Dear Colleagues,

A few weeks ago Joarder Taufique wrote a guest editorial on knowledge translation in developing countries. He gave a critical perspective on the policy process in Bangladesh.  Azmal Hossain, currently MPH student in this institute, wanted to react.

Enjoy your reading.

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


A Critical Perspective on the Policy Process in a Developing Country: Some additional thoughts

Azmal Hossain (MD)

In today’s public health doctrine and as far as knowledge transfer is concerned, we tend to focus on scientific knowledge. We are mainly trying to learn from research conducted in artificial contexts. We call these research findings ‘scientific’ because they follow some predefined rules, regulations and research ethics. Read the rest of this editorial


Obama 2013 budget proposal

1. Science Speaks – PEPFAR Raided to Meet Global Fund Pledge in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

Christine Lubinski;

The Obama Administration released its fiscal year 2013 budget with a proposed $1.65 billion funding level—an increase of 26.9 % – for the Global Fund.  This substantial budget request for the Global fund came at the expense of PEPFAR, which is slated for a cut of $542.9 million—a reduction of almost 13 %.

2. CGD – GHI 2013 and the Rise of Multilateralism

Denizhan Duran & Amanda Glassman;

Glassman & Duran comment on the Obama budget request. So does  Craig Moscetti on the Global Health blog. He breaks down the global health budget numbers, and also wonders about the remaining 20 billion funding gap, going into the last year of the GHI.

In other pieces on the Obama budget request, Devex  comments on the wider (USAID)  picture, and Jeffrey Sachs even goes beyond aid, emphasizing that the US needs a third mainstream party (in the Financial Times), labelling the budget a ‘budget for the rich and powerful’.  (His FT readers will surely agree.)

Global Health Policy & Financing

3. Guardian – Health of millions of poor people threatened by EU-India free trade deal

Philippe Douste-Blazy & Denis Broun;

If stringent patent and border measures are agreed at the EU-India free trade summit, patients in poor countries will no longer have access to cheap essential medicines, argue Douste-Blazy and Broun. In a related piece, the Guardian’s global health editor, Sarah Bosely is equally worried.

4. Global – Corporate (anti) social responsibility

Andrew Harmer;

In a related article, Andrew Harmer wonders whether Corporate Social Responsibility is “a duck (CSR) or a rabbit (CSAR)”.

5. International health – Evaluation of scaling-up should take into account financial access: Comment on: Evaluating the scale-up for maternal and child survival: a common framework

David Hercot et al.;

David & other colleagues comment on  the framework for the evaluation of the scale-up for maternal & child survival, published a while ago in International Health. they call for more attention to financial protection.

Speaking of maternal & child health, a Canadian study has quantified for the first time the effects of safe water and sanitation on health.

Save the Children published a malnutrition study this week. The organization even called upon David Cameron to organize a World Hunger Summit this summer, together with the Olympics. (come to think of it, a UK session would fit in nicely, David & Boris)

6. HP&P  – An analysis of GAVI, the Global Fund and World Bank support for human resources for health in developing countries

Marko Vujicic et al.;

In this paper the authors analyze the HRH-related activities of three agencies: GAVI, the GF and the WB.

7. Plos (Essay) – The Evolving Landscape of the Economics of HIV Treatment and Prevention

Bohdan Nosyk et al.;

The authors argue that the cost-effectiveness of HAART roll out has been significantly underestimated, as economic analyses have thus far not considered the secondary benefits of HAART, chief among them the impact of HAART on HIV transmission. They argue that the strategic value of expanded HIV testing and expansion of HAART coverage has dramatically increased. This opens the door for the possibility of wide-scale implementation of “Seek, Test, Treat and Retain” programs as a means to control HIV- and AIDS-related morbidity, mortality, and transmission at once.

8. BMJ editorial – Improving the delivery of safe and effective healthcare in low and middle income countries

M Rashad Massoud et al.;

Research is needed into creating workable systems that can deliver and sustain interventions. The Salzburg Global Seminar, “Improving health care in low and middle income economies: what are the next steps and how do we get there?”, to be held in Salzburg, Austria, from 22 to 27 April will bring together 60 global health leaders from more than 20 countries to consider, among other things, how to sustain successful improvement efforts and strengthen health systems globally.

9. Nature – Data sharing aids the fight against malaria

Daniel Cressey;

‘Open innovation’ fosters good science but yields few promising drug candidates so far.

