Dear Colleagues,

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The MDG+ summit in < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />New York will attract global attention this weekend. After the ugly Roma-row of the past few days, Sarkozy and fellow statesmen can now focus on the many other vulnerable groups in the world. Maternal health will be one of the key focal points of the summit. Earlier this week, UN organisations published encouraging news about global maternal health trends, a timely boost for Ban Ki Moon’s Global plan for Women and Children’s health. Sanitation is also, rather belatedly, rising up the MDG agenda, according to BMJ. As far as we know, Michelle Bachelet will not make her maiden speech for a global audience as new UN Women boss, but we could be wrong.  In any case, we hope world leaders will dig deep in their pockets.


The Guardian launched a new website dedicated to Global Development and the follow-up of the MDGs, in cooperation with the Gates Foundation. The site also has links to recent data on MDGs and aid. Check it out.


Finally, one of our partner institutes, the Institute of Public Health, Bangalore, will organise a national conference on bringing Evidence into Public Health Policy (EPHP 2010), in collaboration with ITM. The conference is scheduled for 10-11 December. See their website for more info.


Enjoy your reading.


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

Global Health


1. Karen Grepin – Best global health blogs

One of our favourite global health bloggers, Karen Grepin, lists the global and international health blogs she regularly reads. Unfortunately, ours isn’t yet among her top 5. 😉

2. Lancet – Japan‘s new global health policy: 2011—2015

Katsuya Okada ;

Japan’s global health policy has stayed somewhat under the radar in this newsletter, that’s why we include this piece from the Lancet this week.

3. Global health Europe – Europe and the future financing of WHO

David Gleicher ; (6p, PDF, 532 Kb)

A Global Health Europe issue brief points out what Europe’s role could be in the future financing of WHO. Europe should aim for a better financed and more effective WHO, and its member states should thus gradually move away from earmarked WHO funding towards funding its general budget.

Lancet special issue on MDGs:

4. Lancet – Equity as a shared vision for health and development


A Lancet editorial dwells on the MDG themed issue, and more in particular, on the commissioned article “The MDGs: a cross-sectoral analysis and principles for goal setting after 2015”. An equity-focused strategy is considered essential.

5. Lancet – Africa faces an uphill struggle to reach the MDGs

Wairagala Wakabi ;

Despite scoring notable successes, funding shortfalls and less political commitment are stymying progress towards attaining the health MDGs in Africa. Wairagala Wakabi reports.

6. Lancet- Levels and trends in child mortality, 1990-2009 (comment)

Danzhen You, Gareth Jones, Kenneth Hill, Tessa Wardlaw, Mickey Chopra

A Lancet comment by You et al. explores the latest child mortality trends. Progress on child mortality is being made across all regions of the world, but the progress masks inequalities within countries. Under 5 mortality is also increasingly concentrated: 15 countries account for 70 % of the world’s under 5 deaths.

7. Lancet – Improving aid for maternal, newborn and child health

Devi Sridhar ;   

Sridhar comments on Pitt et al.’s report on (2003-2008) trends in ODA for MNCH. She highlights three findings, and raises the obvious question whether middle-income countries like India, China and Brazil should still receive aid. Check their defense budgets and you know why.

8. Lancet – The MDG decade: looking back and conditional optimism for 2015

 Jeffrey Sachs ;

Jeffrey Sachs looks back on the past MDG decade and is “conditionally optimistic” about the MDG picture for health in the coming years. Success will nevertheless still depend on external aid. And unsurprisingly, he does not consider multilateral institutions and funds to be the main culprits when it comes to fragmentation of aid.

9.  ARI – Changing the Course of MDGs by Changing the Discourse

Jan Vandemoortele ;

Vandemoortele argues that in order to accelerate the course of MDGs, the discourse at the MDG+ meeting should be radically different. Instead of the usual policy recommendations of economic growth, aid effectiveness and good governance, global leaders should have the vision and courage to reform the global trading system, to redress global climate change and, above all, to reduce within-country inequities.

Health Financing

10.    AP – AIDS Advocates Call For African Governments To Spend More Of Their Own Funds On Health

Donna Bryson ;

Last Friday, doctors and AIDS activists urged African governments to fulfill a decade-old pledge to spend more of their own money on health if they want international help in fighting AIDS. A timely message with the MDG+ summit coming up. Graca Machel, Mandela’s wife, told reporters that African governments need to honor pledges to devote at least 15 percent of national budgets to health.

11.    Reuters – Vaccine drives face multibillion funding shortfalls

In a new report, the GAVI Alliance revealed a $4.3 billion shortfall for its programs that intend to offer immunization to 110 million children by 2015.


12.    Needs-driven rather than market-driven rules to spread access to medicines in poor countries

Daniele Dionisio ; (PDF, 5p, 92,5 Kb, SCRIBD or Facebook account required)

Dionisio proposes an analysis of the various mechanisms to change patent rules in order to allow access to essential drugs for the poorer people.

13.    TMIH – Improving communication of research findings: identifying the sources of information most important to national disease control officers in low- and middle-income countries

Justin O. Parkhurst, Alexandra Hyde, Annabelle South, Lara Brehmer, Alexandra Miller, James N. Newell ;

This paper presents the findings of a study on the sources of information policy makers in LMICs are using to guide their reforms. Crucial stuff for us, researchers involved in GRIP.

General development

14.     Guardian Datablog – Which bottom billion?

A new paper by Andy Sumner (IDS) points out that far more poor people live in middle-income countries (MICs) than in low income countries (LICs). Approximately three quarters of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people today live in MICs, with the others living in LICs, mostly in Africa. In other words, we might have to reinterpret the ‘bottom billion’.

15.    ODI Blog : Is Africa’s tide turning?

Alison Evans ;

Recent ODI work shows some real progress towards achieving the MDGs in African countries recently. Some drivers of Africa’s progress are being sketched in this blog post. Yet, Alison Evans also sees three reasons to remain cautious.

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