Dear Colleagues,


We’ll keep the intro short this week as there is plenty of material, not the least because last week our newsletter was sent out on Thursday, before the weekly Lancet issue in other words which coincided with November 1st. This week the focus will, among other issues, be on the upcoming HRH  Forum in Recife (including the special WHO Bulletin issue on HRH for UHC), the first translational medicine conference on HIV research “What will it take to achieve an AIDS-free world” in San Francisco, a two-day seminar in Barcelona on ‘Building a Global Health Social Contract for the 21st Century’ (we hope to offer you an editorial on this event next week), … There’s plenty of other news, though, for example on the first 5 thematic groups established by HS Global (see the new issue of their newsletter, which also contains news on the approval of the first strategic plan by the Board).

No time for pontificating or populist slogans this week, in other words. We do however want to draw your attention to Tom Paulson’s sharp reflection on a new KFF survey on American public’s attitudes regarding global health and foreign aid. An annual exercise, as you probably know. He says:  “An ongoing challenge for those looking to increase the public’s level of interest in and support of global health is grabbing their attention, and there are some signs that the visibility of global health issues has declined in recent years.” Perhaps, he says, because “the aid narrative generally sucks. That’s what we at Humanosphere think, as explained in our mission statement. We believe the aid narrative is a bit preachy, safe and straining to be ‘positive’ to the point of pathology. We think many in the humanitarian community often patronize the public and refuse to include them in on the real story – which can be messy, highly political and uncomfortable since poverty is not really an accident of nature.” He concludes:  “The Kaiser survey indicates the global health sales pitch is losing steam. Maybe this is evidence that what’s needed is to more firmly place global health within the broader context of the fight against poverty, inequity and injustice. We’ve made great strides in the last decade or so by investing in targeted interventions and by compartmentalizing the fight against disease. Maybe the public is telling us it’s time for a new approach.”

This week’s guest editorial (by Jim Campbell and colleagues) looks ahead to the Forum in Recife, Brazil. They also discuss the Forum’s technical report:  ‘A universal truth: no health without a workforce’, which will be launched on Monday. The focus of the report is the role of human resources for health to Attain, Sustain or Accelerate Progress towards UHC  (ASAP, yes).

Enjoy your reading.

Kristof Decoster, An Appelmans, Peter Delobelle, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme




A universal truth: no health without a workforce

Jim Campbell a, Gilles Dussault b, James Buchan c, Rüdiger Krech d, Giorgio Cometto e

  • a Instituto de Cooperación Social Integrare (ICS Integrare), Barcelona, Spain
  • b Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical (IHMT), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
  • c Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • d World Health Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland
  • e Global Health Workforce Alliance, Geneva, Switzerland

The Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Recife, Brazil starts tomorrow, Saturday 9th November, 2013. Co-hosted by the Global Health Workforce Alliance (the Alliance), World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Government of Brazil, the Forum anticipates more than 1,500 participants in the pre-Forum (09 Nov) and main proceedings (10-13 Nov).   For Twitter followers expect a high-volume of photos, commentary and more at the hash-tag #3GFHRH

Read the rest here



Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health


1.    Lancet Global Health – The Third Global Forum: framing the health workforce agenda for universal health coverage

Giorgio Cometto et al.;

In the run-up to Recife, Giorgio Cometto and colleagues – many of them are co-authors of our guest editorial this week – frame the health workforce agenda for UHC, and call for a paradigm shift.

2.    WHO – draft declaration: The global commitments of the 3rd Global Forum on Human Resources for Health

This is the draft declaration for next week’s Global Forum on HRH, outlining the national & global commitments.

A report on a preparatory meeting for this Forum reflects the proceedings of the consultation on HRH in High Income Countries, held on 4 and 5 September 2013 in Oslo, Norway. The consultation was organized by the World Health Organization and the Global Health Workforce Alliance, in collaboration with the Directorate of Health of Norway as well as The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. The aim of the meeting was to enhance a common understanding of HRH challenges and increase HICs engagement in advancing global HRH solutions.

3.    Intrahealth – Top 5 Reasons the Global Health Community Should Have Its Eyes on Recife

Kate Tulenko;

Smart blog post and a must-read, also with a view on post-2015.

