Dear Colleagues,

After this week Massachusetts is no longer just a cheesy Bee Gees song. With the shocking electoral victory of the Republican Brown, the Democrats lost their anti-filibustering majority in the Senate. Obamacare and the wider Democratic legislative agenda are in danger, if not worse.  It’s far from clear how Congress should proceed from here. As for Obama, his more populist alter ego popped up, this week, lashing out at the banks and Wall Street. Long overdue.  It remains to be seen though whether he can regain the initiative.

Enjoy your reading.

David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen, Wim Van Damme and Peter S. Hill

Global Health Initiatives

1. Plos Medicine – The Global Health System: Strengthening National Health Systems as the Next Step for Global Progress

Julio Frenk;

In a second paper in a series of four on the changing nature of global health institutions, Julio Frenk says it’s vital to have a clear conception of national health systems. This will allow further progress in global health. He examines some misconceptions about health systems, offers a framework and some suggestions on how to improve national health system performance.

2.  Plos Medicine – The Global Health System: Linking Knowledge with Action—Learning from Malaria

Gerald T. Keusch et al. ;

In the third paper in the same series, Gerald Keusch and colleagues draw some lessons from the way malaria research institutional arrangements evolved over the past century. These lessons can be applied to the numerous new challenges facing the global health system.

3.  AFGH – Making progress on global health in the Spanish, Belgian and Hungarian Presidency of the European Union: civil society recommendations


AfGH Spain delivered the Letter on Global Health addressing the three next EU Presidencies and signed by more than 450 international NGOs to the Spanish State Secretary for the EU, Mr Diego López Garrido.

4.  HP&P – The effects of global health initiatives on country health systems: a review of evidence from HIV/AIDS control

Biesma et al ;

HP&P now officially published this review of country-level evidence on the impact of global health initiatives on country health systems in middle and low income countries (focusing on the Global Fund, MAP and PEPFAR). Positive and negative effects were identified.


5.  Glaxo offers free access to potential malaria cures

Earlier this week, the CEO of GSK, Andrew Witty, announced that his company would publish details of the chemical compounds from its own library with potential to act against the malaria causing parasite. With this statement, Witty probably anticipated criticism from NGOs in the IPR & Public Health debate on access to essential medicine for the poor.

6.  EU and US block moves for greater access to essential medicines for world´s poor

David Hammerstein ‘s blog

Related to the above discussion, Hammerstein sheds some light on the WHO Executive board debate, currently taking place in Geneva. The board met to study the report of the Export Working Group on the financing of R&D for essential medicines. Big Pharma is rumoured to have lobbied or even manipulated the report. In any case, two camps have emerged.

7.  Open AIDS Journal special issue on TRIPS for ARV

For the bold and brave among you, the Open AIDS journal has a special issue on the patent pool for HIV medicines.

On Haiti

8.  Lancet – Growth of aid and the decline of humanitarianism

The Lancet ; Full Text

The Haiti disaster and the massive worldwide aid to help Haiti deal with the suffering, have sparked a worldwide debate. In an editorial, the Lancet criticizes not just politicians and media (the usual suspects) for their rather selective indignation (and implicit hierarchy of crisis situations), but also, and perhaps more surprisingly, the aid sector.

9.  Washington Post – After the earthquake, how to rebuild Haiti from scratch

Jeffrey Sachs ; Washington Post

Sachs was one of several global opinion makers to plead for a single, transparent, multidonor recovery fund for Haiti.

10. Guardian – We can turn Haiti around

Kofi Annan ; Guardian

The former UN secretary general emphasized that it should not take a tragedy to give structured support to fragile states (or states in danger of becoming fragile states). All members of the international community have a collective responsibility to engage with and repair fragile states.

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