Dear Colleagues,
Some of our colleagues are staying in Brazil at this moment, for the Brasilia Conference about Universal Social Security Systems. Based on the first news we got from them, apparently they also enjoy the local caipirinha. The lucky bastards. Meanwhile, ILO and ISSA hosted the World Social Security Forum 2010 in Cape Town. The latter already launched a report with the most interesting conference findings. They are fully in line with what is being discussed at the Brasilia conference. Universal social security is seen as the way forward.
Conference participants are being reminded that social security is a basic human right. Social security programmes offer a variety of economic, political and social benefits, for example social cohesion and stability. Needless to say, at this moment, the majority of the world’s population remains without access to social security. The main challenge of universal social security is how one can reach the informal sector workers. On the positive side, both the Brasilia and the Cape Town conferences provide evidence that even in times of crisis population groups can be reached if there is enough political will to do so. Civil society can play an important role in putting pressure on governments.
Elsewhere, the climate summit in Cancun is reaching the end of the first week. So far it is not very clear what will be the outcomes, things could still go either way. Yet, some real money will need to be put on the table, if an agreement is to be reached.
In this newsletter, we obviously also pay quite some attention to World Aids day, and related publications and discussions in journals and mainstream media.
Finally, in a time where a BMJ editorial rightly says that lessons from the world should be learnt, referring to Brazil‘s Family Health programme, we want to start another discussion on our blog. Voices from the South (but not only them) are encouraged to discuss the sustainability of community based insurance. Please react to the blog post from Amal Shafik on this issue. Meanwhile, feel free to also contribute to the ongoing debate on global and national responsibilities to fund health.
Enjoy your reading.
David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen, Basile Keugoung & Wim Van Damme


AIDS

1. Lancet – The future of HIV/AIDS in Africa: a shared responsibility

African nations should now plan, together with donor nations, for how to confront the burden of HIV/AIDS over the coming decades. Four important strategies are being proposed.
This week’s Lancet editorial comments on World Aids day and a just released UNAIDS report, and stresses that the fight is far from over, no matter what Sidibe says.
An online article in the Lancet zooms in on older people, often neglected in the AIDS response.

2. WHO Bulletin – Universal Antiretroviral treatment – the challenge of human resources

Till Bärnighausen, David E Bloom and Salal Humair; http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/88/12/09-073890/en/index.html
Bärnighausen et al. dwell on the human resources challenge if the world is serious about universal ART coverage. They do so from a new perspective.

3. World AIDS day reflections

Cynthia Schweer shares her thoughts on where we stand in the fight against aids. She wonders if we should bring on the drums. Her idea of ‘beating the drums’ is creative, as she says they announce both celebration of recent successes and preparation of an upcoming battle.
Schweer also referred in her blog post to an interesting discussion between Bill Gates and Matt Ridley on African development. Although they disagree on the outlook one should have, they have more in common than they might realize. We suggest a weekend dose of Roger Scruton to balance the rational optimism of Ridley (& Gates, to a lesser extent). And of course, before you start paying too much attention to Ridley’s discourse, keep in mind this was the guy running Northern Rock back in 2007.
Two former US presidents wrote opinion pieces on the global fight against AIDS. George W. Bush did so in the Washington Post, Bill Clinton in the Independent.
As always, the CGD website features some very interesting blog posts on the battle against HIV/AIDS. See for example, herehere and here
Finally, on the Humanosphere blog, Tom Paulson pointed out that in most media commentaries, the old AIDS prevention vs treatment debate re-emerged. A nonsensical debate, in his opinion.

Global Health

4. KFF – African Ministerial Conference Concludes With Health Priority Commitment

African health and environment ministers concluded their meeting in Luanda. Their final statement sheds light on their priorities for the coming years in terms of health and environment.

5. Sarah Boseley – Company offers low cost vaccine against killer diseases

To balance partially the incomplete replenishment so far, GAVI announced that a generic manufacturer of the pentavalent vaccine accepted to decrease the retail price for low income countries.  At last some good news from GAVI’s side.