4.    WHO Bulletin theme issue on human resources for universal health coverage

In the run-up to the Forum, WHO Bulletin released a special issue on HR for UHC. With plenty of nice editorials, lessons from the field, Policy & Practice articles, roundtable discussions, … It’s a very rich issue, so do check it out. Below we draw your attention to some of the editorials.

The WHO Bulletin editorial by Mozart Sales et al. discusses for example the fact that health workforce development is partly a technical process requiring expertise in human resource planning, education and management, but also a political process requiring the will and the capacity to coordinate efforts on the part of different sectors.  (not unlike UHC itself, which is both a technical & political effort). The theme issue covers both aspects. This editorial also introduces the special issue.

Other editorials stress the need for a paradigm shift when investing in HRH  (remark: authors are different than the ones in the Lancet Global Health),  key capacities needed beyond just clinical skills for UHC ( with respect policy formulation & implementation, more in particular), …


HIV research conference in San Francisco


From 3-5 November, the inaugural translational medicine conference on HIV research, “What Will it Take to Achieve an AIDS-free World?” took place, appropriately, in San Francisco. This event brought the audiences and editors of The Lancet and Cell together, in order to bridge the gap between clinicians and researchers focused on understanding, managing, preventing and curing HIV/AIDS. The ambition is to host a meeting every year that will address the most pressing topics in translational medicine.

The Lancet looked ahead to the conference in last week’s issue, with a number of Comments  (by Anthony Fauci et al on achieving an AIDS-free world, and by Kenneth Mayer on thinking about an AIDS endgame – see also below). There was also a special issue with 24 conference abstracts selected for publication in the Lancet.

(my personal opinion, as a parent of a teenager, is that an AIDS- free world is not for the near future, as is the case for a GTA-free world; that shouldn’t prevent us from trying, though)

5.    Cell Press – Researchers and clinicians unite to answer what will it take to achieve an AIDS-free world

This article gives a nice and short overview of the conference, with key roles for Timothy Ray Brown (aka ‘the Berlin patient’), Anthony Fauci, and many others.

Barcelona seminar & post-2015


Yesterday, a two-day a seminar started in Barcelona on ‘Building a Global Health Social Contract for the 21st Century’. For some info on this ongoing seminar (including which keynotes are being streamlined), see this IS Global blog post.  “Over the two-day seminar,   members of the Spanish Government and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry will exchange views with development experts like Celine Charveriat,  Oxfam’s International Director of Campaigns and Advocacy. David Hammerstein, a European consumer rights activist, will have the opportunity to hear the point of view of Regina Rabinovich, who advises ISGlobal on R&D and innovation in the field of neglected diseases. The meeting will open and close with keynote speeches by two leading figures: one in the field of public health (Martin McKee, professor at the prestigious London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), and the other in the fight against poverty (Kevin Watkins, director of the Overseas Development Institute, the leading UK development think tank). Both keynote sessions will be broadcast live from our website via the following link:” For McKee it’s obviously too late, but the one from Keven Watkins starts at 3.45 pm today, CET.

For a Twitter summary of the first day, see this  Storify overview. As mentioned in the intro, we hope to offer you an editorial on the seminar next week, as some colleagues attend the event, so stay tuned.

6.    IS Global working paper – Transnational transparency: why does it matter for global health?

Suerie Moon;

Some papers you might want to read, related to this event in Barcelona. This paper by Suerie Moon argues for example that transparency is critical for global health by offering three illustrations: closed-door negotiations over trade agreements, which can contain provisions that are harmful for public health; the secretive investor-state dispute settlement processes of the global investment regime, which can tie the hands of governments to regulate for health (see also below); and pharmaceutical R&D, where lack of transparency can lead to skewed information on drug safety and efficacy, and provide a justification for unaffordable pricing.

7.    IS Global Working paper – A Global Social Contract for a Healthy Global Society: Why, What and How

Suerie Moon;

This paper by Suerie Moon argues that health is a compelling theme around which a global social contract could begin to take shape. The contract should encompass four elements: resource pooling for social protection, regulation, provision of global public goods, and legitimate processes of global governance.

In related news, the JALI consultation on the Framework for a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH) runs till November 15. So if you still want to give feedback, time is running out.

