Dear Colleagues,


The world as we know it might be on fire, but that doesn’t mean the ITM Emerging Voices venture slows down. Two of our Emerging Voices managed to get their essay published this week, Irene Masanja in Malaria Journal, and Lungiswa Nkonki in WHO Bulletin. Congratulations to them for getting beyond the difficult hurdle of publishing. Patience and persistence eventually paid off. We hope many others will follow suit.

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.  Lancet (editorial) – The good news about cancer in developing countries

A Lancet editorial zooms in on the report ‘Closing the cancer divide’ by the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries. The picture is not as gloomy as one might expect.

2.  Lancet – The Lancet—University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health, in collaboration with the Harvard Global Health Institute

Ole Petter Ottersen, Julio Frenk & Richard Horton;

The authors are launching an independent academic effort, The Lancet—University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health, in collaboration with the Harvard Global Health Institute, to bring new research and analysis to bear on the vital question  how public health can be better protected and promoted in various global governance processes. There is an obvious need to engage beyond the health sector to solve key challenges in global health.


3.  Sarah Boseley – Abolishing user fees – does the reality match up to the dream?

The Guardian’s global health editor comments on the Health Policy & Planning supplement on the abolition of user fees. Like many other UK voices, she pays special attention to Uganda.

4.  BMJ (news) – Make countries’ health spending easier to compare, says OECD

Sophie Arie;

The OECD is urging all countries to meet a global standard in the way they account for their health service spending.


5.  Health Affairs (blog) – Eradicating polio: the way forward

Judith Kaufmann;

Kaufmann reflects on the report issued by the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication initiative on October 24 (World Polio day). She finds the report refreshing in a number of respects.


6.  CGD (blog) – Is USAID Being Set Up to Fail on the GHI?

Nandini Oomman;

Only USAID has the technical capacity to lead the GHI as a development initiative, and it is the natural choice for leadership of the initiative, claims CGD’s Nandini Oomman. But by giving USAID responsibility for success without the mandate to meaningfully steer the initiative, USAID is being set up to fail.





7.  WHO Bulletin (Editorial) – Maternal death surveillance and response

Isabella Danel et al.;

WHO Bulletin released its November issue. This article argues there is an urgent need for better monitoring maternal death. Not sure whether it’s feasible in many LICs, but perhaps in MICs?


8.  Plos – Priorities for Research on Equity and Health: Towards an Equity-Focused Health Research Agenda

Piroska Östlin et al.;;jsessionid=6FC52EDDD1388F9AB08B388AEC3BD2A8.ambra02

Östlin and colleagues argue that a paradigm shift is needed to keep the focus on health equity within the social determinants of health research agenda.

9.    Report Milbank Memorial Fund – Health worker shortages and global justice

Paula O’Brien and Lawrence O. Gostin.

A brand new report on health worker shortages; the title speaks volumes.

10.    BMJ (Feature) – Lost in translation

Geoff Watts;

Africa is not short of its own solutions to the continent’s health challenges, but they are proving hard to get off the ground. Why are novel health technologies in Africa stagnating, and what can be done about it? Geoff Watts reports


11.    BMJ (news) – Centres of health innovation are established in Africa to promote research and development

Peter Moszynski;

The African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI) has selected a group of 32 centres of excellence in health innovation to facilitate the discovery, development, manufacture, and registration of drugs, diagnostics, vaccines, and medical devices in the continent. The move was announced at the network’s fourth stakeholders’ meeting in Addis Ababa.

Global Fund


12.    Lancet – Offline: the hypocritic oath

Richard Horton;

Horton isn’t very pleased with the way “key Global Fund donors last week tried to destroy a pillar of the Fund’s new 5-year strategy, which seeks to open a door to an expanded role for the Fund in maternal, newborn, and child health.”  He also gives some of his impressions on the World Health summit in Berlin.


13.    Global Fund Observer (new issue)

The Global Fund Observer has a new issue. We especially like the following (hypothetical) conversation: two supporters of the Global Fund debate what recent developments reveal about donor influence over the Global Fund. The participants are imaginary, but the issues are real.


In other news related to AIDS, Mead Over published a CGD brief on achieving an AIDS transition.


14.    CGD (working paper) – Global Health and the New Bottom Billion: What Do Shifts in Global Poverty and the Global Disease Burden Mean for GAVI and the Global Fund?

