Dear Colleagues,

In this week’s guest-editorial, Emerging Voice Wilfred T. Gurupira (Zimbabwe) suffers from post-conference blues, after attending the PMAC conference in Bangkok. He’s probably not the only one.

Enjoy your reading.

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

Editorial – Post-conference Blues

I am suffering from what I hope is a rare condition. It is post-conference blues and it is strange that I should be suffering from this condition given that I have not been to that many international conferences. Symptoms of this condition alternate between euphoria (thinking of what could be) and depression (seeing what really is). Let me tell you more.

The Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC 2012) held in… Read the rest of this editorial

Wilfred T. Gurupira

Malaria estimates

1. BMJ news – Death toll from malaria is double the WHO estimate, study finds

Ann Gulland;

The World Health Organization has defended its figures on malaria mortality after a study found that the number of deaths from the disease had been seriously underestimated.

2. Lancet – Offline: Missed Opportunities ?

Richard Horton;

Horton regrets the spat between IHME and WHO, and thinks it’s a missed opportunity (for WHO), in terms of communication.


3. CGD – Malaria Estimate Sausages by WHO and IHME

Victoria Fan & Felix Lam;

It would help if both IHME and WHO (WHO probably more so) were more transparent and made their data and methods available for interested parties to replicate their results. In any case, if we want to say anything reasonably straightforward without having to make sausages every year from VA data, better quality vital registration systems and data are needed. … The long-term goal should be to not rely on people sitting in Seattle and Geneva for the ‘correct’ numbers. To realize this goal, we will need to value this investment of knowledge and country capacity as essential to public health.”

Check out also David’s post on the malaria estimates row (on our blog).


4. WHO Bulletin – Piloting the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria: what will “success” look like?

Gavin Yamey et al.;

A pilot is underway in eight countries to determine whether the Affordable Medicines Facility mechanism reduces the consumer price of these drugs and increases their availability in public and private outlets, their market share and their use. To evaluate the pilot, an analysis was done to estimate predetermined “benchmarks” of success at 1 and 2 years.

Finally, there’s some malaria news fromBenin (in the Guardian).

Universal Health Coverage

5. Lancet (editorial) – TheBangkokstatement on Universal Health Coverage

A Lancet editorial looks back on the PMAC conference inBangkokand theBangkokstatement. Its assessment of PMAC’s endorsement of UHC: “This time is different”.

Shankar Prinja et al.  assessed what universal health care would cost in India(PLos One).

Read also Lincoln Chen’s excellent review of “Good health at low cost” (in the Lancet).

6. Health financing in Africa (blog) – En Afrique aussi, l’accès financier aux soins de santé est une réalité politique

Bruno Meessen;

Starting from the observation that the French presidential “hopefuls” refrain from making strong statements on financial access to health care (although it’s clearly a big issue in the campaign), Bruno Meessen wonders why global health experts from the North  tend to ignore the political aspects in Africa when talking about UHC and financial access.  They focus on technical issues; politics is for the citizens there. He urges political scientists to team up with health economists (in French).

Health policy and financing

7. The Daily Beast – How a GOP Win Could Spell the End of Reproductive Health for Global Women

Michelle Goldberg;

If a Republican becomes president, says Michelle Goldberg, say goodbye to international programs providing birth control to women in desperately poor countries such asLiberia.

The article already provoked quite some “reactions” from “you-know-who”. ( Europe might be a neoliberal battlefield now, but somehow we still prefer our mess to the fights in the US).

8. GFO – new issue

Check out the Commentary by Bernard Rivers on the GF at 10 years: “These past 12 months have been the Fund’s most difficult to date, so the anniversary celebrations were rather muted. Whether the Fund’s eleventh year will be more successful depends on how well the Fund learns from what went wrong during 2011.

Plos Medicine features an essay on the need to engage men in prevention and care for HIV/AIDS inAfrica.

9. WHO – Ethical tensions in dealing with noncommunicable diseases globally

Sridhar Venkatapuram, Martin McKee & David Stuckler;

The authors aim to inform NCD debates by reviewing the declarations that resulted from WHO regional meetings held in preparation for last September’s UN high-level meeting. They identified four “ethical tensions” that must be resolved.

10.    Huffington Post – Closing the Global Cancer Divide: Together It Is Possible

Jonathan D. Quick & Felicia M. Knaul;

On World Cancer day, Quick & Knaul dwelled on the cancer divide between the rich and the poor.

Check out also Eldis health reporter – with a focus on cancer in developing countries.

