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IHP news #499 (November 30, 2018)

Highlights of the week

Interview with Jean Drèze – We need to go beyond self-interest or we’re doomed

The Hindu; https://www.thehindu.com/society/we-need-to-go-beyond-self-interest-or-were-doomed-jean-drze/article25576865.ece

From last weekend, but the read of the week. Interview with development economist and activist Jean Drèze. “…In a freewheeling chat, Drèze spoke about, among other things, the problems with economists, his idea of success, nationalism, and activism.”

Excerpts from the start of the interview:

“ Q: In general, economists are a part of the problem and not the solution. Would you agree?

A: Well, economics can be a very useful discipline if studied critically. But if you are not critical, then it can become toxic. If you take economic models at face value, you could end up being in a world of your own.

Q: But even as a discipline, economics seems biased against the poor.

A: It’s not just economics. In many disciplines, if you look at the history of ideas, it is essentially ideas that are convenient for the privileged and the powerful that tend to flourish; they are the ones that get sponsored, the ones around which conferences are organised, and so on. In contrast, ideas that are deemed threatening to the established order tend to be sidelined….”

BMJ collection on global health disruptors

Ilona Kickbusch and Andrew Cassels introduced this series of articles on global health disruptors. So do start with their (excellent) contribution:  Ilona Kickbusch and Andrew Cassels: Disruptions that shape global health

With global governance and global health at a turning point, it seems apt to use the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute to look back at global health disruptors of the past two decades and to look forward at what will shape global health in the future….”

But we recommend all contributions as they’re all very insightful and focused. Without any doubt, the series of the week.  Probably more to come in the days ahead, leading up to the 10th anniversary of the Graduate Global Health Institute.

Robert Marten: Millennium Development Goals

The millennium development goal framework is a blueprint for current and future policy, says Robert Marten.”

Francis OmaswaThe end of the cold war

“A new paradigm is unfolding in resourcing development assistance, says Francis Omaswa.”

Kent Buse et al – AIDS

The AIDS movement changed everything—or did it, ask Kent Buse, Sheila Tlou, and Nana Poku.” (also a good read with a view on World AIDS Day (1 Dec)). See below for more on that.

Andrew Cassels –  Global Health Partnerships

They’ve shaped global health governance, now should global health partnerships broaden their influence, asks Andrew Cassels.”

Cfr  a tweet by Kent Buse: “On Global Health Partnerships, @CasselsDr asks & hints at answer: ‘Whether innovative governance can facilitate long term strategic decision making or whether the availability of donor financing will once again be the deciding factor.’”

Sharon Friel: Doha Declaration

Power imbalances threaten access to medicines for all countries, says Sharon Friel.”

Ronald Labonté: 2008 financial crisis

We don’t have the money to deliver the sustainable development goals, says Ronald Labonté.”

“…Unless, and until, private global finance is effectively reigned in, the health outcomes promised in the SDGs will remain illusory rhetoric as the financing won’t be available….”

G L Burci: WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

“Gian Luca Burci discusses this breakthrough treaty that continues to stand alone.”

M Tichenor & D Sridhar; The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Perhaps the best contribution I’ve read so far.  “The Gates Foundation has expanded the power of private philanthropic organisations, say Marlee Tichenor and Devi Sridhar.”

“…The agreement [between IHME & WHO ] is also an indication of how the Gates Foundation has expanded its ownership of the measurement of global health problems into the heart of the foremost global health institution and ensured that only these data will be accepted globally. …”

PS: also something to look forward to (cfr a tweet Devi Sridhar) : “Marlee and I have a longer research paper coming out on the history & politics of Global Burden of Disease Data & the partnerships among the World Bank, WHO, IHME and Gates- so more to come…”

The rise of civil society

Civil society organisations have had profound influence on global governance, say Nanoot Mathurapote and Weerasak Putthasri.”

Suerie Moon; SARS & Ebola

SARS and Ebola redefined the World Health Organization, but didn’t resolve its funding problems, says Suerie Moon.”

 

The Belt and Road initiative

Haik Nikogosian asks whether China’s infrastructure strategy will reshape global health.”

And last but not least:

Stephen MorrisonDecay of the postwar multilateral Western order

Global health is a product of the Western postwar liberal international order—an order that is today besieged, says Stephen Morrison.”  Nice analysis, even if I don’t fully share his view  (see below).

Blog – Global health needs to change its game in the era of populism, perhaps the main global health disruptor of our times

Kristof Decoster; https://kdecoster.blogspot.com/2018/11/global-health-needs-to-change-its-game.html

My own (slightly disruptive) contribution in this Global Health disruptors debate. In it, I argue that global health should aim for a more nuanced approach versus populism, even if that’s difficult.

“Genome edited baby” commotion

We figured most of you have followed this story closely throughout the week. The commotion might also have repercussions on other CRISPR (global health) applications. Some reads, more or less chronologically:

Vox: CRISPR gene-edited babies have arrived, according to a Chinese scientist

Insightful read from earlier this week, providing some of the broader background: “A Chinese scientist has reported he’s created the world’s first gene-edited babies, an announcement that’s shocked the scientific community because it defies an unofficial international moratorium on editing human embryos intended for a pregnancy….”  (recommended)

Stat NewsClaim of CRISPR’d baby girls stuns genome editing summit

Quote:  “…Harvard biologist and genetics pioneer George Church said the claims were “probably accurate. “I’ve been in contact with the Shenzhen team and have seen the data,” he said by email from Indianapolis. “The sequencing assays used are generally unambiguous especially when done in multiple cell types at different developmental stages and in two children.” Church added: “Is the genie really out of the bottle? Yes.”…”

Guardian – China orders inquiry into ‘world’s first gene-edited babies’

Stat NewsRice University opens investigation into researcher who worked on CRISPR’d baby project

Stat News Amid uproar, Chinese scientist defends creating gene-edited babies

However, CRISPR-baby scientist fail[ed] to satisfy critics (Nature News)

“He Jiankui gives talk about controversial genome-edited baby claim, but ethical questions remain.”

Nature NewsHow the genome-edited babies revelation will affect research

Some scientists worry the startling claim will lead to knee-jerk regulations and damage the public’s trust in gene editing.”

Closing statement Human Genome Editing Summit  : that said, basically, that ‘…proceeding with any clinical use of germline editing remains irresponsible at this time.”   They don’t rule it out for the future, though, if all risks can be addressed, and other vital conditions are fulfilled.

Stat NewsChina halts genome editing research that led to claimed birth of CRISPR babies

The Chinese government said Thursday it had halted research that allegedly led to the births of the world’s first gene-edited babies, as the organizers of an international summit on human genome editing made clear that such research should not have been done and that, for now, similar attempts should not be made. “We continue to believe that proceeding with any clinical use of germline editing remains irresponsible at this time,” the 14-member organizing committee said in a statement, referring to the editing of sperm, eggs, or early embryos in ways that create changes that would be inherited by future generations. Still, much as they did after the original human genome editing summit, held in 2015 in Washington, D.C., the organizers left the door open to one day sanctioning germline editing to prevent or cure certain inherited diseases if the technical, ethical, and regulatory challenges can be met.”

And Science – Organizers of gene-editing meeting blast Chinese study but call for ‘pathway’ to human trials  So not a moratorium.

