Dear Colleagues,

 

July 11 is not just the unofficial Flemish “national” holiday, it’s also World Population Day, as well as  the one-year anniversary of the London Family Planning Summit. I hope the separatists in my country celebrated their holiday in a way Melinda Gates would approve of. 

 

Speaking of the Gates family, the Gates foundation has a new unit, the ‘Policy analysis & financing’ unit. You can find some brief info on the unit (as well as on the boss) here. CGD’s David Roodman just joined the unit. Looking forward to their first analyses of the Gates Foundation’s global policy and financing influence.

 

Richard Horton attended a peer review meeting on Latin American UHC in Havana this week and said that UHC is “not a means to an end, but an end in itself”. At a meeting in Brussels, Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development,  noted more emphasis should be put on the critical issue of UHC (than was the case in the High-Level Panel report). In Sydney the 9th World Congress of Health Economics finished (see on Twitter, hashtag #IHEA2013 ). Blogs from Wagstaff and co will probably follow in the coming days and weeks, if the incentives are right.

 

Former South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is going to head U.N. Women, after former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet stepped down to pursue another presidential bid. Judging from the current president’s quote this week, in which he praised a raped 11-year old girl for going through with pregnancy, Mrs. Bachelet is desperately needed again in her country.

 

Just before going on holidays, I kicked off a new IHP series of blog posts on the global wave of uprisings since 2011 and their long term health implications. As I’m a European citizen, I focus in my blog post on the mass social protests in peripheral Eurozone countries and the overall mess in the Eurozone, and what can be expected after 2014. Not much, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I hope I’m too pessimistic and will be proven wrong in the coming years.  We will also offer contributions on Brazil, Turkey, Egypt and other countries in the coming weeks, including on settings which haven’t seen mass protests so far.

 

This week’s editorial comes from Peter Delobelle, co-editor of this newsletter. Early June he attended the Helsinki Global Health Promotion conference. He wrote an incisive editorial about his experiences and the key messages in the Finnish capital.  Peter will be in charge of the IHP newsletter for the next three weeks while I’ll be enjoying a few weeks without the usual information overload. Arrividerci !

 

 

Enjoy your reading.

 

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

 

 

Editorial

 

Health-in-All policies:  From rhetoric to seizing opportunities?

 

Peter Delobelle (ITM)

 

Some weeks ago, WHO convened its eighth Global Conference on Health Promotion in Helsinki together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland. The conference focus was on how to promote health and equity by implementing a Health-in-All Policies (HiAP) approach, centered around the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ by discussing and sharing best practices among the nearly one thousand participants gathered from around the world. The five-day conference thus offered a window of opportunity for policymakers to discuss lessons learnt and provided some interesting insights in the field of HiAP implementation.

Using a HiAP approach means ensuring that health considerations play a role in all public policy decisions and clearly work best when the parties or sectors involved have mutual interests or co-benefits, for example by seeking synergies between health and education or health and environmental goals. Tools for implementing HiAP are available, including health impact assessments, regulatory measures, and fiscal measures, as well as new methods for measuring equity. Presentations highlighted the importance of central leadership (heads of government are best placed to lead the HiAP approach), regulation, and a workforce capable of negotiating complexity, facilitate social change, and create conditions that promote favorable political decisions.

The rather flawed Helsinki Statement, however, was criticized by civil society and superseded by a call to action issued by the People’s Health Movement, which attribute the widening inequalities in income and wealth within and between countries and the resultant health inequities to an unfair economic system with ‘complex roots in the dominant global capitalist regime… and undemocratic governance at national and international levels.’ Activists hence called for the establishment of HiAP as a high priority within WHO to enable work in areas with conflicting interests and priorities, to democratize the governance of global bodies such as the UN and the World Bank (WB), and to increase regulation of the financial sector, amongst others.

The issue of corporate power was also raised in a heated debate on the role of the private sector, including a WB talk about its new corporate commitment to eliminate poverty and the boosting of shared prosperity, and private sector tools and challenges for sustaining the post-2015 agenda. Although the speeches led some to believe the public was treated to what was dubbed a corporate ‘health wash’ and dissenting voices where screened on the massive message wall on-stage and heard through public interventions, there was room for interpretation. Innovative approaches can indeed be learnt from the private sector and the new policy course of the World Bank, as indicated by Jim Kim’s speech at the last WHA, has raised some expectations.

