Dear Colleagues,


After a somewhat slow take-off, our ‘Emerging Voices’ essay competition is now in full swing. Let us nevertheless take advantage of this weekly newsletter to remind potential participants of the need to formally register by June 4th. And good luck to all!


Another campaign that is hopefully in full swing by now, is the ‘Born HIV free‘ initiative, launched last week, and headed by Carla Bruni, to end the transmission of HIV from mothers to children by 2015. This campaign hopes to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures to persuade global politicians into generosity, using social media tools, animation and music. A long overdue but all the same crucial move, if only to get rid of the ‘Big shot’ image of the Fund.


And yesterday, Obama revealed his new National Security Strategy. Development issues featured less prominently in media coverage of the strategy than one might have hoped, but it’s obvious that the Obama administration has a more nuanced view of the world than its predecessor. As the latest illustration of this more sophisticated worldview, one might point at the ongoing medical diplomacy with North-Korea, on which the Lancet reports this week. Not sure whether this humanitarian diplomacy will pay off though, in the current tense environment. Maybe mental health should have been part of the diplomatic package? 


Enjoy your reading.


< ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Basile Keugong, Josefien Van Olmen & Wim Van Damme

Global Health

1. Lancet – the Kingmakers of health

Richard Horton; 

In bits and pieces of global health news, Horton reckons the appointment of Peter Piot as the new Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will boost the global influence of the institute. He also points at the grave situation and pessimism in global health circles, five years from 2015. Nevertheless, for the joint action plan to improve the health of women and children, it is expected that US $ 15 billion can be raised for 2011.

2.      Smart Global health (blog) – Building U.S. Diplomatic Capacity for Global Health

Harley Feldbaum;

The CSIS report describes the need for improved US diplomatic capacity on global health, outlines the currently fractured architecture of the US government on this issue, and issues recommendations for building diplomatic capacity for global health.

3.      Lancet – UN raises priority of non-communicable diseases

Kelly Morris ; Full Text

Morris reports on the recent UN resolution on NCDs that drew attention to the need for action, especially in LICs. A high-level meeting is slated for September 2011. It is hoped that this meeting will put non-communicable diseases on a par with infectious diseases like HIV and malaria.

4.  Harmer’s blog – IHP+: think creek, think paddle

Andrew Harmer;

Andrew Harmer started a new blog on global health policy. In his first post, he scrutinizes the IHP+ 2010 Results update. As he aptly puts it: “The findings of the update may not be all bad …, but they’re still pretty bad.” He just about refrains from drawing the conclusion that IHP+ is going nowhere.


5.      Canadian Press – Malawi anti-gay laws & Global Fund:

Donors are increasingly concerned about anti-gay laws in some African countries (like Malawi).


A related interesting opinion piece in the Guardian also pointed out, rightly, that homophobia in Africa is indeed a problem, but not as ‘African’ homophobia, a special class that would require special interventions.

6.      Lancet – HIV drugs for treatment, and for prevention

François Dabis, Marie-Louise Newell, Bernard Hirschel ;

Dabis et al. comment on the Lancet article by Donnell and colleagues on heterosexual HIV-1 transmission after initiation of antiretroviral therapy. They argue for a new generation of research on HIV prevention at the population level with the best scientific methodology possible.


Somewhat related to this HIV treatment transmission / prevention debate, Mead Over published a second essay in a series of three, “Using incentives to prevent HIV infections“, on the CGD website.

7. Guardian – MSF warns of millions more HIV deaths

Sarah Bosseley;

In a widely publicized report, MSF warned of looming disaster, if the expected funding cuts do indeed materialize. The gains of the last decade could be lost.

8. Globalization and Health – Intervening in global markets to improve access to HIV/AIDS treatment (…)

Brenda Waning, Margaret Kyle, Ellen Diedrichsen, et al.;

Full title: Intervening in global markets to improve access to HIV/AIDS treatment: an analysis of international policies and the dynamics of global antiretroviral medicines markets

Globalization and Health features an article on the global antiretroviral medicines market and the role of Global Health initiatives in it.

Health Information Systems

9.      Lancet online – Neonatal, postneonatal, childhood, and under-5 mortality for 187 countries, 1970—2010: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4

 Rajaratnam JK, Marcus JR, Flaxman AD et al. ;

Yet another output of the Murray team, again covered in all the global media outlets: new data on child mortality, with encouraging news.

10.    Economist- The power of numbers.

The Economist examines the new ‘provocative’ data, and the debate that ensued publication of this and other recent public health data reports.


11. GHE – Long overdue: WHA adopts a code of practice for international recruitment of health workers

Göran Bondjers;

At the WHA, a voluntary code of practice was adopted for international recruitment of health workers. Long overdue, indeed. Whether it will be enough, remains to be seen, as binding decisions are still to be made on a national level.

12.    – BMJ : Developing countries call on WHO to focus on public health issues not drug patents

John Zarocostas;

A number of developing countries, spearheaded by the “usual suspects” India and Brazil, have secured passage of a resolution that calls for a major review of the WHO’s role in combating counterfeit and substandard drugs. The demands seek to curtail the role of WHO in intellectual property enforcement issues and to prioritise public health concerns.


13.  Plos Medicine – Journals, Academics, and Pandemics

The Editors;

A Plos Medicine editorial emphasizes an obvious problem for global health journals: how to effectively share information when a disease spreads rapidly. The response of journals is usually too slow. We might need new avenues for rapid data sharing.

14. Swine flu panel:

John Zarocostas;

The external expert review committee examining the WHO’s management of the H1N1 pandemic would like to get access to confidential documents between the WHO and drug companies. So far though, the WHO secretariat has been relatively forthcoming in making available to the committee requested documents.

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One Response to International Health Policies in the news today 67

  1. Prashanth NS says:

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