Amanda Glassman et al.;

As the global distribution of poverty has shifted to middle-income countries, so has the global disease burden. This paper examines the implications of this major shift for global health efforts and recommends a tailored middle-income strategy for global health funders. The paper describes trends in the global distribution of poverty, preventable infectious diseases, and health aid response to date; revisits the rationale for health aid through agencies like GAVI and the Global Fund; and proposes a new MIC strategy and components, concluding with recommendations.


Global health & population/climate change challenges

15.    BMJ – Unhealthier by degrees

Henry Nicholls;

More than 300 delegates from healthcare, the military, climate science, industry, business, and politics met at a BMJ conference two weeks ago to consider the risk climate change poses to human health. Henry Nicholls reports.

16.    BMJ (Comment) – Global health cannot be achieved without efforts to curb population growth

Robin Stott;

The world population was the talk of the town last week, with the arrival of number 7 billion. Stott argues that population stabilisation is essential to healthy societies, and is fortunately an inevitable outcome of the evolution of such societies. Her line of argument is to understand what underlies healthy societies, and to provide evidence that non-coercive population stabilisation is a key and attainable attribute of such societies.

Emerging Voices


17.    Malaria Journal – Implementing ideal health policy in a fragile health system: the example of expanding the use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests in mainland Tanzania

Irene Masanja –

Malaria confirmation before treatment provides an opportunity for improving the quality of malaria case management in endemic regions. However, increased coverage of this strategy is facing many organizational, logistical and technical challenges that threaten its success. Introducing an intervention with system-wide effect, such as the use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests in areas where malaria is still a public health problem, should be accompanied by system strengthening measures to better attain the goal of improving quality of care.

18.    WHO Bulletin – Lay health worker attrition: important but often ignored

Lungiswa Nkonki

There is a lack of research on lay health worker attrition. Research that aims to answer the following three key questions would help address this knowledge gap: what is the magnitude of attrition in programmes? What are the determinants of attrition? What are the most successful ways of reducing attrition?

Development & Aid


  • G 20 summit


The G20 Summit in Cannes is still ongoing. You find a couple of interesting blog posts on the summit on the CGD blog and on the ODI website. Obviously there’s quite some attention for Bill “Robin Hood” Gates. In the run-up to the summit, Gates published this piece in the Washington Post, with an overview of the key points he was going to make in Cannes.  The Financial Transaction Tax is not as dominant a topic as the Greek meltdown perhaps, in Cannes, but public pressure has been mounting, even on the likes of David Cameron.


As for the Greek political mess, some of our colleagues think the Greeks were blackmailing the EU with their referendum proposal earlier this week. We think it’s the other way around. It’s a pity Papandreou backed down. It’s about time not just the Greeks but all European people can have their say. We reckon the moment is right for EU leaders to organize an EU-wide referendum on the ’austerity annex financial high tech/hedgefund’ policy package they are about to implement “to save the euro”, as well as on the policies and frameworks set up in recent months to turn the EU into a real economic union. Then there will be no more easy lamenting on ‘the fate of the EU depending on only 2 % of the population’. Not that it’s going to happen soon.


The annual report is available online at:


  • CGD published its annual Commitment to Development index: each year the Centre for Global Development ranks the biggest donor countries based on how much their policies help or hurt the world’s poorest countries. How do donors compare? David Roodman and Owen Barder discuss some of the findings on the Guardian’s Poverty matters blog.


19.    ODI (background paper) – a post-2015 development agreement : why, what, who ?

Claire Melamed and Andy Sumner;

This paper was prepared for the ODI/UNDP Cairo workshop on a post-2015 Global Development Agreement, 26-27 October 2011. The paper discusses two aspects of the MDG agreement as global consensus on the main priorities for tackling poverty and as a political agreement about the level of accountability governments are prepared to accept for making changes. It summarises key data on progress towards the targets since the 1990s, and considers some key features of poverty and development today that are not covered by the MDGs. Turning to the political aspects of an agreement, the paper then sets the MDGs in the context of other global agreements, and the post-2015 discussion in the context of current trends in global governance.


  • Finally, some more interesting blog posts:



– on the World Bank governance blog: can aid become more relevant to getting things done?    (the blog enthuses about Tony Blair’s work – we assume they weren’t aware yet of the role he’s about to play in Kazachstan )

– on Busan and aid effectiveness – check the Broker’s Busan blog and Owen Barder’s blog post on ‘what would Google do (Aid effectiveness edition)?’

– will, after the UNESCO, the WHO also lie on the US chopping block (related to the Palestine issue)? (in Foreign Policy)

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