Dear Colleagues,

This week the historic health care vote in the American Congress was all over the news. Unsurprisingly, comments like “Yes we did it” and “This is what change looks like” accompanied the vote. Sadly, this outcome also implies that some people are now taking the ‘death panels’ of last year somewhat literally, by sending full-blown death threats to politicians.

In comparison, the Chinese health care reform is a lot less turbulent, at least on western TV screens, although there is even more at stake than in the States. In this week’s issue, The Lancet gives an update on how things are going in the PRC. And of course there was also the Global Fund early review Replenishment meeting in The Hague. If funding continues at present level, the Fund will eliminate vertical transmission of HIV by 2015, according to a report. In anticipation of this early review, there was plenty of debate, including an MSF letter to the GF, criticizing the fact that the scenarios do not take into account the new WHO clinical recommendations for management and prevention of HIV.

Enjoy your reading.

David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Wim Van Damme and participants to the short course health policy at ITM


Global Health

1. Guardian – Time to finance a new global health fund

Jeffrey D Sachs ;  http://bit.ly/917b1n

In an opinion piece in the Guardian, Jeffrey Sachs argues for a broader mandate of the Global Fund as well as for more money, 12 billion per year. In the meantime, Michael Clemens emphasizes that Sach’s pet project, the Millennium villages, require careful evaluation. The post has already sparked a lively debate.

2. Who chooses the leaders of UN organisations?

Ted Greiner ; Full Text

Just like any other policy, global health policy needs to adjust to the changing global political and economic realities. Greiner argues for more transparency in the recruitment of head staff of UN organizations like UNICEF, and says this could entice emerging economies to become donors.

3. ACPD – Call to action: maternal and child health at the G8 summit

ACPD ; http://www.acpd.ca/node/62

The current Canadian prime minister seems determined to become the new “Dubya”. As if his climate policy and stance towards the financial transactions tax were not enough, his government is also ambiguous on the maternal mortality agenda (and in particular on the issue of family planning) it intends to push at the G8 summit in June. ACPD rightly mobilizes.

4. CGD – COD and maternal mortality and G8

William Savedoff  ; http://bit.ly/anD9Qf

This Center for Global Development blog post links the cash on delivery approach with maternal mortality.

5. AfGH- Report from cross-European conference

(not online)

As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, Action for Global Health organized a conference on delivering the right to health with the health MDGs on 2 March. The conference examined what concrete actions the EU institutions and Member States need to undertake to ensure that the health MDGs are to be achieved. After a key note address by the (new) European Commissioner for Development, there were two panels, an EU Presidencies panel and an EU Institutions panel. In the afternoon there were workshops which addressed AfGH’s three key policy areas: full funding, strong systems and fair access to health services, each of them with some recommendations for concrete action.

Health Financing

6. KFF – GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Will Supply 600M Doses Of Reduced-Price Pneumococcal Vaccines To Developing Countries Over 10 Years, GAVI Says

http://globalhealth.kff.org/Daily-Reports/2010/March/24/GH-032410-GAVI.aspx

KFF reports that GAVI announced a deal with GSK and Pfizer to supply 600 million doses of pneumococcal vaccines to developing countries over 10 years, an example of an Advance Market Commitment. GAVI still needs to raise about 1.5 billion though to pay for the program.

7. CGD – Weak Incentives are the Weak Link in the Global ARV Supply Chain

David Wendt ; http://bit.ly/cEqJaS  

This blog post refers to a background paper pointing out that the efficiency and effectiveness of global ARV supply chains is limited by a number of incentive misalignments among actors. It also argues in favour of multiyear framework contracts.

8. Lancet – Latest tuberculosis statistics are a "wake-up call for all governments to act immediately"

Peter Moszynski ; Full text

A WHO report warned this week that the incidence of drug resistant TB has reached a record level, and stated that mobilization of national and international resources is urgent to meet needs. Funding necessary for 2015 is supposedly 16 times higher than the funding as of 2010.

9. IAS – Universal Access Now

http://www.iasociety.org/

The International AIDS society (IAS) is launching a new advocacy campaign, “Universal Access Now”, designed to focus world leaders’ attention on the need to fulfil the commitment to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care, and to keep AIDS high on the agenda in advance of the Global Fund Replenishment Meetings and the G8 & G20 Summits later this year.

Aid effectiveness

10.    Global Economic Governance – Six-concerns-about-data-in-the-dead-aid-debate

Stuckler-and-Basu-; http://bit.ly/ap39m3 (PDF, 1 MB, 13 p)

Stuckler and Basu point out six common problems with data available on aid and the way it is commonly used, both by critics and proponents of aid.

11.    KFF – New Online Portal Aims To Comprehensively Track Global Aid Flow

http://globalhealth.kff.org/

KFF reports about a new online information portal, AidData, on aid flows around the world, aiming to improve transparency and prevention of misuse of funds.

Emerging Voices

12.    Lancet – Research capacity strengthening in the DRC

P Lutumba, V Kande, M Boelaert, JM Kayembe, S Mampunza ; Full Text

Our colleagues in the Democratic Republic of Congo argue that to tackle neglected tropical diseases, global health initiatives should look at research capacity strengthening of the local researchers in research programmes developed in low income countries.

American Health Care Reform

13.    BMJ – Obama’s health dream: reality at last?

Susan Dentzer ; http://www.bmj.com/

After the historic vote in the American House of Representatives, this BMJ article examines the way the American health care reform unfolded this year in Congress.

China Health Care Reform

14.    Lancet – China’s health reforms revisited

The Lancet ; Full Text

The People’s Republic is in the midst of its own health care reform. The Lancet revisits health care in China, 18 months after the launch of the Lancet Series on health care reform in China. The issue and some online Comments provide an overview of achievements and challenges that lie ahead.

15.    Lancet – Recent scientific health developments in China

Qide Han, Lincoln Chen, Tim G Evans, William Summerskill ; Fulltext

This Lancet Comment sketches the 4 key components of the health reform and the structure of the papers in this themed issue, built around changing health threats and health systems challenges, financing and information.

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