8.    Guardian – This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy

G. Monbiot;

For the ones amongst you who (still?) believe that global health is (or at least should be) about left-wing agendas, Monbiot explains why we should be very worried about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which is meant to remove the regulatory differences between the US and European nations. Especially the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism is a disaster for left wing agendas in the future, he contends. He gives some recent examples from other so called ‘free’ Trade Agreements. In Monbiot’s words: “Investor-state rules could be used to smash any attempt to save the NHS from corporate control, to re-regulate the banks, to curb the greed of the energy companies, to renationalise the railways, to leave fossil fuels in the ground. These rules shut down democratic alternatives. They outlaw leftwing politics.”

On the same topic, you might also want to read recent (and follow-up) viewpoints by

Stiglitz (on Project Syndicate) and  David Martin (on the Guardian). (Back in the old days, Genghis Khan would probably have burnt down the headquarters of multinationals; now I guess we’ll need an army of human rights lawyers to fight the hidden army of corporate lawyers that is increasingly ruling the world).

9.    Deutsche Welle – Eliminating neglected diseases is a ‘doable challenge’

An interview with Neeraj Mistry from the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases about the challenge of eliminating neglected tropical diseases. Among other issues, Mistry talks about the role NTDs should play post-2015 and the WHO resolution from earlier this year.

10. Equinet newsletter (2 Editorials) – A step beyond the rhetoric: key choices to be made on pathways to universal systems

Google the words “universal health” and in under 3 seconds you’ll get 165 million results. Still less than for Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber or Katy Perry, probably, but anyway, there is a crescendo of talk on UHC. But has it been translated into terms that can engage social debate? The two editorials in this month’s Equinet newsletter and several of the papers suggest that such debate across all of society is critical, given how deep the consequences for society of the choices made. In the first editorial, Latin American social medicine and health scientists warn of the negative impacts of segmented insurance options. The second editorial, drawn more from African experience, argues a similar case. Both urge for exploration of tax funding, particularly given that universal systems are a right of all citizens not a benefit of particular employees or contributors.

11. Humanosphere – New global momentum for universal health coverage

Tom Paulson;

Not much new in here, but still a nice overview of the new momentum for UHC (and with some more insights into the framing of UHC in the US, even going back to the days of the Cold War). This blog post was published as a viewpoint in Al Jazeera Magazine first. For the latest on UHC, just follow “Mister UHC momentum”, Rob Yates, on Twitter. Although Rob sometimes gives the impression of an emerging ‘UHC bubble’, just like Twitter itself on the stock markets yesterday.

12. Lancet (Comment) – The future of global health is urban health

Gerry V. Stimson;

By the year 2100, it is estimated that the global population will be 10 billion. 100 years ago about 20% of the world’s population was urban; by 2010, more than half of the population lived in urban areas, a proportion projected to rise to 70% by 2050.” With statistics like these, it’s obvious that the future of global health is urban, whether we like it or not.


Infectious Disease


13. Lancet (Comment) – Thinking about an AIDS end game

Kenneth Mayer;

We already referred to this Viewpoint above (in the section on San Francisco), but this piece by Kenneth Mayer in last week’s Lancet issue warrants a special mention. He explains some of the reasons for the present optimism, and concludes: “Despite the promise of treatment as prevention and chemoprophylaxis in the short term, and vaccines and cures in the longer term, immediate attention to the social, legal, and regulatory environment globally are needed to constrain, and ultimately end, the epidemic. HIV is a wily beast, but recent insights seem to offer tangible clues about how to begin to consign the AIDS pandemic to the dustbin of history.”

14. BMJ blog – Aids: huge progress but time for a rethink on how to end the epidemic for those most affected

Michel Kazatchkine;

Kazatchkine, now the U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, reflects on progress made against the AIDS epidemic in the last decade, and contrasts it with the failure to respond effectively to HIV among so-called ‘key affected populations’. It’s time to do something about this.

15. UNAIDS – HIV and aging: A special supplement to the UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic 2013

The shifting demographics of the AIDS epidemic demands a new focus to reach people aged 50 and over who are currently underserved by HIV services. Out of the estimated global total of 35.3 million people living with HIV, an average 3.6 million are people aged 50 years or older. This supplement also reveals that in high-income countries almost one-third of people living with HIV are 50 years or older, but the majority of the population where the percentage of adults living with HIV is 50 years or older, is in low-and middle-income countries.

16. Humanosphere – Scientists say using DDT against malaria could be fueling global obesity

Tom Paulson;

Paulson dwells on potential transgenerational risks of the use of DDT.

