Dear Colleagues,

We considered a number of options for the guest editorial this week, as so much is happening in the world right now. In the end, we decided to go for a piece on Euro 2012, an extremely important event for many of us. We admit: the link with global health is not obvious.  Yet, to paraphrase Andrew Harmer, football can be considered a potentially ‘ill-health causing phenomenon’ for many people, even if it takes place in a far-away country. In other words, international football is not just war but also ‘global health’. Just kidding.

Enjoy your reading.

Kristof Decoster, David Hercot, Ildikó Bokros, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme



Euro 2012: The euro might go down, but there will always be European football

Kristof Decoster


Child survival summit

This week the global health tribe meets again to celebrate yet another “call to action”. . Read our comment here.


Health policy & financing

 2. Global Health

Editors: Ilona Kickbusch et al.;

The Graduate Institute, Global Health Programme, together with the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, produced this Global Health publication for the 65th WHA. There are contributions from Parliamentarians and Ministers, Heads of Multilateral Organisations, Civil Society Organisations and Academics.

 3. Globalization & Health – Priorities for developing countries in the global response to non-communicable diseases

Dermot Maher et al.;

The growing global burden of NCDs needs urgent and comprehensive action. This article provides an overview of key critical issues that need to be resolved to ensure that recent political commitments are translated into practical action.


4. IHP – India pharmacy steams ahead against multinational companies’ control

Daniele Dionisio;

India’s government is steaming ahead against multinational companies’ control. The Op-ed provides the latest on what’s happening in India, including the sorafenib case.

 5. Reuters – China changes patent law in fight for cheaper drugs

China has overhauled parts of its intellectual property laws to allow its drug makers to make cheap copies of medicines still under patent protection in an initiative likely to unnerve foreign pharmaceutical companies.


In other news related to access to medicines, last weekend several thousand people took to the streets in Germany to protest against proposed new anti-counterfeiting controls, which they say will harm the production of generic drugs across the world and consequently reduce poor people’s access to them. The day of action, which was organised to stop the implementation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), also produced demonstrations in London, Brussels, Vienna, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

 6.  MSF – Zimbabwe: HIV patients should not bear financial burden of donor retreat

Fasil Tesera;

The author of this Op-Ed sketches the dire situation in Zimbabwe, now that there is a dangerous shortfall of international funding for local treatment programmes. To make up the shortfall, various segments of the Zimbabwean health sector proposed that certain HIV patients pay for their ARVs themselves.


The Rush Foundation would probably call that a ‘disruptive idea in the fight against HIV’.

 7. Global Health Governance – Global Health at the G8: Integration, In Decline or Simply Stalled?

Jenilee M. Guebert;

For the second year in a row, the amount of attention devoted to global health at the G8 summit declined.


8. CGD – Priority-Setting in Health: Building Institutions for Smarter Public Spending

Amanda Glassman & Kalipso Chalkidou

The Center for Global Development’s Priority-Setting Institutions for Global Health Working Group recommends creating and developing fair and evidence-based national and global systems to more rationally set priorities for public spending on health.

 9. Mobihealthnews – US to trail developing countries in mHealth

The global market for mobile health products and services is expected to approach $23 billion by 2017, and much of the growth will not happen in the U.S. but rather in less-developed countries, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. An obvious example of leapfrogging, in other words.


Many more examples of leapfrogging will probably occur, if Mitt Romney wins the US presidential elections later this year. Laurie Garret already ponders the impact on global health, if Marco Rubio were to become vice-president.

10.   BMJ (Analysis) – Post-marketing observational trials and catastrophic health expenditure

John S. Yudkin;

There are suspicions that Novo Nordisk’s recent observational studies are predominantly serving a marketing purpose. CHI for households could result, warns Yudkin. And in any case the approach seems to conflict with the social responsibility image cherished by the company.

11.   TMIH – Unsustainable funding of high-burden tuberculosis control programmes: who is responsible?

Verena Mauch et al.;

In a survey, the authors investigated the hypothesis that domestic funding for TB control has fallen in 11 low-income, high-TB-burden countries in the context of changes in GDP, development assistance inflows and national health expenditures. They found that despite rises in GDP per capita between 2003 and 2009, health expenditure as percent of GDP fell or stayed the same for the majority of these countries. Although TB control budgets increased for all 11 countries in absolute terms, 6 countries reduced government contribution to TB control.

12. – ‘Reshaping global health’ – a radical proposal for global health?

Andrew Harmer;

Harmer reviewed the proposal to re-shape global health (by Mark Dybul, Peter Piot and Julio Frenk). He basically thinks it belongs in the dustbin.


13.   UHC forward – Leaked Rio +20 Earth Summit document shows strong commitment to universal health coverage and health systems

The latest draft Rio +20 Earth Summit document, leaked to the Guardian this week, shows a strong commitment to universal health coverage and health systems strengthening.

14.   Lancet (Correspondence) – Health of Palestinian people in the ghettos: from Gaza to Shatila

Majdi Ashour;

In this Lancet letter, our Palestinian colleague Majdi elaborated on his IHP guest editorial of a while ago.


