Lancet – Sexual harassment and assault claims at UNAIDS
Arguably, not really a ‘highlight’…
“A Special Report details allegations of sexual harassment and assault at UNAIDS, and a culture of silence, intimidation, and fear. The Editorial highlights the “unduly weak and unacceptable” response and calls for an independent investigation so that justice is delivered.”
(5 p) Special report (must-read): “Sexual harassment and assault investigation at UNAIDS draws attention to an endemic problem. Critics say the UN’s internal system is flawed and call for external oversight. John Zarocostas reports.” “…it’s not just UNAIDS: Sexual misconduct and harassment are endemic across UN agencies…”
As for the Editorial’s key message (on UNAIDS): ‘…Zero tolerance should mean zero tolerance’.
Cfr a tweet from Pam Das (Lancet editor): “Working on this for over a month. As a passionate global health advocate, I’ve only felt fury, frustration, & disappointment. Painful, v. painful….”
And another tweet from her: “Today, the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board chaired by the UK Government @DFID_UK meet to discuss the terms of reference and aims of a new independent panel. They must take whatever action is necessary.” (at the time of writing, no more info on this yet)
Earlier in the week, the Guardian already reported UN agency chief under pressure to quit over handling of sexual assault inquiry.
Guardian – More than 95% of world’s population breathe dangerous air, major study finds
“More than 95% of the world’s population breathe unsafe air and the burden is falling hardest on the poorest communities, with the gap between the most polluted and least polluted countries rising rapidly, a comprehensive study of global air pollution has found. Cities are home to an increasing majority of the world’s people, exposing billions to unsafe air, particularly in developing countries, but in rural areas the risk of indoor air pollution is often caused by burning solid fuels. One in three people worldwide faces the double whammy of unsafe air both indoors and out. The report by the Health Effects Institute used new findings such as satellite data and better monitoring to estimate the numbers of people exposed to air polluted above the levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. …”
Zooming in on China, for example, China cuts smog but health damage already done: study.
Commonwealth heads of state summit in London
We will pay attention to the Malaria summit (part of the Commonwealth gathering) below.
Here we just refer to a few other Commonwealth summit-related articles:
Devex – Commonwealth Summit launches in London amid concerns over LGBTQ rights, jobs (overall analysis, published ahead of the summit).
“Leaders from the 53 countries that make up the British Commonwealth arrived in London Monday for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where they convened 5,000 participants from a range of sectors, including government officials, members of civil society, and private corporations for a three-day summit to discuss the issues facing Commonwealth countries. The summit will proceed along four tracks: Women, youth, people, and business, and commenced with the launch of a number of new partnerships and initiatives. … … The first day of meetings was overshadowed by revelations over the weekend by the Guardian newspaper that U.K. officials had indefinitely postponed a guide slated to publish on the opening day of CHOGM to promote gay rights at the meetings. The guide advises on international best practices on sexual orientation and gender identity. Critics accused the U.K. of caving to pressure from some of the 37 Commonwealth member states that outlaw homosexuality; LGBTQ rights remain a contentious issue on the biennial agenda. “This sends a very negative signal to the more than 100 million LGBT+ people who suffer criminalization, discrimination, and violence in 70 percent of Commonwealth countries,” said Peter Tatchell, a British human rights activist….”
“Theresa May has been urged to apologise for Britain’s historical legacy of anti-gay laws across the Commonwealth as leaders of the 53 member states gather for a summit in London on Monday. Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell argued that the government should help address colonial-era legislation that treats more than 100 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across the Commonwealth as criminals….”
Maybe May was too busy apologizing on other fronts this week …
Malaria Summit (London)
Guardian – Invest in mosquito surveillance to combat malaria, says Bill Gates
Overview of some of the main messages at the summit, funding, new innovations, …
Devex – Leaders challenge Commonwealth countries to halve malaria cases by 2023
Also a must-read.
“On Wednesday leaders of the 53 Commonwealth nations, the private sector, and NGOs [will] announce their commitment to halve the number of malaria cases worldwide in the next five years. If achieved, this would prevent 350 million cases of malaria and save 650,000 lives, according to estimates by the World Health Organization. The Commonwealth and its citizens account for one-third of the world’s population, but more than half of all malaria cases and deaths globally. The announcement comes during the Malaria Summit London 2018, in the midst of the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting 2018, also in London. Commitments will include a range of new interventions across three categories: funding, innovation, and better data, with strong support from malaria-endemic countries and a special focus on refugees and internally displaced people….”