11.    KFF – World Recognizes 9th Annual International Day Of Zero Tolerance To FGM/C

The international community marked the ninth annual International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) (that’s quite a mouth-full) on Monday. The U.N. and international and human rights organizations called for an end to FGM/C and are appealing for tougher legislation to halt the practice that has affected up to 140 million girls and women worldwide.

12.    Huffington Post – The World Economic Forum’s Leverage in Health

Sania Nishtar;

As we don’t want to make a habit of bashing the Davos “beau monde”, we thought it’d be nice to feature this article from Sania Nishtar. She explains the benefits of the WEF for global health causes.  “There is a genuine need for reaching out to non-state actors in the midst of the many transformations shaping global and domestic health sector public policy.

13.    Journal of Public Health Policy (Commentary) – Global action on social determinants of health

Ronald Labonté et al.;

This commentary argues that there are three major crises confronting global health: ongoing financial crises; deepening ecological crises; and rapidly escalating income and wealth inequalities within and between nations. (…) The challenge for global health will remain the willingness of states to make domestic and foreign policy choices that strengthen income redistribution, economic regulation, and citizen rights.  (now this a also a must-read for the Davos bunch – sorry, guys, can’t help ourselves)

14.    Health Affairs – Study Raises Questions About Measurement Of ‘Additionality,’ Or Maintaining Domestic Health Spending Amid Foreign Donations

Charu C. Garg, David B. Evans, Tania Dmytraczenko, José-Antonio Izazola-Licea, Viroj Tangcharoensathien and Tessa Tan-Torres Ejeder;

The authors investigated the “additionality” concept using data fromHonduras,Rwanda, andThailand, and found that the three countries increased funding for HIV in response to increased donor funding. In contrast, the study revealed that donors, faced with increased Global Fund resources for HIV in certain countries, tended to decrease their funding for HIV or shift funds for use in non-HIV health areas.

15.    Bulletin de Medicus Mundi Swisse –  WHO Reform: threats and opportunities – A Healthier Political Functioning

Eduardo Missoni;

The current reform process of the WHO brings crucial questions about international health governance up.

16.    CGD – We Quantified the Quality of Health Aid! (So What?)

Amanda Glassman & Denizhan Duran;

Glassman & Duran adapted the Quality of Official Development Assistance methodology to health aid (in a new working paper). Which donor provides the “best” health aid, and why is it a relevant question?  They give some key messages in this blog post.

Development & Aid

17.    ODI report – Pieces of the puzzle: evidence, dilemmas and the emerging agenda for budget support

Heidi Tavakoli & Edward Hedger;

This ODI report summarises discussions and conclusions from a series of expert meetings titled – Long-term research perspectives on budget support – organised by the Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure (CAPE) at the Overseas Development Institute in 2011.


Some other D&A stuff  you should probably be aware of:

  • In the run-up to Rio+20, the EU climate chief, Connnie Hedegaard,  says the GDP model of growth causes overconsumption, drives up commodity prices and ignores the environment. (too bad that’s the model the EU wants to get going again)
  • has an article on the call for new indicators of Sustainable Development.
  • A new UNCTAD  report wants an overhaul of the global financial system (who doesn’t?).
  • After coverage in the New York Times, Apple’s ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ image has taken a blow (due to commotion around the labour practices of supplier factories in China) (That was about time).
  • In the Guardian, Ethiopiaalso got some bad press again, for – you guessed it – human rights issues (the donor community is soundly asleep though).
  • Bill Gates favours geo-engineering as a possible method to tackle climate change (given the trouble he’s had lately to convince top politicians of global health financing, he probably gave up on politicians altogether).
  • A nice blog post on the Broker (by Willemijn Verkoren), in which she  suggests that INGOs should consider changing their role from giving aid ‘over there’ to fighting the roots of global injustice closer to home.
  • An ODI  Brief explores what Japanese official ODA could contribute.
  • CGD’s Charles Kenny wonders whether universal happiness should be part of the MDG+ goals.
  • Project syndicate has a nice op-ed on Sarkozy’s motivation for a Tobin Tax (by Barry Eichengreen).
  • Finally, UKaid got some nasty press too lately:  “The debate was fuelled by anger at India’s decision to buy French Rafale jets rather than the Eurofighter Typhoon, prompting shrill accusations of “ingratitude”. International development secretary Andrew Mitchell even admitted that the focus of aid to India included “seeking to sell the Typhoon” – in violation of the stated rationale of British overseas aid, to fight poverty and promote health and education.”  Yet, India still needs UK aid, argues this author. (We have a hunch that will be a tough sell).

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