IP-Watch – Gene Editing: Fears Lead To Call For Moratorium At CBD, Discussions Ongoing

http://www.ip-watch.org/2018/11/23/gene-editing-fears-lead-call-moratorium-cbd-discussions-ongoing/

Not related to the news from Hong Kong, but from last week already, on the Convention on Biological Diversity Meeting: “Gene editing techniques have opened the way to a new world of innovations. One of them is the potential eradication of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. What appears as a very attractive way to help with malaria eradication is denounced by civil society groups arguing that the technology is in its infancy. Wiping out entire species could have unforeseen environmental, health, and social consequences, they say. They are calling for a moratorium preventing the release of gene drive organisms in the wild. They also describe the gene drive mosquitoes as a Trojan horse, hiding broader interests of agricultural multinational corporations.”   (gated)

IP-Watch – UN Biodiversity Convention Agrees On Precautionary Approach To Synthetic Biology

http://www.ip-watch.org/2018/11/29/un-biodiversity-convention-agrees-precautionary-approach-synthetic-biology/

And this update from the CBD meeting: (gated) While the world has been taken by surprise after a Chinese researcher declared he had genetically modified twin babies, and critics are rising from all parts, the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a decision on synthetic biology today at the close of its biennial meeting. The decision which calls for a precautionary approach was hailed by civil society groups which were calling for a moratorium preventing gene drive organisms to be released in the wild.

Finally, see also the Guardian on this CGD China urged to lead way in efforts to save life on Earth

China must play a leading role if the world is to draw up a new and more effective strategy to halt the collapse of life on Earth, according to senior delegates at the close of this week’s UN biodiversity conference….”

“With the US absent, Europe distracted and Brazil tilting away from global cooperation, the onus has shifted towards Beijing, the diplomats said after two weeks of slow-moving talks on how to maintain the natural infrastructure on which humanity depends. China will host the next high-level negotiations, in 2020, which will be the most important in more than 10 years. This is the deadline for nations to agree on fresh global targets for the protection and management of forests, rivers, oceans, pollinators and other wildlife. Conservationists hope this “new deal for nature and people” becomes as much of a priority as the Paris climate accord and helps to reverse the current wave of extinction, which is at the highest rate the world has seen since the age of the dinosaurs….”

G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina (30 Nov-1 Dec)

On 30 November and 1 December, world leaders will meet in Buenos Aires to wrap up the G20’s work in 2018 and issue a leaders’ declaration with a focus on fair and sustainable development.”

https://g20.org/en

Most of the action is still to happen, so here we just flag the prospective agenda .

And a read related to the draft communique, which is apparently rather weak on climate change:

Draft G20 statement waters down Paris climate commitment  “Argentinian official says ambiguity over the Paris Agreement is needed to avoid a split with the US, days before critical UN climate talks begin.”  Resolve to stand up for the Paris agreement (as weak as it is) against critical voices, such as the US (and now also Brazil), may be weakening.

John Kirton also asked whether the Buenos Aires Summit will be the first failed G20 summit since its start 10 years ago.   It’s certainly going to be another big test for ‘multilateralism’ (of what is still left of it…).

2018 Report Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change

The 2018 report shows an increasing proportion of the global population are vulnerable to heat-related death due to climate change. An Editorial discusses how using health might be key to humanising climate change conversations.”

 

Excerpt:  “…The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change by Nick Watts and colleagues published on Nov 28 provides a snapshot and direction of travel for 41 global indicators at the intersection between health and climate change. Indicator 5.1: media coverage of health and climate change shows that health still represents only a small proportion of climate change media coverage, but has increased by an average of 4% per year over the past decade compared with a decline in overall climate change coverage by an average of 1·25% per year. Health potentially holds the key to humanising climate change conversations, contributing to more rapid and effective behaviour change—and it therefore matters how it is positioned. Describing the effects of climate change through a humanising lens would mean that instead of framing climate change with arbitrary deadlines of 2030, or 2050, we approach it intergenerationally:…”

  • From the Press release:

The Lancet: Proportion of population vulnerable to heat exposure is rising globally

More people globally are vulnerable to heat exposure, potentially causing them heat stress, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. Europe and the eastern Mediterranean are more vulnerable than Africa and southeast Asia due to many older people living in cities. In 2017, 157 million vulnerable people were exposed to heatwaves globally, and 153 billion hours of labour were lost due to heat exposure. While promising trends have begun, funding for adaptation to climate change still falls short of the commitments made in the Paris Agreement. The proportion of the global population vulnerable to heat-related death and disease is growing as a result of climate change’s effects on growing populations of older people, people living in cities, and people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), according to the 2018 report of The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change….”

Including this quote from Dr Tedros: “The findings are clear and the stakes could not be higher,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general. “We cannot delay action on climate change. We cannot sleepwalk through this health emergency any longer.”

Run-up to COP24 in Katowice (next 2 weeks)

Below some info on what the agenda is for Katowice, as well as a series of worrying reports from a number of organisations, ahead of COP 24.

UN News – The crunch ‘COP 24’ UN climate change conference: what’s at stake and what you need to know

https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/11/1026851

As global temperatures continue to rise, climate action is lagging and the window of opportunity is closing. On Sunday, the United Nations will kick off critical negotiations on how to address the problem collectively and urgently, during a two-week climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, known as “COP 24”.  … … UN News put together this guide to COP 24 to answer some of the biggest questions you may have and make sure you’re all caught up, with a ringside seat on the action.   …”

Excerpts:

“…This year’s COP in Katowice, Poland, is particularly crucial because 2018 is the deadline that the signatories of the Paris Agreement agreed upon in order to adopt a work programme for the implementation of the Paris commitments. This requires the singular most important ingredient: trust between all countries. Among the many elements that need to be ironed out is the financing of climate action worldwide. Because the clock is ticking on climate change, the world cannot afford to waste more time: we must collectively agree on a bold, decisive, ambitious and accountable way forward….”

And as a reminder, for next year: “…To build on the outcomes of COP 24, and to strengthen climate action and ambition at the highest possible levels, UN Secretary-General António Guterresis convening a Climate Change Summit next September. In advance of the 2020 deadline for countries to finalize their national climate plans, the Summit is designed to focus on practical initiatives to limit emissions and build resilience. ..”

See also IISD Policy BriefParis Agreement Implementation Guidelines: How Do We Get There?

For the WB’s view on what to expect in Katowice (and WB highlights), see  here.  “…This policy brief outlines expectations for the Katowice Climate Change Conference, and is structured around the three questions of the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue: Where are we? Where do we want to go? and How do we get there?”

“The priority outcome from negotiations at COP24 will be the finalization of the “Paris rulebook”, namely, the framework of rules that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The World Bank Group will announce new climate targets for 2025, including a major boost on adaptation, as well as analytical work on new mobility, transport, the energy sector, and the just transition, focusing on delivering low carbon pathways to development.”

See also Devex (on the climate financing): “The OECD reported Thursday that overall public climate finance to developing countries rose from $48.5 billion in 2016 to $56.7 billion in 2017. The increase was mostly attributable to more multilateral finance, with bilateral spending falling slightly. Developed countries have committed to providing $100 billion in climate finance by 2020. The terms of that agreement — and the basic definition of “climate finance” — are poised to be a major topic of discussion at the climate talks in Poland.  …”

UN News – CO2 emissions on the rise for first time in four years, UN agency warns

https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/11/1026691

A new report released on Tuesday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose again during 2017 after a three year hiatus, highlighting the imperative for countries to deliver on the historic Paris Agreement to keep global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The report comes just days before the key UN climate change conference known as COP 24, taking place in Katowice, Poland, with the agency urging nations to triple their efforts to curb harmful emissions. The UNEP report comes hot on the heels of the watershed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global warming, released in October, which cautioned that emissions had to stop rising now, in order to keep temperature increases below 1.5°C, and reduce the risks for the well-being of the planet and its people….”

“If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation,” …

See also Nature News on this new UNEP report: Nations must triple efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions

Governments of the world need to triple their current efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in order to prevent global warming of more than 2 °C by 2030, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in its annual “emissions gap” report. Released on 27 November ― just a week before the latest UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland ― the UNEP report projects that current national policies would allow global greenhouse-gas emissions to rise by around 10% by 2030, compared with 2017 levels (see ‘Top emitters’). But emissions would need to decrease by 25% over the same period to maintain a likely chance of limiting warming to 2 °C. Countries would need to reduce their emissions by 55% to restrict warming to below 1.5 °C.”