17. UNAIDS – Brazil’s Minister of Health on country’s new innovative HIV initiative

Very short article on Brazil’s new approach to the HIV response, which will be launched shortly. So far, most of the attention focused on the plan to provide ART to everyone, but the programme is also innovative in two other respects. The new strategy will focus HIV programmes on geographic regions where HIV prevalence is much higher than the rest of the country, and it also plans to expand ART coverage by task shifting HIV treatment services from special clinics to primary health care clinics.

18. UNAIDS – UNAIDS-Lancet Commission African dialogue calls for ending AIDS to be central to the post-2015 agenda

The first of a series in regional dialogues organized by the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission: Defeating AIDS – Advancing global health was held on 3 November in Addis Ababa. One of the main messages that emerged from the consultation was the need to include ambitious and measurable targets towards ending AIDS in the post-2015 development agenda. Over the coming weeks, additional regional dialogues are planned, including for Latin America (18 November), Asia-Pacific (19 November), Southern Africa (7 December) and Eastern Europe-Central Asia (13 December). The outcomes of these dialogues will help inform the recommendations of the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission to be presented in early 2014.




19. Plos – Health policy: nanny state or catalyst for change?

Jo Jewell;

Jo Jewell of the World Cancer Research Fund talks about health policy and its role in Global Health. Great blog post.

20. Bloomberg – Junk Food Tax Gets Extra Boost as Mexican Senate Passes Bill

News from last week already, which you probably are already aware of. But still nice news, in the week that also saw the end of Bloomberg as a mayor of New York (and the election of Bill de Blasio). And now Bill (bis) for president?

21. Offline – A plague rises in Ethiopia

Richard Horton;

In last week’s Lancet issue, Horton lamented tobacco advertising in Ethiopia, worse even, with cooperation from the government. For the Christians among us, one of the Seven Plagues in the third millennium?

For NCD-related meetings at WHO in November, see here (ex: global monitoring framework etc).


Maternal, child & adolescent health


22. Plos – From Ideals to Tools: Applying Human Rights to Maternal Health

Alicia Yamin;;jsessionid=62B9F68B10D82468B0F9F80861E88D45

Alicia Yamin argues that applying human rights frameworks and approaches to maternal health offers strategies and tools to address the root causes of maternal morbidity and mortality within and beyond health systems, in addition to addressing other violations of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

23. Financing Health in Africa – Results based financing: a new policy instrument for African governments

Bruno Meessen;

In this blog, Bruno Meessen shows how Results Based Financing could be a lever for African governments in the battle for family planning …  and even more so, when other influential actors in society (the Church for example) are hostile. The post already sparked quite some discussion. Tricky issue.

In other Family Planning news, this year’s International Conference on Family Planning, with the theme “Full Access, Full Choice,” will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 12-15. Apparently, a new resource will be unveiled at the conference called ‘Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning’ …, a joint effort that will serve as “a ‘roadmap’ for designing effective postpartum family planning programs at both the local and national levels.

24. Lancet (Editorial) – Equity in child survival

This Lancet editorial from last week dwelled on a new report from Save the Children— Lives on the Line: An Agenda for Ending Preventable Deaths— which highlights how countries need to shift their strategies based on the current child mortality landscape. It notes that newborn mortality rates are increasing, that child mortality is increasingly concentrated in particular regions and among the poorest and most disadvantaged groups, and that progress in reducing malnutrition remains stagnant and threatens to jeopardise overall progress. Time to shift gear. “As the world moves towards a new goal for child survival—ending preventable deaths by 2030—making not only good progress but also equitable progress should be paramount.

25. Lancet (Viewpoint) – Responding to the Syrian crisis: the needs of women and girls

Samira Sami et al.;

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by conflict because of a lack of access to essential services, as learnt from humanitarian crises in recent years. Syria is no exception.

26. Lancet (Editorial) – Adolescence: a second chance to tackle inequities

Two reports published last week make a strong plea to pay more attention to adolescents. “The UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of World Population 2013 report Motherhood in childhood: facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy serves as a reminder that there is the enormous unfinished issue of 7·3 million births that occur to adolescent girls in developing countries every year. And at the launch of the final report of the Review of social determinants and the health divide in the WHO European Region, its chair Michael Marmot warns that “unemployment, particularly the persistent high level of youth unemployment, is a public health time bomb waiting to explode”.”  ( time for the global health community to get Miley Cyrus on board, it appears, although I’m afraid global health campaigning will be taken to an entirely new level then).

