turn the key messages from their abstract into a well-argued viewpoint and to make their voice heard.”

So if this sounds enticing to you and if you are under 40 years of age (born after 1 January 1973); a researcher, a decision maker, or a practitioner involved in HIV/AIDS in Africa; and can spend full three weeks in Cape Town from 25 November till 13 December 2013, you are warmly invited to apply.

 

In this week’s guest editorial, EV 2010 (and 2012) Anar Ulikpan zooms in on Mongolia, a country increasingly nicknamed as ‘Minegolia’. What are the implications of the mining boom for the people in Mongolia?

 

 

Enjoy your reading.

 

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

 

 

Editorial

 

 

Is this the “development” we wanted?

 

Anar Ulikpan (EV 2010 & 2012, currently PhD Candidate at the School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Australia)

 

Mongolia is a former socialist country that has been experiencing major socio-economic changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The country has been transitioning from a centrally planned socialist country to a market economy and multiparty democracy over the last two decades. Mongolia is now classified as a lower middle income country and nicknamed “Minegolia” because of recent rapid economic growth driven by mining.  According to the World Bank, the share of mining in GDP now stands at 20 percent, twice the proportion of a decade ago. The economy grew by 17.3 percent in 2011, compared to 6.4 percent GDP growth in 2010. Also in the next five years growth is expected to continue at a double digit rate. Significant progress has been made in achieving several Millennium Development Goals at the national level. This all sounds very promising! But, to what extent do these burgeoning results impact the everyday realities for the majority of Mongolians? Moreover, what are the implications for people’s health?

 

Unfortunately, the response from ordinary people in Mongolia to the above question is not very positive. There are increasing disparities between the rich and poor, both in cities and in rural areas, especially in health, education and social services, and close to 30% of Mongolia’s population is below the national poverty line, raising serious concerns about who is actually benefiting from this rapid growth. How sustainable and inclusive is this growth?  The growing interest of wealthy multinational investors in this relatively unknown, very sparsely populated (2.8 mln, 2011), landlocked country sandwiched between the two giants Russia and China has suddenly made my country economic headline news. The people of Mongolia have begun to realize the importance of their country (but not necessarily of the country’s inhabitants) to the rest of the world.

 

Let me show the view from the ground on the implications of this mineral wealth on health.  First and foremost is the danger to the health and safety of the communities adjacent to the mining operations, despite the safety programs run by a few mining companies.  Local health services are overstretched due to increased road traffic accidents caused by the increased volume of vehicles, industrial accidents during the mine construction and dust induced respiratory and eye infections. Injury and respiratory infections are amongst the top five causes of morbidity and mortality in the population in the mining areas. Besides, access to health services by the transient population is uncertain as local health facilities receive their budget based on the number of locally registered people. The rapid influx of workers also contributes to increasing sexually transmitted infections and a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

 

Mongolians are proud to be one of the last nomadic people in the world. Sadly, mining might end this pride. Extensive and potentially permanent devastation of land and forests, and increased dust cover over large pastoral areas, are already contaminating pasture and water sources, threatening nomadic life. In the last five years more and more nomadic families have moved to urban areas because of their inability to adapt to their rapidly changing circumstances. Today, not even a quarter of the population lives in the traditional way. The high influx of migrant workers (Mongolian and international) and consequent overpopulation in the capital city poses a number of public health challenges: lack of proper housing, an increase in infectious and respiratory diseases, inaccessible health and welfare services for the unregistered population, etc. People who have moved into the city tend to reside in the outskirts of the city, living in felt covered tent-like ghers (moveable dwellings). They burn low quality coal to keep warm during winter making Ulaanbaatar one of the most polluted capital cities in the world. Consequently, respiratory disease is one of the top five causes of death. Poor sanitation and limited access to safe drinking water is increasingly becoming a key cause of illnesses in poor people living in these expanding slum districts on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar.

