Dear Colleagues,


“The writing is on the wall”, our new Belgian prime minister stated earlier this month after a meeting in Paris, referring to a financial transactions tax. Today, Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman seems to agree in the New York Times. As for climate change, the writing has been on the wall for a very long time now. In the run-up to Copenhagen, labelled by some “the most important summit since Yalta”, the Lancet online published a series on climate change and health. Tackling climate change could have a positive impact on public health, is the message.


Enjoy your reading.


David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen & Wim Van Damme

Climate Change

1. Lancet series on Health and Climate Change

The Lancet argues in a series on Health and Climate Change that climate and health goals should be linked. There is an important health dividend to be gained by mitigating the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions.We provide an editorial and the executive summary of the series.

Global Health

2. The Lancet – Millennium Development Goals and people with disabilities

Nora Ellen Groce, Jean-François Trani ;


The authors discuss why disabilities are not part of the MDGs and how wrong we are in believing (1) that disabilities will be tackled automatically when we tackle other MDGs and (2) that we will reach the MDGs without addressing needs of disabled people.

3. PlosMedicine – Time for a third wave of malaria activism to tackle the drug stock-out of crisis

Editors ;

According this editorial in Plos, after two waves of “malaria activism” to get funding on the table and get it used for ACT, a third wave should raise to denounce the widespread ACT shortages across Africa.

4. KFF Fact sheets on US global health policy: on PEPFAR, Millennium Challenge corporation and Global Fund

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released three new fact sheets examining the U.S.'s role in global health programs, including PEPFAR, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Pepfar factsheet (PDF 818 Kb) ;  MCC factsheet (PDF 277 Kb) ; GFATM factsheet (PDF 277Kb)

5. CGD – Family Planning Makes a Comeback with the U.S. Global Health Initiative, But Can We Make It Stay?

By Nandini Oomman & Freddie Ssengooba ;


Freddie Ssengooba shares his thoughts after the Nairobi conference on Family planning. He hints that the conference has been hijacked by US NGOs and funders and stresses that Family planning is part of a broader sexual and reproductive health package concept. Nandini Oomman builds further on this and suggests that HIV prevention and care services (as well as family planning activities) should be embedded in a broader focus on sexual and reproductive health programmes. She also suggests the US should develop a mechanism that will avoid that family planning and evidence based interventions are withdrawn – once again – from the agenda if there is a power shift in the White House.

Health Financing

6. Plusnews: Falling foul of the fund

An article summarizing the GF grant suspensions over the last years.

7. NYT –financial transactions tax: an idea whose time has come

In his latest column for the New York Times, Paul Krugman makes the case for a financial transaction tax. In his words: “a financial transactions tax is an idea whose time has come.” However, Krugman does not link the idea to development or global health. 

8. Lancet – Scarcity of pneumococcal vaccine where it is needed most

Julian Lob-Levyt

A short reply from GAVI’s executive director highlighting that the recent reports on the burden of pneumococcal diseases have pointed to countries where the vaccine is almost not available. Obviously, this should be tackled by the international community.


9. KFF – Over 33M People Worldwide Living With HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS/WHO Report Finds

KFF refers to a just released UNAIDS/WHO report that states that an estimated 33.4 million people worldwide are now living with HIV/AIDS. More people are living longer due to the availability of drugs. The number of new infections has dropped. HIV prevention has had an impact.

10.    Science speaks – HIV Funding Not at Fault for Health System Ills ; The declaration

“HIV is not to blame for the ills, figuratively or literally, of developing world health systems, and funding for AIDS programs can’t take a hit in favor of other health threats.” That’s the take-home message of a statement issued last week from 87 civil society, research and other health groups from more than two dozen groups around the world.

American health care reform

11.    NYT – Obama Backs Senate on Health Bills’ Disparities

Officials of the Obama administration dwell on the four pillars essential to major health care legislation (in the eyes of the administration) and assess the current Senate bill in terms of these pillars.

12.    The Economist –    Health-care reform. The beginning of the end.

The Economist gives an update of the American health care reform, just before the Thanksgiving recess.

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