Dear Colleagues,

 

Global health is not for wussies. The spread of Ebola, a MERS surge in the Middle East, the first ever (and rather worrying) global WHO report on the massive public health threat posed by antibiotic resistance…it’s been again a rough couple of weeks, and Laurie Garrett is working overtime. We quote from the WHO report: “A post-antibiotic era — in which common infections and minor injuries can kill — far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the twenty-first century”.  If I wasn’t neurotic yet, I would surely become it after going through this month’s global health news. Some people think we’re pretty much back in the 19th century, but I begin to think we’re witnessing a worldwide remake of the “Seven Plagues”. Thank God  I’m not a Born Again Christian. I prefer global health lingo, as in: “We can be the Mad Max generation. The time is now to end it all.”

 Luckily my mood got a big boost yesterday, on the first of May, while listening to all the (admittedly, rather stereotypical) anti-capitalist rhetoric on the news. By the way, my own 1st of May message is dedicated to all hardworking “sandwich-phds” and the many other sandwiched university employees. Let’s celebrate them (I almost said: keep them in your prayers).

But back to the radical political messages on the telly. Maybe they’re not your average innovative global health entrepreneur’s cup of tea, but they sure  had a pleasant impact on some of my neurotransmitters. Having said that, I think the future will have to be one of finding “synergies” (yes, I’ve been in global health for a while now)  between the (very justified) anger of far left people and the entrepreneurialism and innovation of some of the more ‘hands on’ people among the young generations. And needless to say, that includes young and smart capitalists. Not sure bridges will be established easily, though, between these two camps. For obvious reasons, the young winners of globalization often feel the anger about the global and national injustice somewhat less in their bones, while the radicals on the left can be a bit rigid. But, as Noah would tell you, in the end we’re all in the same boat.

This week’s guest editorial is an ‘In memoriam’ to commemorate Pierre Mercenier, one of ITM’s public health department “founding fathers”. My colleagues Jean-Pierre Unger, Bart Criel & Guy Kegels wrote the piece.

 

 

Enjoy your reading.

 

Kristof Decoster, Werner Soors, Peter Vermeiren, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme

 

Editorial

 

 

In Memoriam –  Pierre Mercenier

 

Jean-Pierre Unger, Bart Criel, Guy Kegels  (ITM)

 

Professor Pierre Mercenier’s contribution to the global reputation and impact of the Institute of Tropical Medicine and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) has been decisive. He has inspired an entire generation of students for the rest of their lives – doctors, nurses and health managers around the world. He also profoundly influenced the teachers and researchers of this Institute.

If we had to judge his work and legacy using the criteria that are now in vogue at universities, it is – as he often said himself – unlikely that he would have survived for a long time in academia: few articles, no impact factor, few ‘grants’ and a general refusal to engage in  political or other strategic ‘networking’ to boost his case.

However, there are few scientific publications in the field of organization of health services that currently do not use one or more of the concepts he coined or that are marked by the ideas he developed together with his alter ego and longtime friend, Professor Harrie Van Balen: ‘ global ‘, ‘continuous ‘ and ‘ integrated ‘  care; the integrated health system, holistic nursing, community participation, co-management, teamwork; the integration of disease control program activities in primary health care systems; network management of local health systems …

If we embark on a bit of ‘knowledge archeology ‘, we find that most of these concepts were in fact first formulated in 1971, more specifically in a ‘limited edition’ magazine – a review of the work of the Study Group for the Reform of Medicine ) (Groupe d’Etude pour une Réforme de la Médecine or GERM). In this seminal document, entitled ‘Pour une politique de santé’, Pierre Mercenier and GERM colleagues presented  the main elements of a coherent and emancipatory health policy. In 2014, this document remains valid. It is still used in public health teaching at this institute.

How can we explain then the extraordinary spread of Pierre Mercenier’s ideas over the past 40 years?  Certainly, he capitalized on the times: with Halfdan Mahler (WHO) and Debabar Banerji in India, he helped formulate the policy of Primary Health Care that the UN would endorse at the Alma Ata conference in 1978.