Guardian – Past four years hottest on record, data shows

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/29/four-years-hottest-record-climate-change

Global temperatures have continued to rise in the past 10 months, with 2018 expected to be the fourth warmest year on record.”

“Average temperatures around the world so far this year were nearly 1C (33.8F) above pre-industrial levels. Extreme weather has affected all continents, while the melting of sea ice and glaciers and rises in sea levels continue. The past four years have been the hottest on record, and the 20 warmest have occurred in the past 22 years. The warming trend is unmistakeable and shows we are running out of time to tackle climate change, according to the World Meteorological Organization, which on Thursday published its provisional statement on the State of the Climate in 2018. The WMO warned that, on current trends, warming could reach 3C to 5C by the end of this century.”

The Guardian – Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

The Guardian – Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

Global food systems are failing humanity and speeding up climate change: New report from 130 national academies issues wake-up call to leaders on eve of COP24.”

“The current approach to food, nutrition, agriculture, and the environment is unsustainable and must change. There is no time to waste, say the 130 national academies of science and medicine across Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe that compose the InterAcademy Partnership….”

And some other links related to COP 24 (and COP 25):

Social EuropeCOP 24 Must Be The Turning Point Towards ‘Just Transition’

The next round of global climate negotiations, COP 24, takes place in December. It will need to make rapid progress on implementing the Paris Agreement so as to close the gap between what science requires and what countries are doing. European trade unions believe it must also be a milestone on the journey towards a ‘just transition’, guaranteeing that workers will not be sacrificed in the effort to cut emissions and arrest climate change. COP 24 must be the Just Transition COP.”

GuardianBrazil reneges on hosting UN climate talks under Bolsonaro presidency

Reversal comes two months after country agreed to host COP25 conference in 2019 – and one month after far-right climate sceptic won election.”

BMJ Editorial – Air pollution moves up the global health agenda

N Linou et al; https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4933

“UN recognises air pollution as a key risk factor for NCDs.“ “The international community working on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has historically focused on four disease groups (diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases) and four risk factors (tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity). The United Nations high level meeting on NCDs, held in September 2018, signalled a shift from this four-by-four approach to a five-by-five response, adding mental health conditions and key environmental risk factors to the list…”

The Implant files

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/25/revealed-faulty-medical-implants-harm-patients-around-world

You probably also got this via your newspaper this week. “The Implant Files investigation reveals damage caused by poor regulation and lax testing rules.”

See also BMJ NewsMedical device industry: international investigation exposes lax regulation

“A global investigation from International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveals the rising human toll of lax controls and testing standards pushed by a booming industry…”

World AIDS Day (1 Dec)

UNAIDSWorld AIDS Day 2018 message by UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first World AIDS Day. Thirty years of activism and solidarity under the banner of World AIDS Day. Thirty years of campaigning for universal access to life-saving services to treat and prevent HIV. But after 30 years, AIDS is still not over. We have miles to go….”

Last week, we already flagged the latest UNAIDS report, see also:

UNAIDS Press release – New UNAIDS report shows that 75% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status

Report also calls for increased efforts to reach the 9.4 million people living with HIV who are not aware that they are living with the virus and the estimated 19.4 million people living with HIV who do not have a suppressed viral load…”

MSFPharmaceutical companies failing children with HIV

Developing countries are struggling to provide HIV-positive children with World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended treatments because pediatric versions of HIV medicines don’t exist, are priced out of reach, or haven’t been registered in all countries that need them, said  MSF ahead of a Vatican City meeting of HIV stakeholders on scaling up diagnosis and treatment for children. Worldwide, only about half of HIV-positive children receive treatment, and half of those continue to receive suboptimal regimens, putting them at risk of increased side effects, resistance, and treatment failure. Pharmaceutical companies must stop dragging their feet and address their delays and failure to develop appropriate formulations of HIV medicines for children….”

UNICEF (via UN News) – 80 adolescents a day will still die of AIDS by 2030, despite slowdown in epidemic

By 2030, around 80 adolescents will be dying of AIDS every day if “we don’t accelerate progress in preventing transmission,” the head of UNICEF said on Thursday. In a report released on Thursday, Children, HIV and AIDS: The World in 2030, current trends indicate AIDS-related deaths and new infections are slowing, but the downward trajectory is not happening fast enough….”

ReutersNew cases of HIV rise in Eastern Europe, decline in the West

“More than 130,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV last year in Eastern Europe, the highest rate ever for the region, while the number of new cases in Western Europe declined, global public health experts said on Wednesday….”

Letter TAC & Section 27 to South-African Leader (A Yawa & M Heywood)Letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa: Send a message to world leaders to commit financially to fighting Aids

That is why we are asking you personally to make a statement on World AIDS day that includes a strong call on the leaders at the 2018 G20 meeting to ensure the funding increases and the international solidarity needed to deliver quality treatment and prevention services around the world”.

Lancet Comment – Engaging men in HIV treatment and prevention

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)32994-5/fulltext

By A Adeyeye et al.

Lancet Comment – Stemming HIV in adolescents: gender and modes of transmission

S Petroni et al; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)32150-0/fulltext

The HIV/AIDS community is paying increasing attention to the estimated 1·8 million (uncertainty bounds 1·3 million to 2·4 million) people younger than 15 years living with HIV globally, as was evident by the focus on adolescents at the XXII International AIDS Conference in July, 2018. This attention is welcome, and it is crucial to curtailing the HIV epidemic. But while age disaggregation can help elucidate the spread and impacts of the HIV epidemic, it is not enough. A gender lens is also needed….”

Latest PEPFAR results & (US) Senate passage

US Department of StateSecretary Pompeo Announces Latest Lifesaving PEPFAR Results

With some “Pomp”, I assume : )

“…PEPFAR has now saved more than 17 million lives. As of September 30, 2018, PEPFAR is supporting over 14.6 million people on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, including over 700,000 children. This is compared with the 50,000 people who were on HIV treatment in Africa when PEPFAR began in 2003. PEPFAR has also enabled over 2.4 million babies to be born HIV-free to mothers living with HIV and supported over 6.8 million orphans, vulnerable children, and their caregivers….”

PS: The House of Representatives approved the PEPFAR reauthorization on Nov. 13.  And just last night, PEPFAR also passed the Senate (5-year re-authorization), with bipartisan support. Great news ahead of World AIDS day!    Now it’ll go to the White House.

See also Devex – “…The PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, passed by the Senate late Wednesday night, awaits President Donald Trump’s signature to become law. …”  “…On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced a new $100 million effort within PEPFAR to expand engagement with faith-based organizations in HIV prevention and treatment efforts.”

Global Public Goods for Health

Devex Op-Ed- 3 ways to strengthen multilateral cooperation on global public goods

J Kraus, N Schwalbe, G Yamey, S Fewer; https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-3-ways-to-strengthen-multilateral-cooperation-on-global-public-goods-93846

“…GPGs are shorthand for a set of collective action activities that address transnational health challenges, such as research and development for neglected diseases, pandemic preparedness, and global health leadership and stewardship…”

“… In a new policy paper, we’ve examined the potential support for GPGs from four organizations that provide the most development assistance for health: Gavi, the Global Fund, World Bank, and World Health Organization. In light of the critical funding gap, and bilateral funding increasingly tied to foreign policy agendas, we found that these organizations are well-placed to deliver support for GPGs. Further, all four multilaterals want to step up their investments in GPGs, and could immediately intensify their cooperation in three areas….”

“…As these organizations and others work to operationalize the Global Action Plan, they can build upon their shared interest in three essential GPGs: health data, development and access to health technologies, and health security….”

You find the (Duke) policy paper here: Intensified multilateral cooperation on global public goods for health: three opportunities for collective action    (recommended)

GAVI update

Gavi Board starts framing Alliance’s approach to 2021-2025 period

https://www.gavi.org/library/news/press-releases/2018/gavi-board-starts-framing-alliance-s-approach-to-2021-2025-period/

The Board approves in principle a set of new and expanded vaccine programmes.”

