Dear Colleagues,

Most people agree (and regret) that developed world experts have dominated the Global Health debate until now. Luckily, the times are a-changing…

Now is the time for experts from the South to raise their voice in the debate. To support this change in paradigm, we launch an essay competition in which we invite experts from low and middle income countries to give their opinion on how we could progress toward universal health coverage in developing countries. The best essays will then be invited to attend an intensive coaching session at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp. In addition, active participation in the Institute’s colloquium and in the First Global Symposium on health systems research in Montreux (both scheduled for November this year) is foreseen.

Please visit our website for more information on this.

Enjoy your reading.

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

Global Health

1. Plos – Health Diplomacy and the Enduring Relevance of Foreign Policy Interests

Harley Feldbaum, Joshua Michaud ;

Plos features an article on the fact that foreign policy priorities continue to determine political priority and funding for global health issues. The article introduces a series on health diplomacy.

2. CGD – Slender on Gender: Global Fund Round 8 and 9 Proposals

Christina Droggitis ;

The Center for Global Development blog has a post on the way gender issues have been taken into account in Round 8 and 9 proposals of the Global Fund. The assessment is that some progress has been made, but not nearly enough.

3. Lancet – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus—a Global Fund for the health MDGs

Kelly Morris ;

The Lancet has a piece on Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was elected Board Chair of the Global Fund in July 2009. The Ethiopian champions a new proposal to broaden the Global Fund mandate and consolidate it into a Global Fund for the health MDGs. Much is expected from him.

4. Reuters – Europe must rethink aid approach – development chief

Bate Felix & Julien Toyer;

The EU development chief, Piebalgs, says the EU should think of new ways to meet its commitments towards the world’s poor. Setting binding targets on aid (with credible action plans) and innovative financing mechanisms should be among them. He considers big improvements on ODA as vital for the credibility of the EU.

Maternal Mortality

5. Karengrepin – Are my made up numbers better than your made up numbers? Uncovering the new maternal mortality estimates

Karen Grepin ;

The new maternal mortality figures from the Lancet have already sparked quite some debate. Karen Grepin explains on her blog the limits of the new maternal mortality data and suggests it’s important to focus on what has not changed with these new data. For Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the picture is still bleak.

Elsewhere, on a Time blog, Christopher Murray also gave his interpretation of the new data, and why the new figures are different from the ones in the last WHO report. The CGD blog provides four “take home messages”. Better data are necessary; we also need to learn what has worked and why. We should distinguish between the direct and indirect causes of maternal mortality. And perhaps it’s time for something entirely new (like Cash on Delivery?).

Finally, never one to remain silent on these issues, Nicholas Kristof emphasizes on a NYT blog that good news could actually help advocacy. “People want to be part of something useful, something that manifestly can be changed and made better.”


6. Lancet – Malaria 2010: more ambition and accountability please

Editorial ;

The Lancet has an editorial on World Malaria Day. There has been a surge in political commitment and international funding for malaria control over the last decade. However, the global health community needs to show more ambition and accountability in combating malaria. The community has, for example, been too complacent in trying to acquire an effective and affordable vaccine.


The Lancet also features an article aimed at clinicians managing children with malaria. And there’s a viewpoint on the progress made in Africa in the decade since the Abuja declaration, 10 years ago. Then, the goal was “to halve the malaria mortality for Africa’s people by 2010.” Also some priorities for the future are being outlined. 

Health Research

7. Lancet – Getting research into policy, or out of practice, in HIV?

Justin Parkhurst, Ian Weller b, Julia Kemp

Now that everybody is more or less familiar with the GRIPP concept, Parkhurst sees the time ripe to introduce GROP: getting research out of practice. He sketches four areas for research development which need increased international and technical support. 

8. Lancet – Young Voices demand health research goals

Maarten Kok, Dziedzom Komi de Souza

In the Lancet, Young voices from the South (and the North) worry that the voice of young people remains neglected when it comes to health research. Global health research remains mostly “funded, done and prioritized in the developed world”. They propose two specific goals for health research, each with clear targets: (1) set national priorities for health research in each country, and (2) establish a national fund for health research in all countries.

Health Financing

9. Heapol – Health Financing in Brazil, Russia and India: What Role Does the International Community Play?

Devi Sridhar, and Eduardo J. Gómez;

This article in Health Policy and Planning examines the health financing patterns in three BRIC countries. Brazil and India seem to differ from Russia. Why does AIDS get more money in India and Brazil (than the actual burden warrants), as compared to Russia?

10.    Lancet – Health-financing strategy for WHO’s Asia-Pacific Region

Chris D James, Dorjsuren Bayarsaikhan, Henk Bekedam ;

The WHO recently developed a new health financing strategy (for the next five years) for the Asia-Pacific region. The strategy includes four (related) target indicators.

Recent Blogs on Aid effectiveness

The former DFID economist Owen has been very productive on his blog in recent weeks. In one blogpost, he dwelled on the aid fungibility issue, as touched upon in the recent Lancet article by Lu et al. Owen disagrees with the last three of their recommendations.

In another post, Owen sheds light on the role of development policy issues in the upcoming UK election, and says the debate should focus less on aid (and the 0.7 % fetish), but more on fair global policies in a range of areas (like trade, arms, migration, pharmaceutical industry…).

Also in the fungibility debate, the CGD blog has a somewhat technical blogpost (by Roodman) on some methodological issues of the Lu et al. paper. The causal interpretation of the findings is questionable, Roodman contends.   

Our colleagues’ viewpoint in The Lancet on the Lu et al. paper is also worth reading if you haven’t done so before. (Original paper or free access)

Finally, two influential ladies, Nancy Birdsall and Liliana Rojas-Suarez , muse on the Center for Global Development blog on the World Bank and IMF in the wake of the crisis and the challenges ahead. 

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