Dear Colleagues,

This week we have a guest editorial by Marco Gomes, Policy Advisor at the Health and HIV Centre for Health Policy and Innovation. He is also a GAVI Alliance Civil Society Constituency Steering Committee member.

You can read it here

Enjoy your reading.

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

2011 UN high-level meeting on AIDS

1.      KFF – Ban Calls For Global Unity To End AIDS By 2020 At U.N. Meeting Opening

Last week, mainstream media paid quite some attention to the commemoration of 30 years of HIV/AIDS, and this week the ongoing High-Level meeting in New York gets a fair amount of attention too. Academic journals seem to focus somewhat more on the new “decade of vaccines” (see below) this week, however, probably anticipating things to come. Whether the high-level event will come up with real targets for 2015, is not clear yet, but the odds don’t look bad. Ban Ki Moon, who announced he is seeking a second term at the helm of the UN, is definitely in favor. At the meeting, the International AIDS society (IAS) already urged world leaders to integrate a fourth pillar (HIV cure research) into the global response to the epidemic. Obviously plenty of other things are happening there, as we speak.

In the run-up to the high-level event, a new UNAIDS report was released, claiming that a record 6.6 million patients in poor countries received antiretroviral treatment in 2010.

And CFR and Science Speaks had a few more good pieces and background stories on Aids at 30; there was also an interview with Laurie Garrett. 

Decade of Vaccines & GAVI  fundraising

Plenty of attention for vaccines this week, both in the Lancet and in Health Affairs – obviously with a view on the upcoming GAVI financing round. In the words of the Lancet: “In December 2010, global health leaders committed to making the next 10 years the Decade of Vaccines – to ensure discovery, development, and delivery of lifesaving vaccines globally, especially to the poorest countries. The Lancet Series ‘New decade of vaccines’ looks at every aspect of this medical technology, including the developments expected over the coming decade and what we can expect from translation of the latest vaccine science. Improving vaccine coverage and financing of both existing and newer vaccines together with how we communicate the benefits of vaccines and ensure public trust and confidence, are also examined.

2.      Lancet – A call to action for the new decade of vaccines

E. Richard Moxon et al.;

There are lots of interesting Comments in the new Lancet series, for example this one by Horton & Das on the vaccine paradox, or  this one by Rees & Mahdi who wonder whether this decade of vaccines will turn out to be business as usual. Yet, we opted for this one, as the main initiator behind the Series, Richard Moxon, is first author.

3.      Health Affairs – new special issue on strategies for the ‘decade of the vaccines’

Health Affairs has a special issue on strategies for the new decade of vaccines. You find a good overview of the content of the new issue in the press release.

We also want to draw your attention to an article on the Global Health Initiative, looking back on the 2011 budget battles, and assessing the challenges ahead.

4.      Guardian – Drugs companies to lower price of vaccines in developing countries

Ben Quinn;

In the intro, our guest-editor already mentioned the upcoming GAVI pledging conference, scheduled for Monday. The stakes are huge. Ahead of the conference, drug companies announced they would lower the price of vaccines in developing countries. GAVI obviously welcomed this.

In the Guardian, Sarah Boseley analyzed the growing debate over how best to run vaccination programmes, with charities and aid agencies critical of pharma company links.

CGD’s Amanda Glassman wonders whether Obama will make a three-year pledge for GAVI. As always, Tom Paulson also has a few interesting things to say on this vaccine media blitz, on his blog Humanosphere.

5.      CSIS & CGD policy brief – GAVI’s future: Steps to Build Strategic Leadership, Financial Sustainability, and Better Partnerships

Lisa Carty et al.;

This policy brief (PDF 239 Kb), developed collaboratively by the CSIS Global Health Policy Center and CGD provides analysis and recommendations to GAVI leadership in three vital issue areas: GAVI’s mandate and business model; its financing strategy; and the GAVI Secretariat and partners’ capacities.