“The Gavi Board has made a series of decisions that will help shape the Alliance’s approach for the period 2021-2025 during a two-day meeting in Geneva’s Global Health Campus. The Board will adopt the 2021-2025 strategic goals at its next meeting in June 2019.”

As part of its Vaccine Investment Strategy (VIS), the Gavi Board approved a future investment in six new and expanded vaccine programmes, contingent on the final parameters of Gavi’s 2021-2025 strategy (Gavi 5.0) and sufficient funding being made available after Gavi’s next replenishment….”

And “…“Unlike previous vaccine investment strategies, these vaccines will involve building new delivery platforms which will strengthen primary healthcare as a whole,” said Dr Berkley….”

CDC – Health Security Supplement: Building the Evidence Base for Global Health Security

https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/resources/publications/health-security-supplement.html

The Building the Evidence Base for Global Health Security Supplement shares lessons learned from efforts to build vital systems in multiple countries. Articles offer examples of effective interventions and strategies to improve the efficiency of ongoing programs. In addition, the supplement highlights a new scientific global health security framework as well as CDC’s work with partners in disease prevention, detection, and response. “

Cfr a tweet: “Approximately ~70% of countries are not prepared to manage and control a public health emergency. Find out what countries and their partners can do to improve #globalhealthsecurity implementation activities.”

For a bit more detail on this supplement, see for example: Global Health Security Implementation: Expanding the Evidence Base

“… To address this evidence gap, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a WHO Collaborating Center for the Implementation of IHR Core Capacities, works with its partners to develop the evidence base for effective global health security interventions. At CDC, the efforts to improve global health security implementation are primarily focused on strengthening public health systems to increase the capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats. These capacities include surveillance, public health laboratory systems, workforce development, outbreak investigation, and emergency response. Through CDC’s direct engagement and collaboration with partners, CDC provides technical, scientific, and fiscal support to a number of countries to implement activities that build toward sustainable global health security systems in countries and regions. This supplement shares the lessons learned from efforts to build global health security capacity in multiple countries spanning Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We grouped the articles in the supplement into 4 sections: Overview, Prevent, Detect, and Response, in alignment with the Global Health Security Agenda action packages…”

UHC

Stat (Op-Ed) – Nurses will help turn the promise of universal health care into a reality

I Kickbusch Stat News;

I sure hope so.  “…Health is a political choice — and nurses need to be where these choices are made. More nurses are ascending to higher political office than ever before, and they are also rising up the ranks of global health policy workers. As a political issue, quality health care is increasingly a vote winner; nurses have credibility in speaking to it.  Achieving universal health coverage — meaning everyone, everywhere has access to the health services they need, when they need them, without suffering financially — is a top priority in global health. According to a new report published by the World Innovation Summit for Health and the UHC Forum 2018, universal health care won’t be attainable without nurses and midwives. Yet policy approaches to universal health care have traditionally neglected the health workforce and the role of nurses. This omission misses two important points: … “

“…nurses increasingly step up and demand their place at decision-making tables. Nursing Now, a global campaign to raise the profile of nurses launched earlier this year, has inspired nurses in more than 61 countries to take charge and establish their own groups to advocate for more influence for the profession. Electing and appointing more nurses as leaders in health and beyond will be essential for driving forward the universal health coverage agenda….”

2018 Global Nutrition Report

https://globalnutritionreport.org/

For some coverage, check:

Guardian‘Diabolical’ diets: four in 10 children consume sugary drinks every day

More than four in 10 children drink sugary drinks every day and one in three never eat fruit every day, according to a global report that warns most countries are unlikely to meet nutrition targets. Researchers warn the standard of diets around the world is “diabolical”, and that problems such as obesity, anaemia and micronutrient deficiency are being neglected. While progress has been made in tackling child stunting, the report provides the most comprehensive picture of diets globally to date, analysing statistics on exclusive breastfeeding, dietary diversity and the consumption of sugary drinks….” “What we highlight in this report is just how important and just how diabolical the state of diets are – whether it’s for infants, young children, adolescents and adults,”…”

Devex – ‘No country is untouched’: Global Nutrition Report highlights compounding malnutrition

Every country in the world experiences the burden of malnutrition and many nations now see a compounding of different forms including stunting, wasting, anemia, and obesity, according to the “2018 Global Nutrition Report.” Child stunting, anemia in women of reproductive age, and overweight in women were examined in 141 countries that had consistent data on those malnutrition indicators. Findings show 88 percent (124 countries) have high levels of at least two different types of malnutrition, while 29 percent have high levels of all three….”

HPW – Better housing means better health and well-being, stress new WHO guidelines

https://www.healthpolicy-watch.org/who-issues-first-ever-guidelines-on-prevention-of-unhealthy-housing/

The World Health Organization has issued a first-ever set of global “Housing and Health Guidelines” intended to guide national governments as well as development actors in shaping healthier housing policies, standards and codes.”

For the WHO Guidelines, see here.

Civicus Monitor report on civil rights

Guardian –  Civil rights ‘under serious attack’ across the globe

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/nov/27/civil-rights-under-serious-attack-across-the-globe

Nearly six in 10 countries are seriously restricting people’s freedoms, according to a new report that warns of a growing repression around the world. According to the study, there is little or no space for activism in countries such as Eritrea and Syria, and also worrying signs in countries where democracy is considered well established, such as France, the US, Hungary and India. The report by Civicus Monitor, an alliance of civil society groups, found that fundamental rights – such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – were under attack in 111 of 196 countries….”

Ebola outbreak DRC – Now the 2nd largest ever & calls for US involvement (in analyses)

Some reads, news and analysis/advocacy from this week:

NYT – Battle Against Ebola in Congo pits Medical Hope Against Local Chaos

NYT;

Report by Donald McNeil. “ A vaccine and new treatments are on hand, but the outbreak is in an area rife with unpredictable gunfire, bandits and suspicion of outsiders”.

CIDRAP (news) – DRC’s 426-case Ebola outbreak now 2nd largest ever

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2018/11/drcs-426-case-ebola-outbreak-now-2nd-largest-ever

After nearly 5 months and now 426 cases, the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has become the world’s second largest—and second deadliest—outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever disease ever recorded….”

WHO Afro – Malaria control campaign launched in Democratic Republic of the Congo to save lives and aid Ebola response

https://afro.who.int/news/malaria-control-campaign-launched-democratic-republic-congo-save-lives-and-aid-ebola-response

A surge in malaria in North Kivu is complicating the #Ebola response there, so response partners have launched a campaign to distribute anti-malarials & mosquito nets to nearly half a million people.”

“Controlling malaria is critical in areas like North Kivu, as it causes widespread disease and death, especially among the region’s children,” says Dr Yokouide Allarangar, WHO’s Representative to the DRC. “This anti-malaria campaign will also help reduce the pressure on the overall health system, which is currently striving to protect people from the ongoing Ebola threat in the region.”

See also Cidrap NewsMalaria spike in Ebola zone prompts mass treatment efforts.

Cidrap – Ebola cases surge to 419 as treatment trial launches

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2018/11/ebola-cases-surge-419-treatment-trial-launches

“… In another new outbreak development, the health ministry said in a Nov 24 announcement that an ethics committee at the University of Kinshasa has approved a protocol for testing four experimental Ebola treatments, which are currently being used on an emergency basis in Ebola treatment centers. They are mAb114, Zmapp, remdesivir, and Regeneron’s REGN-EB3 antibody….”

See also WHO: Democratic Republic of the Congo begins first-ever multi-drug Ebola trial

And a Lancet World ReportRandomised controlled trial begins for Ebola therapeutics

“A trial to assess the efficacy of investigational therapeutics against Ebola virus disease has been launched in DR Congo with some questioning the trial design. Esther Nakkazi reports.”