But in addition to the – favourable – momentum at the time, he himself helped spread his concepts and ideas through an extraordinary ability for meaningful dialogue and listening, conceptual rigor, and a skill to get things done. This allowed him to have his ideas applied and integrated in a sustainable manner in health systems, a practice which required the inputs from many creative and motivated field practitioners.

The intrinsic quality of his theories on the organization of services and care systems also played a key role in their dissemination: they were useful for clinicians because he conceived them based on his own practice as a clinician – essentially that of a cardiologist and pneumologist. And indeed, Pierre Mercenier built throughout his career, in North and South, bridges between the clinical experience of health care providers and the one of health systems managers.

And it is by trying – relentlessly – to put his theories into practice that he has gradually managed to improve them. For this, he engaged in long-term monitoring of pilot areas such as Kasongo (DRC, formerly Zaire) , Dolisie ( Republic of Congo ) and Ayutthaya (Thailand); of national projects such as Thies (Senegal ); and of disease control programs ( such as tuberculosis in the province of Chaco , Argentina ) .

He was also a very independent thinker; this allowed him to come up, again and again, with useful concepts for public health professionals and society in general. He did not hesitate to harshly criticize dominant policies of the time or the Belgian health (non-)system, he was not afraid to get involved himself (for example, by establishing  the GERM, mentioned above) and renounced alliances that could have been useful to him, if he felt it was necessary.

Paradoxically, it is likely that the evolution of health systems in recent decades has also contributed to the dissemination of some of his ideas. In order to contain the rising public expenditure for health care, governments were led to reinvent the delegation of tasks (‘ task shifting ‘), even in industrialized countries;  the privatization of services also forced more than one public health specialist to examine the fragmentation and segmentation of systems and their implications for access to quality care. History can be cruel: as universities gradually adopted more of Pierre’s and Harrie’s ideas, the reality of health care in a big part of the world got further and further removed from the criteria they had formulated.

Beyond his concepts, of which it is difficult to predict sustainability, it is the attitude of Pierre in areas as diverse as action, education and research that we will never forget: his was the example of a humanist who refused to compromise, who knew how to work in a team and, throughout his life, using reflective thinking,  put his concepts to the (often harsh) test in the field : starting from practice, and what is more, from a practice of changing services and health systems.

 

 

WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance

 

1.    WHO – WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/amr-report/en/

Chances are you didn’t miss this report, it was all over the news. At the WHO, they probably think ‘there’s no business like global health security business’. “A new report by WHO – its first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally – reveals that this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health.”

For some more in-depth coverage and analysis, see among others  Nature news and

Sarah Boseley (in the Guardian).

 

BRICs & global health

 

 

2.    Lancet – An assessment of progress towards universal health coverage in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS)

Robert Marten et al.; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60075-1/fulltext?_eventId=login

From the summary: « Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) represent almost half the world’s population, and all five national governments recently committed to work nationally, regionally, and globally to ensure that universal health coverage (UHC) is achieved. This analysis reviews national efforts to achieve UHC. With a broad range of health indicators, life expectancy (ranging from 53 years to 73 years), and mortality rate in children younger than 5 years (ranging from 10·3 to 44·6 deaths per 1000 livebirths), a review of progress in each of the BRICS countries shows that each has some way to go before achieving UHC. The BRICS countries show substantial, and often similar, challenges in moving towards UHC. On the basis of a review of each country, the most pressing problems are: raising insufficient public spending; stewarding mixed private and public health systems; ensuring equity; meeting the demands for more human resources; managing changing demographics and disease burdens; and addressing the social determinants of health. Increases in public funding can be used to show how BRICS health ministries could accelerate progress to achieve UHC.”

 

The new issue of the journal Contemporary politics features a number of BRICS & global health related articles.