Check out what the Gates Foundation promised, big pharmaceutical companies, the UK government, and most importantly – malaria endemic countries (Nigeria, Uganda, …) themselves.
See also Bloomberg – Glaxo, Novartis Join $4 Billion Gates-Led Push to Fight Malaria.
BBC News – Malaria experts fear disease’s resurgence
This, of course, was the backdrop of the summit. “For the first time in 10 years, global malaria cases are no longer falling, sparking concerns about a resurgence of the too often deadly disease.”
Not everybody is convinced that the new commitment & movement (to halve malaria by 2023) will be enough, cfr this tweet:
“World is at risk of making the same mistakes on malaria that it made in 1960s. The amount of $ needed to keep on track for global malaria control goals is orders of magnitude higher than what’s been pledged. Barring some miraculous tech change, recent success could be reversed.”
The Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication
More info on the Lancet Commission on Malaria Eradication (see also last week’s IHP news). The article also sketches the backdrop of the Commission:
“…While the task of malaria eradication will be formidable, 20 years of progress have brought us more than halfway there. This month is an important time for the malaria community. MIM reconvenes in Dakar, Senegal, after 21 years at the 7th MIM Pan African Malaria Conference on April 15–20, 2018, where researchers will share the latest research findings and agree on new strategies to advance elimination and eradication. Today the pace of scientific advance and innovation continues to accelerate with pilot studies to evaluate the first malaria vaccine underway. At the same time, leaders gather in London, UK, on April 16–20 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting where malaria is firmly on the agenda. The 53 Commonwealth countries are home to 60% of all malaria cases and 52% of all malaria deaths. A bold commitment by the Commonwealth could greatly increase the prospect of malaria eradication within a generation.”
In other news related to the London Summit, the Telegraph also reported that the UK is stepping up efforts to help eliminate trachoma. “… the U.K.’s international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has pledged an extra £20million to provide sight-saving antibiotics and surgery to people in 10 Commonwealth countries. … The money comes on top of a £360m pledge the U.K. government made last April to wipe out the world’s forgotten tropical diseases, such as trachoma, sleeping sickness, and leprosy...”
FT Health – special report on malaria
This was a fabulous report. We recommend most of the articles.
“The extraordinary biological complexity of malaria may be a scientific challenge but it presents medical researchers with many potential opportunities to stop the disease in its tracks. But will they do so in time?”
Devex – Opinion: African experts warn big changes needed to eliminate malaria
“… African malaria experts fear that the World Health Organization’s 2030 malaria targets may not be achieved unless big changes occur in funding and delivery. The three of us have worked in very different roles with malaria experts all over Africa. Much of what we have heard informally in recent years is now confirmed in a major new study, Malaria Futures for Africa, or MalaFa. Launched on April 17 in London, it reveals what malaria experts in Africa actually think about progress and challenges toward malaria elimination. They believe that malaria can be beaten, but it will require significant political will as well as continued research on scientific breakthroughs and an emphasis on using both old and new tools….”
Multilateral Initiative on Malaria’s (MIM) pan-African conference (Senegal, April 15-20)
As already mentioned, the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria’s (MIM) pan-African conference took place this week in Dakar.
Cfr. Thomson Reuters – Malaria in conflict zones threatens global progress against the disease
“Global gains in the fight against malaria could be reversed unless countries control the disease in conflict zones, where deaths and infections are rising, experts said on Tuesday….”
See also CIDRAP for a lot more info on the Senegal conference – Malaria meetings garner support, shed new light on spread (2nd part of the article).
IMF/WB Spring meetings (16-22 April, Washington)
Below we pay more attention to the 3rd UHC Financing Forum, here just some general info related to the IMF/WB Spring meetings (which still continue over the weekend).
Among others, Jim Yong Kim is going to elaborate on the Human Capital Project but the Spring meetings are so rich – in all meanings, I’m afraid – that below we can just give some idea.
Devex – What to expect at the World Bank Spring Meetings
Must-read analysis ahead of the Spring Meetings!!
