Dear Colleagues,

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Early November is not just a nice time for the fans of Twilight and Freddy Krueger, it also seems a good time to organize elections. The second round of < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Brazil’s presidential election is scheduled for Sunday. It will be interesting to see how Brazil evolves in the coming decade. Yet, the elections everybody braces for are the midterm Congress elections in the US, next Tuesday. How bad will it be if the Republicans win control of the House? Slightly biased as always, Krugman minces no words: very bad. Elsewhere in his piece, he goes: “Be afraid; be very afraid…” Halloween never came as timely as this year, it appears. The Nobel prize winner considers a clear Republican victory a catastrophe for the US, but the implications obviously go beyond the US, in issues like climate change, aid to LICs, and the like. In case you’d wonder, we’re even more biased than Krugman. 


The Center for Global Development still sees some opportunities though, even in the likely case of a Republican landslide: “The 112th Congress, with its anticipated focus on fiscal restraint, could be the catalyst that achieves meaningful aid reform.” We hope it with them. With an overhaul of aid, they obviously don’t mean a rerun of DIY (Do It Yourself) foreign aid, as advertised last week by Nicholas Kristof in a NYT column. In a Foreign policy viewpoint, Dave Algoso says a few sensible things about this DIY revolution this week. Secretary of State Clinton sketches again the concept of ‘smart power’ in a Foreign Affairs essay, as well as the implications of the concept for the Global Health Initiative and other policy areas. Not sure whether ‘smart power’ is what we will see after 2 November.


On a happier note, next week the Emerging Voices will arrive in Antwerp. We hope their visit to Antwerp and Montreux will be fruitful as well as challenging for all people involved in this project. All in all, they will be in Europe for about 3 weeks. We hope they will enjoy their stay.


Finally, in case you missed some global health issues of the last 6 months, we recommend “Health and development: global update”, a publication from the HSLP institute, the international health unit of the Mott MacDonald group, a global consultancy group. Check it out.


Enjoy your reading.


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


Global Health

1. Globalization and health – Rethinking the ‘global’ in global health: a dialectic approach

Kayvan Bozorgmehr;

Bozorgmehr reconsiders the word ‘global’ in global health and suggests reconceptualizing ‘global’ as ‘supraterritorial’, or as ‘links between the social determinants of health anywhere in the world’. Other denotations of global, like ‘worldwide’, ‘holistic’ and ’transcending national boundaries’ all have their disadvantages.

2. ECSA Health Ministers’ Conference opens in Harare


In Harare, the East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) forum on best practices and joint consultative meeting started on Monday. The shortage of health workers and the growing burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases have slowed down progress toward achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it was said. Another message was that the ECSA region should adopt health insurance schemes to finance universal health care. The Health Ministers gathered yesterday.

3. ODI – Brazil – an emerging aid player

Lidia Cabral and Julia Weinstock;

In a timely briefing paper, ODI focuses on Brazil’s emerging aid programme. Get the PDF 350 Kb.

4. Lancet – Poliomyelitis eradication: another step forward

Nigel W Crawford, Jim P Buttery;

Crawford & Buttery comment on a new Lancet article by Sutter et al. on a new (bOPV) poliovirus vaccine. They consider this a major step forward in the battle against polio, and think the next two years will be crucial in the eradication endgame.

Karen Grepin also considers this excellent news, but reckons funding is still only half of what is needed.

5. PLOS (editorial) – Increased Responsibility and Transparency in an Era of Increased Visibility

The PLoS Medicine Editors;

In this month’s editorial, the PLoS Medicine Editors discuss a new paper in PLoS Medicine by Andreas Lundh and colleagues  that examines medical journals’ competing interests.

6. PLOS (perspective) –  Editors, Publishers, Impact Factors, and Reprint Income


In the same debate, Marcovitch calls on journals to be more transparent.

Aid effectiveness

7. Guardian – We need greater transparency over aid budgets

Jonathan Glennie;

Everybody agrees more transparency is needed over aid budgets. Two recently published indices should thus be welcomed by those who believe in transparency as a key feature of accountable governance: the Aid Transparency Assessment, published by ‘Publish What you Fund’; and the Open Budget Index, published by the International Budget Partnership this week.

8. Maxwell – Doing aid centre-right: marrying a results-based agenda with the realities of aid

Simon Maxwell;

Simon Maxwell explains why the recent focus on results-based aid has some development professionals in the UK and elsewhere “shifting uncomfortably in their seats”. He also sketches two ways forward.


Nancy Birdsall (CGD) reacts.

Health Financing

9. BMJ (editorial) – Chinese health care in rural areas

Zhanlian Feng;

Zhanliang Feng comments on a new BMJ study on the impact of NCMS, the new rural medical insurance scheme in China. The scheme seems on the right track despite the challenges ahead.

10.    Lancet – Increased resources for the Global Fund, but pledges fall short of expected demand

Michel D Kazatchkine;

Kazatchkine comes back on the Global Fund replenishment and takes a rather optimistic (or is it diplomatic?) perspective. Yet, he warns that all stakeholders should make efforts to get the promises fulfilled. Apparently, he expects quite a bit from the French G8 and G20 presidency next year.


Kazatchkine is also fairly positive about the Japanese contribution to the GF. Jeffrey Sachs thinks the Japanese government could do more, and, being Sachs, says so in a Japanese newspaper. 


A very positive evolution for the GF, as pointed out in a NYT letter, is the fact that there are for the first time pledges from African nations and support from the African private sector through the “Gift From Africa” campaign.

11.    Lancet – GAVI’s challenges: funding and leadership


The Editors from the Lancet comment on the poor replenishment campaign of GAVI so far. They stress that money has to be found by June next year. Therefore a charismatic leader should be appointed.

12.    Euromapping 2010

Euromapping 2010, supported by Countdown 2015 Europe, maps European development aid and population assistance. Are European countries living up to their promises?

Action for Global Health also has a new tool, Action tracker, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the UN Member States’ commitment to give 0.7 % of GDP to aid. This tool tracks EU support for Global Health.


13.    ODI – Equity: a key to macroeconomic stability

Milo Vandemoortele;

In an ODI opinion, Milo Vandemoortele points out the key role played by equity in the search for macroeconomic stability. Equity, policy space and strong institutions all contribute to macroeconomic resilience, and are linked.


14.    Lancet – A counterfeit drug treaty: great idea, wrong implementation

Bate & Attaran;

Bate & Attaran consider a counterfeit drug treaty a timely idea. Yet, the treaty should be initiated by the WHO.

15.    Pharmabizz – India takes lead for guiding developing countries to drive WHO focus on public health instead of IPR

Joseph Alexander;

India has taken the lead to get together a number of generic drug-producing nations (like Brazil and South-Africa) to call for better definitions to ensure quality, strengthening of regulatory authorities in the respective countries. It also wants to bring the focus of the world to public health instead of IPR.

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