3.    Contemporary politics – China’s provincial diplomacy to Africa: applications to health cooperation

Gordon Shen & Victoria Fan; http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13569775.2014.907993?journalCode=ccpo20#.U2Juxvl_tz5

There is a prevailing view of China as a unitary actor in its relationships with African countries. This view is incomplete: on the contrary, China is a collection of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities with myriad strategic ties to African countries, with decentralization shaping the current form of Chinese government and its level of efficiency. In this paper, factors have been explored for why Chinese provinces have played a role in foreign cooperation in health of African countries, in addition to trade and foreign direct investment.

4.    Contemporary politics – The BRICS – a paradigm shift in global health?

Andrew Harmer & Kent Buse; http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13569775.2014.907988?journalCode=ccpo20#.U2Jvd_l_tz5

To what extent does the BRICS  bloc constitute a paradigm shift in global health and development? This paper interrogates the concept of paradigm shift with the help of a framework familiar to scholars working in the field of International Relations. It distinguishes between the BRICS’ material capabilities, institutions and ideas, and assesses the extent to which the BRICS contribution represents ‘a potentially transformative’ source of new resources and innovation for global health and development.

Check out also another BRICS & global health paper (by John Kirton et al), “Generating global health governance through BRICS summitry” in the same journal.

 

Other UHC news & post-2015

 

5.    Rockefeller foundation  – 7 Things You Should Know About Universal Health Coverage

Robert Marten; http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/7-things-you-should-know-about-universal

There is a growing consensus that UHC should be an umbrella goal for health in the post-2015 development framework. Given its importance for the future of global health, Robert Marten lists some of the best resources to better understand UHC.

6.    CGD – Is It Time to End the Nigeria Aid Charade?

Ben Leo;

http://www.cgdev.org/blog/it-time-end-nigeria-aid-charade

Interesting blog post, reflecting on Nigeria’s GDP adjustment – it’s now a solid Middle Income country.  “With donors providing $2 billion a year in aid to Nigeria, this raises the natural question: If Nigeria is significantly wealthier than previously thought, then should we still be providing large-scale assistance there? This is a big question – not just for Nigeria, but other countries like Pakistan that have sizable pockets of poverty but abysmal local tax collection rates. In these countries, the US and other donors should be focusing much more on helping to unlock vast domestic resources than continuing to finance the direct delivery of social services.”  With quite some stats on health expenditure.

Meanwhile on Twitter, we saw some angry Nigerian reactions on this AllAfrica news article: Nigeria: Govt, Japan, to Sign Agreement On U.S.$85 Million Loan for Polio Eradication ).  The motto: “we don’t need loans anymore in Nigeria!”

7.    Devex – To tackle UHC implementation challenges, developing countries look to each other

Paul Stephens; https://www.devex.com/news/to-tackle-uhc-implementation-challenges-developing-countries-look-to-each-other-83370

An update on the Joint Learning Network (for example, on its intention to expand its associate membership to up to 20 middle- and high-income countries that can learn from, and share lessons with, the network).

8.    Lancet (World Report) – Challenges loom for US health law as new insurance begins

Susan Jaffe; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60695-4/fulltext

Millions of Americans met the mid-April extended deadline to enrol in coverage under the Affordable Care Act; now the real test of the law begins. Susan Jaffe reports from Washington, DC. The coming months will be crucial. (but we guess Obama has some geopolitical questions on his plate too, these days).

9.    NEJM (Global health review article) –  Global Health and the Law

Lawrence O. Gostin and Devi Sridhar; http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1314094?query=featured_home

Given the rapid globalization that is a defining feature of today’s world, the need for a robust system of global health law has never been greater. Let’s hope the post-2015 world will see such a system develop.

 

In other global health & post-2015 news, David McCoy’s recent blog post on the Lancet Commission on Global Governance for Health has sparked quite a some comments already (for example by Ronald Labonté & Allison Katz). Check them out here.

