Dear Colleagues,

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After the summer of 2010, “Business as Usual”-approaches to address the challenge posed by global warming seem no longer in vogue. Even some self-proclaimed ‘sceptical environmentalists’ are having a change of heart lately. By the way, good to see that Lomborg proposes to spend 100 billion a year on global health care. Rumour has it that the Giving Pledge even aims at 600 billion to tackle global poverty issues.


We are afraid Glenn Beck, Ron Paul and other Tea Party heavyweights (as well as their sponsors who are lurking in the background) still couldn’t care less. And like it or not, they frame at least part of the debate internationally. On the positive side, the scenes of ecological disaster are making some influential global health voices have second thoughts about their carbon footprint. We get the hint, and plan to go by bus to the Montreux Symposium, with our Emerging voices essay competition winners!


Finally, from the Melbourne UN/NGO summit came some disturbing news: it appears that maternal health was not exactly a big item in the final outcome document…


Enjoy your reading.


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

Global Health

1. Lancet – Health systems strengthening: current and future activities

Original Text

Jesper Sundewall, R Chad Swanson, Arvind Betigeri, David Sanders, Téa E Collins, George Shakarishvili, Ruairi Brugha;

In an early online Lancet Comment, Sundewall and colleagues agree there is a consensus now on the importance of strong health systems, but they argue that some HSS areas require more attention, if the current momentum is to be sustained.


National and International Health and Social Financing

2. Christian science monitor (Opinion with Kouchner and Charles Michel) – Small global taxes would make a big difference for world’s ‘bottom billion’

Bernard Kouchner, Katsuya Okada, Charles Michel;

As long as we don’t have a new government in Belgium, Charles Michel is our Development Cooperation minister. For anyone somewhat acquainted with the Belgian political conundrum, it seems likely that he will be so well into 2011. He wrote this opinion piece on innovative development financing together with  Kouchner – who needs no introduction – and Katsuya Okada, his counterpart from Japan.


3. HP&P –   Expanding health insurance coverage in vulnerable groups: a systematic review of options

Qingyue Meng, Beibei Yuan, Liying Jia, Jian Wang, Baorong Yu, Jun Gao and Paul Garner;

Meng et al. summarize the options for expanding health insurance coverage, based on a literature search. They arrived at 6 strategies: changing eligibility criteria of health insurance, increasing public awareness, making the premium more affordable, innovative enrolment strategies, improving health care delivery, and improving management and organization of the insurance schemes. The authors reckon their overview could help policy makers in countries expanding coverage.

4. You don’t have to be rich

Julian Le Grand;

Julian Le Grand comes up with a very interesting suggestion in a Guardian opinion piece, linking philanthropy, “nudging” and taxes.

5. Afriquejet – Global financial crisis may hamper African health development


In a meeting in Equatorial Guinea, Luis Sambo, Regional Director of WHO for Africa, discussed how the dire global economic situation could impact funding for health programs in Africa and the ability for countries to reach MDG targets. He was not exactly cheerful.


Elsewhere, the UNAIDS chief expressed his concern that commitments to global HIV/AIDS programs seem to be faltering for the first time in 15 years.


6. KFF – Going after Big Pharma won’t improve Africa‘s health

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Van Gelder argued that the battle against patent rights will only make Africa‘s health crisis worse. He is not convinced by the arguments used by global health advocates in favour of scaling back intellectual property rights.

7. Plos Medicine – Quantifying the Impoverishing Effects of Purchasing Medicines: A Cross-Country Comparison of the Affordability of Medicines in the Developing World

Laurens M. Niëns, Alexandra Cameron, Ellen Van de Poel, Margaret Ewen, Werner B. F. Brouwer, Richard Laing;

Niëns et al. estimate the impoverishing effects of four medicines in 16 LMICs using a metric of affordability and show that medicine purchases could impoverish large numbers of people.

8. KFF – Report Finds Some Donated Malaria Drugs Are Being Stolen, Resold In Africa

In another Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Roger Bate writes about Africa‘s black market for malaria drugs. He sees problems both in the short term and longer term, and reckons the Global Fund is rather slow to respond.


The Economist also has an interesting piece on fake drugs this week, and on the technology to do something about it.

Disease Control

9. Lancet – Uganda steps up efforts to boost male circumcision

Wairagala Wakabi ;

Uganda has launched an ambitious new campaign to increase the proportion of adult men circumcised to at least 40% within 5 years. Wakabi reports from Kampala.

10.    Monkeypox rising in wake of smallpox eradication

Lynne Peeples

Thirty years after the eradication of smallpox, the monkeypox virus is on the rise.

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