Dear Colleagues,


Despite a drastic overall budget reduction, the UK Conservative/LibDem government decided to steeply increase ODA. Great news, definitely. Some commentators even think we should aim for 1 % of GDP (instead of 0.7 %), to cope with the additional needs of climate change mitigation and adaptation. As you might have guessed, we happen to agree.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


The < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />UK government announced at the same time its intention to levy a banking tax (which could pre-empt the FTT), while carefully avoiding to link the possible use of such a tax to Global Public Goods. There was nothing on ODA, MDGs, climate change in there. So there might have been a trade-off.


Let’s hope the government will channel a considerable share of the ODA increase towards the Global Fund.  We also hope this sets an example for other “conservative” governments that the soft power of aid may be a better use of resources than flexing military muscles. (That is, if you don’t brag too much about your aid; see the USAID  logo controversy). Admittedly, there is a risk that the British government will “securitize” aid and concentrate ODA increasingly in fancy places like Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Finally, the UK government also decided to phase out aid to Russia and China, but not (yet?) India, despite the fact that India emerges as a donor.


Enjoy your reading.


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


Global Health


1. Global Health – vaccines at a crossroads

Adel Mahmoud;

Global health has a special issue on vaccines. It is clear we are at a crossroads. While modern technologies have advanced the development and distribution of vaccines, so too have infectious diseases evolved. Diseases like dengue are even cropping up in Northern climates. Who is winning in the race of survival of the fittest?


In the selected article, the author wonders what can be done about the stagnant state of vaccines.

2. Smart Global Health – Can an Equity Focus Accelerate Progress in Child and Maternal Mortality in the Next Five Years?

J. Stephen Morrison;

Stephen Morrison comments on the new equity-focused UNICEF strategy.

3. HP&P – How is health a security issue? Politics, responses and issues

Catherine Lo Yuk-ping and Nicholas Thomas;

Health Policy & Planning has a special theme issue on “Unhealthy Governance: security challenges and policy prospects. “  Several articles are definitely worth a read, among others an article on AIDS and international security in the UN system, and one on the relationships between foreign aid, HIV and government health spending.


We included the introductory paper to the set of papers on ‘unhealthy governance’, which explores some of the key findings of subsequent papers.

4. Humanosphere -Thoughts on the Gates Foundation paying media to cover global health and developmen


Tom Paulson;

Tom Paulson assesses the pros and contras of the funding of media by the Gates foundation.

Health Financing

5. Malaria journal – The quest for universal access to effective malaria treatment: how can the AMFm contribute?

Lloyd Matowe and Olusoji Adeyi;

This paper examines, within access to medicines frameworks, the role of the AMFm across and within each dimension and discusses how the AMFm can help to solve access bottlenecks. A little bias would be understandable.


6. TMIH (viewpoint) – Per diems in Africa: a counter-argument

Conteh & Kingori ;

Conteh and Kingori react on Valéry Ridde’s earlier viewpoint on per diems in Africa and their impact on the functioning of health interventions, systems and research.


7. TMIH –  When the ‘non-workable ideological best’ becomes the enemy of the ‘imperfect but workable good’

I Agyepong, J Nabyonga and D Hercot;

This short paper addresses some of the difficulties inherent in international ideological approaches to solving the complex problems of health care financing and delivery in poor countries using Ghana as an example.


Owen Barder;

Again a great blog post from Owen Barder on the fact that aid should be more strongly linked to results. Barder takes on Simon Maxwell in this post.

UK Foreign Aid Policy




Owen Barder;

We are biased towards Owen Barder, as you might have guessed by now. In this post, he dissects the UK spending review in terms of development spending.


10.    ODI – The Comprehensive Spending Review: sticking to promises on aid

Obviously, ODI also paid attention to the development policy implications of the comprehensive spending review.

11.    Guardian – Aid and ‘soft power’ becomes foreign policy focus

The Guardian generally approved of the strong soft power focus of the UK government, but wondered whether there will be a hidden militarisation of aid.

Disease Control

12.    TMIH – Providing universal access to antiretroviral therapy in Thyolo, Malawi through task shifting and decentralization of HIV/AIDS care

Some colleagues were involved in this article on providing ART in Malawi through task shifting and decentralization of care to the primary care level.


13.    Lancet – India‘s invisible malaria burden

Hay et al.;

Hay and colleagues comment on the invisible malaria burden of India, suddenly made visible by a new Lancet article by Dhingra et al. The new malaria mortality figures are substantially higher than the WHO estimates.


Karen Grepin also comments on this, on her blog.

14.    Lancet – Progress and challenges in neglected tropical diseases


A Lancet editorial dwells on the substantial progress made towards removing the “neglected” from neglected tropical diseases last week, with the launch of WHO’s first global report on the diseases, coupled with new pledges to donate crucial drugs.

15.    Lancet – Antiretroviral therapy in low-resource settings

Cainelli et al.;

Cainelli et al. react in a Lancet letter to Koole & Colebunders’ comment on challenges to the treatment of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa. The latter overlook two important points, they claim.

US Health Care reform

16.    Lancet – Implementing the US health-care reform bill


We haven’t paid attention to the US health care reform for a while, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening in the US in terms of health care. Mid-term Congress elections are coming up. The Lancet features this week a short overview of the implementation of the health care reform bill, and looming challenges.


Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please fill in the below * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.