 

Although the biggest mining companies such as Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines are endeavoring to mitigate mining related risks, they are not operating within a broader planning framework, nor are they coordinating with each other and with other government social sector services. Many of the smaller and local mining companies are adopting a “take what you can and damn the consequences” approach, which unfortunately is often aided and abetted by local politicians eager to get their share of riches as quickly as possible. If this attitude prevails, Mongolia will face the “paradox of plenty” with widespread non-salutary impact on the health and safety of the people and on their environment.

 

A number of civil movements led by local people have been quite active in demanding responsible mining with potential positive impacts on average people’s life in Mongolia in the first few years of the mining operations. Unfortunately many of them have lost their original vision and motivation, partly because both of the main parties made “attractive” promises for one time cash transfers of the wealth from mining (approx. 1150 USD) to each citizen (Cash handouts did indeed materialize, but far below what had been promised). On the other hand, in the media, pundits (often also working as mining company advisors) are asking “How long do you want to be called a beggar, by outsiders, while you are sitting on the gold”? Even if not all Mongolians are convinced, they have quite some influence over public opinion.

 

The country must not forget its own recent (and bitter) lessons of being heavily dependent upon the mining sector. The unpredictability of the market prices of gold and copper will continue to threaten economic stability and hence development sustainability. In 2005-2006 Mongolia enjoyed fast economic growth  when world copper prices almost tripled. However, in 2008, when the copper price dropped by half, the country experienced an economic “bust” and recognized its lack of strategic investment planning for the development of other sectors during the “boom” period. Learning to better allocate mining resource revenues and investing in health and social services and infrastructure whenever a “boom” occurs is a must.

 

Still, if getting “rich” as a nation increases disparities and comes at the expense of our people’s health and safety, erodes their heritage and culture, negatively impacts the poor and vulnerable, it  is safe to say that this is not the “development” our people had in mind.

 

 


Divestment movement & global health

 

 

1.    Guardian – The giants of the green world that profit from the planet’s destruction

Naomi Klein;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/03/giants-green-world-profit-planets-destruction

The movement demanding that public interest institutions divest their holdings from fossil fuels is on a serious roll, Naomi Klein argues in this Guardian op-ed. “Chapters have opened up in more than 100 US cities and states as well as on more than 300 campuses, where students are holding protests, debates and sit-ins to pressure their (…) to rid their endowments of oil, gas and coal holdings.” Now the movement is also crossing the ocean. In this article, she focuses on a couple of American green groups – that are not exactly ‘clean’ either, unfortunately.

 

The global health community should jump on the bandwagon and pay attention too to this divestment movement. In this – for climate change – crucial decade, we need to ask the questions that need to be asked – for example at the upcoming World Health Assembly?

 

To give you a taste of some of the necessary debate that needs to happen (and that probably is already happening in the US), let’s quote again Klein: “Purists will point out that no big green group is clean, since virtually everyone takes money from foundations built on fossil fuel empires – foundations that continue to invest their endowments in fossil fuels today. It’s a fair point. Consider the largest foundation of them all: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As of December 2012, it had at least $958.6m – nearly a billion dollars – invested in just two oil giants: ExxonMobil and BP. … “

A small but growing movement inside the funder world is pushing the big liberal foundations to get their investments in line with their stated missions – which means no more fossil fuels.”

 

 

Lancet series on tobacco control

2.    Lancet (Editorial) – Tobacco control—political will needed

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60961-7/fulltext

The Lancet and The Lancet Respiratory Medicine present a Series on tobacco control that will be presented at the 2013 American Thoracic Society conference in May. The Lancet authors discuss tobacco control and the public health measures needed in Asia, Europe, and the USA. A discussion of current approaches to smoking cessation is presented in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine alongside a Comment on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (see below).

 

This editorial gives a brief overview of the (often lacking) political will in settings as diverse as the EU, the UK (also part of the EU, at least for nowJ) , Asia (including China) and Australia. For the research articles in the series, see here. The Series papers published in The Lancet centre on three different global regions, as mentioned.

