Dear Colleagues,

This week the OECD published a report on the aid commitments of rich nations. Donor nations are expected to fall billions of dollars short of aid commitments they made five years ago, although some have lived up to their commitments and others even exceeded their aid commitments. Belgium belongs to the last category, it appears. Africa will probably receive less than half of the promised 25 billion. This seems to prove Peter Singer’s point made in the Guardian on the rules of generosity.

Enjoy your reading.

David Hercot, Kristof Decoster, Josefien Van Olmen, Wim Van Damme, Miti Katabaro, Yibeltal Assefa and Peter S. Hill

Global Health Initiatives

1. The Global Fund To Fight HIV/AIDS, TB And Malaria Policy Issues

[Enjeux politiques de l’évaluation du Fonds mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme]

Kerouedan D ; (PDF 302 Kb)

This article discusses the key issues involved in the evaluation of the Global Fund. It concludes that politicians should look at accompanying strategies to increase the effectiveness and impact of the GF and other new instruments. In French but an abstract in English is also available.

2. The Lancet Infectious disease – Rights of vulnerable people and the future of HIV/AIDS

Vulnerable groups (like men who have sex with men, sex workers, and injecting drug users) are key to addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but they are often excluded from access to prevention and treatment, and relatively underrepresented in the allocation of grants. Funding organisations should help to address these issues. Accordingly, the fight against HIV/AIDS will increasingly be a battle for human rights.

3. Global health initiatives: opportunities or challenges?

Viroj Tangcharoensathien* and Walaiporn Patcharanarumol ;

Two Thai authors identify the opportunities and challenges posed by the wave of Global Health Initiatives. They emphasize that the obvious opportunities have so far not been fully exploited, and that greater balance is therefore necessary.

4. GAVI’s Advance Market Commitment

Nina Schwalbe and Ibrahim El-Ziq comment on an earlier report by Usher about the GAVI supported “Advanced Market Commitment” (AMC) and try to make the mechanism clearer for the readers. They also argue that 3,50 USD is a minimum price for manufacturers willing to engage in the process. Conversely, Donald W Light claims that GAVI experts themselves believe that manufacturing costs are somewhere between 1 and 2 USD. By guaranteeing higher prices we are actually paying vaccine manufacturers large profits for new vaccines instead of paying the fair price for more cost effective and existing vaccines.

5. KFF – Obama Administration Nominates Former Clinton Adviser To Lead UNICEF

In spite of the Lancet’s call to refrain from doing so, the Obama Administration has nominated a person with a clear political profile to lead UNICEF.

Health Financing

6. AFGH report – The IMF and the human resources for health crisis in developing countries – report

Action for Global health and the Stop AIDS Campaign have just released a report on the impact of IMF policies on the human resources for health crisis in low-income countries.

7. EG4H – Robbing from the rich to give to the poor

The campaign in support of the so called ‘Robin Hood Tax’ (i.e. a financial transactions tax) is rapidly gaining momentum. The tax is now firmly on the political agenda.

Health Information Systems

8. Better data needed: everyone agrees, but no one wants to pay

Carla AbouZahr, Laragh Gollogly, Gretchen Stevens ; Full Text

In a Lancet Comment, AbouZahr et al. stress the importance of basic health information for health-systems strengthening. The price tag for this global public good is apparently negligible.


9. Offline: AIDS is not zero sum

Richard Horton ; Full Text

The Lancet editor depicts the two strategies the Aids-community can use to win greater public support for increased financing of AIDS programmes. He also hints that the AIDS cause and global health could be allies in a potential win-win strategy.


10. Economist Debate – Is China good for Africa ?

The lively debate on the Chinese involvement in Africa continues, this week in the Economist. You can also find some further background reading on the website.

American health care reform

11.    Economist – A study in paralysis.

The Economist wonders whether the fate of the health care reform in America is also a sign of much deeper flaws in America’s current political system. Obama’s stalemate is due to an event (Massachusetts election), a rule (anti-filibuster rule) and a trend (increasing polarisation), the magazine reckons. Unlike other pundits, however, the article’s analysis does not stop there. 

In the meantime, Obama is still trying to raise Obamacare from the dead. According to the latest news, he seems tempted to go for budget reconciliation after all. A meeting with Republican and Democrat policymakers is also scheduled for next week. In California, private insurers like WellPoint have increased premiums drastically.

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