27. World Bank – UN, World Bank Support ‘Call to Action’ for Women’s Health, Girls’ Education in the Sahel

Responding to Niger’s ‘Call to Action’ for improvements in women’s reproductive health and girls’ education, Ban Ki-moon and Jim Kim pledged to strongly support the initiative and to invest $200 million in a new regional project, the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographics project, aimed at improving the regional response to maternal and reproductive health and adolescent girls’ issues. This was part of a historic trip to the region by leaders from the UN, the WB, the African Union, AFD and the EU.

This week’s Lancet also features some Letters on maternal and child nutrition. See here.

28. – Innovations that could save 1.2 million lives showcased

Ten innovations that could save the lives of 1.2 million children and mothers by the end of 2015 and help achieve the health-related MDGs have been highlighted in a recent report by PATH.


Global Fund


29. Aidspan – New Procurement Framework Expected to Produce Savings of $140 million over Two Years for Bed Nets Alone

David Garmaise;

The Global Fund and its partners have established a new framework to systematically organize the purchase of massive amounts of mosquito nets, anti-HIV drugs and other products that will improve delivery and make significant savings. Huge savings are expected.

This news was also covered in the latest Global Fund news flash. The news flash also gives some key dates for the New Funding Model, later this year.

30. HP&P – Global Fund investments in human resources for health: innovation and missed opportunities for health systems strengthening

Diana Bowser et al.;

Since the early 2000s, there have been large increases in donor financing of human resources for health (HRH), yet few studies have examined their effects on health systems. This article tries to determine the scope and impact of investments in HRH by the Global Fund.


Health Policy & Financing


31. Global Health Council – Global Health Council Taps a “Passionate Voice for the Voiceless” as Its New Executive Director

The Global Health Council, a network of leading organizations dedicated to saving lives and improving the health of the world’s poorest people, has named a veteran of UNICEF, USAID, and other global health organizations as its new executive director. Dr. Christine Sow is an internationally-recognized advocate for global health, with more than 20 years of US and international leadership experience, especially in improving women’s and girls’ quality of life in resource-poor settings.

32. Lancet (Editorial) – The Central African Republic—still waiting for action

This Lancet Editorial discusses the dire situation in the CAR and raises some valid questions for international health financing in situations like these.

See also a related article in Health Policy & Planning (on Mali & international health aid): “Aid for health in times of political unrest in Mali: Does donors’ way of intervening allow protecting people’s health?”

33. Lancet (Offline) – Offline: A renaissance in WHO’s regions

Richard Horton;

Hear, hear. Richard Horton (notorious for his criticism of some WHO parts in the past) sees a renaissance in the functioning of WHO’s regions. He still makes an exception for WHO Afro, though.

34. Globalization & health (Debate) – Localization of health systems in low- and middle-income countries in response to long-term increases in energy prices

Sarah L. Dalglish et al ;

External challenges to health systems, such as those caused by global economic, social and environmental changes, have received little attention in recent debates on health systems’ performance in low-and middle-income countries. One such challenge in coming years will be increasing prices for petroleum-based products as production from conventional petroleum reserves peaks and demand steadily increases in rapidly-growing LMICs. Health systems are significant consumers of fossil fuels. In this Debate, authors propose the concept of “localization,” originating in the environmental sustainability literature, as one element of response to these challenges. Localization assigns people at the local level a greater role in the production of goods and services, thereby decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and other external inputs. Effective localization will require changes to governance structures within the health sector in LMICs, empowering local communities to participate in their own health in ways that have remained elusive since this goal was first put forth in the Alma-Ata Declaration.

35. India Education Diary – Ahead of the Third BRICS Health Ministers Meeting at Cape Town, South Africa

The third BRICS Health Ministers Meeting took  place from 6th to 7th November in Cape Town, South Africa.  The BRICS Meeting was supposed to discuss the issues of Governance Reform including Risk & Accountability, Finance and Human Resources; Programmatic and Finance Reform including support to Member States; and a Progress Report on the Delhi Action Plans.