 

3.    Lancet Respiratory Medicine – The WHO FCTC: the challenge of implementation

Alfred Munzer;

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(13)70048-1/fulltext?_eventId=login

Munzer lists a number of current threats to the Framework Convention and offers ways forward (one of them being that the tobacco epidemic needs to be tackled by whole governments, not just by health departments). “Engagement of the whole of government in tobacco control, use of the expertise and resources of all potential donor countries (including those that have signed, but not ratified, the convention), recognition of tobacco as a uniquely lethal product and its exclusion from international trade and intellectual property rights agreements, and the incorporation of tobacco control into mutual assistance programmes will accelerate implementation of the WHO FCTC and bring us closer to a world free from premature death, disease, hunger, and poverty,” Munzer argues. A very nice piece.

 

 

WHO Assembly

 

The 66th World Health Assembly is coming up (20-28 May). You find the main documents (including the provisional agenda, the proposed programme budget, …) here. The documents for the 133rd Executive Board meeting (29-30 May) are there too.

 

To get a bit in the mood, Richard Horton tweeted just today: “ “WHO is the Vatican of our religion”, says one global health leader, off the record. Her metaphor is alarmingly accurate.”   (which probably also implies that Margaret Chan is our pope – at least as far as female empowerment is concerned, WHO is far ahead of the real Vatican!).

 

4.    BMJ – WHO’s response to article on doctors and the alcohol industry

Margaret Chan;

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2647?etoc=

Speaking of our pope, Margaret Chan is no fan of tobacco companies, as you know. But increasingly she’s also being asked about her relationship to the alcohol companies. Her letter in BMJ is part of a number of letters reacting to previous BMJ articles on the alcohol industry. It gives WHO’s official reaction to the articles. Other letters are from the Global Alcohol Producers group  (Mark Leverton) and from Evelyn Gillan, a Scottish lady (who dwells on the meaning of ‘partnership workings’ for the alcohol industry). No doubt the relationship with the alcohol industry and other companies will be an item at the WHA.

 

 

 

Health Development  Aid & health post-2015

 

5.    CGD – From Audits to Results: A Needed Paradigm Shift in Health Aid

Victoria Fan & Amanda Glassman;

http://international.cgdev.org/blog/audits-results-needed-paradigm-shift-health-aid

Wonderful blog post from Fan & Glassman. Coming back on the recent World Bank Africa Health Forum, the authors note the enthusiasm about Results Based Financing (RBF) there. A new paradigm is emerging, they feel. “By linking payments to specific outcomes, RBF makes a donor more accountable to its constituencies and also increases the mutual accountability between the donor and the country by focusing the contract terms on shared goals and verified results. This latter point on mutual accountability is a reason why RBF represents a paradigm shift in global health and development aid – from what might be called the ‘auditing and accounting paradigm’ to ‘performance and results paradigm’.”  (obviously not everybody is convinced of this new paradigm, but the mutual accountability advantage is definitely relevant, we feel)

 

For a few other blog posts on the Africa Health Forum, see the blog Health Financing in Africa (Arjanne Rietsema)   and UHC forward.

 

 

Some other RBF news: check out this blog post on RBF by Ir Por (on the Results-based financing for health website). In the post, our Cambodian colleague Por gives the key messages of the recent Evidence Review on RBF for Maternal and Newborn Health Care in Low- and Lower-Middle-Income Countries he did, together with Bruno Meessen and Anna Gorter. His post ends like this: “I believe that agencies and experts who are in favour of RBF should make sure that RBF contributes to national goals such as strengthened health systems and universal health coverage. To me, questions on “what RBF or combination of RBF approaches” and “how” are more relevant than the question of “whether RBF or not”!