 

 

10.Guardian – How silver-tongued multinationals can win trust in development circles

Jonathan Glennie; http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/apr/29/multinationals-business-global-development-regulation

Jonathan Glennie explains how multinationals could win trust in the post-2015 development debate. For the moment, distrust is still rampant, but that can be overcome, he says.

Check out also his evaluation of the post-Busan meeting in Mexico last week (see the Guardian).

11.Save the Children – Framework for the Future: Ending poverty in a generation

http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/resources/online-library/framework-future

Framework for the Future presents Save the Children’s proposals for the new framework, building on our previous contributions to the post-2015 debate. These include 12 goals with associated targets and indicators, accompanied by mechanisms to boost accountability, promote equity, and harness the synergies between the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development in order to accelerate

12.CGD – Post 2015: Ownership in All the Wrong Places

Charles Kenny; http://www.cgdev.org/blog/post-2015-ownership-all-wrong-places

Must-read. “We want global ownership of goals and country ownership of financing — especially around aid.  At the moment it looks like we might be headed in completely the other direction.  That would be a shame.”    If you want to know what Charles means by this, you’ll have to read the blog post.

13.Beyond 2015 – Beyond 2015 reaction to and recommendations on the OWG Focus Area Document

http://www.beyond2015.org/sites/default/files/B2015%20letter%20for%20OWG%2030042014%20final%20with%20annex%20comments.pdf

Beyond 2015, a global civil society campaign consisting of over 1000 CSOs in over 100 countries, welcomes the ‘Working Document for OWG–11’, which builds on the Focus Areas Document discussed in OWG 10. But the campaign is worried too. Read why and check out the campaign’s recommendations at this stage.

You might also want to read this nice Guardian op-ed : “Forget the naysayers, development policy should be rooted in human rights”.  Having said that, one of my human rights colleagues is slowly losing her ‘rights based’ religion … worrying that it’s only a sideshow to the post-2015 game of the big boys and girls (multinationals etc).

 

 

Global Fund & GAVI

 

14.Aidspan – Global Fund releases comprehensive information on country allocations

David Garmaise; http://www.aidspan.org/gfo_article/global-fund-releases-comprehensive-information-country-allocations-0

The Global Fund has published a comprehensive database of country-specific information on the 2014-2016 allocations under the new funding model, following the 12 March announcement of country allocations. You can find the (downloadable) spreadsheet in this article.

15.Devex – 3 questions as GAVI approaches next replenishment

Adva Salvinger; Devex

The GAVI Alliance is gearing up for a new replenishment, in which the organization plans to ask for more funds than ever before.” Devex discusses three questions to consider beforehand.

 

WHO & 67th World Health assembly

 

 

16.HRH at the 67th World Health Assembly

http://www.who.int/workforcealliance/media/events/2014/hrh_67th_wha/en/

If you want to get an overview of Human Resources for Health activities & sessions at the next WHA.

17.Lancet (Comment) – Variola virus archives: a new century, a new approach

Peter B Jahrling et al. ; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60693-0/fulltext

Eradication of smallpox was the signature public health achievement of the 20th century— … Although the disease is long gone, variola virus, which causes smallpox, still exists in two WHO-approved laboratories. 35 years after eradication of smallpox and following immense progress on development of medical countermeasures, destruction of variola virus once more returns to the World Health Assembly  agenda in May, 2014. Initial enthusiasm at the WHA for destruction has been tempered by the recognition that deliberate dissemination or inadvertent release from unrecognised repositories would be catastrophic.”

18.Chatham House – The World Health Organization in the South East Asia Region: Decision-maker Perceptions

Devaki Nambiar et al.; http://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/papers/view/199260

The WHO was founded in 1948 with an ambitious objective – ‘the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.’ Since 1948, many things have changed in the world of global health, in particular the creation of a large number of new initiatives and institutions that challenge its role as a directing and coordinating authority. There are many questions about how the organization should locate itself in relation to this new institutional environment. Global health experts at a workshop of the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security in 2012 identified a need for feedback from member states in the South East Asia Region (SEAR) on each of these topics, based upon their experiences and expectations of WHO governance.

