For once Belgium can be proud of its politicians. Herman Van Rompuy, our prime minister, became the first EU president. Even better, deservedly so. VRP, focused on Belgian issues so far, will now get the planet’s problems on his plate. And there are plenty. Global interdependence has never been as visible in the European capital as this week, when a refugee camp was set up by NGOs for asylum-seekers forced to live in the streets of Brussels due to a lack of housing. We wish our new EU president good luck in his new job and hope he lives up to the nickname given to him by his wife: Rambo.
Enjoy your reading.
David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen & Wim Van Damme
1. Lancet – Ann Veneman: a second term at UNICEF?
Richard Horton sketches the results of a poll he did among stakeholders to know if Ann Veneman should stay in office at the end of her mandate. And the answer is…
2. GH – Exceptional epidemics: AIDS still deserves a global response
Alan Whiteside and Julia Smith ; http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/content/5/1/15/abstract
Whiteside & Smith discuss how we should use the exceptionality argument in the AIDS response. There is still a need for exceptionality in the aid response, at least in some contexts.
3. KFF survey – Kaiser Family Foundation Looks At Views On The U.S. Role In Global Health
A KFF poll examines Americans' attitudes toward U.S. global health investments and priorities. An intriguing finding is that the majority of Americans support maintaining or increasing spending on global health, despite the economic recession. (not included)
4. GHM – Ambassador Goosby talks to John Donnelly about health systems, building capacity and the Global Health Initiative
Goosby shares his views on how PEPFAR will change its strategy in order to be more supportive of health systems. (Nov 5)
5. CGD – How the Global Fund is Dealing with More Demand Than Supply
David Wendt ; http://bit.ly/4m1T6
The author tries to unveil (what he thinks will be) the measures for the Global Fund to overcome (what they themselves call) the tension between supply and demand. More comments on the recent board in Addis will come soon, he promises. Check out also the GFO newsletter.
6. AFGH & AJC – Financial transactions tax
The currency transaction levy (CTL), or the financial transactions tax as it is called as well, is still on the agenda, in spite of the obvious reluctance of the US treasury secretary to talk about the issue on the G20 financial summit in Scotland. Several key decision makers (like DSK) have recently questioned the feasibility of CTL. An opinion piece by a member of the GFATM board regrets the fact that it was barely discussed in September and is rather pessimistic; AFGH is more nuanced and seems ready to put up a fight.
7. Guardian – Broken promises on aid
A Guardian opinion piece assesses whether the 'fight against poverty' commitments made by Blair and Brown in the Gleneagles summit have materialized. This week EU development ministers evaluated a progress report on delivering those pledges. Only 5 countries seem to live up to their promises. The UK is not one of them.
8. Dallas Morning News (opinion / essay version as well ) – Travis Kavulla: Africa needs more than condoms
Travis Kavulla ; http://bit.ly/jjxEb
Travis Kavulla, a Phillips Foundation journalism fellow, examines African beliefs of "cause and effect" and their relation to HIV/AIDS. According to Kavulla, the only lasting solution to AIDS in Africa will come through behavioural change. "In a society that associates ailments with individual and collective moral wrongdoing, an approach that remoralizes sexual behaviour and encourages Africans to take control of their bodies is the most promising path to tread."
9. HealthAff – Innovation In Namibia: Preserving Private Health Insurance And HIV/AIDS Treatment
Onno P. Schellekens, Ingrid de Beer, Marianne E. Lindner, Michele
van Vugt, Peter Schellekens, and Tobias Floris Rinke de Wit ; http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/28/6/1799
This article shows how donor money, used to subsidize private insurance, has helped preventing the crowding out of private funding amid free public care for HIV patients, and has contributed to improved quality of care for HIV patients.
Climate Change, Family Planning & Food Security
10. GHA – Health as a crucial driver for climate policy
Rainer Sauerborn, Tord Kjellstrom and Maria Nilsson; http://www.globalhealthaction.net/index.php/gha/article/viewArticle/2104/2548
Sauerborn et al. argue that health impacts of climate change and the need to prevent them should be at centre stage of the ongoing debate on climate policies.
11. KFF – FAO Head 'Not Satisfied' With Omission Of Hunger Eradication Deadline From Summit Declaration
The UN World summit on Food Security in Rome has been called a disappointment by NGOs as well as by FAO head Jacques Diouf. The latter called for the global community to shift the fight against global hunger from "words to action.” Food security is obviously back on the international agenda since the food prices spike in 2008, but the money does not seem to follow. The summit endorsed a strategy shift to place emphasis on achieving self-sufficiency in food production in developing countries. See also this Economist piece if you are interested.
12. KFF – Family Planning Drive Launched During Conference In Uganda
KFF reports on the launch of a US backed project to support family planning. The project aims to "improve access to contraceptives for women in six African nations [including Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Kenya] as well as Indonesia and Pakistan."