IHP news #448

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Gearing up for UHC Day

By on December 8, 2017Dear Colleagues,


The week started with a tweet from Dr Tedros, reacting to the merry news that “President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame are now joining residents in the Kigali city wide work out as part of the monthly car free zone day dedicated to pedestrians sports and cyclists”, with a congratulatory tweet of his own: “Thank you Mr. President @PaulKagame for your leadership. A very important part of our fight against air pollution and #NCDs”. This “TTT” (tricky tweet by Tedros) shows the limits and trade-offs that will need to be kept in mind for WHO’s “stepped up global leadership”, as you know a key focus under dr. Tedros. It’s one thing for WHO to work with every government (including authoritarian ones), as they should, and it’s obviously a good thing if Tedros goes himself to high-profile meetings like G20 & G7 summits to make the case for UHC and other important global health causes. It’s quite another thing, though, to personally (and publicly) pat leaders with somewhat murky track records on the back,  for their progressive public health policies. I hope Tedros’ advisor & communication team will thus spend some time on these ‘TTTs’ as well, as they send somewhat “ambiguous” signals on the importance of human rights. At the very least, I’d use country names in congratulatory tweets instead of names of leaders (as Tedros did on the encouraging public health news (on soda taxation) coming from South Africa this week).

Enough on tweets. Tedros’ keynote speech at the official launch of the “Disease Control Priorities 3rd edition” ( DCP 3 ) in London was far more appreciated and forceful. It also came very timely with a view on UHC Day next week (and the 4-day UHC Forum in Tokyo ). The latter promises to be an important political milestone to boost support for the UHC agenda in the messy and dangerous world that is, unfortunately, ours. Indeed, for every global & planetary health ray of hope, The Donald & fellow plutocrat crooks are taking a couple of decisions that allow, at best, “cheerful despair” (IHP) on the future of humanity.  Still, in spite of the (many) doubts we might have, it’s our duty to work towards a ‘Grand Convergence’, with all the tools, discourses and frames that we have or can think of. One of my own global/planetary health hopes is that Trump succumbs to Alzheimer’s before I do (I admit, that’s a fairly safe bet), and second, that I can still witness the Grand Implosion of predatory capitalism in my lifetime.  Hopefully without taking the planet with it.

Also in this newsletter, updates on family planning, migration, humanitarian crises, the ICASA summit in Abidjan, dengue vaccination, and much more.  Last but not least, we noticed WHO celebrated its first ever “WHO Respectful Workplace Day” this week. Paraphrasing a well-known global health scholar: Kudos!

Enjoy your reading.

The editorial team



(you find the pdf of the newsletter here: IHPn448 )

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