 

6.    Health in the post-2015 Agenda – event in Geneva

http://graduateinstitute.ch/globalhealth

On Thursday, a public seminar was organized in Geneva on ‘Health in the post-2015 Agenda’. The purpose of the event: “To provide an opportunity for the Geneva diplomatic missions, nongovernmental organisations and other stakeholders to gain knowledge of the results of the thematic consultation, the already made proposals and other possible approaches concerning the post-2015 health agenda and to support the assessment of their respective pros and cons. In this way, the event aims at helping to prepare for the 66th session of the World Health Assembly and its General Debate focussing on health in the post-2015 agenda.”  Kazatchkine was the moderator and Sidibé the keynote speaker. The latter’s key message was: “We cannot remain in the traditional development paradigm of donor and recipient countries . We need a new partnership paradigm. We need to move away from a disease specific approach towards a people centered approach based on human rights.” Other speakers were, among others, Gorik Ooms & Ilona Kickbusch (who happens to be a Bayern Münich fan, we learnt this week on Twitter).  (you can probably still watch the webcast, but we didn’t manage – but you can find some key messages of the day on the webpage)

 

7.    PHMovement – ‘Development’ must mean more than foreign aid for specific health conditions

D. Legge & D. Sanders;

http://www.phmovement.org/sites/www.phmovement.org/files/Development%20must%20mean%20more%20than%20aid%20to%20specifiec%20health%20conditions%20_LeggeSandersCommentOnKenny_130318_.pdf

The People’s Health Movement reacted to Charles Kenny’s recent piece in BMJ on the post-2015 development agenda.

8.    Global Health Governance – National Locus of Control: Countries walking their talk on Health Systems Strengthening

Lenias Hwenda & Harald Siem;

http://blogs.shu.edu/ghg/2013/04/26/national-locus-of-control-countries-walking-their-talk-on-health-systems-strengthening-lenias-hwenda-ph-d-and-harald-siem-m-d/

Nice blog post on health aid financing, mutual accountability, HSS and the role of donors and domestic governments in HSS. “Global efforts to strengthen health systems would benefit from a shift in policy from donor domination to country-led efforts based on clear national development goals in which donors eventually play a supporting role.

9.    Lancet (Comment) – Linking child survival and child development for health, equity, and sustainable development

Margaret Chan;

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60944-7/fulltext

Chan emphasizes the importance of early child development. “The evidence is compelling to expand the child survival agenda to encompass child development. Promoting healthy child development is an investment in a country’s future workforce and capacity to thrive economically and as a society. By ensuring that all children have the best first chance in life, we can help individuals and their communities to realise their maximum potential, thereby expanding equality and opportunity for all. As world leaders are preparing the post-2015 development agenda, the time is right to recognise that investment in early child development is essential, not only for good health but also for sustainable development.”   WHO is making a renewed commitment to early child development as an area of work critical to a life course approach to human development, and has developed an intervention—WHO/UNICEF Care for Child Development—to support young children’s development through the health sector.

 

 

US & global health

 

 

10. CDC – Meeting the Challenge of Drug-Resistant Diseases in Developing Countries

Thomas Frieden;

http://www.cdc.gov/washington/testimony/2013/t20130423.htm

This article gives the (recent) testimony of Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of CDC,  before the Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights, & International Organizations United States House of Representatives. “Today, I would like to specifically address how CDC works to protect Americans from threats that can cross our borders with ease. Four key trends have emerged in recent years. These trends are the rise of antimicrobial resistance, emerging global threats such as the Novel Influenza A (H7N9) virus, globalization of travel and trade, and the potential for deadly pathogens or products to inadvertently or intentionally be released.”

 

11. Science Speaks – Legislators to Shah: Really? Cuts to TB, HIV efforts aren’t a problem?

Rabita Aziz;

http://sciencespeaksblog.org/2013/05/01/legislators-to-shah-really-cuts-to-tb-hiv-efforts-arent-a-problem/

This blog post sketches another recent testimony, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s testimony discussing U.S. foreign assistance priorities in the FY 2014 federal budget before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Shah and members of Congress discussed funding for TB, PEPFAR and the GF.   (see also a Global Post article on this testimony).

 

Read also this Science Speaks article on the increasing reaction to Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 among physicians, scientists and global health advocates in the US. The Obama administration’s cuts in PEPFAR and TB funding are the main target.

