Dear Colleagues,


The World Cup in South-Africa is so far a bit of a disappointment, not because of the by now notorious “vuvuzelas”, but due to the quality of the football. We do make an exception for Argentina and its whacko coach though. On the bright side, the  South-African Health Minister Motsoaledi stressed last week that the World cup has helped to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in his country. UNAIDS executive Director Sidibe also saw some obvious opportunities.


Some more encouraging news comes from EU leaders in the run-up to the G20 summit later this month. “Europe will call for imposing a transaction tax on financial institutions at the G20 summit next week as well as a levy on banks to help pay for the costs of the crisis that started in the banking sector.” Even better, if a global deal is not possible, Europe will forge ahead alone, at least on the bank levy.


Finally, in the “flu-gate”-saga, WHO admitted there were some “inconsistencies” in its policy on conflicts of interest. Tighter safeguards seem warranted. We know a few people that might agree.


Enjoy your reading.


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

Global Health

1. BMJ – Don’t abandon Labour’s initiative to improve access to health care for world’s poor people, charities urge

Peter Moszynski;

Now that the new UK secretary of state for international development has announced his plans for a major overhaul of UK aid, including an immediate multilateral aid review, some UK charities have expressed concern for the future of the Centre for Progressive Health Financing (hosted by DFID).

2. Epidemiologic Reviews – Global Health and Foreign Policy

Harley Feldbaum, Kelley Lee, and Joshua Michaud;

Feldbaum et al. review the relationship between global health and foreign policy by examining the roles of health across 4 components of foreign policy: trade, diplomacy, aid, and national security.

3. Lancet – Offline: The Chatham House Rule, over-ruled

Richard Horton; Full Text

Plenty of interesting stuff again in this Lancet ‘offline’ piece. Horton sheds some light on the behind the scenes decision-making process in the Canadian government on the divisive abortion issue. Also, he reckons the Chatham House rule is sometimes abused.

4. GHE – EU event a starting point for a new era in global health governance

David Gleicher;

Last week, the EU organized a two day high-level event on global health, displaying the EU commitment to its global health responsibilities. Gleicher reports on the discussions in the various workshops and sessions.


Aid & Financial Crisis

5. Science Speaks – AIDS funding ahead? Africans deeply worried


Tough choices lie ahead, when it comes to AIDS funding. Two African leaders in the AIDS field expressed their concern about whether the international funding would last. Instead of a global pandemic, we’d better talk about focused epidemics, they suggest. Where the epidemic is worse, that’s where the money should go.


Meanwhile, there was some more cheerful news for AIDS activists:  the Kenyan government  has set aside about 11 million US $ in its annual budget to purchase ARV medication.

6. Reuters – Analysis: Donor cuts add pressure to World Bank aid drive

IDA donors are meeting in a Bamako replenishment meeting. The WB will need to be creative in fundraising this time. Nevertheless, although donors are under stress, the WB chief negotiator for IDA, van Trotsenburg, is not too pessimistic.

7. KFF – Financial Times Examines How GAVI’s $2.6B Shortfall Might Affect New Vaccine Programs In Developing Countries

A Financial Times article explores what the dire consequences could be of a GAVI funding shortfall, estimated at 2.6 Billion for the moment.


8. Action aid – EU aid own goals pushing MDGs out of reach

A timely new report by CONCORD, the European confederation of development NGOs, reveals that the EU member states do not live up to their aid commitments.


And ONE presented its own  2010 data report on monitoring the G8 promise to Africa. Again, the message was: “We’re not quite there, yet”.


Human Resources

9. Lancet  – Operational research in HIV priority areas: the African way

Mark A Boyd, Chidi A Nwizu;

A Lancet comment dwells on the South-African study by Sanne et al. on task shifting for HIV patient monitoring and management. The results are encouraging: nurse-monitored ART is not inferior to doctor-monitored therapy. There are a few caveats though.


This low-key ‘African approach’ could become all the more necessary, if Obama’s health care reform does indeed spark yet another brain drain of physicians from the developing world, as Kate Tulenko seems to think in a Foreign policy analysis.


10.    KFF – CGD –  Global Drug Distribution Programs One Factor In Hastening Drug Resistance, Report Says

Several factors seem to lead to increased drug resistance, according to a CGD report. Drivers of drug resistance include, among others: technology gaps, weak health systems, inconsistent drug quality and the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture. But global drug distribution programs play a role as well.

11.    Lancet – WHO heads back to the drug development drawing board

Asher Mullard; Full Text

Disappointment over a long-awaited report (by the Expert Working Group) on improving drug research and development for neglected diseases has driven WHO to create a new working group.

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