Dear Colleagues,

This week, Grace Marie V. Ku, a young health researcher from the Philippines with a passion for improving care for chronic conditions, shares some of her thoughts ahead of the UN High-Level meeting on NCDs.

Is the sun setting on NCDs?

As we noted in an online response to the ongoing NCD debate, people like me who are involved in non-communicable diseases welcome the plans for a UN summit on NCDs with elation and trepidation: happy that at last attention will be focused on the prevention and care of chronic conditions but at the same time afraid of what will be the final outcome of this attention. Fear seems to be winning out now.

Read the rest of this editorail

Enjoy your reading.

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


1. Science Insider – After Some Haggling, Negotiators for U.N. Chronic Disease Summit Reach Tentative Agreement

Sara Reardon;

At last, U.N. member state representatives reached an agreement on a political declaration document for the 19 September U.N. high-level meeting on the prevention and control of NCDs, although the document is apparently “somewhat watered down from an original version”.

The NCD Alliance already reacted.

2. Lancet – Tackling NCDs: a different approach is needed

Jan De Maeseneer, Richard G Roberts, Marcelo Demarzo, et al.;

De Maeseneer and colleagues argue integrated primary care is essential for tackling NCDs.

3. Plos – Informing the 2011 UN Session on Noncommunicable Diseases: Applying Lessons from the AIDS Response

Peter Lamptey, Michael Merson, Peter Piot, K. Srinath Reddy, Rebecca Dirks;

Ahead of the UN Summit on NCDs, Rebecca Dirks and colleagues identify (positive and negative) lessons from the AIDS epidemic that can inform the response to the growing epidemic of NCDs.

4. NEJM – Global Noncommunicable Diseases — Lessons from the HIV–AIDS Experience

K.M. Venkat Narayan, Mohammed K. Ali, Carlos del Rio, Jeffrey P. Koplan, and James Curran;

Venkat Narayan et al. also draw some lessons from the HIV/AIDS experience.

5. BMJ (Feature) – Trans fats: chasing a global ban

Rebecca Coombes;

They have been repeatedly called the “low hanging fruit” in global prevention of cardiovascular disease. But will this month’s UN health summit deliver the goods and help remove damaging trans fats from the world food chain? Rebecca Coombes reports.

6. CGD – Affordable Interventions to Prevent Noncommunicable Diseases Worldwide
CGD’s Glassman and McQuestion just published this working paper on affordable preventions to prevent NCDs worldwide. They outline 5 things the US could do.

Also on the CGD website, Amanda Glassman discusses possible innovations in the implementation of tobacco control policies. “The combination of two particularly “un-novel” solutions to tobacco control—taxation and policy based lending—may be the innovation we need to curb tobacco usage globally.”

Global Health Policy & Financing

7. ITM – SHSOP Working Paper 3 – Universal Health Coverage

An Appelmans, Luc Van Leemput; PDF 825 Kb

In the ITM Working Paper Series of the Studies in Health Services Organisation and Policy, working paper 3 was released. It’s an ITM background note on Universal Health Coverage, produced upon the request of the Belgian Development Cooperation.  The note contains two main parts. In a first part milestones and key concepts of UHC are explained. In a second part the authors zoom in on some specific challenges that need to be tackled to make progress towards UHC. Feedback from Emerging voices from the South was incorporated in the working paper, as well as in a separate annex.

The WHO Europe recently released a report on social determinants of health in Europe that shows to what extent disparities in health between and within European countries matter. The authors propose some ways forward to reduce these inequalities and stress they could be useful for low, middle and high income countries.

8. Guardian – The worst country in the world to be a sick child

Sarah Boseley –

Sarah Boseley capitalizes on the release of reports by Save the Children UK on a health worker index and by Amnesty International on the performance of the free care programme in Sierra Leone to remind us of the need for governments from developed and developing countries to invest more in health and increase the number of health workers, be they community health workers or not. That is, if we want more kids to get access to care and prevent unneeded death.

9. Amnesty International – Sierra Leone: Pregnant women still denied lifesaving medical care

We quote Sam Ukuonzi , Ugandan MP on these reports:

I have perused the reports from Amnesty and Oxfam on free care in Sierra Leone. Basically they both  acknowledge key achievements of  the FHCI but highlight major challenges. Amnesty gets rather too dramatic on the old problems that existed even before the initiative. The two reports however concur on free-health care being the
right thing to do, although more resources are required and major challenges need to be addressed. In my view, significant progress has been made in Sierra Leone – acknowledged by both reports. And this is what matters.

Very best regards,”

Sam Okuonzi, member of parliament in Uganda, formerly Head of Health Policy at the MoH, and a university lecturer of health economics and policy.


Read the report PDF (654 Kb).