 

Meanwhile, the decision whether to reauthorize PEPFAR rests with Congress (see this short KFF report).

 

Global Fund update

 

12. Aidspan – Aidspan Releases Analysis of Global Fund Procurement Costs

David Garmaise;

http://www.aidspan.org/gfo_article/aidspan-releases-analysis-global-fund-procurement-costs

Procurement costs for HIV, TB and malaria commodities have either come down or remained stable over the past seven years, according to an analysis conducted by Frank Wafula, Ambrose Agweyu and Kate Macintyre at Aidspan. The findings of the analysis are described in a working paper  (see here ) published on April 29, 2013 on the Aidspan website.

 

 

In other GF news, France’s Foreign Ministry is undertaking an evaluation of its contribution to the GF.  David Garmaise reports on Aidspan.

 

Health Policy & Financing

 

13. Lancet – Offline: an audience with the pope

Richard Horton;

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60947-2/fulltext

Horton reports on the very polite refusal from the Vatican the Lancet received when it asked for an interview with the new pope. Meanwhile, the pope is making all the right noises about exploitation of labour in Bangladesh.

 

14. WHO Bulletin – May issue

The May issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial examining policy coherence for improved medical innovation and access, a plea for globally consistent coding systems for medical products of human origin (MPHO) and much more.

 

15. Lancet (World Report) – Wellcome Trust appoints new director

Becky McCall;

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60964-2/fulltext

The incoming director of the Wellcome Trust (a global charitable foundation), Jeremy Farrar, has been officially appointed and will take office in October, replacing Mark Walport. Becky McCall reports.

 

16. Lancet (World Report) – US Supreme Court to rule on anti-prostitution pledge

Sharmila Devi;

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60965-4/fulltext

As we already reported last week in the IHP newsletter, the US Supreme Court is considering whether to uphold a controversial anti-prostitution provision that health groups argue is detrimental to their HIV/AIDS prevention work. Sharmila Devi gives the background info.

 

17. Plos – Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health: Integration in Research, Policy, and Practice

Pamela Collins et al.;

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001434

In the first article of a five-part series providing a global perspective on integrating mental health, Pamela Collins and colleagues set the scene for why mental health care should be combined with priority programs on maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases, and HIV, and how this might be done.

 

18. Plos (Editorial) – Focusing the Spotlight on Lack of Access to Health Information

Plos Medicine editors;

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001438

The PLOS Medicine Editors reflect on the critical need for access to high quality health information across the globe and a recent analysis that suggests that governments have a legal responsibility to ensure access to health information for their citizens and health workers.

 

19. CSIS – The Last, Best Chance for Global Polio Eradication?

J. Stephen Morrison & Nellie Bristol;

http://www.smartglobalhealth.org/blog/entry/the-last-best-chance-for-global-polio-eradication/

The authors examine the 4 objectives of the GPEI plan. Although Abu Dhabi was encouraging, the endgame won’t be easy, they say.

 

For an overview of the commitments made at the Abu Dhabi summit, especially by Middle East institutions and individuals, see this FT article.

 

20. IPS – U.N. Task Force Purges Stigmas on Sexual Rights

http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/04/u-n-task-force-purges-stigmas-on-sexual-rights/

The High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) drafted “Policy Recommendations for the ICPD Beyond 2014: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for All”. The text “reaffirms values established almost twenty years ago in Cairo, where 179 governments gathered to adopt a Programme of Action that placed the human rights of women at the centre of international development goals. The task force calls on governments to address Cairo’s “unfinished agenda” by: ensuring sexual and reproductive rights through law; working towards universal access to sexual and reproductive health services; providing sexuality education for all young people; and eliminating violence against women and girls. It argues that governments should expand access to safe abortion and to services for victims of gender-based violence, and that the international community should adopt a definition of “comprehensive sexuality education.” The task force’s work will inform U.N. negotiations for the new post-MDG development framework.

