Dear Colleagues,

Last week I was among the happy few to attend GLOBAL HEALTH 2011, the first joint conference organized by the British Medical Journal and the UK NGO NICE International (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) in London. It wants to improve global health by promoting cost-effective, evidence-informed healthcare policy making.

Read the rest of this editorial

Enjoy your reading.

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


Reproductive Health

1. WHO Bulletin – United States aid policy and induced abortion in sub-Saharan Africa

http://www.who.int/bulletin/11-091660.pdf

This study published online ahead of print by the WHO bulletin shows an increased level of abortion rates in countries where the US support for NGOs has been cut the most following the Global Gag rule or Mexico City policy.

2. Live Webcast: “The Seventh Billion Human: What Does This Birth Mean?”

The Hopkins Population Center wants to mark the birth of the seventh billion human on earth by looking at the consequences of this expected birth. They propose you to join a life symposium via webcast on Friday 14 October 2011, 18:00–20:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The webcast will be available at: http://www.jhsph.edu/7billion

3. Science Speaks – Hormonal contraception and HIV: Weighing the evidence and balancing the risks

Jodi Jacobson; http://sciencespeaksblog.org/2011/10/06/hormonal-contraception-and-hiv-weighing-the-evidence-and-balancing-the-risks/

Before this NY Times article generates a buzz, Jacobson rightly points the partial uses of the original Lancet publication that reported an increased risk of HIV transmission in women using injectable contraceptives.

From my perspective, it has never been said that contraception was an effective measure to prevent AIDS. Consistent use of condoms has always been encouraged in this matter. The fact that injectable contraceptive potentially increases the risk of HIV transmission is merely an additional argument for consistent use of condoms. It doesn’t change much to current HIV preventions strategies and shouldn’t therefore change much to our family planning strategies either.  DH

Global AIDS Policy

4. PlosOne – Economic Returns to Investment in AIDS Treatment in Low and Middle Income Countries

Stephen Resch, Eline Korenromp, John Stover et al.; http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0025310

In this article Resch and colleagues report their findings on the economic benefits of treating HIV patients. Sarah Boseley reports on this and the recent decision by UK government to reduce HIV funding through bilateral channels at a time where we ear reports of massive ARV shortfalls in highly endemic countries.

5. CGD – Priorities for AIDS Spending: Evaluating Interventions Individually Obscures the Benefits of Synergy

Mead Over; http://blogs.cgdev.org/globalhealth/2011/09/reflections-on-the-copenhagen-consensus-priorities-for-aids-spending-evaluating-interventions-individually-obscures-the-benefits-of-synergy.php

Mead Over reflects on the Copenhagen discussions we mentioned last week that were trying to define how to spend ten billions on AIDS in the coming five years. In short he think the process was biased and the conclusions aren’t reflecting evidence. Or at least the evidence has been selected in a way he cannot agree with.

Global Health Policy and Financing

6. WHO Bulletin – Global action on social determinants of health

Michael Marmot; http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/89/10/11-094862/en/index.html

In the perspective of the social determinants of health summit later this month in Rio, the WHO bulletin focus on social determinants. Marmot, who chaired the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health in 2005, in an editorial comes back on the recent history of the fight for including social determinants in global health priorities.

 

You will find more interesting articles on social determinants of health in this issue including this piece, by Krech and Rasanathan, arguing that acting on social determinants is crucial to fight NCDs.

7.  Huffington Post – New Trade Deal Would Benefit Big Pharma At AIDS Programs’ Expense

Zach Carter; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/aids-trade-regulations-patent-law_n_994940.html?page=1

This Huffington post piece reflects on the trade deal the Obama administration is pushing to complete with Vietnam and seven other Pacific nations. They highlight the risk of increased price for life saving drugs just like what India is trying to prevent in its free trade negotiations with Europe.

8. Lancet Infectious Diseases – Innovation for polio eradication

http://www.lancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(11)70258-4/fulltext

The fight against polio is facing challenges nowadays. The Editors of the Lancet infectious diseases highlight these. The y see a funding shortfall, an efficacy issue of the used vaccines and probably the most important, a social challenge: Polio transmission occurs in poorly deserved areas that have for a reason or another weak or even negative relations with official governments leading the charge against polio.

9. AJTMH – Malaria in Africa Can Be Eliminated

Carlos C. Campbell and Richard W. Steketee; http://www.ajtmh.org/content/85/4/584.abstract

Despite a promising title, Campbell and Steketee merely list the strategies at hand and end up saying that we should continue the tremendous current efforts and increase commitments despite financial crisis and other priorities in health and beyond. If you were expecting the holy grail of malaria elimination, they didn’t find it.

 

As reported by Akogbeto et al. in the same journal bendiocarb might be a strong ally in this effort if its toxicity is controlled.

Development & Aid

10.   Push inequality up development agenda

Sophie de Caen, Richard Jolly, Glenys Kinnock et al.; http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/oct/04/push-inequality-up-development-agenda

This short letter calls for more attention to reduce inequalities within and across countries and list a number of useful links for those interested in equity and post MDGs discussions.

11.   ODI – ‘Non-DAC donors’: reflections on an emerging research and public affairs agenda

Lidia Cabral; http://blogs.odi.org.uk/blogs/main/archive/2011/09/30/aid_non_DAC_donors_south_to_south_cooperation.aspx

Cabral gives her view on the “emerging Non DAC donors” as a research agenda.

12.   Project Syndicate – Globalization’s Government

J. Sachs; http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/sachs182/English

Sachs, beside promoting his new book, gives a plea for more and not less governments in times of globalisation and financial crisis.

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