36. IP Watch – WHO Experts To Narrow R&D Projects For Developing Countries At December Meeting

Years-old efforts by members of the WHO to come up with viable ways to boost research and development of medical products for diseases primarily affecting poor populations are coming to head, with a key meeting in December. That meeting of experts will be an opportunity to narrow down proposals being developed by the six WHO regional offices.

37. NEJM (Review article) – Natural Disasters, Armed Conflict, and Public Health

Jennifer Leaning et al.;

Natural disasters and armed conflict have marked human existence throughout history and have always caused peaks in mortality and morbidity. But in recent times, the scale and scope of these events have increased markedly. Since 1990, natural disasters have affected about 217 million people every year, and about 300 million people now live amidst violent insecurity around the world. The immediate and longer-term effects of these disruptions on large populations constitute humanitarian crises. In recent decades, public health interventions in the humanitarian response have made gains in the equity and quality of emergency assistance.

38. Lancet – Ensuring the future of health information online

Tim Mackey et al.;

The future of critical health information on the internet is for sale to private bidders, who have no discernible expertise in public health or medicine. Possibly as early as November, 2013, the rights to a new website suffix dot health (.health), alongside familiar “.com” and “.org” domains, are likely to be awarded to a for-profit company by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organisation that controls all internet naming. This will effectively privatise all future uses of the .health domain and could have a profound effect on health information access and quality for generations to come.”

39. One – What activists need to know about GAVI’s big vaccine meeting in Stockholm

Erin Hohlfelder;

Great overview of the GAVI mid-term review meeting in Stockholm. Hohlfelder highlights four common themes at the meeting, including an emphasis on results, the concepts of childhood and parenthood as “important motivators,” what to expect from GAVI in its “adolescent” phase, and a desire for data and transparency. And by the way, Sweden and Korea announced increases to their current support for GAVI. (to be honest, I’m a bit worried when I hear GAVI is reaching its “adolescent” phase – that’s not exactly a pitch to convince potential donors ).

40. PSI impact (new issue) – Data & Decision making

In Issue 14 of PSI’s Impact magazine, the journal explores how NGOs, donors, charity watchdogs and corporations measure impact and what role measurement plays in decision-making. Plenty of stuff in the new issue for the global health community, for example a feature on how pricing affects malaria treatment, a viewpoint from Amanda Glassman, …

41. KFF – 2013 Survey of Americans on the U.S. Role in Global Health

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new survey that examines the American public’s views, knowledge and opinions of U.S. efforts to improve health for people in developing countries.

42. Lancet (Correspondence) – The panjandrums of global health

Desmond Whyms;

From last week’s Lancet issue. Whyms comes back on the discussion started by Horton (and continued by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala). Whyms says three things are needed to breathe life back into the principles of development effectiveness, in order to make them real at country level, beyond the rhetoric of the high-level summits.


Global Health podcasts


43. Podcast LSHTM – Global health lab: Contribution of human rights to global health

This podcast (of about 1 hour) is about a recent  London school’s Global Health Lab on the contribution of human rights to global health – the podcast was chaired by Richard Horton – he also dedicated an Offline article to the lab a few weeks ago. Some of the presentations were given by Go4Health scholars (including Gorik Ooms).

44. Podcast  – Interview with David Sanders on global health crisis

Newsclick speaks to Professor David Sanders about the global health crisis. Professor Sanders says that even as many people talk about improvements in health levels globally, there is a growing inequality in health between the global north and south. This inequality is what Sanders refers to as the global health crisis. He further says that the world now sees the emergence of “diseases of development” along with the “old diseases” of poverty. In order to mitigate the effects of the crisis, Sanders suggests government intervention in the food trade by way of imposing taxes on unhealthy foods and subsidizing healthy foods. He says that global health movements can play a huge role in improving health standards, but attracting the youth into such movements will be a challenge. (they rather watch Miley Cyrus, if the info I get from some of my nephews and nieces is correct)


Global health bits & pieces


  • The World Bank says in a new study that simple measures to reduce pollution from cooking stoves in developing nations could save a million lives a year and help slow global warming.
  • Reuters reported on the 15th anniversary of the International Trachoma Initiative (with Jimmy Carter as a key guest). Progress has been made, but the disease remains a problem in some developing countries (like Ethiopia).
  • Speaking of Medicine features a Declaration of the global Chagas disease coalition.
  • The Lancet reported some good news on Hepatitis C this week (the link is from the Guardian).
  • Xinhua reported that Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad vowed that the government will deliver polio vaccination to children after fresh reports of infections in Syria emerged last week. Meanwhile, worries in Europe are increasing for spill-over.
  • Eric Goosby wrote his farewell blog post, now that he finishes his job as US global aids coordinator.




