Dear Colleagues,

Financial crisis or economic recession, call it what you want but domestic revenue is likely to be reduced for most governments in the coming years. Green shoots or not. Domestic government spending on health and ODA are thus under severe pressure. Worldwide, health advocates are trying to mitigate the recession’s impact on health outcomes as is shown in today's selection.

Enjoy your reading.

David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen & on behalf of Wim Van Damme

Health Financing

1.                  KFF – Gates Foundation Praises U.S. Global Health Investments, Calls For 15-Year Goal Of Cutting Child Deaths Worldwide By Nearly Half

The Gates Foundation is making a call to the US government and US philanthropists to keep their commitments despite the recession. It is urging U.S. policymakers to commit to cutting "the number of child deaths each year, from 9 million to 5 million" by 2025.


2.                  The Economist – Foreign aid in a recession. Wrapped up against the cold. Austerity finds Britain’s development budget untouchable, for now

UK politicians are committed to keeping the promises regarding ODA. But this article argues that probably more should be done to get support from public opinion for those commitments.


3.                  Council on foreign relations – The evolution and future of donor assistance for hiv – aids

Schneider K. & Garrett L.; The summary   The report (pdf 345 Kb)

"This paper examines the evolution and impact of donor resource mobilization for HIV/AIDS; the potential effect of the current economic crisis on HIV/AIDS funding; immediate and long-term challenges and opportunities for donor assistance; and policy recommendations to the donor community and national governments to ensure steady, long-term funding for HIV/AIDS and alleviate the impact of future challenges."


4.                  KFF – IMF policies harm Kenyan health system, report says

According to a report released on Tuesday, policies set by the IMF have restricted government spending on health services, "denying sick Kenyans access to drugs and quality healthcare," Business Daily reports.


5.                  Lancet Inf Dis – Has routine immunisation in Africa become endangered?

Yemane Berhane, C John Clements, Jean Michel Ndiaye, Patricia Taylor ;

In this article the authors argue that routine immunisation is an integral part of all eradication activities, and greater emphasis needs to be put on strengthening it. Lip service alone won’t do.


6.                  GFO – Round 9: Straight Talk Needed

Rivers R. ;

The Global Fund Observer stresses in its latest issue that some frank talking is manifestly required on the funding gaps for the GFATM round 9, contrary to what happened for the 10% reduction in round 8. You can subscribe to the global fund observer newsletter here.

Drugs regulation

7.                  Mercopress – Ecuador overrides 2.000 pharmaceutical patents considered “indispensable”


This column reports on the decision by Ecuador to override 2000 pharmaceutical patents in accordance with WTO rules to allow the country access to the drugs it needs at generic prices. In an earlier article published by Eldis, Hoehn reported that this measure has not sufficiently been used by developing countries.


8.                  The Lancet – The undernutrition epidemic: an urgent health priority

Editorial ;

The editors of the Lancet underline the need to tackle the food security problem. According to the FAO, over one billion people are undernourished at the moment, over a sixth of the global population. Making food a health problem could potentially mobilise more attention from the international community and global health sector. They suggest using the BMI of undernourished people as an international reference to evaluate the problem more objectively.


9.                  Malaria: a research agenda for the eradication era

Wen Kilama, Francine Ntoumi ;

Since the last MIM meeting in 2005, the malaria landscape has transformed dramatically. Scientific progress and support from the highest levels of government have galvanised the field, and the global community has begun to coalesce around the most ambitious goal possible—eradication. But more effort is needed to tackle emerging resistance, diagnostic capabilities and operational challenges.

Health Systems

10.             GHM – Probing Health Ministries


An article of the global health magazine on an initiative to strengthen the capacity and leadership in the ministries of health of a number of developing countries. Ministries have been squeezed by structural adjustments and brain drain. Nevertheless, they are highly needed to increase Health Systems performance.


11.             Lancet – Beyond rhetoric: the quest for practical success in global health

Book review by Lincoln Chen ;

Freedom from Want: The Remarkable Success Story of BRAC, the Global Grassroots Organization that's Winning the Fight Against Poverty ; Ian Smillie ; Kumarian Press, 2009 ;Pp 300. US$24·95. ISBN-978-1-56549-294-3

American Health Care Reform

12.             The Economist – A public row

Democrats are trying to revive the idea of a government-run health plan. The odds look better than just a few weeks ago.

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