 

Infectious Disease

 

MALARIA

 

19.Reuters – GSK and MMV announce start of phase III programme of tafenoquine for Plasmodium vivax malaria

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/28/gsk-brief-idUSFWN0N901220140428

Earlier this week, we celebrated World Malaria Day. And this is quite nice malaria news to share: GlaxoSmithKline and Medicines for Malaria Venture announced the start of a Phase III global programme to evaluate the efficacy and safety of tafenoquine, an investigational medicine under development for the treatment and relapse prevention (radical cure) of Plasmodium vivax malaria.

And the NYT reported: “A new way to prevent malaria in areas where it waxes and wanes with the weather appears to be working in West Africa, the medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders said last week. The tactic, seasonal malaria chemoprevention, involves giving children regular doses of malaria medicine during the rainy season when mosquitoes are everywhere.”

20.CGD – What Works in Malaria Control?

Amanda Glassman & Miriam Temin; http://www.cgdev.org/blog/what-works-malaria-control

For the “big (impact) picture”, we refer to this blog post by CGD fellow Glassman and Temlin, the editor of the new edition of “Millions Saved” (a book of case studies that document global health successes at scale) .

 

EBOLA

 

21.Foreign Affairs – An Unnecessary Plague; Why Ebola Vaccines Don’t Reach the People Who Need Them

Jessica Hatcher;  http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141369/jessica-hatcher/an-unnecessary-plague

An Ebola outbreak in Guinea has spread to neighboring Liberia, with additional cases suspected in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Mali. … What’s particularly disturbing about the present crisis, however, is that some infections could have been prevented. For years, the United States has been developing preventatives and treatments for Ebola, which would both provide defense if Ebola were used in warfare and reduce the spread of an outbreak of the disease. But, despite lobbying from scientists amid this latest outbreak, the drugs have not been put to the test.”

MERS

 

22.Lancet (Editorial) – Political commitment to MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60732-7/fulltext The last time we heard about a “surge” in the Middle East, it was in Iraq if we remember well. But now there’s a surge of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) in the region. The Lancet asks a few pertinent questions, after the removal of former Saoudi Health Minister Abdullah Al Rabeeah from his post on April 21.

23.BMJ (news) – WHO voices concern over rising numbers of MERS-CoV cases

Anne Gulland; http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g2968

The World Health Organization has expressed concern over the rising number of cases of MERS-CoV in recent weeks, particularly in the light of two significant outbreaks at healthcare facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, media sources reported on a new discovery that could lead to treatments for the MERS virus (see Reuters ).

24.Foreign Affairs – Stay Away from Camel Milk and Egyptian Tomb Bats

Laurie Garrett; http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/04/30/stay_away_from_camel_milk_and_egyptian_tomb_bats_mers_saudi_arabia

For the big picture, we can always rely on Laurie Garrett. Will MERS go global?

 

POLIO

 

25.Lancet (Global Health blog) – 1 year in, polio’s Strategic Plan on track to succeed by 2018

ZA Bhutta et al.; http://globalhealth.thelancet.com/2014/04/30/1-year-polios-strategic-plan-track-succeed-2018

« Last April, the world united at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) 6-year Strategic Plan to end polio by 2018. We believed in that plan and joined 450 fellow scientists and polio experts in endorsing it through the Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication. A year later, the global programme faces new and stubborn challenges. But with the programme using innovative approaches and gaining the help of new partners, we remain convinced that we can end polio by 2018 and realise the broader benefits that eradication will bring. »  We hope it with them.

Meanwhile, WHO held an emergency meeting with experts on Monday to halt the spread of polio across international borders in Asia, Africa & the Middle East.