 

21. Lancet (Comment) – Reconsidering the Declaration of Helsinki

Ezekiel J. Emanuel;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2813%2960970-8/fulltext

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Helsinki. Consequently, the World Medical Association (WMA) is developing its eighth version of the Declaration. This anniversary presents an excellent opportunity to reconsider the problems of the Declaration and how they can be remedied to ensure the document retains its prominent status. Emanuel gives some suggestions.

 

22. TWN Info: US and EU demand TRIPS plus concession from poorest countries

Sangeeta Shashikant;

http://lists.keionline.org/pipermail/ip-health_lists.keionline.org/2013-April/003094.html

Developed countries, particularly the US and the EU, have offered a poor and impractical deal of an very short extension of 5 years with

restrictive conditions to least developed countries that are entitled to

be exempted from implementing the WTO TRIPS Agreement.

 

23. Malaria resistance – it’s in the parasite’s genes

Sarah Boseley;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/sarah-boseley-global-health/2013/apr/28/malaria-infectiousdiseases

Boseley reports on new research in Nature genetics  on artemisinin resistance in western Cambodia (by scientists who used genomic sequencing). “Our survey of genetic variation showed that western Cambodian malaria parasites had a population structure that was strikingly different to those of the other countries we analysed – different not just from countries in Africa, but also different from malaria parasite populations in neighbouring Thailand, Vietnam and even eastern Cambodia. Initially, we thought our findings might be just an anomaly. But when we investigated further we found three distinct sub-populations of drug-resistant parasites that differ not only from the susceptible parasites, but also from one another. It is as if there are different ethnic groups of artemisinin-resistant parasites inhabiting the same region.”

24. IPS – Monetising Human Waste and 101 (Slightly) Crazy Other Ideas

http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/04/monetising-human-waste-and-101-slightly-crazy-other-ideas/

Grand Challenges Canada just announced grants of $100,000 for 102 imaginative new ideas to tackle health problems in resource-poor countries. Of these, 59 grants went to researchers in 13 low- and middle-income nations worldwide.”

 

25. IH – blog – Vaccine Ping-Pong: GAVI and MSF’s Advocacy Campaign for Vaccine Access

http://aphaih.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/vaccine-ping-pong-gavi-and-msfs-advocacy-campaign-for-vaccine-access/

Nice blog post on the row between GAVI and MSF on access to vaccines. Looks like they could use a bit of ping pong diplomacy.

 

26. Guardian Africa – Drug donations are great, but should Big Pharma be setting the agenda?

Adam Robert Green;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/29/drug-company-donations-bigpharma

While talk of a new era of friendship and partnership between NGOs and Big Pharma is appealing (not least to the companies), there are still unresolved debates about the role that companies play in shaping the public health agenda in developing countries, Green argues. Even the most seemingly charitable acts have come under scrutiny. Green zooms in on drug donations. Are they as innocent as they seem?

27. Journal of Public Health Policy (Viewpoint) – Worldwide need for a comprehensive database of stability data for pharmaceuticals stored in uncontrolled environments

Alex Evans et al.;

http://www.palgrave-journals.com/jphp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/jphp201316a.html

Developing a database to compile all known, relevant information on the stability of pharmaceuticals in tropical environments would vastly increase access to this information, improving safety and reducing cost, the authors of this viewpoint argue. Many studies have examined the stability of pharmaceuticals stored under conditions that exceed manufacturer specifications, but this information is published across so many journals and Websites that it can be virtually inaccessible to clinics or suppliers needing to make pharmaceutical inventory management decisions. The authors have made progress toward the completion of a database of this nature, but resources and abilities of international public health organizations will be needed to bring the database fully to fruition, they say.

 

 

Research

 

28. NEJM (Global health review article) – Injuries

Robyn Norton et al.;

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1109343

This is the latest global health review article in NEJM – on injuries. The journal now also has a webpage dedicated to global health.