A link from late last week:

Stat NewsEbola in Congo now infecting newborn babies, U.N. says

The World Health Organization says a worrying number of the newest Ebola cases amid Congo’s ongoing outbreak are in patients not usually known to catch the disease: babies. In an update published this week, the U.N. health agency reported 36 new confirmed cases of Ebola, including seven in newborn babies and infants younger than 2 years old….”

And some (must-read) analysis, recommendations & pleas:

JAMA (Viewpoint) – Ebola and War in the Democratic Republic of Congo Avoiding Failure and Thinking Ahead

L Gostin et al; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2717586

In this Viewpoint, Gostin and colleagues review recommendations developed by experts convened by Georgetown University on how the international community can respond to the 2018 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the midst of active conflict and insecurity from armed rebels.”  With 8 recommendations.

They conclude: “The Ebola epidemic in the DRC has reached a dangerous moment, requiring new political and security strategies. Supporting DRC and WHO leadership, the US has capabilities that should be carefully and responsibly deployed. From a humanitarian perspective, the CDC and USAID have experienced personnel and key capacities that could help prevent the epidemic from spreading regionally, which would cost thousands of lives and devastate local economies. The US and partners should also support the UN to adapt and expand its capacity to safeguard health workers and the public. This is the first Ebola outbreak during which armed attacks impede the response, but it will not be the last major health crisis amidst insecurity. The global health playbook must expand to meet that reality.”

NEJM Perspective – Ramping Up the Response to Ebola

J B Nuzzo et al; https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1814296?query=featured_home

Additional seasoned responders are needed to help control the DRC Ebola outbreak, but CDC staff have been pulled from the field due to security concerns. These concerns need to be addressed to that CDC can return.”

Also: “…Given the rapidly growing case numbers, limited ability in the field to conduct contact investigations, and high potential for cross-border spread, we believe that declaration of a PHEIC seems warranted now. It would increase both political attention and the financial resources flowing to the control effort. But leaders need not wait for such a declaration before they deepen their commitments: in recognizing the urgency of the concern expressed by the emergency committee, they can act now….”

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women  (25 November)

UN News – Violence against women a ‘mark of shame’ on our societies, says UN chief on World Day

https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/11/1026511

Violence against women and girls is not only a fundamental human rights issue but also a “moral affront” against them and a “mark of shame” on all societies, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said, calling greater action by everyone around the world to root out the scourge.”

“… This year, the global United Nations UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls is highlighting our support for survivors and advocates under the theme ‘Orange the World: #HearMeToo.  Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, the Organization’s entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, also highlighted that the theme is a call “to listen to and believe survivors”, to end the culture of silencing, and to put the survivors at the centre of the response. “The focus must change from questioning the credibility of the victim, to pursuing the accountability of the perpetrator,” she said, underscoring that #HearMeToo is “therefore also a strong call to law enforcement.”…”

In a stark finding, a new UN report has revealed that globally some 50,000 women were killed last year at the hands of intimate partners or family members, urging greater coordination between police, justice and social systems to better protect women and girls. Globally, about 87,000 women lost their lives in homicides (intentional killings) in 2017, according to the Global study on homicide: Gender-related killing of women and girls, issued by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

For the UNODC study on homicide, see here.

WHO-Violence against women – Strengthening the health response in times of crisis

http://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/violence-against-women

WHO Feature story.

Female Genital Mutilation

Guardian – UK pledges £50m to help end FGM across Africa by 2030

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/23/uk-funding-pledge-fgm-female-genital-mutilation-africa?CMP=twt_a-global-development_b-gdndevelopment

The UK has said it will provide £50m of aid funding to tackle female genital mutilation across Africa. The package will help reinforce the movement to end FGM and support vulnerable girls in some of the world’s least wealthy countries. Officials said the funding was the biggest single investment by any international donor and would bolster a drive to end the practice by 2030….”

Devex – Opinion: UK’s commitment to end FGM is vital — but we must look beyond Africa

https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-uk-s-commitment-to-end-fgm-is-vital-but-we-must-look-beyond-africa-93901

With some more detail on this new DFID initiative.

But more is needed: “… While this is fantastic news for the Africa-led movement to end female genital cutting, we are still missing large-scale recognition that the practice takes place outside Africa, in the Middle East, and Asia — with at least 15 million girls at risk by 2030 in Indonesia alone. There is little data and research on female genital cutting in the Middle East and Asia, but initial research suggests that within the Dawoodi Bohra community in India and Pakistan, for example, 80 percent of women may have been cut. The practice is known to occur in Malaysia, where the deputy prime minister, who is also the women’s minister, Dr. Wan Azizah, recently stated that female genital cutting is “cultural” and not mutilation. These are just two examples of at least 15 countries outside Africa where the practice is known to occur, but where national data on female genital cutting is not collected….

Politico – WHO Chief: Frieden should keep advisory roles until sexual misconduct charges resolved

https://www.politico.eu/pro/who-chief-frieden-should-keep-advisory-roles-until-sex-abuse-charges-resolved/

(gated)  See also the New York PostEx-CDC’s sex abuse case could go to trial

“…The sex abuse case against former city health commissioner and Centers for Disease Control chief Dr. Thomas Frieden could be headed to trial next year. Frieden, who is accused of groping a woman’s backside in his Brooklyn Heights apartment last year, made a brief appearance in Brooklyn Supreme Court Tuesday, where the judge set a possible trial date of Jan. 17….”

A few pertinent tweets from a global health observer (‘Health in Myanmar’)

Tom Frieden continues leadership/advisory role in non-communicable diseases @WHO despite the arrest/charges.”

@WHO DG @DrTedros should step up and ask @DrFrieden to stand down from his position until his criminal case is resolved.”

Sounds fair to me, even if on the MeToo scale Frieden seems far from the worst offender.

Farewell to Amit Sengupta (PHM)

PHM – People’s Health Movement (PHM) tribute: Dr Amit Sengupta

http://phmovement.org/peoples-health-movement-phm-tribute-dr-amit-sengupta/

Very sad news, which you might have already picked up on social media. I remember Amit as whipsmart, very kind, generous and with a great sense of humour. And I’m probably not the only one wondering whether there’ll ever be a person again on this planet who can summarize the WHO’s WHA/EB 200+ agenda items in 15 minutes…

See also a Scroll.In Obituary –  “One of the strongest pillars”: Dr Amit Sengupta, a leader of the public health movement, dies at 60.

Check out also his (just (re-)published) article in BMJ Tackling the primary care access challenge in South Asia.

More analysis on PHA4 in Dhaka

Fran Baum; BMJ Blog: The Fourth People’s Health Assembly concludes by decrying the health impacts of corporate power;

Must-read. Governments’ protection of transnational corporations is the greatest threat to health, says Fran Baum in her wrap up of the Fourth People’s Health Assembly.”

Lancet – Offline: The future of scientific knowledge

R Horton; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)33039-3/fulltext

Horton’s take on “Plan S” (and related issues).

“…The radical shift to a world where individual articles and not journals are the currency of science has taken power away from publishers and put it in the hands of funders. Some publishers may not recognise just how “fundamental” that “transformation” really is….”

“… two decades editing this journal have taught me two principles. First, a journal only deserves to survive if it stands for something more than simply being a repository for research papers. What is the journal’s view of the world and the subject it serves? What is its philosophy, perspective, and personality? What is its attitude? What is its argument? Second, to justify sustainability a journal must add some kind of value back to science—value beyond peer review, versatile online publication, and volume, all of which could be delivered by one massive platform managed by a consortium of research funders. Quality, for example. These principles are a foundation for trust between publishers and the science community. I don’t know whether they are strong enough to withstand the tailwinds behind Plan S or visions that seek to eliminate primary research from journals entirely….”

