Dear Colleagues,

Most of us would love to know what 2012 will bring to the world. Doom and gloom are a little bit out, if we can believe the Center for Global Development’s “what’s hot and what’s not” list. The world is still “getting better”, which … Read the rest of this editorial here.

Enjoy your reading.

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

Global Health Policy and Financing

1. Plos (blog) – Africa AIDS Conference: Donor Retreat and its Consequences for Patients and Communities

Mit Philips; http://blogs.plos.org/

In the first of three guest-posts on the 2011 Icasa conference (on the Plos ‘Speaking of Medicine’ blog), our colleague Mit Philips wonders whether all African countries are ready for reliance on domestic resources and whether people were not too polite about the GF funding crisis at the conference. Meanwhile, patients are already paying for the funding crisis.

Global health journalists also feel the pinch of austerity. A Global Post article

reports on a December seminar entitled “Global Health and Story Telling in the Digital Age.” The event was sponsored by the GlobalPost and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. GH journalists must infuse new life in old narratives…

2. HHS Secretary Sebelius on Department’s New Global Health Strategy


The US Health department wants to venture explicitly into Global Health. Guess why. Expected pandemic threats, imported food and quality of drugs are central concerns. However, learning from other countries’ management of chronic conditions is one reason we enjoy.

3. Offline: Rearranging the furniture

Richard Horton; http://www.thelancet.com/

Horton is quite critical of the Gates philanthro-capitalist approach to developing health systems in Africa.  Just before Christmas, a private equity firm, Aureos Capital, announced that the Gates Foundation had invested several million dollars into an African Health Fund.

4. Social Science and Medicine –  Public opinion and support for government AIDS policies in sub-Saharan Africa

Jeremy Youde; http://www.sciencedirect.com/

Lots of interesting new articles in SS&M this month. Check them out.

Based on data from Afrobarometer’s 2008–2009 public opinion surveys in 20 sub-Saharan African states, this article examines the extent of support for government AIDS policies. Survey data shows that citizens have generally positive assessments of their governments’ responses.

5. FT – France to push ahead with ‘Tobin tax’ P roposal


The Tobin tax or Financial Transactions Tax might “voir le jour” in the near future as Sarkozy is trying to get the job done before the presidential elections in France. Whether a part will go to Global Health or even climate change is completely uncertain for the moment. Pretty much like Sarkozy’s own political survival.

This Global Health Hub blog post (by Sanjay Basu) analyzes the workings of a “Robin Hood Tax“, and analyzes what implications such a tax might have for public health.

Global Health Governance

6. GHWatch – WHO reform


Next week, WHO’s Executive Board meets in Geneva (16-23 January).  The EB will consider a range of issues including finance, staffing, governance, evaluation, stakeholder relations and others.  PHM’s WHO Watch website provides a detailed overview of these issues with critical commentary.

7. The Broker online – Global Health Cooperation : what is next?

Olga Golichenko, Sibylle Koenig, Annick Jeantet; http://www.thebrokeronline.eu/

The authors of this blog post assess Busan and the post-Busan environment, from the angle of health and aid effectiveness.

8. WHO Bulletin  – new issue


The January issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial on NCDs and post-conflict countries and a series of round table articles on the Global Fund and the interaction of public and private interests. Check out this article on the GF and conflicts of interest.

9. Foreign Policy – Flu season

Laurie Garrett; http://www.foreignpolicy.com/

In Foreign Policy, Laurie Garrett hints that some political control over (bio-weapon related)  research might be needed; obviously, this stance is not supported by scientists for now. WHO is with the scientists on this issue.

10.   Lancet (Correspondence) – The new decade of vaccines — Authors’ reply

Kevin Hachey; http://www.lancet.com/

Richard Moxon and colleagues didn’t exactly push Kevin Hachey’s right buttons when they stated: “Most developing countries accord too low a priority to health in their budgets”, and argue that these nations “need to increase their ownership of vaccination programmes”.

More 2011 highlights

We are not the only ones who ventured into a “best of 2011 global health news” exercise. Beside CGD, we also bumped into an interesting sexual and reproductive health perspective from Helen Marsden (Marie Stopes International), and a more technological perspective on 2011, by Karl Hofmann, CEO from PSI.

11.   Huffington Post – Sexual and Reproductive Health: The Year in Review

Helen Marsden; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/

12.   Huffington Post – 10 Global Health Achievements in 2011

Karl Hofmann; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

AIDS drugs

13.   FT – J&J opts out of HIV rights sharing pool

Andrew Jack; http://www.ft.com/

Johnson & Johnson has rejected calls to offer patent rights on its HIV medicines to generic drug companies through a” Medicines Patent Pool”, created to promote low-cost antiretroviral drugs in low-income countries and the development of new drug combinations and formulations.

14.   The Telegraph – Mozambique to produce its own antiretroviral drugs


In times of crimping AIDS aid budgets and reluctance from Big Pharma to share  patents, African countries better count on themselves. That’s why Mozambique is about to start with ARVs, with some support from Brazil.


15.   BMC International Health and Human rights (Supplement) – Global health research case studies: lessons from partnerships addressing health inequities


The papers in this collection reflect a different way of doing global health research, beyond the “business-as-usual” approach. In the context of increasing competition for individual or institutional “leadership” of the field (and business) of global health, these contributors instead advocate and display active and sustained collaboration with partners in the South.

Development & Aid

The Development & Aid community is slowly waking up from the Christmas carols and end of the year booze. Some of them are already back in town. We already mentioned Sarkozy, fighting for his survival (see above: FTT news).

* CGD’s Andy Sumner and Amanda Glassman emphasize that aid cuts to middle-income countries worsen global poverty and ill-health (in the Guardian).

* British MPs say Britain should use aid to press for good governance. Countries they have in mind: Ethiopia, DRC, Rwanda, …

You can find an interesting opinion on human rights as conditions for aid here  (Left Foot forward).

* It’s not just WHO and the GF that are struggling financially, the United Nations will feel the austerity too in 2012-2013.

* CFR’s (Patrick Stewart) looks ahead to all the world conferences, summits and governance platforms scheduled for 2012.

* Jonathan Glennie  wonders whether we should worry all that much about redefining aid. He thinks it’s far more important to dissect donor claims and analyse how public money is being spent (in the Guardian).

* Justin Yifu Lin, the WB’s chief economist, explores the youth bulge in developing countries. Especially in Sub-Saharan African countries, this will be an important demographic phenomenon in the coming decades. While it is important to increase the employability of young people themselves, it is also essential to facilitate dynamic structural change to create jobs for youth, he claims. By doing so, the youth bulge can be transformed into a “demographic dividend”, and the “demographic bomb” can be defused.

* A Guardian editorial says now is the time to redefine global development goals.

* Finally, check out this fun CGD exercise “What’s Hot & What’s not for 2012”. Which buzzwords, issues and items will be in vogue in 2012 and which ones are so 2011?

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