The HiAP approach is, however, most of all dependent on strong (political) leadership, as exemplified by the pioneering role Finland has played in introducing the concept into regional decision-making under the Finnish EU presidency in 2006. This has directly informed the new health policy framework for Europe, Health 2020, which has been described as a 21st century governance for health. This innovative ‘whole-of-government’ and ‘whole-of-society’ approach for health is firmly grounded in the values of human rights and equity, achieving global and societal goals through new interconnected forms of governance, in turn creating new partnerships and backed by the strong voice and involvement of civil society.

As stated by the Regional Director of WHO Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, in her keynote intervention at a special Europe Day devoted to showcase inspirational achievements related to implementing HiAP approaches in the EU, the new framework offers a values- and evidence-based policy within which HiAP can be implemented. For example, HiAP is considered an essential pillar in the Action Plan on NCDs for 2012-2016, given that the wider determinants of the NCD epidemic lie largely outside the control of the health sector and there is clear evidence of the cost-effectiveness of HiAP, for example through the use of fiscal policies to control harmful alcohol use and social welfare spending.

The globalization of unhealthy lifestyles moreover requires multisectoral and multi-stakeholder engagement to address NCDs as a global development challenge. A UNDP desk review, however, indicated that national action plans for addressing NCDs frequently cite multisectoral links, but that frameworks for integration are still lacking and public misconceptions about NCDs are rife. M&E frameworks are required but absent beyond the health sector, and funding still favours communicable diseases in countries suffering from both. Regional differences also indicate that attention to NCDs remains weak in sub-Saharan Africa, and an overall UN Task Force has been established to support the global NCD agenda.

Tobacco control clearly remains the exception, with most countries implementing a comprehensive national strategy based on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which is also recommended as a framework for the use of legal tools to implement HiAP. However, as WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan stated in her remarkable opening address, ‘it is not just Big Tobacco anymore – public health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda, and Big Alcohol,’ and ‘all these industries fear regulation and protect themselves by using the same tactics, including front groups, lobbies, promises of self-regulation, lawsuits, and industry-funded research that confuses the evidence and keeps the public in doubt…

These global corporate strategies also increasingly extend to LMICs, where for example tobacco creates an additional burden for the health and well-being of low-income populations but capacity is weak to counteract industry strategies and products. The power of international trading mechanisms may also severely hamper public health benefits, as illustrated in Helsinki by a case study presented by the Samoan Minister of Health. Samoa introduced a ban on the import of high-fat turkey tails in 2007 amidst concerns about the high rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, but was later forced to lift the ban during its bidding process to join the World Trade Organisation – clearly indicating the need to use HiAP approaches at global level.

HiAP have so far been largely confined to national or regional levels in higher-income countries, but some lessons can also be learnt from middle-income countries. A popular example is the implementation of social protection policy in Brazil, which has clearly shown the impact of its conditional cash transfer programme on childhood mortality. Other examples include the development of a comprehensive intersectoral program  to improve population health through a Healthy Cities approach in Changchun, China, or the institutionalization of Health Impact Assessments (HIA) in Thailand. Maybe the most impressive example, however, was the HiAP approach adopted by the Ministry of Social Development of Ecuador and the role of the Ministry of Health in collaborating and engaging with other ministries and agencies for health in Tunisia following the Arab spring.

The role of the health sector in implementing HiAP could clearly be one of stewardship and facilitation of the process in other policy sectors, as the fight against communicable diseases such as SARS and health equity integration may indicate. Drawing upon lessons from all around the world a strong case can thus be made for HiAP, which in Helsinki was endorsed not only by the Conference Statement and publication of a book: ‘HiAP: Seizing opportunities, implementing policies,’ but also by the discussion of a Framework for Country Action, aimed at giving countries concrete guidance on how to implement HiAP in their respective regions. Whether this goal will be achieved in due time, however, remains to be seen, bearing in mind that HiAP is but one of the original action areas of health promotion. Or, as a keynote speaker pointed out: ‘Health promotion is our dream; HiAP is the plan.’