“The World Bank Spring Meetings [begin today] in Washington, D.C., under a threatening cloud of international conflict that raises the stakes for an institution dedicated to marshalling a global commitment to ending poverty. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, entering the second year of his second term, will showcase the institution’s public face in a week of sessions highlighting the bank’s contribution to tackling global challenges of conflict and fragility, climate change, and health. Behind the scenes, Kim and other bank leaders will seek to marshal support from 188 member country shareholders who have the power to grant the institution more capital to undertake more projects — and the power to demand institutional reforms….”
Among others, Devex was going to focus on: President Kim’s capital push; Fragile states, refugees, and reconstruction; Women top the agenda; Facebook fallout could spell a smaller focus on ‘Big Data’.
See also Devex :
“…With 60 percent of people living in extreme poverty expected to be located in fragile states by 2030, the bank is showcasing its major pivot toward working in places that have typically been the domain of United Nations and humanitarian agencies. The most recent International Development Association replenishment doubled the amount of funding dedicated to fragile states, and the bank has a target of putting 150 staff members on the ground in FCV (fragility, conflict, violence) countries. One of Kim’s biggest priorities is convincing countries to invest more in “human capital,” by putting more of their domestic resources into chronically underfunded health, education, and social sectors. At the annual meetings in Bali in October, the bank will formally unveil its new “Human Capital Index,” which will rank countries according to those investments and their impact….”
FT – US poised to support $13bn capital increase for World Bank
“The Trump administration is poised to back a $13bn capital increase for the World Bank in a package that would see significant lending reforms and an increase in China’s shareholding….” Seemed to be fairly good news for Jim Kim (and his relation with the US) – ahead of the Spring Meetings.
IMF – Upswing in global growth won’t last forever; IMF says world must prepare now for leaner times ahead
“While the world economy continues to show broad-based momentum, a new report released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning that there may be choppy seas ahead, caused by increasing protectionism or tit-for-tat trade wars.” That report is, of course, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook.
IISD – Sustainable Development Financing Report Pulls Alarm on Short-Termism
“The annual IATF [Inter-Agency Taskforce on Financing for development ] report sets the tone for the spring meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), followed by the annual FfD Forum. On the occasion of the launch of the 2018 report, Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for DESA, pointed out that without investing in infrastructure projects like bridges, roads and sewage systems, and if the poorest and women are cut off from access to credit and other financial services, there is little chance of achieving the SDGs.”
See also the press release – Short-termism impedes progress of hundreds of millions of people
“… the vast majority of investment is still short-term oriented and commitments by the international community to create sustainable economies are not being met. There is an increasing interest in socially responsible investing, but that is no substitute for a broader transformation in the financial system. The report states that the current system rewards investors, financiers and project managers that prioritize short-term profits. Similarly, policy makers are excessively focused on short-term considerations. But there is a price to pay. Infrastructure projects are shelved in favour of short term priorities. Small businesses and women remain excluded from the financial system….”
You find the report here. Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects 2018
Social Watch – CSO’s Open letter to WB executive directors on the Bank’s approach to PPPs
“… The implementation of the World Bank Group’s Maximising Finance for Development (MFD) approach implies a problematic ‘private finance first’ attitude to development finance, which raises red flags about the underlying assumptions that will guide the work of the Bank in developing countries. These include whether and how fiscal, environmental and human rights considerations will be taken into account when comparing public versus private finance options….”
As mentioned in this new Devex Op-Ed, so far the WB doesn’t seem to listen much, including at this Spring Meeting… – Public-private partnerships don’t work. It’s time for the World Bank to take action. (recommended read)
CGD (blog) – Another Debt Crisis for Poor Countries?
A big worry at the moment.
New report International Growth Centre – New approach needed for countries caught in ‘fragility trap’, says Commission chaired by former UK Prime Minister
“Greater attention should be paid to delivering basic security and jobs in states affected by conflict and instability, according to a new report from the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, chaired by former UK Prime Minister David Cameron and co-chaired by Dr Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank, and Dr Adnan Khan, Research and Policy Director of the International Growth Centre (IGC).” For the report, see Escaping the Fragility Trap.
Blended Finance Taskforce – Programme of action: “mobilizing private capital for the SDGs at scale”
The Taskforce released its programme of action this week to accelerate blended finance (particularly with a view on infrastructure), with 8 key initiatives.
Some new global health financing papers & a viewpoint
2 new Global Burden of Disease papers in the Lancet
“Two Global Burden of Disease papers estimate future health spending and performance on a measure of universal health coverage and provide, for the first time, estimated HIV/AIDS spending on prevention and treatment.”
