Dear Colleagues,

The existential crisis of the EU has never been this obvious, with EU “swastikas” all over our tv screens. Opinions on where to go from here range from Amartya Sen’s (yesterday in the Guardian)  to Gideon Rachman’s (earlier this week in the Financial Times). For the European leaders who gathered yesterday, the debt crisis must feel like a big headache that just won’t go away.
Enjoy your reading.
David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen, Basile Keugong & Wim Van Damme

Vaccines

1.   Lancet (Offline) – Offline: Looking forward to some surprises

Richard Horton;
Horton assesses the GAVI funding meeting outcomes, and the innovative Board of the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

2.   Lancet (World Report) – GAVI funding meeting exceeds expectations

Ann Danaiya Usher;
Child health in developing countries received a boost last week, when donors pledged record funds for GAVI. Ann Danaiya Usher reports.
In a Huffington Post opinion piece, Gro Brundtland, former WHO director general and former prime minister of Norway, discusses the upcoming launch of the UN Foundation’s global vaccine campaign aimed at encouraging Americans to contribute.

3.CGD – Should We Pay Less for Vaccines?

Owen Barder;
In the words of Barder: “Progressive development thinkers have welcomed the announcement of new money for GAVI, and support the partnership between governments and the private sector.  A minority of NGOs have criticized GAVI on the grounds that it is too cozy with pharmaceutical companies.  But we should be encouraging more, not less, engagement by pharmaceutical companies in the health needs of developing countries.  Perhaps pharmaceutical companies have done more for the world’s poor than the aid industry?” Yet another very nuanced and well-argued post by Owen.

HIV/AIDS

4.Lancet – Test and treat in HIV: success could depend on rapid detection

Ted Cohen & Elizabeth L. Corbett;
Cohen & Corbett comment on a Lancet study by Powers et. al. Individuals within the first 6 months of their HIV infection seem responsible for a high proportion of all transmission events. This implies that a substantial proportion needs to be rapidly identified and treated during this stage to have any prospect of the large decreases in HIV prevalence projected by Granich and colleagues (which received worldwide attention).
In other HIV/AIDS news, a new report from the consulting firm HCM Strategists and the nonprofit group FasterCures “analyzes the factors that helped patient advocates drive research into and drug development for [HIV/AIDS], and tries to figure out whether there are lessons to be learned for other disease advocates“. A nice read on AIDS activism.
Earlier this week, WHO also releasedits first-ever HIV guidelines for MSM and transgender people.

5.Social Science & Medicine – Has HIV/AIDS displaced other health funding priorities? Evidence from a new dataset of development aid for health

Grace Lordon et al.;
This study aims to test if a higher level of HIV/AIDS funding is related to a displacement in funding for other health concerns, and if yes, to quantify the magnitude of the displacement effect. The authors find the displacement effect for malaria especially worrying.
SS&M also has an excellent Commentary on this article, by Berlan & Halperin, in which they say, among other things, that perhaps a greater emphasis on also treating and preventing malaria through strengthened health systems (rather than just through the vertical approaches of the GF and Roll Back Malaria) would achieve greater results. In other words, they question whether the “siloing” of malaria funding is benefiting their cause. 
Speaking of Health Systems Strengthening, Action for Global Health has a good post
on the ten principles that should guide HSS, as collated by a group of academics from the Yale School of Public Health and presented and debated at the Global Health Council Conference in Washington DC last week. The author of the blog post also examines how the US (with the GHI) and the EU are doing in this respect.  (The Global Health Initiative will most probably not get anywhere near the 63 billion target. This blog post on Global Post shows how much money the US has spent on global health since 2001, broken down by specific health sectors.)

Health Policy & financing

6.Global Health Governance (Spring special Issue) – the intersection of health and security

Global Health Governance just put its Spring issue online, a special issue on the intersection of Health and Security. There are plenty of interesting articles, excellent reading material for the coming holiday period, if you ask us. For example David Fidler’s article on the ‘Rise and Fall of Global Health as a Foreign Policy Issue’, which seems to contradict the message delivered by Margaret Chan (& Andrew Lansley) at a recent Chatham House event, on the ‘rise of global health in international affairs’. 

