IHP news 474: Global governance of health

By on June 15, 2018

IISD – India-UN Fund Supports 22 Projects for SDG Implementation in First Year


The India-UN Development Partnership Fund has supported 22 projects during its first year of operation, including projects on early warning systems and governance. The Government of India initially pledged US$100 million to the fund over ten years, and more recently committed an additional US$50 million for projects in Commonwealth countries. The fund supports implementation of the SDGs in low-income countries.”

Oxfam (blog ) – World Inequality Report 2018: 3 insights and 2 gaps

Duncan Green; https://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/world-inequality-report-2018-3-insights-and-2-gaps/

Blog related to the launch of the World Inequality report (i.e. the book version) last week in London.

A few excerpts that caught our attention:

“… ‘Inequality has increased in nearly all world regions in recent decades, but at different speeds’. … … But fellow panellist Paul Segal pointed out that if you look closer at that graph you find another interesting development – the rate of increase of inequality has fallen since the mid-2000s, and inequality is now falling in most countries. But we’re not quite sure why, or whether it is a long term trend, or a short-term blip caused by e.g. the financial crisis….”

As for the more political part of the job, “… When I briefly ranted on to this effect, Lucas reasonably enough said that his crew of economists couldn’t be expected to do everything, and this was someone else’s job (power analysis, stakeholder mapping, building coalitions, seizing windows of opportunity and all the rest). The problem with that answer is a) there seems to be an imbalance between the academic effort to measure, and the academic effort to design feasible change strategies and b) if you combine the two, rather than treat them as distinct stages, you are likely to think design the research differently to have impact. For example, if you want to influence decision makers in country X, you may want to compare it particularly to its annoying neighbour Y, not some country thousands of miles away that it doesn’t care about.”

Devex – Q&A: Unitaid looks to break down silos for better global health


“The global health community is increasingly moving away from a siloed approach — favored in the height of the battle against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria — toward a more integrated methodology in the spirit of the SDGs. Unitaid, a Geneva-based organization that invests in new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat the three pandemics, is one of the actors leading this paradigm shift alongside innovators from the private sector, governments, and donors. In April, Unitaid launched a call to improve fever diagnosis in children in low-resource countries, a potentially game-changing investment aimed at boosting malaria response while fighting drug resistance….”

“… Sanne Fournier-Wendes, senior adviser to Unitaid’s executive director, explained to Devex how the organization is engaging with the private sector to push forward an integrated approach to global health; what their strategies are to help vital innovations overcome market barriers; and why public-private partnerships are set to play a crucial role in the global health response going forward….”

The New York Review of Books – A Deathly Hush

H Epstein; http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/06/28/rwanda-deathly-hush/

Part two on Judi Rever’s book on Kagame. “… The myth of the valorous RPF has for years been repeated not only in the media but also by officials in the Clinton, Bush II, and Obama administrations. Even those who criticize Kagame’s repressive rule in Rwanda today praise his actions during the genocide. The reputation of the RPF appears to have been shaped by a coordinated public relations effort designed not just for the benefit of Kagame but also, as will be explained below, to obscure Washington’s role in a particularly bloody period of central African history, as the Soviet threat was receding and a new Islamist one seemed to be looming….”

Interestingly, also Museveni pops up in this story.

Global Health Council (blog) – “Two sides of the same coin”: Can a health systems lens inform health security efforts?

T Williamson; http://globalhealth.org/two-sides-of-the-same-coin-can-a-health-systems-lens-inform-health-security-efforts/

Interesting blog. “… Building on the JEE (i.e. Joint External Evaluations) findings, I see three systems approaches that could add value to the health security discussion: contextualization, use of complexity science, and adaptation of existing tools….”

CGD – Global Health Development Value Frameworks: Are We Calculating Well and Wisely?

A Morton & K Chalkidou; https://www.cgdev.org/blog/global-health-development-value-frameworks-are-we-calculating-well-and-wisely

“… Global health development [also] has its fair share of value frameworks. And though they are all different, a notably common feature of frameworks developed by disease- or technology-specific funding conduits is their ad hoc approach to defining the key concepts of value for money and cost-effectiveness….”

The design of these frameworks suggests that they are developed with good intentions, but without adequate learning from the economic and decision science literatures about the principles that underpin sound value framework design, and without adequate empirical and conceptual piloting and testing….”

CGD – Jean Tirole Connects the Dots: Lessons from Modern Economics for Global Health Procurement

R Silverman; https://www.cgdev.org/blog/jean-tirole-connects-dots-lessons-modern-economics-global-health-procurement

“… In his most recent book, Economics for the Common Good, Jean Tirole  (Nobel laureate in economics )  offers a compelling and persuasive case for how economic insights can empower governments, companies, and citizens to tackle modern society’s most pressing challenges, from climate change and financial crises to macroeconomic stability and digital transformation.   Recently, I and other CGD colleagues had the privilege of hearing Tirole’s sharp insights firsthand as he turned his attention to one of our current preoccupations: procurement of global health commodities….”

KFF – The latest Ebola outbreak: what has changed in the international and U.S. response since 2014?


Updated briefing (as of 6 June) by Josh Mishaud et al.

Devex – Q&A: The World Bank’s human capital project targets better outcomes


Health, education, and social services are not new areas of expertise at the World Bank, but the need for governments to focus on achieving quality outcomes may never have been higher. In Bali, Indonesia, at the World Bank’s annual meetings in October, the institution will launch a new human capital index to rank countries on the outcomes they are achieving with investments in health, education, and social services. While the index is a highly visible — and perhaps controversial — element of the bank’s work on these issues, it is only one piece of a broader human capital portfolio that the institution is increasingly emphasizing. … … The basis of this effort is a growing body of research at the bank, which describes a future world in which countries may not be able to rely on the same pathways to development that other countries followed in the past, said Annette Dixon, the bank’s vice president of human development. “Not only is there a need to invest more in human capital to get to high-income status, the future world is actually going to need even healthier and better educated people than ever before — and that’s one of the most important things that policymakers can do to prepare for a much more complex, technology-driven world,” Dixon told Devex. Dixon spoke to Devex about the index, the growing body of research behind it, and what it means for World Bank projects….”