By C Murray’s (IHME) team. Both are must-reads, but we especially recommend the one on UHC – Trends in future health financing and coverage: future health spending and universal health coverage in 188 countries, 2016–40.
See also IHME press release – First Long-Term Study Finds Half Trillion Dollars Spent on HIV/AIDS. That is spending on HIV/AIDS globally between 2000 and 2015.
And the IHME press release of the second paper – New Study Finds People Covered by Universal Health Coverage Will Fall Far Below UN Sustainable Development Goal.
“An estimated 5.4 billion people globally are expected to be covered under some form of universal health care (UHC) by 2030, up from 4.3 billion in 2015, but far below the related target in SDG 3, according to a new scientific study. The study finds that, while health spending is expected to rise over the coming decades, it is likely to continue constraining efforts to achieve universal health coverage…”
Some tweets & coverage:
Robert Marten: “The new & always fascinating #globalhealth financing report from @IHME_UW shows how little the @GlobalGoalsUN have yet changed DAH spending priorities. #NCDs & particularly #injury still the very poor relations…”
Pam Das – “Ah, this was a problem for us too when the papers came to us. But it seems that from this year onward, they will focus on one disease each year, HIV, malaria, TB etc. Agree, that not sure how useful this is…”
Lancet (Viewpoint) – Monitoring country progress and achievements by making global predictions: is the tail wagging the dog?
“… Globally, considerable investments are being made in advanced statistical modelling, computation of uncertainty ranges, and the production of compelling visualisations of results. However, these advances could give the impression of abundant evidence that is actually based on very sparse empirical data. Unfortunately, global public health experts and academics are often oblivious to the limitations of these estimates and regularly overinterpret the numbers, especially if the estimates support their arguments….”
“…We call for a repositioning of the production of global estimates, and the transition from MDGs to SDGs provides an opportunity to do so. Neither country policy makers nor the global development community are best served by a global flood of health estimates derived from complex models as investments in country data collection, analytical capacity, and use are lagging…. “ They list 5 points that need to be done with a view on this.
Third Annual UHC Financing Forum: Greater Equity for Better Health and Financial Protection ( April 19-20, 2018, Washington DC)
“The World Bank Group and USAID [will] host the Third Annual Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Financing Forum from April 19-20, 2018, in advance of the World Bank Group’s Spring Meetings. The Forum will take place at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. … The Forum will focus on mobilizing and shaping health financing to achieve equity and access to health services.”
In other words, the focus this time was on how decision makers can improve equity in health financing, among others by avoiding “12 no-go’s”.
For the (5 p & must-read) Concept Note, see here.
For a few nice blogs on the WB’s ‘Investing in health’ blog also setting the scene, see Why do finance ministries matter to achieving universal health coverage?
This blog provides sort of the mainstream view now of the ‘powers that be’, and certainly the WB: “… In the SDGs era, the imperative to finance the development agenda from domestic resources has been amplified. Irrespective of a government’s best intentions to achieve UHC, without adequate financing from its national budget, minimal progress will be made. This is in stark contrast to the MDGs era (from 2000- 2015) where emphasis was on effective development cooperation (EDC). And when it comes to achieving UHC, financing is actually only part of the role ministries of finance can play. … …. Although a legacy of the MDGs, DAH is still needed in the SDGs era but needs to evolve to a catalytic role. … … However, in the SDGs era, instead of being the primary funding source for health, DAH should rather leverage a bigger pie of domestic resources for UHC, and support the strengthening of country systems for health service delivery to ensure sustainability of results as many countries transition from aid to using financing the UHC agenda from domestic resources. The International Partnership for Universal Health Coverage 2030 (UHC2030), the successor of the International Health Partnership (IHP+) can play a leading role in shaping this shift globally….”
And “Equity Is a Must on the Road to Universal Health Coverage” (blog by C Ly & Kent Ranson).
Forum paper – Equity on the Path to UHC Deliberate Decisions for Fair Financing Background Report (Conference Version)
(must-read) “This is a forum paper (conference version) to the “Third Annual UHC Financing Forum: Greater Equity for Better Health and Financial Protection”. This paper sets the stage for the presentations and discussions at the Forum and was prepared under the guidance of the Forum Technical Working Group. The information provided in this document does not necessarily represent the views or position of the organizations represented on the Technical Working Group. ”
A few tweets: check out the hashtag #UHCfinance for more.