But he admits the fate of the Lancet is not in his hands…

Canada’s Global Health Role

There are a number of Letters in this week’s Lancet issue related to this, commenting on an earlier Lancet Series in this regard.

For example, the hard-hitting  Canada’s global health role (by B Mukhopadhyay, A-E Birn et al)

In the Lancet Series on Canada’s global health role,  Stephanie A Nixon and colleagues perpetuate liberal myths about Canadian nation-building and foreign policy, proffering an uncritical historical assessment of the country’s global health involvement….”  “… Global health equity demands more than aspirational narratives and meek apologies. A bona fide contribution would entail exposing the full range of Canadian policies’ deleterious effects on health in order to reverse them.” Ahum.

For the reply by the authors (to this and another letter), see here.  Their nuanced reply is also very much recommended.

Measles cases spike globally due to gaps in vaccination coverage

WHO – http://www.who.int/news-room/detail/29-11-2018-measles-cases-spike-globally-due-to-gaps-in-vaccination-coverage

Reported measles cases spiked in 2017, as multiple countries experienced severe and protracted outbreaks of the disease. This is according to a new report published today by leading health organizations.  Because of gaps in vaccination coverage, measles outbreaks occurred in all regions, while there were an estimated 110 000 deaths related to the disease….”

Some key papers of the week

Globalization & Health – The financial sustainability of the World Health Organization and the political economy of global health governance: a review of funding proposals

S Reddy et al; https://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12992-018-0436-8

The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to experience immense financial stress. The precarious financial situation of the WHO has given rise to extensive dialogue and debate. This dialogue has generated diverse technical proposals to remedy the financial woes of the WHO and is intimately tied to existential questions about the future of the WHO in global health governance. In this paper, we review, categorize, and synthesize the proposals for financial reform of the WHO. It appears that less contentious issues, such as convening financing dialogue and establishing a health emergency programme, received consensus from member states. However, member states are reluctant to increase the assessed annual contributions to the WHO, which weakens the prospect for greater autonomy for the organisation. The WHO remains largely supported by earmarked voluntary contributions from states and non-state actors. We argue that while financial reform requires institutional changes to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency, it is also deeply tied to the political economy of state sovereignty and ideas about the leadership role of the WHO in a crowded global health governance context.

PHM – Global Health Watch 5: chapter on management consulting firms in global health

https://phmovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/D3.pdf

All you ever wanted to know about the influence of McKinsey, the Boston Consulting Group, … in global health.

Key blogs & other articles of the week

Andrew Harmer (blog) – Taking a bit (out) of the doughnut

https://andrewharmer.org/2018/11/27/taking-a-bite-of-the-doughnut/

Recommended. Harmer reviews Kate Raworth’s book on doughnut economics, also coming up (towards the end) with some constructive criticism, as well as singling out the ‘elephant in the room’.

IHP (blog) – Health Financing and Gender: Insights from our Discussions at the HSR2018 Symposium in Liverpool

M de Allegri & D Parmar; http://www.internationalhealthpolicies.org/health-financing-and-gender-insights-from-our-discussions-at-the-hsr2018-symposium-in-liverpool/

During a session in Liverpool, the authors looked at how gender inequity is addressed in health financing.  Check out some of the design principles, pragmatic solutions, and the road ahead.

Ed Whiting (Wellcome Trust) – A manifesto for better conferences?

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/manifesto-better-conferences-ed-whiting/?published=t

Worth a read. “It’s been quite the autumn so far for mega-gatherings in global health- from all the activity at UN General Assembly on TB and Non-Communicable diseases, to Astana, the Global Mental Health Summit in October, and many many others besides….” Exactly. What can be about this inflation of global health events? Some suggestions here from Ed Whiting.

O’Neill Institute (blog) – What’s special about the system of United Nations Special Procedures?

T Murphy; http://oneill.law.georgetown.edu/whats-special-about-the-system-of-united-nations-special-procedures/

The latest in the Georgetown series.

The United Nations Special Procedures are far more interesting than their title suggests, and we argue it is time for more of us to recognize this. We portray the Procedures as a missing population, neglected both by proponents of global health and global health law, and by many human rights advocates too. We call for them to be seen as an essential supplement to the cast of characters—courts, UN treaty bodies, non-governmental organizations, victims, and states—that dominate accounts of human rights law. We describe this as ‘peopling’ human rights law, or to be more accurate, peopling it differently. So what or who are the United Nations Special Procedures? They are a system of independent experts appointed to monitor and report on human rights violations, and more generally to advise and assist in promoting and protecting rights. They work alone (either as special rapporteurs or independent experts), in formal groups (working groups), and in ad hoc collaborations. Their remit extends to the full range of rights: civil, economic, political, cultural, and social …

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Global Health Events

New CoP kick-off webinar on Commercial Determinants of health (20 Nov)

write-up of key messages  (4 pages)  Recommended!

Youtube recording

Coming up soon: Monday 3 December – 10 year anniversary of the Graduate Institute’s Global Health Centre

http://graduateinstitute.ch/fr/home/research/centresandprogrammes/globalhealth/archives/events.html/_/events/globalhealth/the-overlapping-crises-of-democr

Looks like a very nice event, on: “The Overlapping Crises of Democracy, Globalisation and Global Governance – what does it mean for global health?”

Coming up soon: Thursday 6 December: The Politics of SRHR (& celebration of 25 years Reproductive Health Matters) (London)

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-politics-of-sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights-in-collaboration-with-reproductive-health-registration-52659199082

Panel discussion on the Politics of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. This event is co-organized by Reproductive Health Matters (RHM), the Gender, Violence and Health Centre of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, & Child Health (MARCH).”  It’s also Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Reproductive Health Matters.

Coming up in January – 144th Session of the WHO Executive Board  (24 January-1 Feb)

http://g2h2.org/posts/event/144th-session-of-the-who-executive-board/

You already find the provisional agenda and some background documents/reports here:

http://apps.who.int/gb/e/e_eb144.html

Check out for example the report by the DG on “Engagement with non-State actors”.

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Global governance of health

Book – Global Governance and Public Health: Obstacles and Opportunities

By G Cockerham; Rowman & Littlefield international;

Global health issues transcend national borders and state sovereignty. As a result, a collective response at the international level is necessary to effectively address these problems. This response, however, is not simply based on medical expertise or technology, but is largely dependent on politics. Health has become inextricably linked to policies developed by global governance, whether these policies involve the surveillance and the prevention of the spread of infectious disease across borders, the distribution and consumption of goods that pose a health risk through international commerce, the right to quality health for everyone, or the protection of human health from climate change and environmental degradation.  International relations theories provide a key analytical tool for understanding the dynamics of the political process in global governance in addressing health issues in an increasingly globalized world. Each chapter will features boxes highlighting case studies relevant to the material, discussion questions, and suggested readings.”

In related news, check out also this important tweet from Matthew Kavanagh:

New #GlobalHealth Politics email list is live. Research on comparative & international; academics & practitioners; let’s share new research, collaboration opptys, important developments in the world. Join? PM me ur email or w/google acct go to: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/globalhealthpolitics  “

Globalization and Health – Global supermarkets’ corporate social responsibility commitments to public health: a content analysis

C E Pulker et al; https://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12992-018-0440-z

Supermarkets have unprecedented political and economic power in the food system and an inherent responsibility to demonstrate good corporate citizenship via corporate social responsibility (CSR). The aim of this study was to investigate the world’s largest and most powerful supermarkets’ publically available CSR commitments to determine their potential impact on public health….”

Global Health Governance Programme (blog) – Primary Health Care and Emergency Preparedness: was Astana a missed opportunity?

I Florence;  http://globalhealthgovernance.org/blog/2018/11/26/primary-healthcare-and-emergency-preparedness-was-astana-a-missed-opportunity

Blog by somebody from Devi Sridhar’s team.

