This week’s newsletter has two introductions. The first one by Anar Ulikpan, one of our Emerging Voices, and one by our colleague Jean-Pierre Unger.

Enjoy your reading

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

HIV/AIDS  &  Rome

1.    Lancet (editorial) – HIV/AIDS and the road to Rome

On July 17—20, the sixth International AIDS Society conference on HIV pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention will take place in Rome, Italy. To coincide with the meeting, a special issue of The Lancet is dedicated to HIV/AIDS. This editorial sheds light on the key debates.

2.    Lancet – Treatment 2.0: catalyzing the next phase of scale-up

Gottfried Hirnschall , Bernhard Schwartländer;

Treatment 2.0 is an initiative coordinated by UNAIDS and WHO to provide leadership and technical guidance to catalyse the next phase of scale-up in HIV treatment. Radical simplification, innovation in drug design and diagnostics, renewed commitment and resources, and adapted delivery systems will be crucial to reach universal and sustainable coverage of treatment for those in need. The Treatment 2.0 framework is guiding UNAIDS, WHO, and partners to scale up treatment over the next decade.

3.    Lancet (viewpoint) – Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and the health-related Millennium Development Goals: time for a public health approach

Erik J Schouten, Andreas Jahn, Dalitso Midiani et al.;

This viewpoint by Erik Schouten et al. dwells on the need to further simplify PMTCT protocols to make them feasible in remote rural areas, like most parts of Malawi, where access to CD4 counts remains very problematic.

4.    Lancet (letter) – A strategic revolution in HIV and global health

Roger England;

The grumpy author of this Lancet letter trashes the recent Lancet editorial on UNAIDS.

5.    JAIDS – Integrating HIV and Maternal Health Services: Will Organizational Culture Clash Sow the Seeds of a New and Improved Implementation Practice?

Lynn P. Freedman;

Drawing on an analysis by Pritchett et al of the “techniques of persistent implementation failure” common across many development sectors, this commentary suggests that health systems attempting to integrate maternal health and HIV services may need to contend with a profound clash of organizational cultures.

6.    JAIDS supplement – (Debate) – The HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa: thinking ahead on programmatic tasks and related operational research

Rony Zachariah, Wim Van Damme, Vic Arendt, Jean Claude Schmit and Anthony D Harries;

The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains well ahead of us, in spite of massive efforts. What is needed to change this situation is to think ahead of the epidemic in terms of the programmatic tasks we will be faced with and try to act boldly in trying to implement those tasks. From a programmatic perspective, the authors: a) highlight what needs to fundamentally change in our thinking and overall approach to the epidemic; and b) outline a number of key task areas for implementation and related operational research.

Global Health Policy & financing

7.    IHPblog – From Global Health to Publicly Oriented Local Health…Systems

Jean Pierre Unger;

As mentioned in the introduction, JP Unger put forward some proposals for a new EU international health policy, in a keynote speech at the First European  Seminar on Global Health (Brussels, EC, June 27, 2011). PDF here (4p 350 Kb)

8.    Lancet – Should health professionals play the global health security card?

Stefan Elbe;

Stefan Elbe sketches three security cards that are being played by health professionals. He prefers the third one, human health security.

9.    CGD (working paper) – The Health Systems Funding Platform: Resolving Tensions between the Aid and Development Effectiveness Agendas – Working Paper 258

Amanda Glassman and William Savedoff;

This new CGD working paper briefly assesses the Health Systems Funding Platform and argues that the way the initiative is proceeding differs little from prior initiatives, such as sectorwide approaches and budget support. However, the initiative does represent an opportunity to make global health aid more effective if it were to deepen its commitment to improving information for policy, link funding explicitly to well-chosen independently verified indicators, and establish an evaluation strategy to learn from its experience.

10.    David McCoy’s What next for the IHP Plus?


David McCoy wrote this paper in response to a SuRG Discussion Paper prepared by the IHP+ Core Team. This discussion paper outlined future strategic directions for IHP+ after 2011, and was sent out for consultation. McCoy provides a critical assessment of the SURG discussion paper as well as a brief response to the five questions listed in the discussion paper.

Andrew Harmer wrote a blog on the same topic (the future of IHP+).

On the same globalhealthpolicy blog, Harmer, obviously not yet on holidays, also wrote a post on the new impact factors of public health journals.

11.    HLSP – Is aid effectiveness giving us better health results?

Clare Dickinson;

This paper by Clare Dickinson proposes a framework for a results chain that can be used to analyse the contribution of aid effectiveness processes in health. Based on the framework, it presents a rapid synthesis of the evidence to determine whether aid effectiveness processes are improving results in the health sector.

12.    KFF – Gilead Becomes First Company To License Drugs To Medicines Patent Pool

In the first agreement between a pharmaceutical company and the new international Medicines Patent Pool, Gilead Sciences announced earlier this week that it would license four of its AIDS and hepatitis B drugs to the pool.


Sarah Boseley also welcomed this news.

13.    Sarah Boseley – Collateral damage from the hunt for Bin Laden

Sarah Bosely was one of the many in the global health community to react on the outrageous CIA “vaccine & Bin Laden” ploy. This “feat” probably reminded the CIA of the ‘good old times’ in the sixties and seventies. Meanwhile, the rest of the world, including hopefully Hilary Clinton (or are we naïve), worries about the massive damage that has been done.

Several other global health commentators and organisations have chipped in by now, for example Tom Paulson, here and here, Seth Mnookin on the plos blog, and MSF.

14.    KFF – BRICS Health Ministers Agree To Improve Access To Low-Cost Medicines

Health ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa met in Beijing earlier this week, and vowed to improve access to low-cost and high-quality medicine and called on developed nations to shoulder responsibility in helping the poor.

UNAIDS chief Sidibe was also in Beijing, and said it would be a “big mistake” for donors to cut funding to China in the fight against AIDS, rebuffing critics who say the world’s second-largest economy should no longer be a recipient of such aid. (well, I guess when you’re in Beijing, it’s hard to say something else).

Health Promotion

15.    Lancet (editorial) – Warning: a hard habit to break

A Lancet editorial comments on the launch of the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2011. Governments, especially in low-income and middle-income countries, have to increase spending on anti-tobacco campaigns and health communication.

On the CGD website, William Savedoff also has an interesting post on tobacco control. He has plenty of ideas to tackle the problem at the scale required.

Health Financing

16.    Toronto IHEA conference (overview of powerpoints pre-symposium) – on the role of the private sector in health

The bi-annual IHEA world congress took place in Toronto this year. Topic of a pre-symposium was the role of the private sector in health. You find some of the powerpoint presentations of the pre-symposium (July 9) (as well as the ppt of the keynote speech by Julio Frenk) on this website.

Aid & Development

The Center for Global Development should probably be relabeled ‘the thinktank that never sleeps and never goes on holidays’. In yet another working paper, CGD’s Owen Barder  adresses the questions of what aid is for, whether aid leads to economic growth and whether aid improves people’s lives. The real question is not whether aid works, but which aid works, he reckons.

ODI could not stay behind, and published a background note on climate change as part of the post-2015 development agenda.

The Guardian’s Global Development blog has an article on the increasing Australian aid to Africa and South-Asia. And on the Global Dashboard  blog, Andy Sumner wonders whether we will soon by talking about a new sort of fragile state, fragile as well as MIC.

Finally, the Guardian’s Global Development blog reports that Britain has indefinitely suspended part of its aid programme, worth £19m, for Malawi over the country’s repeated failure to address concerns over economic management and governance. The money was used for general budget support. Harsh times for a country depending largely on external aid for its health sector…

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