26.Lancet (Correspondence) – Effects of India’s new polio policy on travellers

Mikkel Quam et al.; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60537-7/fulltext

In March, 2014, India celebrated its victory over polio as it was declared polio free by WHO.1 India is now understandably keen to ensure that it will remain polio free. To prevent re-introduction of polio, the government has instituted a new polio vaccine requirement for travellers from polio-infected countries entering India. The Ministry of Health of India has announced that “resident nationals of the currently seven polio infected countries are required to receive a dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV), regardless of age and vaccination status, at least four weeks prior to departure to India”. Furthermore, the Ministry has also put in place the requirement of a dose of oral polio vaccine for nationals from India going to currently polio-infected countries.”  (pretty drastic measures, and jingoist Modi isn’t even in power yet!)

 

TB

 

27.Bloomberg – J&J Eases Access for Tuberculosis Drug in Poor Nations

Bloomberg;

Drug maker Johnson & Johnson is taking steps to ensure Sirturo, its medicine for people with drug-resistant TB, is available and properly administered in 130 developing countries across the globe.

(Sanofi announced quite encouraging news on the dengue vaccine, meanwhile).

 

28.Lancet (Viewpoint) – Importance of tuberculosis control to address child survival

Stephen Graham et al.; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60420-7/fulltext

Was already online for a while. “In 2012, World TB Day focused on children for the first time. This attention is likely to increase further as the WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme’s ambitious post-2015 tuberculosis control strategy seeks to engage the entire health sector, including maternal and child health.”

To know more about the new global TB strategy, see also a new WHO Bulletin news article, “Collaboration is key for new global tuberculosis strategy” (see here – an interview with Giovanni Battista Migliori)

 

HIV/AIDS

 

29.Lancet (World Report ) – South Africa’s battle against HIV/AIDS gains momentum

John Maurice; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60733-9/fulltext

A recent survey (see a previous IHP newsletter)  by South African researchers emphasises the weaknesses and strengths of the country’s current efforts to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic. John Maurice reports.

30.Chatham House – Perspectives on Data Sharing in Disease Surveillance

Emma Ross; http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/home/chatham/public_html/sites/default/files/20140430DataSharingDiseaseSurveillanceRoss.pdf

This paper was prepared to inform the Chatham House workshop on ‘Data Sharing in Disease Surveillance: Experiences and Vision’, held on 12–13 February 2014, and was based on interviews with more than 25 stakeholders in disease surveillance data sharing, representing primary data producers, secondary users, research funders, international organizations and other relevant groups.

 

NCDs

 

31.Oxford – medical sciences division- Launch of new WHO Collaborating Centre

http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/news/launch-of-new-who-collaborating-centre

The British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, based in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, has been officially designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre. The new centre will be known as the British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for NCD Prevention.

32.BMJ – Global noncommunicable diseases: a series of reflections

KM Venkat Narayan;http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2014/04/30/k-m-venkat-narayan-global-non-communicable-diseases-a-series-of-reflections/?g=widget_default

Looks like the start of a fascinating series of blogs on NCDs. Must-read.

 

 

Maternal & child health

 

33.ICPD beyond 2014 –  Framework of Actions for the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development Beyond 20141

http://icpdbeyond2014.org/uploads/browser/files/icpd_global_review_report.pdf

The 1994 Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) reflected a remarkable consensus among diverse countries that increasing social, economic and political equality, including a comprehensive definition of sexual and reproductive health and rights3 that reinforced women’s and girls’ human rights, was and remains the basis for individual well-being, lower population growth, sustained economic growth and sustainable development.  The evidence of the Operational Review, mandated by General Assembly Resolution 65/234, overwhelmingly supports the vision of that consensus. … Yet the Review also makes clear that progress has been unequal and fragmented, and new challenges, realities and opportunities have emerged.

 

Meanwhile, a new UN report names 21 countries where rape and other sexual violence has been committed in current and recent conflicts, from Afghanistan and Central African Republic to Myanmar and Syria. The report urges greater action to combat sexual violence in conflict countries.

 

34.Scidev.net – Fund to improve African maternal, child health launched

SciDev.Net; “The Global Health Research Initiative (GHRI) plans to fund leading African and Canadian researchers to find solutions aimed at improving health systems for mothers and children in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Canada-based International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which is running GHRI’s new programme — Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa — launched two calls last month (17 March). According to the calls for proposals, the new programme is targeting nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that have high maternal and child deaths: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan and Tanzania.”