7. Guardian  – Midwife shortage jeopardises progress on cutting women and child deaths

A UN Population Fund report confirms a big gap between the number of midwives practising and those needed to save lives. More and better trained midwives could help save millions of lives in 58 countries identified as suffering from a crisis in human resources for health. The Guardian also had a piece on midwife burnout, a looming threat for reducing maternal mortality.

8.   KFF – NCDs Responsible For Majority Of Deaths Worldwide And Cost Trillions, Report Says

Nearly two-thirds of deaths worldwide are caused by NCDs, which are increasingly prevalent and cost the global economy trillions of dollars, according to a U.N. report and preliminary results from a new study announced Monday at a press conference to preview the September U.N. High Level Meeting on NCDs.
Elsewhere on the net, the increased interest for NCDs has sparked a discussion on the funding challenges for NCDs in resource- limited settings, for example by Karen Grepin or here (panel discussion, at GHD online).

9.   IVAC  report  –  Improving Access to Essential Medicines Through Public-Private Partnership

Kyla Hayford; Lois Privor-Dumm; Orin Levine;
A new report  from the International Vaccine Access Center “asks why products like Coca Cola can reach remote villages in developing nations while essential medicines like antibiotics cannot always be found.” The report documents the poor availability of essential health products in sub-Saharan Africa and explores how to improve EHP distribution via collaborations with the private sector.
One of the authors, Orin Levine, from Johns Hopkins, has an opinion piece in the Huffington Post on this. He summarizes some of the recommendations of the report.

10.   Humanosphere – Number crunchers say the evidence is: Transparency strengthens global health

Tom Paulson;
Paulson shows how people at IHME try to boost transparency, as well as Peter Piot’s and IHME board member Lincoln Chen’s opinion on the matter.
As if to confirm this commitment, this week the Global Fund  announced that it has signed the international aid transparency initiative (IATI).
Related to this transparency issue, is the issue of human rights. We would like to draw your attention to this  blog post  (on Blog 4 Global Health), on ‘the right to health’ versus ‘a rights-based approach to health’.

11.   HP&P – Can interventions improve health services from informal private providers in low and middle-income countries? A comprehensive review of the literature

Nirali M. Shah et al. ;
Health Policy & Planning just published the July issue. This article offers a review of the literature on interventions to improve health services from informal private providers in LMICs. It appears that strategies that change the market conditions for IPPs—by changing incentives and accountability— are more likely to succeed than those that depend on building individual capacities of IPPs.
Another article in the same issue aims to highlight the most recent assessments of how economic shocks, including the Global Financial Crisis of 2008/2009, affect the poor in developing countries, especially vulnerable women and children in Asia.

12.   Global Fund Observer (Letters) – Responses by Global Fund Chair and Others to “Auditing the Auditor”

In the new GFO issue, the editors reproduce letters which they received from the Chair of the Global Fund Board, the Minister of Health of Rwanda, and a working group of the India CCM in response to their commentary entitled “Auditing the Auditor” in GFO 147 and to letters from five principal recipients in GFO 148.

13.   TMIH (viewpoint) – Political will for better health, a bottom-up process

Wim De Ceukelaire, Pol De Vos, Bart Criel ;
The field research in which these researchers ( some of them are ITM colleagues) have been involved over the past 20 years in the Philippines, Palestine, Cuba, and Europe confirms that organized communities and people’s organizations can effectively pressure the state into action towards realizing the right to health. Social movements and public health researchers have a lot to learn from each other.
Another TMIH editorial argues for an appropriate response to the evidence for the management of severe malaria (and thus replace quinine with artesunate).

Development & Aid

14.   EG4Health – “Contrary to our initial instincts, a financial transaction tax may not be such a bad idea after all” Institute of Development Studies review of the FTT literature

Andrew Harmer;
Andrew Harmer comments on a just published systematic review of  the evidence for and against financial transaction taxes (FTTs) by two IDS economists.
AFGH also has a nice blog post on the FTT, arguing that the FTT is gathering pace (see the global day for action on 22 June). So the political momentum is still building up. Yet, there is a worrying shift noticeable in terms of where the resources would go to, according to the author of this post: increasingly, the aim seems to be to channel resources towards the national budget of EU states.
Finally, we want to draw your attention to this article (by Dave Algoso) on paradigm shifts in international development. Sort of.

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