IHP news #504 (January 11, 2019)

Jim Kim kicks off the new global health year (with a bang)

By on January 11, 2019



Dear Colleagues,

The new year has clearly started now. Anybody who still felt a bit of a hangover after New Year festivities fully woke up on Monday when the World Bank’s Jim Kim announced that he’d resign. #Ouch. In another sign of our times, Kim will be joining a private equity firm.

As is customary at the start of a new year, people, global health observers, … but also global health & other international organizations announced some of their plans for the new year (“a bigger, bolder WHO” was already in the works last week (cfr. Horton’s  Offline); we also learnt more about the G7’s focal areas this year under the French presidency, etc ); came up with global health predictions for 2019, and in some cases even an entire wish list.  Many want to ‘prove value’ (or at least, if we are to believe our economist colleagues, ‘signal’ value 😊 ) to their funders, bosses, sponsors, …

An encouraging trend is that more and more people have enough of dystopia. The world ‘as it currently is’ is dystopian enough, we all agree, and so it’s perhaps time to (dare) dream again, and think of utopias that could genuinely improve the world and lead to ‘Health for All’. If the FT says so, then change truly must be in the air (though paywalled).  PS: try to make sure you’re in reasonable shape this year, to help achieve these much needed utopias – for some inspiration see “The Conversation “:  Top five ways to boost your health in 2019 – based on the latest research (and if you want some age-specific advice, check out Keeping fit: how to do the right exercise for your age).

Speaking of age, I noticed that the disillusioned protagonist in the new Houellebecq novel, “Sérotonine”, is a 46-year old male (ahum). Not everybody likes the novel, apparently, but according to our  domestic guru in Belgium, psychiatrist Dirk De Wachter, Houellebecq  “gets” our times (although the guru was quick to add he’s a bit more optimistic than Houellebecq when it comes to the future). But as they say, always good to start changing the world based on some sound analysis!

In San Francisco, the 37th  JP Morgan Healthcare conference (7-10 January) took place this week, kicking off the global health event & conferences year (we won’t cover it, as we were not invited to “the biotech industry’s largest and most important business and networking meeting”). But interesting to note that for the first time, an article hinted that what they called, in slightly Orwellian speak, “the municipal challenges with homelessness and open drug use” could force JPM to find another host city.  Meanwhile, somewhat surprisingly (certainly in these times), Chinese biotech was “big” at JPM.

This week’s Featured article kicks off our series of contributions by IHP correspondents. Sameera Hussain (our Canada correspondent) dwells on how Trudeau’s government has been doing in terms of the SDG goals, both domestically and internationally.

Enjoy your reading.

Kristof Decoster



(you find the pdf of the full newsletter here: IHPn504 )

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