10.   UN News centre – UN meeting calls for secure supply of contraceptives in developing countries

First ladies, health and finance ministers, and parliamentarians from 12 developing countries participating in the UNFPA Global Programme to Enhance Reproductive Health Commodity Security, which was launched in 2007, declared at a U.N. meeting held on Wednesday that “voluntary family planning, secured by a steady supply of contraceptives, is a national priority for saving women’s lives.”

11.   Plos (Policy Forum) – Towards Improved Measurement of Financial Protection in Health
Moreno-Serra and colleagues argue that new metrics are needed to better inform policy development on financial protection in health.

AIDS TB Malaria

12.   Irin – BURUNDI: Deaths reported as ARV shortage continues
Burundian NGOs say at least 20 people have died as a national shortage of ARV continues.

13.   Plos (Perspective) – African Malaria Control Programs Deliver ITNs and Achieve What the Clinical Trials Predicted

Thomas P. Eisele, Richard W. Steketee;
Eisele & Steketee discuss new research that examined the association of insecticide-treated nets with the reduction of P. falciparum prevalence in children under 5 and all-cause post-neonatal mortality. It seems that national data trends are in line with smaller scale studies on the effectiveness of ITNs. They say, however, that this intervention will have to be sustained if we want to achieve elimination in some parts of Africa. This means replacing the nets when they get worn out – every two to three years.
Given the fact that the scaling up of bednet distribution across Africa took 3 years, what was seen as a ‘one time’ campaign should now become routine. In my opinion, this implies several challenges notably in terms of funding, delivery channels and burden on the health system. DH

14. – GF and subsidized malaria drugs: a lethal subsidy

Roger Bate and Richard Tren;
Roger Bate and Richard Tren write that the Global Fund “launched a $225 million facility that offers subsidized malaria drugs …providing subsidies so that shops can sell relatively expensive drugs at low cost”. They emphasize that the mechanism is perverting the market for malaria drugs and could do more harm than good. The authors call on Congress to examine the subsidy system.

15.   New Aidspan issue
Aidspan released a new issue, with articles on the resumption of GF disbursements to China; on an Aidspan publication that reviews a published academic study on the factors influencing the performance of Global Fund-supported TB grants; and a discussion on CCM commentaries in GFO.

BMJ also reports The Global Fund has resumed disbursement of grants to China after delaying a $283m grant in November 2010 because of inadequate involvement from civil society organisations working with vulnerable populations. A (50 %) percentage cut in funding seems off the table, at least for now.

16.   International Health – State capacity influences on the epidemiology of neglected tropical and vector-borne diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa

Elizabeth Ann Filauri, Aimee Ferraro, Bruce Ragon;
The September issue of International Health is out, with several interesting articles. For example, this study contributes to existing research by examining how economic and socio-political attributes of state capacity influence the transmission of disease in a population. This ecological study examined relationships between state capacity and the epidemiology of five neglected tropical and vector-borne diseases in a sample of 33 African countries.


17.   BMJ (Feature) – How should GAVI build on its success?

Sophie Arie;
Immunisation programmes supported by GAVI have prevented more than five million deaths in a decade, but critics argue that the alliance could do more to bring prices down and help the most vulnerable countries. Sophie Arie reports

18.   Sarah Boseley Study shows fewer than three vaccine shots prevents cervical cancer
Sarah Boseley reports on a new study showing fewer than three vaccine shots prevents cervical cancer. The new discovery is important news for women in poor countries, where vaccination against HPV is often a long, expensive process. Meanwhile, Rick Perry seems to have a change of heart in the US  HPV Vaccine Debate. It’s all part of ‘Big Government’, now, apparently.

Development & Aid

19.   ODI (Opinion) – Global reach is the prize at Busan

Jonathan Glennie and Andrew Rogerson;
ODI published a few interesting opinions this week. Andrew Norton reflects on the impact of 9/11 on the aid, development and security landscape and explores how development and security concerns merged in a new lexicon (‘fragility’, ‘radicalisation’, ‘stabilisation’). (also this week, CGD published a timely working paper on stability ops in Afghanistan).

Jonathan Glennie and Andrew Rogerson set out their  view of what a bold outcome from Busan could look like.

Busy week for Amanda Glassman – she also blogged on the redesigned GAVI website, where performance indicators are posted, with an eye on Busan perhaps.

The Broker started a Bellagio Blog with the following aim: “The Broker’s contribution to the Bellagio Initiative consists of an online debate on a series of questions related to the promotion of human wellbeing in general, and the transformation towards a global sustainable and inclusive economy in particular.” This blog post dwells on the “aid” going from poor to rich countries and the need for greater transparency also in this regard.

20.   Guardian – Aid still benefits companies from donor countries

Claire Provost;
Despite a pledge made 10 years ago to end ‘tied aid’, recipients of aid are still being forced to buy goods and services from donor country firms, , a report (PDF) from the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), a network of 54 NGOs from 19 European countries, reveals.

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