 

29. Vaccine – What the World’s religions teach, applied to vaccines and immune globulins

John D. Grabenstein et al.;

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X13001898

This review identified more than 60 reports or evaluations of vaccine-preventable infectious-disease outbreaks that occurred within religious communities or that spread from them to broader communities. Since Jenner developed vaccination against smallpox in 1796, some people have objected to and declined vaccination, citing various religious reasons. This paper reviews the scriptural, canonical basis for such interpretations, as well as passages that support immunization.  (this paper is for the ones among you who like to show off when making the case for vaccination).

30. Global Health Action – Routine vaccination coverage in low- and middle-income countries: further arguments for accelerating support to child vaccination services

Wenjing Tao et al.;

http://www.globalhealthaction.net/index.php/gha/article/view/20343

The Expanded Programme on Immunization was introduced by WHO in all countries during the 1970s. This study evaluates the change in routine vaccination coverage over time based on survey data and compares it to estimations by the WHO and UNICEF. Data of vaccination coverage of children less than 5 years of age was extracted from Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 71 low- and middle-income countries during 1986-2009. The authors conclude that the coverage of routine vaccinations in low- and middle-income countries may be lower than that previously reported. Hence, it is important to maintain and increase current vaccination levels. (and for that, you probably need to the previous paper)

 

Global Health bits & pieces

 

  • The EU is debating a biopiracy law to protect indigenous people.
  • Brookings published a paper on the Singapore Health Care system: Affordable Excellence.

 

Miscellaneous

 

  • China in Africa:

 

Guardian Special report on China’s involvement in Africa:

The Guardian  published a special report on China’s involvement in Africa. Among others, the section includes an article on an “expansive aid program that will offer 18,000 government scholarships and train 30,000 Africans ‘in various sectors’ by 2015″; an interactive on China’s financial commitments to the continent, including 192 health-related projects. And oh yes, Chinese are increasingly balking at their government’s aid in Africa, if so much remains to be done in their own country. 

 

CGD published a paper on China’s development finance in Africa, based on media reports. Read also Deborah Brautigam’s assessment of the study.

 

  • OECD review of measuring aid: Japan didn’t look too great this week, when data revealed Japan receives more from developing countries than it gives when interest repayments are taken into account. The OECD reviewed how it measures aid. (see also an Euractiv article).

 

  • New ODI  paper: “The future of global poverty: what if there were multiple horizons for aid?” (by Peter Edwards & Andy Sumner)

This paper introduces a new model of growth, inequality and poverty. The new model allows for systematic, methodologically transparent, comparative analyses of estimates of poverty in the future based on a range of different methods. The authors use the model to explore how estimates of the scale and location of future poverty varies by approach. See also a blog post on Global Dashboard.

 

  • The UK ends its official development aid to South-Africa in 2015 – and opinions differed whether the announcement this week was a unilateral move or a decision taken in mutual agreement. See  Global Dashboard, Jonathan Glennie & Sian Herbert (in the Guardian), and Tom Paulson (Humanosphere) for some more background.

 

 

  • Governments are on track to meet just five of the 21 targets set out in the MDGs by the 2015 deadline, the lead author of the World Bank’s 2013 Global Monitoring Report told Euractiv. On the bright side, “Twenty of the world’s most troubled countries have made progress in efforts that range from reducing poverty to improving the education of girls and cutting down on the deaths of women in childbirth, the World Bank said on Wednesday in a new reportReuters reported. Jim Kim noted that this encouraging news on fragile states means no country should ever be written off.

 

 

  • Obama’s plan to modernize the major U.S. food aid program … is in trouble after fierce lobbying by farm groups, food processors, shippers and others… ,” Reuters reports in an article. Well, well.

 

 

  • The EU is putting  pressure on Bangladesh to improve labour standards. An Economist article also admits the CSR heat is on (for MNCs). Well, well (bis).

 

 

  • Sean Jacobs is in search of the African Middle Class (see here) – the ‘middle class’ seems to comprise a number of sub-classes (with the ‘floating class’ as a key one).  (Humanosphere drew our attention to this article)

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