IHP news #507 (February 1, 2019)

Discourse on commercial determinants of health going mainstream

By on February 1, 2019



Dear Colleagues,

This week’s IHP issue will feature, among others, more coverage of  WHO’s 144th Executive Board Meeting, some final ‘take home’ messages on Davos, a new & provocative Lancet Commission Report,  “The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change”;  PMAC Bangkok 2019  on the political economy of NCDs; World Leprosy Day,  some  pieces  related to the upcoming Global Fund Preparatory meeting in Delhi (8 Feb), an update on the Ebola DRC outbreak,… .

Like most of you, we also already look forward to the Student (and live-streamed )  Conference on Decolonizing Global Health   which will take place in Harvard (also on Feb 8). Our “spy-on-the-ground” in Boston (Werner Soors – doesn’t look like the average Harvard student, so he should be fairly easy to identify 😊) already got himself an invitation.

On the new ( inspiring) Lancet Commission report, NPR Goats & Soda asked a pertinent question earlier this week –  Does The World Need A New Buzzword — ‘Syndemic’ — To Describe 3 Big Crises? and Kent Buse came up with an apt tweet, “Great to see discourse on addressing commercial determinants of health (& linked issue of climate change) becoming more mainstream in global health – now to action.”  We were also encouraged by the calls for a new Framework Convention & ‘business models for the 21st century’ in this report, but were slightly less impressed with the suggestion to let civil society organisations (that want to take on the food industry) be financed via a 1 billion fund paid for by philanthropy (putting the cart before the already rather heavy Bloomberg horse) and other sources.

Meanwhile, at the WHO EB meeting, participants seemed to have an awful lot of fun during the “physical exercise breaks”  (the ones who didn’t, went strategically for “toilet breaks”, we’ve been told).  Having said that, while we understand the need for a poppy Chinese dance video in the New Global Health Architecture, and personally can’t wait till the ‘Year of the Pig’ kicks off once more, WHO might want to hire another DJ for the ‘walk the talk’ breaks 😊. In other ‘walk the talk’ NCD news, at the 2019 PMAC conference in Bangkok, the hosts apparently added nutritious snacks to the breaks, and signs discouraging sugar consumption at the coffee bar.  Outside, ominously, toxic smog made the NCD picture complete.  Together with the “free flow alcohol” advertised by the endorsed PMAC hotel…

Enjoy your reading.

Kristof Decoster



(you find the pdf of the full newsletter here: IHPn507 )

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