IHPN 141

This week, we welcome and editorial from Abdelmajid Tibouti who highlights the importance of the just launched supplement in Health Policy and Planning on the removal of user fees in developing countries in the current context.


In recent years, many governments have taken bold actions for improving financial access to basic health services. A common trend has been the removal of user fees for services targeting some vulnerable groups, especially children under five and pregnant women.

Read the rest of this editorial

Enjoy your reading.

David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen, Basile Keugong & Wim Van Damme

Global Health Policy and Financing

1.      User fee removal supplement in HPP

This supplement is the key theme of this week’s editorial. We can only add the recommendation to surf to http://heapol.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/suppl_2.toc  to find all papers, open access, available for you.

Social Determinants – the aftermath of Rio

2.      Social Determinants of Health: Life after Rio

Ted Schrecker offers an overview of the recent World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, discussing the Conference’s ‘Rio Declaration’, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses, as well what it will take to keep the SDOH agenda moving forward.


According to the Guardian, David Sanders was the “star of the day, whose rousing speech slating the official declaration received a standing ovation from campaigners.”


World Population Report

3.      UNFPA – State of the World Population 2011

Yesterday, the State of the World Population 2011 report was released by UNFPA in Brussels and worldwide. Seven billion people will inhabit the earth on 31 October 2011.

Both the Lancet Infectious Diseases and the BMJ give attention to the report. The Lancet ID chooses a factual comment in their editorial; the BMJ has two news items devoted to the consequences and the control of population growth.

4.      BMJ: Work for young people and care of elderly people are problems as world’s population hits seven billion


5.      BMJ: Deal with myths about population growth to improve birth control, says MP


The Guardian interviews Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the UN Population Fund, who points a finger to HIV/AIDS in failing to reach better results in population growth control. http://bit.ly/tuJaOY

Maternal and child health

6.      The World Health Organization multicountry survey on maternal and newborn health: study protocol

Joao Paulo Souza and her colleagues present the protocol and methods of the World Health Organization Multicountry Study in Maternal and Newborn Health in BMC Health Services Research. The main objectives of this study are to determine the prevalence of maternal near-miss cases in a worldwide network of health facilities, evaluate the quality of care using the maternal near-miss concept and the criterion-based clinical audit, and develop the near-miss concept in neonatal health.


Health Information Systems

7.      Evaluation report: Healthcare Information For All by 2015

Healthcare Information For All (HIFA)2015 is a project of Global Healthcare Information Network, a global campaign and discussion forum that brings together health professionals, information technologists, publishers, librarians, researchers and policymakers from over 2000 organisations in 158 countries worldwide.  The just published evaluation report concludes that HIFA2015 achieves an extraordinary level of activity on minimal resources, but recommends more investment to meet the information needs of healthcare providers in developing countries.


8.      PLoS: Universal Definition of Loss to Follow-Up in HIV Treatment Programs: A Statistical Analysis of 111 Facilities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Although patient attrition is recognized as a threat to the long-term success of antiretroviral therapy programs worldwide, there is no universal definition for classifying patients as lost to follow-up (LTFU). Benjamin Chi et al analyzed data from health facilities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America to empirically determine a standard LTFU definition.


9.      Lancet Infectious Diseases: Is laboratory monitoring of ART essential worldwide?

Catherine G Sutcliffe comments on a randomised trial of Laurent et al in Cameroon, which compared two options to monitor antiretroviral therapy: monitoring of HIV viral loads, CD4 cell counts, and clinical assessments versus clinical monitoring alone. Sutcliff provides pointly and usfeul comments on the policy implications of the two options.


Global Health

10. The Case for Europe as a Leader in Research and Innovation for Global Health

Global Health Europe has organised a session at the World Health Summit, Berlin, entitled: The Case for Europe as a Leader in Research and Innovation for Global Health. The session examined the question. The background paper for this discussion is written by Samantha Battams & Stephen Matlin.

Health service delivery

11. Lancet (comment): Augmenting surgical capacity in resource-limited settings

Deckelbaum and colleagues discuss an important issue, the lack of surgical capacity in many low income countries. However, the real scope of the matter  – access to surgical care – is hardly started to be discussed in this comment. For a much more comprehensive analysis of the issue and possible solutions, we refer to a 2009 paper in PLoS, to which several colleagues contributed.


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