Devex – DFID will defend its budget, top UK civil servant tells MPs

https://www.devex.com/news/dfid-will-defend-its-budget-top-uk-civil-servant-tells-mps-93915

The top civil servant in the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development has said he will fight to prevent its share of the aid budget being further diluted, as government pursues a plan to redirect aid to other departments. DFID Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft told members of the International Development Committee on Wednesday that he was keen to ensure his department spends at least 75 percent of the U.K.’s official development assistance and that he will make a “confident proposition” on this to Treasury officials as part of the DFID spending review due to kick off next year. Currently, DFID only spends 72 percent of the U.K. ODA budget and its portion has been steadily declining in recent years, especially in response to the 2015 cross-government aid strategy, which calls for up to 30 percent of aid to be administered by other government departments by 2020….”

Sight (Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation)- Making Sweden a stronger player in implementing the 2030 Agenda

https://sight.nu/interview-november/

“The 2030 Agenda contains 17 goals. The SDG3 focuses on healthy lives and well-being for all. In June 2018, the Swedish government presented its action plan for the implementation of the Agenda 2030. The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have now launched a report that summarises Sweden’s work on global health implementing the 2030 Agenda.”

Cfr a tweet related to this interview: “Ulrica Segersten in conversation with @NordstrmAnders on new report: “Sweden’s Work on Global Health – implementing the 2030 Agenda” – Anders stresses the universality of the agenda and the huge opportunity to shift our focus from disease to health. “

International Rescue Committee & ODI – Sustainable Development Goals, in Crisis

https://www.rescue.org/sites/default/files/document/3156/irc-sdgsincrisis-september2018.pdf

5-pager.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030) and its pledge to ‘leave no one behind’ is a global commitment to improve the lives of the most vulnerable among us. However, a new report from International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) – SDG progress: Fragility, crisis and leaving no one behind – shows that millions of ‘people caught in crisis’ – people living in conflict, and/ or who are displaced within their own countries or across borders – are in fact being left behind. Failure to take action now means that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be met, undermining the credibility of the international community and leaving millions to die unnecessarily. 2019 is a pivotal year for the SDGs. Heads of State will for the first time since 2015 attend the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on the SDGs. This is the moment to review progress and revise our strategy before it is too late….”

OECD – Perspectives on Global Development 2019

http://www.oecd.org/dev/perspectives-on-global-development-22224475.htm

“In 2008, the weight of developing and emerging economies in the global economy tipped over the 50% mark for the first time. Since then, Perspectives on Global Development has been tracking the shift in global wealth and its impact on developing countries. How much longer can the dividends of shifting wealth benefit development, and what does this mean for development strategies?
This new edition first investigates what China’s transformation has meant for global development perspectives, and how shifting wealth has affected countries beyond economic terms, exploring well-being across the developing world. It also analyses and draws lessons from development paradigms over the past 70 years, showing that developing nations in the 21st century have to invent their own, original pathways to greater well-being and sustainability. The time has come to rethink international co-operation and foster more effective exchanges of social and human capital.”

 

Finally, some tweets related to the decolonializing global health debate:

Unni Gopinathan: In this spirit, by eliminating exclusive LMIC focus embedded in “global health”, there should be more research on health systems and determinants in HIC by LMIC researchers too, and not just the current one-way traffic  https://academic.oup.com/inthealth/article/10/2/63/4924746 … @UniOslo_GH @GlobalHealthBMJ

Kent Buse: Great point @Unni_Gopinathan – the decolonialisation of #globalhealth in era of the universal #Agenda2030: south-south; south-north, east-west, etc

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UHC

Health Research Policy & Systems – Budgeting for a billion: applying health technology assessment (HTA) for universal health coverage in India

S V Dabak, K Chalkidou et al; https://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-018-0378-x

India recently launched the largest universal health coverage scheme in the world to address the gaps in providing healthcare to its population. Health technology assessment (HTA) has been recognised as a tool for setting priorities as the government seeks to increase public health expenditure. This study aims to understand the current situation for healthcare decision-making in India and deliberate on the opportunities for introducing HTA in the country….”

BMC Health Services – Effective coverage as a new approach to health system performance assessment: a scoping review

A Jannati et al; https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-018-3692-7

« Delivering interventions is the main task of health systems whose accurate measurement is an essential input into tracking performance. Recently, the concept of effective coverage was introduced by World Health Organization to incorporate into health system performance assessment. The aim of present scoping review was mapping the key elements and steps of effective coverage assessment in practical efforts including kinds of interventions, criteria for selecting them and the need, use and quality estimation approaches and strategies of each intervention. … »

New Book (WHO Searo)- Resilient and people-centred health systems: Progress, challenges and future directions in Asia

http://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/276045?show=full

« Despite varying nature of Asian countries and their health systems, this new comparative country study, published by APO, highlights future opportunities and threats that they all have in common. The central aim of this book is to build a strong and robust evidence base that can be of assistance in developing local expertise in health systems and generate innovative and effective solutions to enhance health systems in Asia. The book assesses health system performance along three elements of people-centeredness, system resilience and quality. It comprises four cross country chapters focusing on regional governance, non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases and planetary health followed by summary of the health systems from seven countries in Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and The Philippines. »

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Planetary health

Open Democracy – The ‘new’ climate politics of Extinction Rebellion?

Joost de Moor et al; https://www.opendemocracy.net/joost-de-moor-brian-doherty-graeme-hayes/new-climate-politics-of-extinction-rebellion

Insightful analysis (and thus recommended). “Creating a movement that can have the impact XR aims for will require confronting the political as well as the moral challenges posed by climate change. During October and November 2018, a new environmental campaign called Extinction Rebellion (XR) has attracted widespread mainstream media attention in the UK, with its call to ‘Fight for Life’ in the face of an ‘unprecedented global emergency’….”

“…XR fits in a longstanding tradition of transgressive environmental action; but it is also novel in the British and wider European context, notably in its emphasis on grief, its alarmism, and its privileging of moral action over political analysis, as well as its emphasis on demanding action from government through civil disobedience….”

The Intercept – The Game Changing promise of a New Green Deal

Naomi Klein; https://theintercept.com/2018/11/27/green-new-deal-congress-climate-change/

Naomi Klein isn’t ready to give up, yet, and she’s damned right. She focuses in this piece on the promise of a New Green Deal in the US, and what this might imply beyond 2020.

“…And yet here’s the truly strange thing: I feel more optimistic about our collective chances of averting climate breakdown than I have in years. For the first time, I see a clear and credible political pathway that could get us to safety, a place in which the worst climate outcomes are avoided and a new social compact is forged that is radically more humane than anything currently on offer….”

Don’t know whether she’s right but as the saying goes, it ain’t over till it’s over!

IISD – BASIC Ministers Call for Just Transition, New Finance Goal Ahead of Katowice Climate Change Conference

http://sdg.iisd.org/news/basic-ministers-call-for-just-transition-new-finance-goal-ahead-of-katowice-climate-change-conference/

Ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) have issued a joint statement ahead of the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December 2018, emphasizing that global climate action “should promote climate justice and a just transition” by recognizing the equality of all people in accessing economic growth and sustainable development….”

“The statement emphasizes that all elements of the Paris Agreement Work Programme must operationalize the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances….”

First time I hear about BASIC, by the way. Maybe Russia is a bit too thuggish, even for the likes of the other BRICS leaders?  But I doubt that’s the reason : )

Nature (news) – First sun-dimming experiment will test a way to cool Earth

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07533-4?utm_source=briefing-dy&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=briefing&utm_content=20181127

And so it starts… “Researchers plan to spray sunlight-reflecting particles into the stratosphere, an approach that could ultimately be used to quickly lower the planet’s temperature.”

