Dear Colleagues,


Obama is one year in charge now, but he had not much time for celebration. Once again it’s been a tough week for the US president (and not just because of Afghanistan). He was not the only one with a rough week though, just ask Angela Merkel. If we look on the bright side, however: now that the German government and the German tax-payers will have to spend a lot less on supporting Magna, they might as well spend more on global health issues…


Enjoy your reading.


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

Health Financing

1. Scaling up global social health protection: prerequisite reforms to the international monetary fund

Ooms G. & Hammonds R. ; ; the article (PDF, 56 Kb)


Gorik Ooms (by now a regular in this newsletter) and Rachel Hammonds stress that a reform of the IMF is vital if global social health protection is to happen.

2. Punishing success in tackling AIDS: – Funders’ retreat could wipe out health gains in HIV affected countries –

A retreat from international funding commitments for AIDS threatens to undermine the dramatic gains made in reducing AIDS-related illness and death in recent years, according to a new report by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
See the press release from Johannesburg or download the report (PDF, 711 Kb)


3. H Aff Critical Choices In Financing The Response To The Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Robert Hecht, Lori Bollinger, John Stover, William McGreevey, Farzana Muhib, Callisto Emas Madavo, and David de Ferranti ; http://content.healthaffairs


As part of the AIDS 2031 project, the authors forecast the financial needs to tackle HIV by 2031. If we keep the same approach, we will need 35 billion a year with still 1 million newly infected cases per year,… unless new approaches are adopted.

Global health initiatives

4. TMIH International institutions, Global Health Initiatives and the challenge of sustainability: lessons from the Brazilian AIDS programme

G. Le Loup,  S. Fleury, K. Camargo and B. Larouzé ; abstract


Political and organizational arrangements are changing over time and international institutions including GHI have a role to play in ensuring scale up and sustainability of public health programmes, this viewpoint states.

5. BMJ feature: innovative financing in healthcare

In this report, the author assesses the current innovative financing mechanisms and their advantages and inconveniences.

6. Lancet – The GAVI, Global Fund, and World Bank joint funding platform

Roger England ;


The author questions whether it is wise to ask the GFATM, GAVI or the World Bank to take the lead in a health system strengthening effort, when one looks at their credentials in this area.

7. JAIDS – Health Systems Exist for Real People

El-Sadr, Wafaa M MD, MPH, MPA; De Cock, Kevin M MD, MBChB


The authors of this introduction to a supplement in the journal examining the "impact of HIV scale-up on health systems in a diverse array of countries and contexts," observe the history of Global Health Initiatives and look ahead, stating that we might lose momentum if the fight between health systems strengthening, disease specific interventions and reaching MDGs goes on.


Aid effectiveness

8. Lancet – Who is at the receiving end of our innovation?

Rafael van den Bergh ; ; Young voices in research for health (pdf, 834 Kb)


Van den Bergh, an ITM colleague, is one of the winners of the yearly Lancet/Global Forum for Health research essay competition. In 2009 the theme was ‘innovating for the health of all’. He questions the priorities set in public health research.


Financial Crisis

9. Lancet – The right to health in times of economic crisis: Cuba's way

Pol de Vos, Patrick Van der Stuyft ;


Two other ITM colleagues refer to Cuba’s example in applying the right to health in times of economic crisis. From a human-rights perspective, they stress that Cuba's response to the economic crisis is a clear example of the role that a developing country state can play to ensure its citizens' health. It should tackle all socioeconomic determinants of health and embed sectorial health measures in a redistributive intersectorial policy. In the current economic environment, the world should pay attention.

Aid & Trade

10.    The Guardian – Why Africa welcomes the Chinese   (opinion piece by Kagame)


Not for the first time, the president of Rwanda calls for major investment and trade in Africa. Anybody who can contribute in this respect is obviously welcome.  He does not share western commentators’ negative assessment of the Chinese involvement in Africa.


11.    The Guardian – Why the West fears China in Africa


In a reaction to the piece by Kagame, Peter Guest links the ‘China in Africa’-issue with the current aid-discussion – sparked by Dambisa Moyo’s ‘Dead Aid’- on the efficacy of western aid.



12.    Lancet – Are economists human?

Angus S Deaton ;


Also in the Lancet’s issue of this week, a very thorough review of two books written by economists. “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.” and “Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism.” Deaton suggests that, after a decade-long invasion by economists of other social sciences, the empire is at last striking back. Ideas from other social sciences are now invading the core of economics. Fascinating stuff.


American health care

13.    NEJM – The American Public and the Next Phase of the Health Care Reform Debate  

R.J. Blendon and J.M. Benson ;

The authors compare American public attitudes on the (aborted) Clinton health care reform and Obamacare. They believe that Americans’ impressions of the legislation’s likely impact on their own (individual) situation will be the most important factor in determining the level of public approval.


14.    The Economist on the American health care reform:

The Economist hints that the American health care reform could drag on until (at least) early 2010.

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