Dear Colleagues,

The media buzz this week about the tour of Europe by Barack Obama (his Irish roots and Westminster speech) and his wife Michelle (her dresses and Oxford chat with talented but underprivileged North London kids ) nearly eclipsed two much more important events: the meeting in France of the pretty much outdated G8 which meets with the weight of broken aid promises on their head and an apparent exclusion of global health issues from the agenda.

Read the rest of this editorial

Enjoy your reading.

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

G8 summit

1.      Global health council – Global Health and the G8 France

The Global Health Council and its members want the G8 leaders to put more focus on humanitarian and poverty issues, especially global health. They have a few specific requests.

So far, according to a Blog4GlobalHealth post, there are not many signs of global health in Deauville, if one leaves aside Carla Bruni’s condition.

Global Health Policy

2.      Global Public Health – UN resolution on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases: An opportunity for global action

Hadii M. Mamudu; Joshua S. Yang; Thomas E. Novotny;

This paper highlights the growing global burden of NCDs, provides a brief historical background on the adoption of the UN NCDs resolution and argues that the resolution provides a remarkable new opportunity for improved international collaboration to address NCDs.

3.      Journal of Human rights – Human Rights in Global Health Diplomacy: A Critical Assessment

Michelle L. Gagnon; Ronald Labonté ;

The authors examine whether (and where) there is reference to human rights in stated commitments of governments. They also check whether  invocations to human rights by governments mattered in how they actually behave.

In the same journal, there is also a paper on “the Health Case for Economic and Social Rights Against the Global Marketplace”.

4.      Plos – Migration and Health: A Framework for 21st Century Policy-Making

Cathy Zimmerman, Ligia Kiss, Mazeda Hossain;

In the introductory article to a six-part PLoS Medicine series on Migration & Health, series guest editors Cathy Zimmerman et al. outline a migratory process framework that involves five phases: pre-departure, travel, destination, interception, and return. The second article in the series was also published this week.

5. – China, India ‘should boost traditional medicine innovation’–1.html

Government think-tanks in China and India have recommended a jointly funded initiative to strengthen traditional medicine innovations in both countries. The new initiative draws on the idea of the Health Impact Fund, as a mechanism for financing research into medicines that are not commercially attractive to the pharmaceutical industry.

6.      Lancet (editorial)- Half a century of Amnesty International

The Lancet applauds the recent focus of Amnesty International, which celebrates its 50th anniversary, on health as a human right.

Global Health Aid

7.      Lancet (Letter) – The IHP+: a welcome initiative with an uncertain future

David McCoy, Ron Labonte, Gill Walt, David Sanders, Ravi Ram, Tobias Luppe, Adrienne Germain, Lola Dare ;

Mc Coy et al. wonder whether IHP+ will continue as an initiative with a dedicated secretariat and budget beyond 2012, when its current mandate ends. They argue forcefully that IHP+ should not be abandoned. Rather, it should be improved.

8.      BMJ on Global Fund & China (update)

Jane Parry;

China has avoided the suspension of its grants from the Global Fund after a meeting between the fund and its principal recipient, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention yielded a commitment to work more closely with civil society organisations and reimburse any funds that have been misspent. But obviously, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

9.      Global Fund Observer, new issue


The latest issue of the Global Fund Observer provides an interesting article discussing the tension between the office of the inspector general and the secretariat of the Global Fund. Another article highlights recent news presented by Executive Director Kazatchkine to the board including an assessment of the risk of stock outs of ARV in 20 countries. Get the latest issue in PDF (183 Kb)

10.   CGD – GlaxoSmithKline Taps its Profit in LDCs for Health Work Force Development, But Needs Aid Effectiveness 101

Nandini Oomman;

Oomman comments on this week’s news that GSK is fulfilling its 2009 pledge to offer 20% of its 2010 profits earned in LDCs back to these countries to help boost their health work forces. Sarah Boseley also did so on the website of the Guardian.

11.   Global Public Health – Player or referee? Aid effectiveness and the governance of health policy development: Lessons from Viet Nam

This article discusses how efforts to improve the effectiveness of aid intersect with policy-making processes in the health sector in Vietnam. It presents a quantitative review of health aid flows in the country and a qualitative analysis of the aid environment using event analysis, participant observation and key informant interviews. The article suggests that aid reform efforts should be understood not as a technocratic agenda but as a political process with all the associated tensions, perverse incentives and challenges.

12.   Social Science & Medicine – Analysing Global Health Assistance: The reach for Ethnographic, Institutional and Political Economic Scope

Devi Sridhar and David Craig;

Sridhar & Craig introduce a special issue on Global Health Assistance.

13.   KFF – Russia Spent More Than $80M In Health-Related Foreign Aid In 2010, Report Says

The Russian Federation in 2010 spent more than $80 million to improve health in developing countries, according to a report prepared by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

This week, the Guardian also had a piece on the rebirth of Russian foreign aid. The country tends to focus on its neighbours, for the time being.


14.   Humanosphere on WHA

Tom Paulson;

The World Health Assembly closed its doors on Wednesday leaving it up to commenters to draw their conclusions. Tom Paulson from Humanosphere reviewed many of them and provides his own blogosphere review of what has been said around and at the WHA. For a more official account of the issues tackled you can glance at the press release by WHO following the closing session.

15.   CGD – WHO needs a replenishment

Amanda Glassman Nandini Oomman and William Savedoff.

Glassman and colleagues discuss the lack of vision shown by WHO so far to address the funding shortfall and the reasons for this. Admittedly, some useful suggestions have been put on the table, but the WHO’s Future of Financing document still fails to set priorities.

Nature also provides an analysis of the causes of this fiasco and comments on the current plans on the table. Despite some heavy criticism on WHO’s management at the WHA (by the Thai and many others), Richard Horton from The Lancet reckons Margaret Chan deserves a second chance.

16.   BMJ (news) – Global health experts explore ways to slash vaccine prices and expand access

John Zarocostas;

During a WHA session, Bill Gates again called upon all stakeholders to provide enough funding for vaccines in the coming decade. New vaccines are expected to be launched in the coming ten years, and they will inevitably attract resources. Yet, MSF and others warn that many LIC are already struggling to implement existing and cheap lifesaving vaccines. Is this the start of a new controversy? What do you think: should LIC speed up the introduction of Hepatitis B and pneumococcal vaccines for example, or should the money instead be used to strengthen EPI programmes with existing vaccines?

Nature has a special issue on vaccines this week. The journal looks at recent and upcoming vaccines; some articles also zoom in on funding and safety issues.

Emerging Voices

17.   International Journal for equity in health – Viewing the Kenyan health system through an equity lens: Implications for universal coverage

Jane Chuma and Vincent Okungu;

Vincent Okungu, Emerging Voice from Kenya, is coauthor of this paper. The aim of this paper is to assess the extent to which the Kenyan health financing system meets the key requirements for universal coverage, including income and risk cross-subsidisation.

US Health Care Reform

18.   Lancet – Political tussle continues over US health-care reform

Nellie Bristol;

And how are things in the US these days? Despite passing into law last year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues to come under attack from Republicans and critics who hope to derail the plans. Nellie Bristol reports in the Lancet.

Development & Aid

It’s not just Russia that is “back in town”, another BRIC country – India – pledged 5 billion this week to help African states meet the MDGs.

Finally, there was an interesting blog post on the website “Aid thoughts”, assessing the value of multilateral aid (versus bilateral aid).

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