IHP news #452 (January 12, 2018)

Warming up for WHO’s EB142

By on January 12, 2018

Dear Colleagues,


I was going to write something about Oprah Winfrey and Cathérine Deneuve in this week’s intro – both strong and courageous women in my opinion, the first one for (forcefully) opening up and broadening the #MeToo debate to the non-middle class/cultural elite ranks in society, the other one for trying to bring a bit more sense & sensibility in this (sometimes too sterile & polarizing) debate. (On Deneuve I’m well aware  not everybody agrees).  But as this is a minefield for the average bloke to wander into (ask Matt Damon), I better leave this debate to a stable genius of sorts.  In any case, I hope on both accounts substantial progress will be made in the years and decades to come, as this movement will only gain further momentum, and rightfully so – see for example China  – “China’s women break silence on harassment as #MeToo becomes #WoYeShi” .  This is a very context-specific debate, though, in terms of power differences, cultural challenges, generational aspects … and so it’s good to read views from all corners in society, and all corners of the globe.  And then act upon them.  

Speaking of stable geniuses, Bill Gates explained at the JP Morgan Annual Global Health forum how the private sector can and should profit  from public health. (Even more than already is the case, ahum : ) ) As stable geniuses tend to do, he did say a few very sensible things, even if the private sector will no doubt continue to make stable bucks if Bill & his JP Morgan friends get their way.  Another stable genius, Stephen Hawking, reiterated that we’re on our way to Venus, if we don’t manage to cut greenhouse emissions (sufficiently/timely). Still, his blaming of Trump (on pulling out of the Paris Agreement) lets us, fickle global citizens,  a bit too easily off the hook. Instead, at “braais” & on budget flights, we’d better all merrily sing together, “I’m your Venus!”  Maybe at the Liverpool symposium, Lucy Gilson – another stable (though also slightly hyperdynamic) genius – can take the lead, as a meta-governor of the HPSR crowd. (#planetaryhealthsession)

Pope Francis, a stable spiritual genius, we presume, came up with his own view on how to make the world a better place in 2018. Interestingly, besides the need for affordable health care and medicines for all, he also  pointed to the threat of technological advances that may put millions of people, especially the poorest, out of work. Millions and millions of people risk undergoing the Fire and Fury of Artificial Intelligence, further automation, robotization, and the like. A world of ( more or less capable) plutocrat populists and a vast precariat (or worse) could be in the making, if we’re not careful and change the priorities of/in our system. (Side note: as you recall, in the old days, people routinely ignored prophets. They still do. At least in that respect, humans are fairly stable mammals.)

Fortunately, in Belgium, a “Don’t complain for 30 days” campaign is about to kick off, which presumably will boost the wellbeing of many in this small country. Don’t know whether it’d be a good idea for global health watchers too, with WHO’s EB142 meeting coming up, and WHO (incl. Tedros) again under scrutiny in the weeks to come… Richard, what do you say?  

Enjoy your reading.

The editorial team



(you find the pdf of the newsletter here: IHPn452 )

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