Global Health Data

6. IHME – Financing Global Health 2010: Development assistance and country spending in economic uncertainty

The detailed report of previously published figures of global health aid by IHME has now been released. It provides insightful information about the health aid fluctuations and even estimates for recent years, including 2010.
Karen Grepin attended the launch of IHME’s new report on global health aid and she gives us some first comments. One of the most remarkable findings is that despite the financial crisis, overall health aid continued to grow. Yet, that is the global picture. When looking at the more detailed figures, many governments did in fact reduce their spending. Even more revealing, the private funding trough NGOs has declined. An additional argument in favor of public taxation rather than relying on goodwill from private citizens.

7. Plos –  Global Health Estimates: Stronger Collaboration Needed with Low- and Middle-Income Countries

This week, PLoS Medicine publishes a cluster of articles from a series of experts that provide insights and opinion on what estimates mean for global health and how to move forward with better data, measurement, coordination, and leadership. Peter Byass provides the introductory article and argues why the “estimates debate” is so important. Ties Boerma and colleagues from WHO describe the agency’s work and future in health indicator monitoring. Christopher Murray and Alan Lopez argue for the predominant role of academia in the production and analysis of health
indicators. We provide in our newsletter the articles by Sankoh and by Graham & Adjei.
Osman Sankoh argues for much stronger collaboration between generators of global health estimates, and individuals and organizations working at the country level.

8. Plos –  A Call for Responsible Estimation of Global Health

Wendy Graham and Sam Adjei argue that more leadership, better coordination, and a stakeholder-centric approach are needed in “responsible” global health estimation.

Health Care

9. BMJ – Economic success threatens aspirations of Brazil‘s public health system

BMJ urges us to draw global health lessons from all over the world. This week the journal zooms in on Brazil‘s public health success story, in various articles. Yet, as the country’s emergent middle class bails out of the public system, services for its poorest citizens are again at risk, according to Tim Hennigan.

10.    WHO Bulletin – Health transition in Africa: practical policy proposals for primary care

In this paper, the authors provide practical policy proposals for ways that primary care can respond to the health transition in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Health Workforce

11.    Lancet – A new epoch for health professionals’ education

Richard Horton comments on the report commissioned by the Lancet on the Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century. Among other issues, he raises the issue of social accountability of educational institutions.

AID Effectiveness

12.    Owen – DEVELOPMENT 3.0: IS SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY THE ANSWER?

Owen Barder zooms in on social accountability: is it the next big thing in development? 
Owen Barder’s blog is just one of the development blogs, recommended in this very interesting blog post on the “must-reads” in the development blog world. Check it out! See also this blog post on why aid and development workers should read blogs.

13.    Lancet – UK aid—security, scrutiny, and the challenge of Afghanistan

Increased UK aid spending is being accompanied by fundamental changes in the priorities and processes of the Department for International Development. Kelly Morris investigates.
According to a piece in the Guardian, the fact that almost two-thirds of the world’s poor actually live in stable countries, not war zones, calls into question the Paul Collier-inspired logic underpinning the UK government’s securitised development strategy. Aid should not be used to meet the UK‘s security agenda.
In related news, Nancy Birdsall was not exactly happy about what the Guardian’s Madeleine Bunting wrote on the UK‘s new commitment to results-based aid.
Meanwhile, in the US, things will probably get rough too. Hillary’s clout and development policy ambitions got a severe blow this week with the Wikileaks scandal. And as Minnpost.com points out, even before that, things already looked grim for foreign aid advocates.

14.    Guardian – Tax and aid: To trade with loaded dice

Richard Brooks comments on a recent report that highlights how important multinational tax evasion is. These mechanisms (that are supported by favourable regulations in tax havens including Switzerland and the Netherlands) account for a large share of the missed opportunities for governments in LICs to earn revenues and provide basic social services to their population. The poorest nations will remain dependent on aid if corporate tax avoidance continues on a global scale

One Response to International Health Policies in the news 94

  1. Dr. Omesh Kumar Bharti, India says:

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