Dear Colleagues,

We don’t really want to add anything to the media storm on the so called “fairytale marriage” (bis) in the UK. Let’s put it this way: if you have to choose between Kate and William on your tv-screen or “The Donald”, I guess most sensible people would go for the first option. As for Donald Trump’s recent “input” on Obama’s birth certificate and education credentials, one might be tempted to think that US political debate  can’t sink any lower anymore. Obviously, you would be wrong. It’s safe to say that Trump & co are just warming up.

Last Monday was World Malaria Day, so we pay quite some attention to malaria in this newsletter. We also want to draw your attention to a new WHO  report with the latest on non-communicable diseases, and to several new Council on Foreign relations working papers on family planning and US foreign policy. Obviously, the timing could be better. But then again, the timing seems never right for raising the issue of family planning across the ocean.

Enjoy your reading.

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


1.   KFF – World Could Meet U.N. Goal Of Almost Ending Malaria Deaths By 2015, U.N. Special Envoy For Malaria Says

International efforts to fight malaria are “on track” to almost end malaria-related deaths by 2015, Ray Chambers, the U.N. secretary-general’s special envoy for malaria, said on Monday.

In a malaria roundtable in New York, global malaria leaders pretty much agreedwith Chambers’ assessment.

In this week’s issue of the Lancet, an editorial comes back on the revised WHO malaria treatment guidelines to recommend parenteral artesunate rather than quinine as the first-line treatment for severe malaria in children.

2.   Guardian “Poverty Matters” blog –  World Malaria Day: which countries are the hardest hit? Get the full data

On World Malaria Day, the Guardian took a good look at the global and country malaria figures, and stressed the importance of good quality data. The WB also provided some info on its malaria efforts.

Obviously, there were also various opinion pieces on the ongoing fight against malaria, by Andrew Mitchell, and by Tony Blair & Ray Chambers, among others.

3.   Alertnet – Health and Science – Fighting Malaria: selling v. giving

Dean Karlan;

Karlan, a professor of economics at Yale, dwells on recent research on whether giving bed nets for free is a better option than selling them.

Reporting on a Public Health Grand Round presentation on Malaria, Mace et al. zoom in on the opportunity for and challenges to malaria eradication.


4.   KFF – Global Health Experts Discuss Legislative Landscape Of 112th Congress At Kaiser Family Foundation Panel U.S. global health programs did relatively well in terms of funding in the FY11 budget, but global health policy experts participating in a panel discussion on Wednesday at the Kaiser Family Foundation acknowledged that challenges remain as Congress begins debate on the FY12 budget. “In the current political environment, if it’s PEPFAR versus the Global Fund in the Congress, PEPFAR wins, the Global Fund loses,” somebody said. Granted, that sounds a bit like José Mourinho whining about Real Madrid versus Barcelona clashes in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, ONE launched a new  campaign to encourage lawmakers and world leaders to fund GAVI sufficiently.

5.   KFF – MSF Letter Criticizes Johnson & Johnson For Not Joining Medicines Patent Pool

MSF recently sent a letter to Johnson & Johnson criticizing the pharmaceutical company for “refusing to make patents on three HIV drugs available to a program that would reduce the cost of the medicines in developing countries”.

6.   BMJ – WHO lists “best buys” for cutting deaths from non-communicable disease

John Zarocostas

Non-communicable diseases, the leading causes of death worldwide, are projected to significantly rise further in prevalence in the coming decades without cost effective

interventions such as reducing risk factors, early detection, and timely treatment, says a new WHO report. You can find the report here.

In related NCD news, Sarah Boseley reports on the roll out of cervical cancer vaccines for girls in Rwanda.

7.   Blog4Global Health – The Global Forum: An evolving format for WHO and necessary process for NCDs

On Wednesday, WHO hosted a global forum in Moscow on addressing the challenge of NCDs. In convening such an event, WHO sent a signal that its approach to NCDs will be inclusive of the broad range of stakeholders involved.

8.   Council on Foreign Relations (Working Papers)– Family Planning and Reproductive Health & US foreign policy

The Council on Foreign Relations features several new working papers on family planning, reproductive health and US foreign policy (on why the US should care, family planning as a strategic focus of US foreign policy, family planning and economic growth,…). Check them out.

There is also an expert brief by one of the authors of a new working paper, Mrs. Coleman, on family planning and US foreign policy.

9.   CGD –The New Bottom Billion: Implications for GAVI?

Amanda Glassman;

Glassman wonders what the implications are of Andy Sumner’s insights (on the new bottom billion) for GAVI.

10.   Global Health Foreign Policy blog  – (Equal) pay for (equal) work

Julia Robinson;

Julia Robinson is strongly in favour of paid community health workers.

11.   Aids Research & Therapy – Estimating the impact of expanded access to antiretroviral therapy on maternal, paternal and double orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, 2009-2020

Aranka Anema et al.;

Universal ART use may significantly reduce orphanhood in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Anema et al.

12.   Humanosphere – Gates Foundation funds research into dirt-charged cell phones and other wacky ideas

Tom Paulson;

The Gates Foundation just announced the latest winners in “one of its more interesting initiatives aimed at stimulating creative, novel solutions to problems in global health”, the Grand Challenges Exploration: in total 88 winners of $100,000 grants were announced, aimed at supporting unorthodox approaches to health problems afflicting the poor.


13.   EG4H – An “Arab Spring” – and nervous looks at the World Bank

Sharif Ismail;

Ismail assesses whether the WB is recasting its role in the Arab world, “inspired” by recent events in the region.

14.   Guardian Povery Matters blog – The OECD should give up control of the aid agenda

Jonathan Glennie;

New governance structures for aid, and greater input from recipient countries, are required for the very different world in which we live now. Aid recipient countries should have more control over the aid agenda, argues Glennie. As we approach the High Level Forum on aid effectiveness in Busan in November, the DAC should perhaps step aside. “The OECD needs to make a bold statement clearly relinquishing overall co-ordination responsibilities of the aid effectiveness agenda and offering to play a different, although still significant, role in a new way of managing aid effectiveness at a global level.”

There were several other interesting articles on the Poverty matters blog this week, for example an assessment of China’s foreign aid policy report, and an assessment of the ‘social protection’ agenda, that is rapidly gaining momentum.

15.   Global Dashboard –To MDG or not to MDG?

Claire Melamed;

Claire Melamed provides the main points of a presentation she just gave at a conference on global health and the MDGs in Copenhagen, and the options for the future (beyond 2015).

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