 

 


Richard Horton’s Offline

 

1.    Lancet – Offline: The panjandrums of global health

Richard Horton;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)61533-0/fulltext

This is essential reading for all of us, and even more so for the likes of Jim Kim, Margaret Chan and Ban Ki Moon. Horton talks about a woman directing the policy, planning, and financing division of an African Ministry of Health, who complains that in her country IHP+ is not working, and that Busan was a step backwards rather than  one forward.   “The indifference of all of us—The Lancet too—to those who actually “do” global health in countries raises questions about just what our efforts really achieve. How can global health succeed if it doesn’t listen to those on the front lines of policy making in countries we profess to care about?”

 

World Population day & maternal health

 

2.    Guardian – What’s the true cost of enabling women to plan their families?

Julia Bunting;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/jul/11/family-planning-sexual-reproductive-health

Meeting the need for contraceptives for all women in the developing world would cost $8.1 billion annually — double the current level of expenditure, Julia Bunting, programs and technical director at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, writes. She discusses the outcomes of last year’s London Family Planning Summit and the potential impact of the FP2020 initiative.

 

3.    Lancet (Review) – Population, development, and climate change: links and effects on human health

Judith Stephenson et al.;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)61460-9/fulltext

Global health, population growth, economic development, environmental degradation, and climate change are the main challenges we face in the 21st century. An international symposium was organized in May, 2011 in London, UK, for academics and technical experts from population, developmental, and environmental science to encourage debate and collaboration between these disciplines who usually work in their own silos. The conference provided the impetus for this Review, which describes, in historical context, key events and fundamental intercommunity debates from the perspectives of population, development, and climate change communities.

 

4.    Open Democracy – Challenging neoliberal population control

Kalpana Wilson;

http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/kalpana-wilson/challenging-neoliberal-population-control

Racist and patriarchal ideas underpin the new ‘family planning’ initiatives promoted by DfID, USAID and the Gates Foundation which deny women in the global South real control over their bodies, argues Kalpana Wilson. The appropriation of the notion of ‘women’s right to choose’ for neoliberal population control must be challenged, she insists. (more than a bit over the top, if you ask me, but nevertheless good to know these views exist, and the examples referred to in the text aren’t wrong, either)

 

5.    Yale Global – Low Fertility Rates – Just a Phase?

Michael S. Teitelbaum & Jay Winter ;

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/low-fertility-rates-just-phase

The phenomenon of women delaying childbirth and limiting family size to two children or less is gaining traction worldwide. Low fertility rates can deliver prosperity for individuals, but disrupt patterns of economic growth. Some countries compensate for low fertility rates with immigration, which brings its own set of worries. Changing population patterns influence the world in complex ways for generations to come, suggest demographer Michael S. Teitelbaum and historian Jay Winter, authors of The Global Spread of Fertility Decline: Population, Fear, and Uncertainty. Emerging cultural trends, quests for equality or resources, can spur new tensions and political movements.

 

Meanwhile, Belgian doctors have developed a low-cost method to treat infertile women in poor countries, yet another neglected issue.

 

 

UHC & post-2015 discussions

 

6.    UHC forward – Economic and Social Council holds panel discussion on universal health coverage

http://uhcforward.org/headline/economic-and-social-council-holds-panel-discussion-universal-health-coverage

The United Nations Economic and Social Council held a panel discussion on UHC this week, addressing questions such as the meaning and importance of UHC and ways of financing and promoting it. Lengthy blog post giving a good overview of what was being said by the likes of Suwit Wibulpolprasert, Sania Nishtar, Margaret Chan & Tim Evans.

 

7.    ODI (Background briefing) – The post-2015 agenda: Analysis of current proposals in specific areas

http://post2015.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/ny-event-briefing-output-revised-final.pdf

The Overseas Development Institute has been collecting proposals for goals and targets in a post-2015 agreement into a single database.  This briefing is based on that database, and summarises the main areas of consensus and difference between the proposals in a range of specific areas. It was prepared by way of background to discussion at a recent ODI / UN Foundation event, ‘Turning Evidence into action for the Post-2015 Agenda’, and therefore covers the thematic areas that featured at this event. One of the thematic areas covered in this briefing is ‘health and nutrition’. What is the emerging consensus?

 

8.    IHP – The global wave of uprisings: a view from the Eurozone

Kristof Decoster;

http://archief.internationalhealthpolicies.org/archives/global-wave-uprisings-view-eurozone/

As already mentioned in the intro, IHP kicks off a new series on the global wave of uprisings since 2011, and possible health implications. In this blog post, I offer a view on the current Eurozone crisis, and speculate on what might come next. In my opinion, the many UHC proponents would do well to consider possible (including very pessimistic) scenarios in the Eurozone.

