Dear Colleagues,

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This week, < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />New York was the stage for the MDG+ summit and plenty of side-events and other gatherings ( like a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative). In opinion pieces, celebrities like Carla Bruni and Bono did what they could to advertise the Global Fund. Sarkozy proposed a global financial tax to fund the MDGs, and seemed to get support from about 60 countries. Ban Ki Moon could proudly launch his new 40 billion dollar child and mother campaign. We agree with Owen Barder that, although it’s not all new money, this initiative definitely has its merits. The UN strategy draws global attention to child and maternal health in LICs, including family planning.


Perhaps it’s true that the UN suffers a crisis of confidence, as a Lancet editorial states, that strategic leadership seems to come from other institutions (like the G20) these days, and that the new UN maternal mortality figures should have been published in a journal. And maybe Obama’s speech was lacklustre, in the words of Jeffrey Sachs. But as an ODI blogpost blog post asserts, there was also a whiff of hope about the MDGs, perhaps more so than could have been expected one year ago.  


Enjoy your reading.


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

MDG+ Summit

1. KFF – U.N. MDGs Summit Concludes With ‘Outcome Document’

KFF gives an overview of some of the key outcomes of the MDG+ summit: the 31 page declaration to go for it till 2015, the Global strategy for women’s and children’s health, and the launch of an international alliance to support reproductive, maternal and newborn health.


Evaluations of the MDG summit can be read on many places, among others on (where Devi Sridhar argues we have to go beyond the MDG silos ) and in the Guardian (where Sachs says the MDGs seem invigorated after this week; he sees four reasons for this, but also worries about the current western mood or what he calls ‘the moral crisis in the western world’).

2. FT – Pool resources and reinvent global aid

Jeffrey Sachs;

In another piece, published in the FT, Sachs showed once again he’s a big fan of the Global Fund.


Unsurprisingly, Easterly was underwhelmed. He reckons much more attention should go to MDG8.


The Smart Global health blog also pitted a proponent and opponent of the GF (or at least of an expansion of the GF) against each other. Should the GF be transformed to become the Global Fund for health?

3. KFF – Pres. Obama Unveils New U.S. Global Development Policy At U.N. MDGs Summit

Obama unveiled the new US global development policy at the UN summit. The newly proclaimed policy already led to a number of comments, among others on the CGD website and in Foreign policy.


USAID also published the US strategy for meeting the MDGs: “Celebrate, innovate and sustain”.

4. Lancet – Achieving the health MDGs: country ownership in four steps

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus;

The chair of the Board of the GF points out how country ownership can become reality, by drawing on the Ethiopian experience.  

5. Lancet – Offline: Life isn’t everything

Richard Horton;

In Offline, Horton cautions against just focusing on child survival. What is it that we want children to survive for? He also sheds some light on Anthony Lake, the new UNICEF executive director, and a man who might change Unicef radically.

6. Ethiopian MoH –  HIV/AIDS and the Health-related Millennium Development Goals: Ethiopia‘s Experience

Our colleague Yibeltal took the lead in this commissioned report on Ethiopia’s MDG experience for the MDG+ summit.

7. BMJ (news) –  Global elimination of mother to child HIV transmission is now achievable, say agencies

For the first time the elimination of transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies is considered a realistic goal, according to a presentation at a summit in New York.

8. UNAIDS – Twenty-two of the most affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa have reduced new HIV infections by more than 25%

New UNAIDS data show significant progress towards MDG 6 in sub-Saharan Africa.

Global Health

9. BMJ (news) – Industry lobbying and trade pacts threaten India’s role as major generics supplier

Indian manufacturers have supplied more than 80% of ARVs to developing countries since 2006, a new study has shown, amid concern that trade negotiations and industry lobbying threaten to restrict this flow of affordable generic drugs.

10.    Globalization and health – Is globalization healthy: a statistical indicator analysis of the impacts of globalization on health

Pim Martens, Su-Mia Akin, Maud Huynen,  and Mohsin Raza;

This paper finds a positive association between a high level of globalization and low mortality rates. Yet, this shouldn’t be seen as simple evidence that globalization is mostly good for our health, the authors warn.

11.    Science Speaks – Funding gap narrows for HIV prevention gel as donors scramble to find funding

The U.S. government is working to bridge the gap in funding needed to continue the encouraging CAPRISA vaginal microbicide research trial with a combination of funding from USG, the South African government and possibly private donors.

12.    CGD – PEPFAR Earns an ‘A’…but See Me After Class

Christina Droggitis;

Droggitis comments on a just released report on PEPFAR and country ownership. The recent shift in strategy seems to result in programs that align pretty well with national strategies.

13.    PLOS – Community Case Management of Fever Due to Malaria and Pneumonia in Children Under Five in Zambia: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Kojo Yeboah-Antwi et al;

This paper suggests that the use of Community health workers could be a feasible and effective way to provide integrated management of pneumonia and malaria at the community level in developing countries. 

14.    Lancet (Correspondence) – Nurse management of HIV-infected patients

Yibeltal Assefa, Erik Schouten, Frank Chimbwandira, Katharina Hermann, Wim Van Damme;

In a reply on Sanne et al.’s article in the Lancet, our colleagues point to the fairly common practice of nurse management of HIV-infected patients in Ethiopia and Malawi. 

15.    ODI – Aid and accountability in health: key themes and recommendations

Leni Wild & Pilar Domingo;

This new paper draws out the key themes and recommendations of a recent study for World Vision UK that examined aid and accountability through case studies in Uganda and Zambia, using the health sector as a lens.

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