From Agnes Soucat:
From Jesse Bump – “My analysis of @UHC2030 Monitoring Report shows that countries are doing well, but donors are not serious about their own accountability.”
Jesse Bump @UHC2030 donors need to move away from the paradigm of aid if still to be relevant in the #SDGs era #UHC”
Also a lot happening on the Global Financial Facility (GFF), check out for example this Save the Children blog – the GFF: budding with potential, yet to bloom. (recommended)
“ …It’s a big year for the GFF, with its first replenishment and an ambitious target of $2 billon. Today, with the replenishment year in full swing, Save the Children has launched a briefing outlining what we think is good about the GFF and what can be improved to turn it into the pioneering develop financing model it has the potential to be.”
For a list of GFF country focal points, see GFF country focal points.
Report on global multimorbidity
BMJ News – Treatment for those with multiple serious illnesses is “ineffective,” warns major review
“Medicine is poorly equipped to treat people that develop multiple chronic diseases concurrently, and must commit more resources to improving their treatment, a major global report has said. The report, produced by the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences, warns that multimorbidity is increasing “on a massive scale.” But it admits that nobody knows how massive, for lack of an agreed definition. The report, which claims to be the first to look at global multimorbidity, attempts to give a definition, as well as suggest new research initiatives to understand it better and work out how best to organise services to treat it….” For the report, see here.
More coverage in the FT – Sharp rise in patients suffering from several long-term diseases.
Stat News – In encouraging sign, Ebola vaccine appears to provide long-lasting protection
“An international consortium of researchers has reported that an Ebola vaccine appears to provide volunteers protection against the virus two years after they were injected — encouraging findings both for the public health community and the vaccine’s manufacturer. … … The new study, published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, shows that two years after getting the vaccine, volunteers had high and stable levels of antibodies to the Ebola Zaire virus…”
And a tweet from Mark Chataway: “Only a few months ago, we were told that Ebola vaccines were stalled because they wouldn’t be profitable enough for pharma companies. Now @Merck plans to apply for an FDA licence this year. No doubt @MSF will be congratulating them soon <G>”
National health equity strategies
Devex – Opinion: Countries need to build National Health Equity Strategies. Here’s how.
“…One concrete step that could serve as a foundation for comprehensive action toward health equity would be for countries to develop and implement National Health Equity Strategies, grounded in human rights and nondiscrimination. What might these strategies look like? … … Working closely with the Stop TB Partnership, USAID, and other partners, including people who have had and been affected by tuberculosis, the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at the Georgetown University Law Center is promoting National Health Equity Strategies, and has drafted an implementation guide that could aid in developing them.
We are holding an online consultation, open to all, beginning on April 9 on the guide and overall concept of National Health Equity Strategies. …” For more info on what the O’Neill institute has in mind, see here and here.
UK Aid reform
IDS – The mission for global Britain – 7 reflections on where next for 0.7
“The UK Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt has set out her vision for UK Aid and Development at the Wellcome Collection. And indeed, there was much to welcome, as well as to cause pause for thought. Here are seven quick reflections on what she said.”
See last week’s IHP newsletter. This was perhaps also relevant in Penny’s speech:
“There was a strong focus on strengthening health systems from the Secretary of State. It will be good to see more detail on this, perhaps in the form of the long awaited publication of the health systems framework/policy paper from DFID. With the UK hosting the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in September and celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS and 40th Anniversary of the Alma Ata declaration, the timing has never been better.”
Some key publications of the week
Globalization & Health – Defining the global health system and systematically mapping its network of actors
Steven Hoffman et al; https://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12992-018-0340-2
One of the reads of the week, no doubt. “This study presents a conceptually sound and operational definition of the global health system. Importantly, this definition can be applied in practice to facilitate analysis of the system. The study tested the analytical helpfulness of this definition through a network mapping exercise, whereby the interconnected nature of websites representing actors in the global health system was studied. Using a systematic methodology and related search functions, 203 global health actors were identified, representing the largest and most transparent list of its kind to date. Identified global health actors were characterized and the structure of their social network revealed intriguing patterns in relationships among actors. These findings provide a foundation for future inquiries into the global health system’s structure and dynamics that are critical if we are to better coordinate system activities and ensure successful response to our most pressing global health challenges.”