 

9.    Millennium Villages – Africa’s leaders embrace the Millennium Village Project – and here’s why

Amadou Niang et al.;

http://www.millenniumvillages.org/field-notes/africa-s-leaders-embrace-the-millennium-village-project-and-here-s-why

The leaders of the MVP project react on the critical report in Foreign Policy on MVPs of a few weeks ago.  They have a point.

 

NCDs

 

10.              WHO – One third of world’s population benefits from effective tobacco control measure

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/ban_tobacco_20130710/en/index.html

At 2.3 billion, the number of people worldwide covered by at least one life-saving measure to limit tobacco use has more than doubled in the last five years, according to the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013. The number of people covered by bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, the focus of this year’s report, increased by almost 400 million people residing mainly in LMICs. Furthermore, the Report shows that 3 billion people are now covered by national anti-tobacco campaigns. As a result, hundreds of millions of nonsmokers are less likely to start. However, the Report also notes that, to achieve the globally agreed target of a 30% reduction of tobacco use by 2025, more countries have to implement comprehensive tobacco control programmes.

 

11. Lancet (Editorial) – The global issue of kidney disease

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)61545-7/fulltext

A Series beginning in today’s Lancet seeks to provide a global perspective on kidney disease. See also the Lancet Comment pertaining to kidney disease in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

12. IHP – Salt, Sugar, Fat: addictive stuff

Remco van de Pas;

http://archief.internationalhealthpolicies.org/archives/salt-sugar-fat-addictive-stuff/

In this blog post, Remco van de Pas reflects on a recent WHO-Euro conference on nutrition and NCDs in Vienna. See also a BMJ news article on this meeting in Vienna.

 

 

PEPFAR & Global Fund

 

13. Science Speaks – GAO report: PEPFAR must fill gaps in evaluating, communicating to meet goals

Antigone Barton;

http://sciencespeaksblog.org/2013/07/09/gao-report-pepfar-must-fill-gaps-in-evaluating-communicating-efforts-to-meet-goals/

Science Speaks’ Antigone Barton summarizes yet another evaluation report released this week on PEPFAR.

 

In other PEPFAR news, Eric Goosby gives the latest info on the Expenditure Analysis Initiative, which tracks expenditures for PEPFAR programs to provide rigorous financial monitoring. “The Expenditure Analysis Initiative, currently being rolled out PEPFAR-wide, illustrates how the information collected will help direct our programs to stretch each dollar further through smart investments.

 

As for the Global Fund, GFO issue 221 was published this week. Most content had already been published early online (via GFO live).

 

A new guide on NFM applications targets civil society, David Garmaise wrote. The International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) has released a guide on applications under the new funding model. The guide targets civil society and focuses primarily on standard applicants (i.e. applicants that are not involved in the transition phase but that may apply when the NFM is fully rolled out, likely at the beginning of 2014).

 

 

Health Policy & Financing

 

14. Lancet (World Report) – The changing face of aid in Russia

Fiona Clark;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)61543-3/fulltext

Russia is now a donor, not a recipient of international aid, but with foreign NGOs leaving the country, will it pick up the pieces to help those most in need (like many marginalized groups) ? Fiona Clark reports.

 

By the way, the Greek government’s “new” HIV prevention policy is also outrageous, a Lancet editorial, ‘HIV testing in Greece: Repeating past mistakes’ says.  The Greek Government has brought back into force a regulation on the transmission of infectious diseases that runs counter to all international guidelines on HIV testing and breaches human rights.

 

15. Science Speaks – Infographic breaks link between death and taxes

Antigone Barton;

http://sciencespeaksblog.org/2013/07/11/infographic-breaks-link-between-death-and-taxes/

Tax dollars save lives. A new infographic from amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, shows how tax dollars save lives. How much would you pay save a person’s life, control a deadly epidemic, improve a child’s chances of surviving to adulthood? The average American taxpayer is spending $14.14 a year to accomplish that and more, according to the graphic. And the infographic also points out what could be done if, say, 25 dollars a year were spent.