35.Lancet (Editorial) – Controlling asthma

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60730-3/fulltext

This editorial is related to World Asthma Day (6 May). Several articles in this Lancet issue are dedicated to asthma and other respiratory disease.

36.Global Public Health – Generating political priority for newborn survival in three low-income countries

Stephanie Smith et al. ; http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17441692.2014.904918#.U134h_l_tz4

High neonatal mortality poses a significant barrier to achieving the child survival Millennium Development Goal. Surmounting the problem requires national-level political commitment, yet only a few nation-states have prioritised this issue. The authors compare Bolivia, Malawi and Nepal, three low-income countries with high neonatal mortality, with a view to understanding why countries prioritise or neglect the issue.

 

Health Policy & Financing

 

37.Guardian – AstraZeneca rejects Pfizer’s improved takeover offer ‘without hesitation’ – business live

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/02/pfizer-raises-offer-for-astrazeneca-to-50-per-share-business-live

A developing story, as they say …

38.Humanosphere – Microsoft era ending at Gates Foundation – CEO Jeff Raikes steps down

Tom Paulson; http://www.humanosphere.org/2014/04/ending-microsoft-management-of-gates-foundation-ceo-jeff-raikes-steps-down/?utm_content=buffer701c3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Must-read: on the new focus on integrated delivery at the Gates Foundation, on the rumour of a ‘cover your ass’ workplace, etc.

39.NEJM (Perspective) – University Engagement in Global Health

Michael H Merson; http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1401124?query=featured_home

“…student passion for reducing health disparities and universities’ efforts to become more global in a competitive marketplace for students and faculty have resulted in an unprecedented surge of global health as an academic field in the United States and, increasingly, elsewhere in the world.”

40.WHO Bulletin (Editorial) – International Health Regulations (2005): taking stock

Isabelle Nuttall; http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/92/5/14-138990/en/

In this Editorial (in the new WHO Bulletin), Isabelle Nuttell takes stock of what’s been happening in terms of the International Health Regulations since 2005.

Check out the whole May Bulletin issue, by the way – including the evaluation article on vouchers for maternal care in Cambodia (by Ellen Van de Poel et al).

41.NEJM – Convergence to Common Purpose in Global Health

David J Hunter; http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe1404077?query=featured_home

This Editorial wraps up the 15 Global health review articles in the NEJM, and distills some key messages.

 

42.Financing health in Africa – PBF for implementation of national health strategies: a debate to be continued

Mathieu Noirhomme; http://www.healthfinancingafrica.org/3/post/2014/04/performance-based-financing-for-implementation-of-national-health-strategies-a-debate-to-be-continued.html

Performance based financing (PBF) approaches were still mainly considered as pilot approaches a few years ago. This is changing fast, however. PBF is now becoming a central tool for the implementation of national health policies and strategies for an increasing number of governments and cooperation agencies. The question of integration and alignment of PBF strategies then arises; this was the subject of a three-day debate in January on the online forum of the PBF Community of Practice. Key elements of the discussion are summarized in this blog post, by Mathieu Noirhomme.

43.Performance Based Financing – ICT 4 RBF: when technological innovation meets health care financing innovation. 4th PBF CoP meeting, from 28 April to 1st May 2014, in Burundi

http://performancebasedfinancing.org/

We also encourage the PBF community to have a look here (for presentations etc) – the 4th PBF CoP meeting in Burundi  just finished, ICT 4 RBF.