But see also this tweet from Mathias Bonk:
“#Globalhealth system & systematically mapping its actors. Well, then a huge number of non-Anglo-American institutions and organizations have “systematically” been ignored in this study…very unfortunate, as we live in a multi-polar, transdisciplinary world in the 21st century…”
Global Policy: A time for Hope? Pursuing a vision of a Fair, Sustainable and Healthy World
Sharon Friel; Global Policy;
“The confluence of social and health inequities and global environmental degradation shines a light on fundamental ruptures in society. A systems view of humanity reminds us that this status quo is not static, and that the shifting political and economic sands provide an important window of opportunity to collectively change the system towards the public good, such that communities are able to live with good health, dignity and in an environmentally sustainable way. To enable this, global policy, and in particular global health policy must break out of the policy silos and refocus in a systems way. If the system is to adapt, an ambitious vision for the system is needed that is different to the status quo. No one regulatory model that can improve complex societal problems, rather we must use a plurality of approaches. Reorienting the system to achieve positive outcomes depends on reimagining the purpose of structural regulatory powers, and the releasing the agency of networks of concerned actors. In a hyper‐connected world there are many partners to help create systems of hope. “
NEJM – The Blind Men and the Elephant – Aligning Efforts in Global Health
R Dhillion et al; http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1800883?query=TOC
“… A more pragmatic way to align global health action might be to delineate actionable issues that incorporate key priorities from each perspective [i.e. security perspective, development perspective, human rights perspective ] and around which the range of actors can integrate their activities. … “
Global Health Governance Program – PLANET
“ Global health aid rose by 400% from $5.6 billion in 1990 to $28.1 billion by 2012, … Remarkably, this increase has not yet prompted the development of tools that would enable donors to co-ordinate, plan, monitor or evaluate the effectiveness of their investments. In fact, it could be argued that this large amount of money, the majority of which comes from public sector donors, is among the least transparently allocated, monitored, audited and evaluated part of governmental budgets – which is worrying, given its sheer size and potential importance of the investments. The new PLANET tool is a response to this problem. Based on crowdsourcing approaches, it draws real-time information from those involved in programme delivery – funders, managers and recipients. Simple enough to run on a smart-phone, PLANET turns complex and opaque analyses on implementation of development programmes into a flexible and user-friendly tool. This allows decision-makers to prioritise, monitor and evaluate large-scale development programs, and more closely assess the effectiveness of investment. The tool was developed by Prof. Devi Sridhar and Prof Igor Rudan of the University of Edinburgh, UK.”
IISD – Draft SDG Index and Dashboard Track African Progress on SDGs
“The Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the SDG Center for Africa invited comments on the draft Africa SDG Index and Dashboard, which track individual country progress on each of the 17 SDGs. Eleven African countries ranked green on SDG 13 (climate action). For eleven of the SDGs, no African country received a green score. (i.e. including SDG 3 – health) ”
Reuters – WHO recommends testing before use of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday Sanofi’s vaccine against dengue should only be used after testing on individuals to assess whether they have ever been exposed to the infection. After a two-day meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, experts at the U.N. agency recommended extra safety measures for the medicine, sold as Dengvaxia. “We have now clear information that the vaccine needs to be dealt with in a much safer way by using it exclusively in people already infected with dengue before,” Alejandro Cravioto, Chair of the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, told reporters. “It requires for the people to be tested through a system that is not currently available but that we feel will be developed in the next years,” he said….”
See also Stat News – WHO panel urges caution on dengue vaccine, dealing blow to Sanofi.
Lancet – The Tsinghua-Lancet Commission on Healthy Cities in China: unlocking the power of cities for a healthy China
“Increasingly, people leave the countryside to pursue better opportunities in cities. Nowhere has urbanisation been more rapid and pronounced than in China. This Lancet Commission, led by Tsinghua University in Beijing, examines the particular challenges and opportunities for health in China’s cities, with regard to health risks, health promotion, environmental health, and health-care delivery. For cities to be active participants in China’s aspiration as an ecocivilisation, there needs to be increased participation in health-related activities by stakeholders, with fuller integration of health into all civic policies. From this dialogue should come shared goals that are assessed regularly, and research on interventions to improve health for people who live in cities.”
Lancet series on preconception health
“Health and nutrition of both men and women before conception is important not only for pregnancy outcomes but also for the lifelong health of their children and even the next generation. The preconception period can be seen in three different ways: from a biological standpoint as the days and weeks before embryo development; from the individual perspective as the time of wanting to conceive; and through a population lens as any time a women is of childbearing age. This Series of three papers highlights the importance and summarises the evidence of preconception health for future health and suggests context-specific interventions. It also calls for a social movement to achieve political engagement for health in this particular phase in life.”