 

16. Plos Medicine – A Comparison of Frameworks Evaluating Evidence for Global Health Interventions

Jill Luoto et al.;

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001469;jsessionid=0FBC4BADCE68861EB225A537D496DDE5

Jill Luoto and colleagues apply different frameworks to the same body of evidence for three advocated global health interventions and compare what ratings and policy recommendations result from each.

 

17. Science Speaks – Pipeline Report: Speed development of, access to products that will address global health needs

Antigone Barton;

http://sciencespeaksblog.org/2013/07/10/pipeline-report-speed-development-of-access-to-products-that-will-address-global-health-needs/

The New York-based global health research policy driving Treatment Action Group and the London-based HIV treatment advocacy group HIV-iBase published the 2013 Pipeline Report,  a call to leaders of global health, government and research to commit to and coordinate efforts that will expedite access to effective diagnostic, treatment and biomedical prevention tools, and make sure they address the conditions of the places where they are most urgently needed.

 

18. IP Watch – “Trilateral” Symposium Addresses Topics Of Global Public Health And IP

Brittany Ngo;

http://www.ip-watch.org/2013/07/10/trilateral-symposium-addresses-topics-of-global-public-health-and-ip/

The themes of innovation, collaboration, and policy coherence shared the spotlight during panel discussions at a 5 July technical symposium entitled, Medical Innovation: Changing Business Models. The event was jointly hosted by the WHO, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the WTO, and included private sector representatives. See also another IP Watch blog post on this symposium.

 

19. BMJ (news) – WHO sets up expert committee to advise on coronavirus

Anne Gulland;

http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f4426

The WHO has convened a group of international experts to advise it on the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The committee, convened under the WHO’s international health regulations, is made up of experts including immunologists, virologists, and epidemiologists and held its first telephone conference on Tuesday 9 July, when it reviewed current information about the disease. This is the first time that an international committee of experts, independent of WHO, has met since the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. For the list of members, see  here.

 

20. World Bank – Millions of children to be protected from deadly diseases through unique global vaccine bond issuance

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2013/07/02/millions-of-children-to-be-protected-from-deadly-diseases-through-unique-global-vaccine-bond-issuance

Millions of children in the world’s poorest countries stand to benefit from a $700 million bond issue, whose proceeds will help fund immunization programs by the GAVI Alliance,” a World Bank press release reports. The transaction was done by the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm).

 

21. Nature – Tuberculosis trials, already struggling, hit hard by US sequester

Trevor Quirk;

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v19/n7/full/nm0713-798b.html?WT.ec_id=NM-201307

The US federal spending cuts imposed by the so-called sequester have made a brutal dent in research spending: the country’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation are among the agencies that must shed roughly 5% of their budgets this year. That’s bad news for research on global killers such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, but the prospects are perhaps even bleaker for fields that are already underfunded, such as research into tuberculosis.

 

22. IRIN – Planning for non-surgical male circumcision

http://www.irinnews.org/report/98353/planning-for-non-surgical-male-circumcision

Fourteen African countries in eastern and southern Africa plan on circumcising a total of 20 million men by 2016 in an effort to curb the transmission of HIV. “A number of these countries are lagging behind on their targets, and feel the non-surgical circumcision PrePex device will give their programs a much-needed boost, while others are more cautious.” IRIN zooms in on ongoing studies and pilot programs using the device in a number of African countries.

23. Lancet (Correspondence ) – The BRICS development bank and health

Peter Littlejohns;

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)61561-5/fulltext

Littlejohns is less pessimistic about the BRICs development bank’s implications for health than the authors of a recent Lancet editorial (April 2013). Health technology assessment will be crucial, though.

 

24. BMC Public Health (Debate)- Towards the eradication of HPV infection through universal specific vaccination

Piergiorgio Crosignani et al.;

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/13/642/abstract

A panel of experts convened discussed the critical issues emerging from the ongoing global implementation of HPV vaccination. They also wanted to identify contributions which could overcome the barriers that impede or delay effective vaccination programs whose purpose is to eradicate the HPV infection both in women and men. They conclude: “The reviewed studies on the natural history of HPV infection and related diseases in women and men, the increasing experience of HPV vaccination in women, the analysis of clinical effectiveness vs economic efficacy of HPV vaccination, are even more supportive of the economic sustainability of vaccination programs both in women and men. Those achievements address increasing and needed attention to the issue of social equity in healthcare for both genders.”