Global health policy & financing

6.      Lancet (letter) – Non-communicable diseases in southeast Asia

Raoul Bermejo;

Our colleague Raoul Bermejo has this letter on NCDs and the need for more self-management of NCD patients in South-East Asia in the Lancet this week.

7.      World Bank report (press release ) – IFC-World Bank Report Calls for Government and Private Sector Partnership to Expand Africa’s Health Services

They do get a lot of flak at times, the boys and girls of the World Bank, but you can’t say they are a lazy bunch. A few weeks ago they released yet another report, this one calling for a government and private sector partnership to expand Africa’s Health Services. [you can read the report online on Issuu. Or download it here (PDF 176 pages, 26 MB !!) Which begs the question: who the hell is their target audience ? ]

8.      Deauville Accountability report (PDF 60 Pages – 1,55 MB)

The G8 Deauville Accountability report was released this week. In a blog post on ‘Speaking of Medicine’, Plos freelance editor Rhona McDonald commented on it. ‘Dreadful’, she labelled the event. She also reckoned the G8 should do much more to address the health care worker brain drain.

9.      GFO – Whistleblowing and Aid effectiveness

There’s an excellent new issue of the Global Fund Observer this week. We reckon that by now those of you who are really into the GFATM probably already subscribed to the GFO. Two articles merit special attention for our purpose. One article dwells on the updated whistleblowing policy approved at the last board.  The other piece is a call for comments by the editors of the GFO on the evaluation of the GFATM’s alignment to the Paris Declaration and IHP+ principles by ihpresults.

Some more news on the Global Fund:

On the donor side, there was a statement by the Belgian Government (Olivier Chastel, our secretary of Development aid) this week, announcing a freeze of the Belgian contribution to the Fund (21 million euros) until September, when the internal audit will be finished. Apparently the board meeting hasn’t been reassuring enough for our government. On the recipient side, KFF reports that the Former Malian Health Minister has been indicted in the case about misuse of GF donations.

10.   KFF – Cancer Professionals Urge World Leaders To Attend U.N. Meeting On NCDs

Earlier this week, US oncologists urged Obama and other world leaders to attend the UN meeting on NCDs in September, in an effort to build momentum for moving cancer up the NCD agenda. Tom Paulson has an excellent blog post on this issue. He wonders, rather reluctantly, whether global health needs triage.

11.   IPS – Rich Nations Wage Assault on Generic AIDS Drugs

IPS examines how moves by developed nations to tighten intellectual property laws are threatening to limit production and distribution of generic drugs. The article looks at how negotiations over the outcome document of this week’s U.N. High Level Meeting on AIDS, as well as bilateral trade agreements between developed and developing nations, are proceeding and could affect the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement.

12.   Health Diplomacy Monitor (special issue : 64th World Health Assembly)

A special issue of the Health Diplomacy Monitor dwells on the outcomes of the 64th World Health Assembly.

13.   Lancet – World Report on Disability

A new WHO report says disability should be seen as a development issue. The Lancet has an editorial on the report this week.

14.   Lancet (online ) –  Is health still global? A new approach from the UK Government

Sudeep Chand;

Chand reassesses “Health is Global”, the UK cross-government strategy from 2008 to 2013, and amendments to the strategy by the Cameron-Clegg government from earlier this year. Will the lofty principles be turned into reality?

Development & aid

15.   IRIN – Malawi’s Health Care System Feeling Effects Of DFID Aid Withdrawal

Malawi’s health care system is facing major setbacks after DFID made its final aid disbursement to the country in March and decided not to renew a six-year spending commitment that ends this month.

In related news, Andrew Mitchell defended higher British spending on aid as a moral duty. On the blog Aidthoughts, this statement is scrutinized.

Finally, ONE released its 2011 DATA report this week, on the G7 commitments of the past 5 years. Julia Nagel comments on it here.

[i] Overview of the GAVI Alliance Pledging conference for immunisation, June 13 2011, London UK,


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