44.KFF (issue brief ) – The US Government and Global LGBT Health: opportunities and challenges in the current era

http://kff.org/global-health-policy/issue-brief/the-u-s-government-and-global-lgbt-health-opportunities-and-challenges-in-the-current-era/

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released an issue brief, titled “The U.S. Government and Global LGBT Health: Opportunities and Challenges in the Current Era.” The brief summarizes main points of discussion raised at two Kaiser Family Foundation-convened roundtable discussions. The discussions focused on opportunities, challenges, and potential next steps for the U.S. government to consider in addressing the health needs of LGBT individuals around the world. The brief also provides an overview of global LGBT health issues, and reviews U.S. government efforts to address global LGBT health to date.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported  that Uganda has drafted an even tougher law that would bar (foreign) NGOs from promoting homosexuality.

 

45.Pew – Public Health a Major Priority in African Nations

http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/05/01/public-health-a-major-priority-in-african-nations/

Far more encouraging news in this recent (March-April) Pew Survey. Check it out.

46.Development policy – Lesotho hospital PPIP under fire

http://devpolicy.org/lesotho-ppip-under-fire-20140429/?utm_source=Devpolicy&utm_campaign=70d6965d6d-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_082b498f84-70d6965d6d-312046533

Check out especially Robert Yates’ reaction under the article.

 

47.Guardian – Scientists crack genetic code of deadly tsetse fly

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/apr/25/scientists-crack-genetic-code-tsetse-fly-africa-sleeping-sickness

Encouraging news from last week.

48.Globalization & Health – The multiple meanings of global health governance: a call for conceptual clarity

Kelley Lee et al.; http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/content/10/1/28/abstract

After examining the broader notion of ‘global governance’ and increasingly ubiquitous term ‘global health’, the paper identifies three ontological variations in GHG scholarship – the scope of institutional arrangements, strengths and weaknesses of existing institutions, and the ideal form and function of GHG. This has produced three common, yet distinct, meanings of GHG that have emerged: globalisation and health governance, global governance and health, and governance for global health.

 

49.WHO Factsheet – World Day for Safety & Health at Work!

http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs389/en/

Primary care centres could provide some essential interventions for protecting workers’ health, such as advice for improving working conditions, detection of occupational diseases and health surveillance of workers, though in most countries the focus is still on medical treatment rather than prevention.

And it was also World Immunization Week (April 24-30). See here. “Are you up to date?”

 

50.IP Watch – UNCTAD Review Of Bangladesh Calls For Drug Market Opening

http://www.ip-watch.org/2014/05/01/unctad-review-of-bangladesh-calls-for-drug-market-opening-government-cautious/

An investment policy review undertaken by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) found that Bangladesh needs to attract foreign direct investment to sustain its development and suggests that the country loosen its grip on the pharmaceutical sector. Bangladesh said the review will be carefully considered.

 

Research

 

51.Journal of Public Health Policy – Public health in times of austerity

Bettina Borisch;

http://www.palgrave-journals.com/jphp/journal/v35/n2/full/jphp20147a.html

Lovely name, and nice article.

 

52.Transforming the Global health workforce

Marily DeLuca & Agnes Soucat;

https://archive.nyu.edu/bitstream/2451/31982/2/Transforming%20the%20Global%20Health%20Workforce%2c%20Marilyn%20A.%20DeLuca%20and%20Agnes%20Soucat%2c%20Editors.pdf

Quite a turf, but obviously well worth reading (we guess).

 

53.Equinet working paper –  Health Centre Committees as a vehicle for social participation in health systems in east and southern Africa

R Loewenson et al.;

http://www.equinetafrica.org/bibl/docs/EQUINET%20HCC%20Diss%20paper%20101%20FINAL.pdf

Health Centre Committees (HCCs) have provided one vehicle for social participation and accountability in health systems in east and southern Africa (ESA). Recognising this contribution and building on prior work on HCCs, EQUINET held a regional meeting involving those working with HCCs in ESA countries to exchange experiences and information on the laws, roles, capacities, training and monitoring systems that are being applied to HCCs in the ESA region.

 

Miscellaneous

 

 

  • Working paper by Jose Antonio Alonso, Jonathan Glennie and Andy Sumner: “Recipients and Contributors – Middle income countries and the future of development cooperation” (see here).

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