 

25. PLOS Translational global health – 2 blog posts on Helsinki conference

In two blog posts, Kremlin Wickramasinghe (lovely name by the way) gave his impressions on the Helsinki Global Health promotion conference. (see here and here). Nice complement to this week’s guest editorial from Peter Delobelle, and the series of blogs by Fran Baum (on BMJ blog).

 

26. UNAIDS – African civil society organizations call on governments to intensify efforts to end the AIDS epidemic

http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2013/july/20130711csoabuja/

Representatives of more than 100 civil society organizations (CSO) from 42 countries urged African leaders to intensify efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The call was made during a technical meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria from 4-5 July as part of the events leading up to the Abuja +12 Special Summit of the Africa Union on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria that will take place in the Nigerian capital from 15-16 July 2013.

27. Some news via the EVIPNET newsletter (issue 38, July 2013)

 

  • WHO Member States highlighted EVIPNet technical support in Evidence-Informed policy-Making in a special session during the last World Health Assembly. “At this year’s WHA, representatives of EVIPNet country teams in Africa provided an update on what they have accomplished in evidence informed policy-making. Dr Bocar Kouyate, on behalf of the Minister of Health for Burkina Faso, told a packed meeting room that the network now has 12 countries, with work on evidence briefs policy development and organization of national policy dialogue on areas such as malaria, maternal and child health and allocation of financial resources. They have also piloted a system for developing rapid evidence briefs for policy requests which has been well received. Countries are sharing and learning from each other so that high quality networks are increasing. The key note speaker, Dr Joseph Kasonde–Minister of Health of Zambia and EVIPNet pioneer—provided a brief history of knowledge translation in his country and reinforced the value of the rapid responses services, an innovation developed by the network in Africa. “We are in a hurry to do things,” he said, “and if we don’t get the information we need, we have to go elsewhere.” He also called for more research to be published in national journals for easier access, and referred to a database he is trying to create of all national research and institutions.”                                                         .
    To know more about the results of the session and to have access to videos please consult: http://www.who.int/evidence/events/en/index.html and for the access to the video on EVIPNet Session with the speech of Hon Joseph KASONDE, Minister of Health in Zamibia. http://video.who.int/streaming/WHO-MTG_WHA66_KASONDE_speech_MAY2013.wmv

 

 

  • EVIPNet Virtual Health Library and HSE Intergovernmental Organizations Health Systems Portal launched during the WHA:

Health Systems Evidence, a free access site for evidence to support policymakers, stakeholders and researchers interested in strengthening or reforming health system,  is continuing to expand its role as a valuable resource for health system policymakers around the world with the integration of its database into the Virtual Health Library (VHL) launched by EVIPNet during the World Health Assembly in May 2013. The EVIPNet VHL was established to provide evidence and tools that support knowledge translation in efforts to improve healthcare and health systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The virtual library is an extension of the ongoing work of EVIPNet in promoting the systematic use of health research evidence in policymaking.

 

Global health bits & pieces

 

Pieces on the current malaria predicament in the Central African Republic, and on Kenyan mothers avoiding free maternal health care (due to, apparently, a perceived lack of quality) appeared in the Guardian and  Humanosphere, respectively.

 

 

 

Global Health announcements

 

  • Alan Whiteside will leave his position as founding Director of the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal at the end of 2013. He will take up a new position as CIGI Chair in Global Health Policy, Balsillie School of International Affairs/Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada.

 

Alan informed us, via email, of the following vacancy at HEARD: “HEARD is a powerful and relevant organisation and I am proud of what we have achieved since we started with just three staff members in 1998. It is important to consolidate and build, and so after 30 wonderful years at the University, and 15 years at HEARD, it is time for new challenges. An advertisement for the position of Director appeared in the Mail and Guardian newspaper in South Africa. Please click here to view the advertisement and share with your professional and personal networks. I believe it is critical we identify a strong new director and this is a really good, exciting and important post. More information about HEARD is available at www.heard.org.za.”

 

 

  • The ITM Colloquium 2013 will take place in Bangalore, India in November, and is jointly organized with IPH Bangalore. The subject is on health systems and the control of neglected diseases in Asia.  See here for more info.

 

 

  • Two upcoming courses for our European readers:

 

–          An international People’s Health University (IPHU) course will take place in Tessaloniki in the week of 24 November – 1st of December (see http://www.iphu.org/en/node/660 ). Please follow the website of the IPHU if you are interested for applying. Deadline for applications will be 31st of August.

