IHP news 469: Miscellaneous

By on May 11, 2018

Guardian – Hundreds of thousands of children close to dying of hunger in Congo, UN warns


Hundreds of thousands of children in a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo face imminent death from hunger, the UN children’s agency, Unicef, warned on Friday. Without urgent humanitarian assistance, said the agency, child fatalities in the Kasai region – which erupted in violence in August 2016, and has forced 1 million people from their homes – could “skyrocket”….”

ODI – ODI’s new five-year strategy: the power of evidence and ideas


Our new vision builds on our strengths and challenges us to go further in providing the evidence, ideas and innovation needed to tackle the world’s most pressing issues.”

Guardian – Postwar generations shut out of economic mobility, finds report


Children around the world have failed to get a better education than their parents and improve their economic circumstances, so generations of poor people in developing countries are becoming “trapped in a cycle of poverty determined by their circumstance at birth”, says a World Bank report. According to the report, Fair Progress? Economic Mobility across Generations Around the World, successive generations in the postwar era, far from enjoying a better life than their parents, have been “unable to ascend the economic ladder due to inequality of opportunity”, or they have seen their progress stall in recent years. The report monitored the education of groups born between 1940 and 1980 and found that 46 of 50 countries with the lowest rates of mobility were part of the developing world….”

Lancet World Report –Cochrane postpones comprehensive free access to reviews


Cochrane postpones implementation of the target to make all Cochrane Reviews open access immediately upon publication. Talha Burki reports. On April 30, Cochrane announced that it was postponing its plan to offer comprehensive free access to all its reviews by 2020. In its Strategy to 2020, which took effect in 2014, Cochrane had stated that it would “achieve universal open access to Cochrane Systematic Reviews immediately upon publication for both new and updated reviews”. The Governing Board has now concluded that this measure would jeopardise the organisation’s sustainability. Royalties generated from sales of the reviews come to more than £6 million per year, over 90% of Cochrane’s income….”

Devex – US announces additional $18.5M for Venezuela response while calling for regime change


The Trump administration on Tuesday announced an additional $18.5 million in humanitarian assistance to Colombia for response to the Venezuelan crisis, shortly after it called for the first time for regime change in Caracas….”

In news also related to Venezuela’s plight, TT Broner (Human Rights Watch), argued that “The Global Fund Should Move Boldly to Help Venezuelans”. Written ahead of the Global Fund Board meeting (see ‘Highlights section’): “ The Global Fund… …  has made a big difference addressing AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in many countries, yet it has failed to do so in Venezuela, a nation with a years-long healthcare crisis, because, on paper, the nation has the income to fund health services. There’s a chance for the Global Fund to reconsider that position at its upcoming board meeting, on May 9 and 10. And it should…. “

But there seems to be good news on this front, now.

Economist – Does growing up poor harm brain development?


A team of scientists undertakes an ambitious experiment which could change thinking about welfare.”  A team of researchers will run a three-year experiment (in the US) which will, for the first time, search for causal links between parental income level and a child’s early development (i.e. from 0 to 3 years).

Of 1,000 low-income mothers, “…roughly half will be randomly selected to receive an unconditional $333 a month, while the others will form a control group that will receive $20. The money, which is completely unconditional, will be loaded onto a pre-paid debit card every month for 40 months, on the date of the child’s birthday. The hypothesis is that this steady stream of payments will make a positive difference in the cognitive and emotional development of the children whose mothers receive it….

Rocket science.

Guardian – Lethal flash floods hit east African countries already in dire need


Heavy rains and severe flash floods have left more than 300 people dead and displaced thousands of others across parts of east Africa, with Kenya and Rwanda being the worst hit….”

FT – Google focuses on ‘digital wellness’ as it steams ahead in AI


Google chief executive Sundar Pichai affirmed his company’s “responsibility” to make technology a “positive force” in people’s lives at the internet company’s annual developer conference, which is being held after a backlash against the biggest tech companies this year….”

“…Google’s most noticeable concession to critics was its announcement of an emphasis on improving “digital wellbeing”. A number of former tech executives and advocacy groups have raised concerns over smartphone addiction and the impact of digital distraction, prompting companies including Google and Facebook to emphasise the quality of time people spend using their products….”

Top 100 Leaders from Multilateral Organisations: From Christine Lagarde to António Guterres, These Are the Most Influential People in This Sphere


“A list of the most influential people in multilateral organisations, particularly at being pro-active. … …. Our multilateral organisation insiders list is an automatic algorithm based on social media influence, Klout scores. We take into account various metrics from Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, Youtube, LinkedIn and Instagram. We also take into account newspaper, TV, radio, and other media coverage. Furthermore, we measure soft-power and have a secret recipe.”

The list gets updated every year. Christine Lagarde remains n° 1; Dr Tedros occupies the 11th position, just like last year.

BBC Global Survey: A world Divided?


Three-quarters around the world say their country’s society is divided – and the majority think their country is now more divided than it was 10 years ago, especially in Europe. Differences in political views are seen as the greatest cause of tension, followed by differences between rich and poor. However, despite these divisions, the majority of people in most countries agree that people across the world have more things in common than things that make them different….”

Corporations and Health Watch – Can public health advocates in Europe and the United States together protect public health regulation?


“… At a recent series of lectures in Brussels, Amsterdam and The Hague, Nicholas Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the City University of New York School of Public Health and author of Lethal but Legal: Corporations, Consumption and Public Health examined some of the issues confronting those seeking to reduce corporate practices that harm health.  In his lectures, he suggested five broad goals for a transatlantic agenda to protect public health against corporate efforts to roll back regulations.  These included: Remove corporations from public health and trade policy decisions; Protect science from corporate manipulation and conflicts of interest; Revitalize public sector in food, medicines and transportation to provide an alternative to corporate control; Protect democracy from corporate interference; Challenge the view that no other world is possible. …”

BMJ (blog ) – Is neoliberalism the main problem for the NHS?

Richard Smith; BMJ;

I only liked the first part of the blog : )


Neoliberalism is destroying the world and the NHS, and we badly and urgently need to find alternatives. That was the main message from a meeting organised by Medact, Health Poverty Action, and the People’s Health Movement. But what is neoliberalism, is it the main threat to the world and the NHS, and what are the alternatives?… … We are living in a world that is dangerous, said David McCoy, professor of global public health at Queen Mary University London. The planet is being destroyed. There is growing inequality. Democracy is being undermined. These are, he argues, the result of neoliberalism, but what he called “antineoliberalism”—characterised by populism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism—may be even more dangerous and lead us to another world war….”

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