In a crisis of accountability what is next for UNAIDS?


Christine Stiegling, executive director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, is “horrified by UNAIDS’ inadequate response to multiple alleged human rights violations experienced by women in its employment”.

In another development,  more than 200 women at the UNAIDS secretariat released this statement (5 June) regarding recent press coverage:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q9F8pmUEIs_8dq4a6Ajtb9Mxu-D0fFHc/view

“…We, the undersigned women from the UNAIDS Secretariat, write in response to the recent articles in the media, which quote a UNAIDS staff member as having said that the organization had allowed a “sexist culture where women are more window dressing than actually recognized for their performance” and that there is “an expectation to trade sexual favors for promotions and other advancements “. We categorically reject this portrayal as it does not represent our experience of working at UNAIDS and diminishes and discredits us as professionals and our many years of dedicated service….”

Reuters – Haiti withdraws Oxfam GB’s right to operate after misconduct scandal


Haiti’s government on Wednesday said it was withdrawing Oxfam Great Britain’s right to operate in the Caribbean country after allegations of sexual misconduct by some of the charity’s staff. In a statement, three ministries, including the Planning and External Cooperation Ministry, said they were withdrawing Oxfam Great Britain’s status as a non-governmental organisation “for violation of Haitian law and serious violation of the principle of the dignity of the human beings.””

This could be a game changer, if other countries follow suit in similar instances.

Science – An outspoken epidemiologist becomes U.S. science envoy


If there’s an infectious disease that has threatened public health over the past 4 decades, epidemiologist Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota (UM) in Minneapolis likely has said something about it. Osterholm, who runs UM’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), has a reputation for speaking bluntly—torpedoes, political correctness, friends, even funders be damned—and understands the power of a punchy metaphor. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of State announced he would be one of its five science envoys, a program that began in 2010 and taps prominent scientists for 1-year appointments to build global collaborations on pressing issues….

CDC (Emerging Infectious Diseases – Policy review) – Strengthening Global Public Health Surveillance through Data and Benefit Sharing

M Edelstein et al; https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/7/15-1830_article

Equitable sharing of public health surveillance data can help prevent or mitigate the effect of infectious diseases. Equitable data sharing includes working toward more equitable sharing of the public health benefits that data sharing brings and requires the engagement of those providing the data, those interpreting and using the data generated by others, those facilitating the data-sharing process, and those deriving and contributing to the benefit. An expert consultation conducted by Chatham House outlined 7 principles to encourage the process of equitable data sharing: 1) building trust; 2) articulating the value; 3) planning for data sharing; 4) achieving quality data; 5) understanding the legal context; 6) creating data-sharing agreements; and 7) monitoring and evaluation. Sharing of public health surveillance data is best done taking into account these principles, which will help to ensure data are shared optimally and ethically, while fulfilling stakeholder expectations and facilitating equitable distribution of benefits.”

Scientific American – The 25% Revolution—How Big Does a Minority Have to Be to Reshape Society?


Both encouraging & somewhat frightening news: “…A new study about the power of committed minorities to shift conventional thinking offers some surprising possible answers. Published this week in Science, the paper describes an online experiment in which researchers sought to determine what percentage of total population a minority needs to reach the critical mass necessary to reverse a majority viewpoint. The tipping point, they found, is just 25 percent. At and slightly above that level, contrarians were able to “convert” anywhere from 72 to 100 percent of the population of their respective groups….

Oxford Handbook – Global Politics of HIV and AIDs

Alan Whiteside; (edited by C McInnes et al) http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190456818.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780190456818-e-33?rskey=cSwS5M&result=2

Global health politics is a new field of study. At the same time that the importance of health for economic growth and development was resonating with policymakers, the HIV and AIDS epidemic was spreading. Although fears of massive global mortality and potential political collapse did not materialize, the disease has had devastating consequences in some parts of the world and among certain groups. During the 2000s major initiatives among donor countries brought treatment to the poor. The politics of AIDS in 2017 centers around the inability of certain countries to bring the disease under control, and the need for treatment will increase inexorably in the decades ahead. Another major concern is that of low-income countries depending on the largess of donor countries to fund their treatment programmes. Global political changes, but especially in the United States, may mean money is no longer forthcoming, increasing mortality among these populations.”


And a few tweets:

Next phase of the Health Data Collaborative (HDC) begins. 42 partners aligning resources to improve health information strategies at country level. Thanks to our leaders for re-committing. Workplan in the works! @HealthDataColl @USAIDGH @doctorsoumya @WBG_Health @WHO

A pleasure to join @UN_PGA @Chinamission2un @UNDESA @UNDP  @UNICEF for this morning’s High-Level Symposium on the Belt & Road Initiative & 2030 Agenda to brief on @WHO, @ILO & @OECD Working for Health project in Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Tweet from Kelley Lee – “Dr David Wilson (World Bank):  “We have harvested most of the low hanging fruit in global health and have been left with far more complex and difficult health problems. These will require new ideas, institutions and innovations.”  Spot on.”

Jeremy Farrar disagreed: “With greatest respect disagree-“low hanging fruit” were once considered complex & unachievable, they become low hanging fruit in retrospect & after incredible hard work,creativity & dedication.Such solutions remain today if we have the invention,wit & political will to tackle them

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