 

–          In addition, the week before (17 Nov -22 Nov) , WHO-Euro will organize a public health training course in Florence  (see here). This might also be a valuable training course if one is interested in government approaches to health equity in times of financial crises.

 

 

Research

 

28. Social Science & Medicine – Realist RCTs of complex interventions – an oxymoron

Bruno Marchal et al.;

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953613003699

If Bruno Meessen is our department’s  “Mr. PBF’ and I’m increasingly known for ‘evidence-uninformed Euro-bashing’, then Bruno Marchal is probably ‘Mr. Realist evaluation’. In this SS&M article, Bruno and colleagues target an article by Bonell et al (2012). Bruno et al reckon realist RCTs are not a good idea, for a number of reasons. Great article, but not exactly stuff for on the beach.

 

Bonell et al. already replied, not exactly amused, in Social Science & Medicine. Read their (somewhat undiplomatic) reaction here:  ‘Methods don’t make assumptions, researchers do: a response to Marchal et al.

 

29. Lancet Global Health blog – Clinical trials and global health equity

Paul Farmer;

http://globalhealth.thelancet.com/2013/07/08/clinical-trials-and-global-health-equity

Paul Farmer regrets the fact that clinical trials have so dominated outcomes research when rigorous observational studies of interventions are often discredited to the point that they are difficult to publish. He suggests ways forward, and what the role of global health journals can be to further the impact of rigorous observational studies.

 

30. BMC International health and human rights – Cosmopolitanism and foreign policy for health: ethics for and beyond the state

Raphael Lencucha;

http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-698X-13-29.pdf

The principal purpose of this paper is to review arguments for a cosmopolitan ethics of health-based foreign policy. The author argues that health-based foreign policy that is motivated by security interests is lacking both morally and practically to further global health goals. In other words, a cosmopolitan ethic is not only intrinsically superior as a moral ideal, but also has potential to contribute to utilitarian ends. This paper draws on the cosmopolitanism literature to build robust support for foreign policies that contribute to sustainable systems of global health governance.

 

31. TMIH – ‘I cry every day’: experiences of patients co-infected with HIV and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

Petros Isaakidis et al.;

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tmi.12146/abstract

Based on a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with 12 HIV/MDR-TB co-infected patients followed in an MSF clinic in Mumbai, India, the authors of this article conclude: “The treatment of MDR-TB among HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy is hugely demanding for patients, caregivers and families. Current treatment regimens and case-holding strategies are resource intensive and require high levels of support from family and lay caregivers to encourage patient adherence and retention in care.”

 

32. UK Health Forum (Discussion Paper) –  Grey literature in public health: valuable evidence?

H. Korjonen et al.;

http://nhfshare.heartforum.org.uk/RMAssets/NHFreports/Grey_literature.pdf

This brief introductory discussion paper (from April) aims to initiate research and stimulate further discussion around the importance of grey literature as evidence in public health.

 

Miscellaneous

 

33. Devex – interview with Piebalgs

https://m.devex.com/news/piebalgs-global-anti-poverty-framework-won-t-be/81410?source=DefaultHomepage_Headline

At a Brussels event on July 9, Andris Piebalgs presented the HLP recommendations and he said more emphasis should be put on UHC. Read also this very nice overall Euractiv analysis of the same event.

 

  • “Peak water” is upon us, Lester Brown explains in the  Guardian (a must-read, as he gives a good overview of water issues across the world)

 

  • Aid for trade: see  Euractiv for a report on the Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade, held in Geneva on July 8. The event was aimed at providing an opportunity to donors and to developing countries to look how Aid for Trade (AfT) is helping people across the world to trade and what has been achieved so far.

 

  • Another must-read: this article on the 0.7 % norm (in a historical perspective), from one of the people who were there at the very beginning, Richard Thomas. “The false god of 0.7: understanding the aid business.”

 

  • Chinese development banks need to get their act together in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere (see the Guardian )

 

 

  • A CGD blog post  (by Arvind Subramanian) attacks Sen’s “redistribution through rights and entitlements (RRE) approach”.

 

  • The World Bank is becoming less relevant in Africa (see a NYT op-ed )

 

 

  • Simon Maxwell is optimistic about the Global Nutrition compact (see his blog).

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