Dear Colleagues,

Controversy on how WHO handled the swine flu pandemic will probably still last for a while. In BMJ, a freelance journalist gives a fairly balanced account of what went wrong or could have been done better. Forbes published a far nastier piece this week written by a guy appropriately named Fumento, linking the swine flu case with WHO’s so called distorted worldview and ‘hard left political agenda’.

Enjoy your reading.

David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen, and Wim Van Damme

Global Health

1. Global health is public health

Linda P Fried, Margaret E Bentley, Pierre Buekens, Donald S Burke, Julio J Frenk, Michael J Klag, Harrison C Spencer ; Full Text

In a Lancet Comment, the authors react on Koplan’s definition of global health (in which he attempted to distinguish between global health and public health). They emphasize, on the other hand, that global health and public health are indistinguishable and represent a single field.

2. Global Health and Foreign Policy: toward a common EU agenda

David Gleicher ; GH Europe

Global Health Europe is launching an online discussion around global health and foreign policy. The question to answer is “What key issues should make up a common European agenda on Global Health and Foreign Policy?”. They also provide an interesting short background document for those interested in the topic.

Global Health Initiatives

3. DFID – Centre for Progressive Health Financing (CPHF),

Health Financing for Universal Coverage is increasingly high on the agenda. DFID is progressively launching the Centre for Progressive Health Financing (CPHF) as previously announced by Gordon Brown at the United Nations General Assembly last September. This centre will provide technical assistance for countries to develop and implement pro-poor health financing policies that will accelerate progress towards universal coverage of effective health services, particularly for women and children.

Health Systems

4. What is the way forward for health in Zimbabwe?

Charles Todd, Sunanda Ray, Farai Madzimbamuto, David Sanders ; Full Text

This Lancet viewpoint gives an overview of the recent health crisis in Zimbabwe and makes proposals for an effective and sustainable health system.

International Health Financing

5. Huffington Post – Profound Health Impact for Small Change

Executive Director of the Access to Essential Medicines Campaign (Doctors Without Borders), Tido Von Schon Angerer examines in a Huffington Post blog post the funding required for reaching health-related MDGs; among others, he explores the viability of a 0.005 percent tax on currency transactions.

6.  Guardian Global Health Blog – Obama gets brickbats and plaudits over global health budget

The Guardian global health blog refers to a few reactions to the Obama 2011 global health budget. The Global Health council (included last week) was fairly positive, but the “formidable” Jeffrey Sachs called the Obama budget a “Very Big Disappointment”.

7. CGD blog – Daddy Healthbucks: How Will the Gates Foundation Leverage the New $10 Billion for Vaccines and Immunization?

Ruth Levine ; CGD Global Health policy 

Ruth Levine expects that the Gates Foundation will use the newly announced resources in ways specifically designed to leverage other actors’ investments.


8. KFF : Findings Of Poor Quality Malaria Drugs In Africa Add To Artemisinin-Resistance Worries

A press release from a large scale study conducted by WHO and US Pharmacopeia, an American NGO, reports that between 26 percent and 44 percent of artemisinin-based malaria drugs sold in Madagascar, Senegal and Uganda "failed quality testing" because of impurities or insufficient amounts of active ingredient.

Humanitarian aid

9. ODI – The state of the Humanitarian system

Paul Harvey, Abby Stoddard, Adele Harmer and Glyn Taylor ; February 2010 ; (72 p, 5,3 MB)

ODI just launched a report by ANLAP which highlights progress in the humanitarian world. The report has some limits, like the lack of attention to benefits for the targeted populations or the fact that it is a self-assessment report rather than an external review. Nevertheless it manages to sketch the trends of the humanitarian system over the last decade. ODI also organises a public event of which the theme will be A new business model for humanitarian assistance?

End piece

10.    SHSOP issue 26: Une expérience de protection sociale en santé pour les plus démunis: Le fonds d’indigence de Dar-Naïm en Mauritanie

In the Series ‘Studies in Health Services Organisation & Policy’, issue 26 appeared, on lessons that can be drawn for higher level policy from a health equity fund (HEF) experience in a poor neighbourhood (Nouakchott) in Mauritania. As the issue is in French, we provide here a brief summary of the lessons:

(1) An obvious obstacle that people face in enrolling into Community Health Insurance (CHI) schemes is the premium; hence the need to find mechanisms to subsidise the premium for those who need it. In Nouakchott, first a CHI scheme was established, then a HEF was created that paid the premiums for the poorest; (2) There are limits to standardising the criteria to identify the poorest. It is thus relevant to involve the services of a social worker who can adequately balance the use of standardized criteria with a more subjective and personalised assessment. If poor people are genuinely to be empowered, then some form of individualised and tailored approach is mandatory; (3) people’s needs are (of course) multiple and health (care) is by no means their top priority; hence the need to arrive at a versatile and multi-purpose system of social assistance, going beyond just addressing health care issues."

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One Response to International Health Policies in the news today 52

  1. Richard Mangwi says:

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