45. BMC Public health – Exploring the effects of task shifting for HIV through a systems thinking lens: the case of Burkina Faso

Fadima Yaya Bocoum et al. ;

While the impact of task shifting on quality of care and clinical outcomes has been demonstrated in several studies, evidence on its impact on the health system as a whole is limited. This study has two main objectives. The first is to conceptualize the wider range of effects of task shifting through a systems thinking lens. The second is to explore these effects using task shifting for HIV in Burkina Faso as a case study.

46. Plos – Burden of Depressive Disorders by Country, Sex, Age, and Year: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010

Alize Ferrari et al.;;jsessionid=62B9F68B10D82468B0F9F80861E88D45

As part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, Alize Ferrari and colleagues report estimates of the burden of depressive disorders by country, region, age, sex, and year and as a risk factor for suicide and ischemic heart disease.   In other words, this needs to be a global health priority, although there is regional variation. (for some reason, radio DJs in Belgium thought it was funny that there are more depressive people in Holland than in Belgium, according to the study – disgusting; we still have a long way to go on mental health stigma, even in developed countries).

47. Globalization & Health – From scaling up to sustainability in HIV: potential lessons for moving forward

Lisa R Hirschhorn et al. ;

The authors reviewed white and gray literature to identify domains central to scaling-up programs and reviewed HIV case studies to identify how these domains might relate to sustaining delivery at scale.

48. Globalization & Health – Incentives for new antibiotics: the Options Market for Antibiotics (OMA) model

David M. Brogan;

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat resulting from the convergence of biological, economic and political pressures. Investment in research and development of new antimicrobials has suffered secondary to these pressures, leading to an emerging crisis in antibiotic resistance. Current policies to stimulate antibiotic development have proven inadequate to overcome market failures. Therefore innovative ideas utilizing market forces are necessary to stimulate new investment efforts. Employing the benefits of both the previously described Advanced Market Commitment and a refined Call Options for Vaccines model, the authors describe in this paper a novel incentive mechanism, the Options Market for Antibiotics.

49. Plos – Antenatal Syphilis Screening Using Point-of-Care Testing in Sub-Saharan African Countries: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Mohammed Lamorde et al.;;jsessionid=62B9F68B10D82468B0F9F80861E88D45

Mohammed Lamorde and colleagues evaluate the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of antenatal syphilis screening for 43 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and estimate the impact of universal screening on averted stillbirths, neonatal deaths, congenital syphilis, and DALYs.

Another cost-effectiveness study (on treating people with HIV soon after they become infected) was reported in NEJM, about ten days ago.

50. WHO Bulletin (early online) – A global research agenda for family planning: results of an exercise for the setting of research priorities

Moazzam Ali et al.;

The aim of this article is to develop a global research agenda that will guide investment in effective interventions to satisfy the large unmet need for modern methods of family planning.


51. Book – Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World – Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research

Edited by Louis Galambos and Jeffrey L. Sturchio;

No comment needed here.


52. UCL Institute of Health Equity – Tackling Structural and Social Issues to Reduce Inequities in Children’s Outcomes in Low- to Middle-income Countries

UCL’s Institute of Health Equity has written a discussion paper for UNICEF that provides a framework for improving children’s outcomes.  The paper shows that tackling inequities in children’s outcomes matters both from a moral perspective, and because of persuasive social and economic arguments.




  • Complexity is in hot, in development circles, after the release of Ben Ramalingam’s new book, ‘Aid on the edge of chaos’. has an article on complexity (see here) and Duncan Green’s blog also features some blogs on complexity – (see here).
  • The World Bank and the EU made a pledge of $8.5 billion to support poverty alleviation and economic growth in the Sahel region.
  • An ODA definition overhaul is being considered (see the Guardian ).
  • Check out a new ODI report on fossil fuel subsidies (see  here).
  • Jim Kim explains some things about the trimming of the WB (for an analysis, see the Guardian).

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