10.   Lancet – Offline: one day in Brussels

Richard Horton;

Richard Horton spent a lovely day in the capital of Europe, to attend a European Academic Global Health Alliance meeting. Under the chairmanship of Andy Haines, 50 members of the Alliance met to discuss the health impacts of development aid. They would like to test a new way of thinking about aid for health. “Instead of measuring the effects of aid by numbers of antiretroviral drugs given or insecticide-treated bednets distributed, would a better approach not be to measure the effects of aid on the health system as a whole?”

A Lancet letter dwells on the unmet surgical disease burden in the developing world.

11.   IPS – More Money Needed to Guarantee the Availability of ARVs

Burkina Faso’s Network for Access to Essential Medicines (RAME) has called on the government to increase the budget allocation to the health sector to avoid interruptions to AIDS treatment.

12.   Globalization & Health (Research) – Positioning women’s and children’s health in African Union policy-making: A policy analysis

Kadidiatou Toure, Rotimi Sankore, Shyama Kuruvilla, Elisa Scolaro, Flavia Bustreo and Babatunde Osotimehin;

In this paper, the authors assess the evolution of African Union policies related to women’s and children’s health, and analyze how these policies are prioritized and framed.

13.   UHC forward – The “Movement for Universal Coverage for Health in Africa” begins to take shape

Anthony Seddoh;

Encouraged by the growing number of social protection mechanisms in the Africa region delegates from the 1st Pan-African Congress on Universal Health Coverage have drafted and adopted a declaration to create a “Movement for Universal Coverage for Health in Africa” or MUCH in Africa.

CFR also features a long UHC conversation: “Towards sustainable universal health coverage”. Michael S. Chen, Margaret E. Kurk, and Yanzhong Huang engage in a discussion to see if there is a health care model that is socially desirable, politically acceptable, technologically feasible, and financially sustainable at a time when health care programs struggle with the rising costs, slacking economic growth, globalization of disease, aging populations, and the rise of NCDs.

14.   AJPH – The Role of Health Systems and Policies in Promoting Safe Delivery in Low- and Middle- Income Countries: A Multilevel Analysis

Margaret E. Kruk & Marta R. Prescott;

The authors aimed to measure the contribution of national factors, particularly health system characteristics, to the individual likelihood of professionally attended delivery for women in LMICs.

Finally, we also want to draw your attention to the Global Health Watch 3 report (online since last week) and a new issue of the monthly Health Diplomacy Monitor.

Development & Aid

15.   Owen Barder – What are the results agenda?

The term ‘results agenda’ is used in four different ways, according to CGD’s Owen Barder.

16.   ODI (Background note) – The European Commission’s legislative proposals for financing EU Development Cooperation

Mikaela Gavas;

In December 2011 the European Commission unveiled its package of legislative proposals on the EU’s external action instruments for the period 2014-20 as part of the negotiations on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s spending review. This Background Note focuses on selected instruments of direct relevance to international development.

17.   Oxfam (discussion paper) – A safe and just space for humanity: can we live within the donut?

Kate Raworth;

In the run-up to Rio+20, this discussion paper presents a visual framework – shaped like a doughnut – which brings planetary boundaries together with social boundaries, creating a safe and just space between the two, in which humanity can thrive.

The Guardian’s George Monbiot already commented,  and the debate also rages on the blog of Duncan Green (Oxfam) . It’s a vital debate, as time is running out, we learnt yesterday at a seminar in Leuven. Apparently we’re heading for a “perfect storm” by 2030 (with climate change, resource scarcity, demographical challenges, … all coming together).

It’s good to know that the World Bank will still be there to protect us, in 2030.

Robert Zoellick announced that he will step down from the World Bank presidency at the end of June. You can find his final message to the world in Foreign Affairs (gated): “Why we still need the World Bank”. (well, you don’t expect Zoellick to claim the opposite)

Obviously, everybody is eager to know who will follow him up. CGD has a few blogs on the issue  (see here and here). Humanosphere’s Tom Paulson also speculates a bit.  Make sure you also read Jayathi Ghosh’s analysis in the Guardian, and John Cassidy’s funny bets in the New Yorker. (Believe it or not, apart from Hilary and Bill Clinton (gearing up for some more marital bickering), Tony Blair is being mentioned. Some ghosts just won’t die.)

Finally, CGD’s Charles Kenny wonders whether we still need development goals. (Let’s ask that question again in 2030, when we will all be watching the “Apocalypse Now” sequel.)

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