Finally, some NTD news:

“In order to break the vicious cycle that leaves tropical diseases neglected, existing programs that diagnose and treat patients need to be expanded and medical research to develop simpler, more effective tools needs to be supported”, according to a new MSF report, Fighting Neglect.  “Charting the organization’s 25 years of experience in diagnosing and treating Chagas disease, sleeping sickness, and kala azar in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Caucasus, the report examines past, present, and future management of the diseases and notes that access to quality life-saving treatment requires much greater political will among major international donors and national governments of endemic countries.”




15.   Plos One – Simplified Tools for Measuring Retention in Care in Antiretroviral Treatment Program in Ethiopia: Cohort and Current Retention in Care

Yibeltal Assefa et al. ;

Currently available tools, such as Kaplan Meier, for measuring retention in care have a lot of practical limitations. The objective of this study was to develop simplified tools for measuring retention in care. Simplified tools for “current retention” and “cohort retention” will enable practitioners and program managers to measure and monitor rates of retention in care easily and appropriately.

16.   BMC public health – A literature review of the disruptive effects of user fee exemption policies on health systems

Valéry Ridde et al.;

The objective of this article is to bring to light the disruptions triggered by exemption policies in health systems of LMICs.

 17.   HP& P – Perceptions of per diems in the health sector: evidence and implications

Taryn Vian et al.;

This study was designed to explore perceptions of per diems among 41 high-, mid- and low-level government officers and NGO officials in Malawi and Uganda.


18.   WHO Bulletin – Reduced price on rotavirus vaccines: enough to facilitate access where most needed?

Lizell B. Madsen et al.;

In this paper, the authors examine whether the newly-proposed rotavirus vaccine prices are low enough to make rotavirus vaccines universally accessible to the millions of children in need of protection against rotavirus infection. Furthermore, they discuss the steps that need to be taken in the future to facilitate the introduction of rotavirus vaccines and ensure their sustained financing in low-income countries

Development & Aid

19.   ODI (Background note) – Where do European Institutions rank on donor quality?

Matthew Geddes;

Amid the financial crisis and consequent squeeze on aid budgets, donor quality has become increasingly important. This paper investigates how to use donor quality indices to demonstrate the impact of aid.

20.   CGD – MDGs 2.0: What Goals, Targets, and Timeframe? – Working Paper 297

Jonathan Karver, Charles Kenny and Andy Sumner;

This paper builds on a discussion that has already begun to address potential approaches, goals, and target indicators to help inform the process of developing a second generation of MDGs. The paper outlines potential goal areas based on the original Millennium Declaration, the timeframe for any MDGs 2.0 and attempts to calculate some reasonable targets associated with those goal areas.


Rio+ 20

There’s so much online information available now on the upcoming Rio+20 summit that it’s pointless to try to give an overview. Nevertheless, you might want to read the following articles:

  • a joint report by 105 institutions (with the Royal Society among them) urges negotiators to drop political inhibitions and confront rising global population and consumption (in the  Guardian).
  • There seems to be a risk of a ‘two track process’: “Rio could create two global silos for discussion on environment and development. One would focus on sustainable development goals and the other on MDGs.”
  • Lomborg is not a fan of the Rio+20 process and focal points – ‘the ‘green economy’ is an obsession of the advanced world”, he implies.
  • This week, female Nobel prize winner Ostrom passed away. Her work on handling common resources offers valuable sustainable development lessons (in the Guardian).
  • takes a thorough look at how science and technology might fare at the Rio+20 summit? Aisling Irwin looks at scientists’ demands and assesses their chances.
  • You can find some of the latest on Rio+ 20 preparations and bickering in the Guardian (here and here) and on Oxfam’s Duncan Green’s blog (with a piece on sustainability goals that should emerge in Rio+20).


Other D&A stuff


  • Owen Barder explains Development Impact Bonds, a new mechanism to enable private investment in development outcomes.
  • Romney’s chances in the presidential elections aren’t bad, and part of the reason is the support from the oil & shale gas industry – this could turn out to be decisive in some of the swing states where the industry could create a lot of jobs. “Obama isn’t ‘dirty’ enough”, according to Mitt.
  • The IMF uses a very different discourse, though, these days – This week, Christine Lagarde talked about the triple crisis (social, economic and yes, environmental). She even called for the use of fiscal tools—carbon pricing and elimination of fossil fuel subsidies—to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.
  • Lagarde probably also agrees with this article in YaleGlobal – it’s time to end fossil fuel subsidies. Yet, subsidies contribute to political and economic stability, the author argues. Ending subsidies, without putting alternative support programs into place, only adds to the ranks of the poor and threatens global security.
  • Recent World Bank aid favours neither privatization nor nationalization -Jonathan Glennie assesses this claim in the Guardian.
  • Justin Yifu Lin argues for Development 3.0 (in a Project Syndicate Op-Ed)
  • For a report on high-level corruption in the EU, see here.

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