Orin Levine on Medium – Let’s Create a New Agenda…One That Eliminates Barriers to Immunization
Orin Levine is Director of Vaccine Delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “… What would happen if we set targets for elimination of delivery problems just like we do for disease problems? What would be different in the way we work if the elimination target were one of these delivery barriers?…”
“…I challenged our Vaccine Delivery team at the Gates Foundation for their responses and the list was impressive (and occasionally humorous)….”
Global health security
BMJ Global Health (Commentary) – The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control
AM Njidda et al; http://gh.bmj.com/content/3/2/e000712
“Nigeria and several other African countries have been battling with public health challenges for decades. These challenges came to fore during the Ebola virus disease (EVD) crisis that affected many countries in the West African region, including Nigeria. As a result, many African countries have established their National Public Health Institutes as a focal point to prevent, detect and respond to diseases of public health importance, but currently, only 9 of the 15 countries in West Africa have a designated national public health institute. Before the EVD crisis, Nigeria established the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which played a pivotal role in the control of the EVD outbreak in Nigeria, as well as provided support to other countries that were affected by the crisis. Modelled on the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NCDC has institutionalised Nigeria’s capacity to respond to the increasing threats of outbreaks of infectious diseases and other public health emergencies. This is achieved through building collaborations and taking the lead in prevention, preparedness and surveillance, and also coordinating the public health laboratory networks. African public health institutes are currently in early stages of evolution. Building a national public health institute requires strong commitment, clarity of vision. The experience of setting up the public health institute of Nigeria can inform similar efforts in other African countries.”
NYT – Will the next superbug come from Yemen?
From Sam Loewenberg, so you know this is a must-read.
“…The global aid architecture has not caught up with the realities” of multidrug-resistant infections in conflict zones. … … It’s a recipe for catastrophe: a struggling health system where antibiotics remain widely available with little oversight, combined with an overwhelming number of wounded in hospitals and weak hygiene and infection-control practices. … … This goes to a core problem: a lack of surveillance and infection-control procedures as part of humanitarian response, which are increasingly a necessity with so many prolonged conflicts. “Where we need the most information, we don’t have it,” Ms. Elden said….”
- Check out the 2nd issue of the EV newsletter – among others, with an update on the applications for the Liverpool EV venture. It’ll be very competitive, that’s for sure!
- Meanwhile, EV alumni can check out whether they’re already ‘fully emerged’ or not – see this (half-joking) IHP blog – When are you fully ‘Emerged’? With plenty of ‘tentative indicators’, and the list is still growing : )
AB InBev foundation
A few tweets from Robert Marten perhaps suffice here: “
Shocking when one compares the noise and outrage over Philip Morris’s Foundation for a Smoke Free World compared with the absolute silence about the Anheuser-Busch Bev Foundation. ”
Foundation plans “to address harmful alcohol use and spread ideas advancing broader health and social issues.”
Lancet (Comment) – Social lobbying: a call to arms for public health
« …In this context, we define social lobbying as advocacy with the intention of influencing decisions made by governments, solely to protect and further the greater social good, including health….”
« Health is inherently political and there is no public health issue that is not impacted in some way by government decision making. Faced with the increasingly pervasive reality of political systems gridlocked by private sector special interests, public health organisations must acknowledge their responsibility to engage with the political process. As a public health community, we have lingered too long outside the public lobby. It is time for social lobbying to protect health for all. »
Lancet (Correspondence) – Healthier lives for all Africans
R Mash, J De Maeseneer et al; http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30502-6/fulltext
“In their Commission, Irene Agyepong and colleagues (Dec 23, 2017, p 2803) provide a comprehensive report on the pathway to healthier lives for all Africans by 2030. As highlighted in the Commission, we have been involved in training family physicians in Africa for the past 20 years within the framework of the Primary Care and Family Medicine Education (Primafamed) network, a South–South cooperation that brings together family medicine, primary care, and public health in more than 20 African countries.”
“…In 2018, there is an urgent need for financial donors to fund interventions that strengthen the African primary health-care system as a priority, rather than just investing in vertical disease-orientated programmes, and to continue contributing to networks such as Primafamed.”