Dear Colleagues,

Last week Ban Ki Moon announced the establishment of an MDG advocacy group, to be co-chaired by Kagame and Zapatero. The UN secretary-general hopes this group will generate political will and mobilise a global grassroots movement to meet the MDGs. Probably he already anticipated the rather disappointing outcome of the G8 and G20 summits in Canada. According to Action for Global Health, a concerted effort is needed to put the health MDGs back on track. The organization reckons the situation is hardly any better today than it was ten years ago.

The Lancet features several articles on HIV/AIDS in this week’s issue, ahead of AIDS 2010 – the International AIDS conference scheduled for later this month in Vienna. The journal also has an online comment on global access to surgery.

Finally, in the States, a House of Representatives subcommittee approved the FY 2011 spending bill, with also the allocation of 8.25 billion $ to global health, as KFF reported yesterday. HIV/AIDS activities still get the lion’s share of the money, 5.875 billion. Meanwhile, there are again waiting lists in several US states, according to a New York Times article. The Federal AIDS drug program seems short of money.

Enjoy your reading.

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

Canadian G8 and G20 summits

1. KFF – G8 Nations Commit $5B For Maternal, Child Health; Additional $2.3B Committed From Other Countries, Foundations

In case anyone missed the news (rather unlikely for the readers of this newsletter), KFF reports on the decisions taken at the G8 Muskoka meeting. A few reactions from aid organisations follow.

2. Blog 4 Global Health ( blog posts) – One global health advocate’s view of the Canadian summits ; a complicated delivery: G8 commitment to maternal and child health

The Blog 4 Global Health has several interesting blog posts on the double summit. Two global health advocates give their interpretation of the two events and the outcomes for maternal and child health.

On the Global Poverty website, Victor Roy is worried that the past G8 summit might be a preview of September’s major UN summit on the MDGs.

3. CGD – G8 and G20 (Non)-pledges for global health: new money, old ideas ?

Nandini Oomman;

Nandini Oomman is slightly more positive. She reckons there is an opportunity for the G20 to build on the G8 Muskoka initiative but regrets that the initiative lacks new ideas on how to spend the money more effectively.

4. Lancet – From G8 to G20, is health next in line?

Sudeep Chand, J Stephen Morrison, Peter Piot, David L Heymann;

Chand et al. assess whether and how the G20 could be involved in global health. A consortium of thinktanks from several of the G8 countries will meet to initiate a discussion on the current and potential role for the G20. Innovation and sharing of lessons are obvious options.

Although not very recent, the editorial in the February issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community health is also worthwhile reading in this debate. De Vogli and Gimeno are far more critical of the G20’s role in international governance and global health. A blog post on the website of Save the Children shares their rather gloomy assessment. It remains to be seen whether G20 is the answer for global health. It could very well turn out worse for the least-developed countries, Simon Wright muses.

Global Health

5. Global Fund observer – Is the Global Fund Living Up to Its Principles?

Bernard Rivers;

In a recent Global Fund Observer issue, Bernard Rivers reassesses the Global Fund’s handling of the Zambia case. “The Fund seems not only reluctant to report on its few tough actions; it has also been reluctant, particularly during the past three years, to take those actions in the first place.”

6. Foreign Policy – The Long Emergency.

Elizabeth Dickinson;

Foreign Policy features this piece on Obama’s new approach to global health. Dickinson wonders whether this means giving up on combating HIV/AIDS.

7. Global Health Europe – The ten challenges of global health governance

In a presentation delivered at the June 2010 “Global Health: Together we can make it” conference in Brussels, Ilona Kickbusch summarized the key challenges that have to be tackled in order to improve global governance for health.

8. Plos Medicine – Closing the Gaps: From Science to Action in Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health in Africa

Sara Bennett, Freddie Ssengooba;;jsessionid=34534D8C78D395B55DC1EA2DFF8A62CC.ambra01

As part of a PLOS series on maternal, neonatal, and child health in sub-Saharan Africa, Sara Bennett and Freddie Ssengooba discuss the challenges of getting science into policy in Africa.

9. WHO Bulletin (editorial) – When did medicines become essential ?

Jeremy A. Greene;

This editorial gives a historic overview of how ‘access to essential drugs’ was placed at the centre of global health priorities.

10. Lancet – Offline: Just take a seat and they’ll call you

Richard Horton;

Horton zooms in on the ongoing debate on the different UN and IHME figures. Some policy makers say the fact that scientists can’t agree on their figures leaves them “paralysed”. Although a lame excuse, they do have a point. If there is no baseline, for example of maternal deaths, measuring the impact of donor money is impossible. Horton assesses the strengths of both processes, but insists donors should choose the most accurate number.

11. Sarah Boseley blog (the Guardian ) – Who will pay to end meningitis deaths?

Boseley wrote a blog post on the new (and very cheap) meningitis vaccine to be rolled out in the three worst-affected countries of the African meningitis belt in autumn. The development of the meningitis vaccine points towards a new, perhaps more cost-effective business model.

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