“…But as emissions continue to rise and climate projections remain dire, conversations about geoengineering research are starting to gain more traction among scientists, policymakers and some environmentalists. That’s because many researchers have come to the alarming conclusion that the only way to prevent the severe impacts of global warming will be either to suck massive amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere or to cool the planet artificially. Or, perhaps more likely, both. If all goes as planned, the Harvard team will be the first in the world to move solar geoengineering out of the lab and into the stratosphere, with a project called the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx).  the experiment will be the first to fly under the banner of solar geoengineering. And so it is under intense scrutiny, including from some environmental groups, who say such efforts are a dangerous distraction from addressing the only permanent solution to climate change: reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The scientific outcome of SCoPEx doesn’t really matter, says Jim Thomas, co-executive director of the ETC Group, an environmental advocacy organization in Val-David, near Montreal, Canada, that opposes geoengineering: “This is as much an experiment in changing social norms and crossing a line as it is a science experiment….”

Some quick links:

Guardian Brazil records worst annual deforestation for a decade  (And that’s before their new leader even gets started ….)

 

 

Thomson Reuters FoundationFrance is most food sustainable country, U.S. and U.K. faltering – report

Maybe it’s the local cheese.

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infectious diseases & NTDs

CIDRAP – Study affirms fractional dosing with yellow fever vaccine

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2018/11/study-affirms-fractional-dosing-yellow-fever-vaccine

According to a study [today] in the Annals of Internal Medicine, fractional dosing of the yellow fever vaccine offers recipients protective antibodies for up to 10 years without a booster dose. The results could inform the use of fractional dosing in preventive vaccination campaigns, and not just outbreak settings….”

The Journal of Infectious Diseases (Supplement) – Marburg and Ebola Viruses: Marking 50 Years Since Discovery

Journal of Infectious Diseases;

Antigone Barton discusses this new Supplement in a  Science Speaks article.

Malaria Journal – Aspidosperma pyrifolium, a medicinal plant from the Brazilian caatinga, displays a high antiplasmodial activity and low cytotoxicity

Malaria Journal ;

Maybe a promising avenue for antimalarials?

International Health – World Pneumonia Day 2011–2016: Twitter contents and retweets

M Adnan et al; https://academic.oup.com/inthealth/advance-article/doi/10.1093/inthealth/ihy087/5204425

Twitter is used for World Pneumonia Day (WPD; November 12) communication. We evaluate if themes of #pneumonia tweets were associated with retweet frequency….”

Conclusions: “The #pneumonia tweets that both raised awareness and promoted interventions and those discussing vaccine price were more likely to engage users than tweets about personal experience. These results help health professionals craft WPD messages that will engage the audience.”

AMR

Quick link:

BloombergGlaxo Considers Developing Gonorrhea Vaccine as Threat Rises

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NCDs

WHO Bulletin – World Trade Organization membership and changes in noncommunicable disease risk factors: a comparative interrupted time-series analysis, 1980–2013

K Cowling et al; http://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.18.218057.pdf?ua=1

This article investigates the relationship between joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the availability of several commodities with both harmful and protective effects for the development of noncommunicable diseases….”

Some of the (somewhat surprising) conclusions: “The results suggest that WTO membership may lead to increases in both harmful and protective factors of noncommunicable disease, but further exploration of country-specific variation is warranted.”

BMJ Global Health (Practice) – Using a cross-contextual reciprocal learning approach in a multisite implementation research project to improve self-management for type 2 diabetes

Josefien van Olmen et al; https://gh.bmj.com/content/3/6/e001068

This paper reports on the use of reciprocal learning for identifying, adopting and adapting a type 2 diabetes self-management support intervention in a multisite implementation trial conducted in a rural setting in a low-income country (Uganda), a periurban township in a middle-income country (South Africa) and socioeconomically disadvantaged suburbs in a high-income country (Sweden). …”

Lancet Neurology (Comment)- Statistics on the burden of dementia: need for stronger data

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(18)30456-3/fulltext

“…In The Lancet Neurology, a report from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2016 Dementia Collaborators presents estimates of dementia-related deaths, prevalence, quality of life measures, and risk factors, with the aim of documenting global patterns and providing data for research, and to guide a wide range of public health investments….”

For the new GBD study in the Lancet Neurology, see  Global, regional, and national burden of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.

You might also want to read a Comment on the Global burden of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury.

Resource – World Obesity: searchable dossier of evidence & information on SSB Taxes

https://www.worldobesity.org/resources/policy-dossiers/pd-1

+ a supporting briefing   (focused on European policy makers).

A few tweets from a conference on diabetes in Singapore (with a keynote by Sania Nishtar):

Sania Nishtar on her second High-Level Commission on NCDs report: “We will be much bolder.”

Sania Nishtar calls for a new international institutional mechanism to address NCDs: she recognises there is little appetite for new global institutions. But this is still needed for an effective response to NCDs, she argues.”

WHO report –  Follow-up to the high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly on health-related issues: prevention and control of NCDs (report by the DG)

http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB144/B144_20-en.pdf

One of the preparatory documents for the WHO EB meeting in January.

It dwells on the outcomes of the third High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases and its follow-up.

Lancet Editorial – Type 2 diabetes: the urgent need to protect young people

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)33015-0/fulltext

“…If the growing prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes in youth is accepted as the new normal, society will have grossly failed the next generation.”

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SR/Mat/neonatal & child health

Lancet (Editorial) – The cost of not educating girls in Africa

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)33017-4/fulltext

“In sub-Saharan Africa, one in three girls is married before her 18th birthday, according to Educating girls and ending child marriage: a priority for Africapublished by the World Bank on Nov 19. …”

“…Whereas 75% of girls worldwide complete lower secondary education, only 40% do so in Africa. The socioeconomic circumstances that pull girls out of school and into marriage are complex. Many factors are involved beyond access, safety, cost, and quality of education; therefore, a variety of opportunities exist across sectors to improve school completion. Clearly, the African Union’s aspirations for 2063 of prosperity, inclusion, and development of women’s potential, can only be realised if the education of girls is made an immediate priority.”

Lancet Global Health – Health systems’ capacity to provide post-abortion care: a multicountry analysis using signal functions

O Owolabi et al; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30404-2/fulltext

« Abortion-related mortality is one of the main causes of maternal mortality worldwide. Laws often restrict the provision of safe abortion care, yet post-abortion care is a service that all countries have committed to provide to manage abortion complications. There is minimal evidence on the capacity of national health systems to provide post-abortion care. We did a multicountry analysis of data from nationally representative Service Provision Assessment surveys done between 2007 to 2017 in ten countries across three regions (Bangladesh, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda). … »

« There are critical gaps in the provision of post-abortion care at all facilities that offer delivery services. In seven (70%) of ten countries, less than 10% of primary-level facilities could provide basic post-abortion care, and in eight (80%) of ten countries less than 40% of referral-level facilities could provide comprehensive post-abortion care. In no country could all referral facilities provide all the essential services that need to be included in basic post-abortion care.

The capacity of primary-level and referral-level health facilities to provide basic and comprehensive post-abortion care, respectively, is low. The results highlight the gap between political commitments to address the consequences of unsafe abortion and the capacity of health systems to provide post-abortion care. Increasing the provision of good-quality post-abortion care is essential to reduce the level of abortion-related morbidity and mortality. »

Devex – What #MeToo has meant around the world

https://www.devex.com/news/what-metoo-has-meant-around-the-world-93871

Is the #MeToo movement as global as it might seem? How has it affected women beyond the borders of the United States and Europe? To mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Devex heard from journalists in four hubs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to learn about its impact….”  With stories from Kenya, Columbia, Philippines & India.

BBC news – African Union hit by sexual harassment claims

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46319227?SThisFB

Sexual harassment is a major problem for women who work at the African Union Commission (AUC), an internal investigation has found. Most of the victims are short-term staff, youth volunteers and interns looking for jobs, the report said….”

Lancet Global Health (Comment) – Global childhood pneumonia: the good news, the bad news, and the way ahead

S Howie et al; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30446-7/fulltext

Globally, pneumonia accounts for a substantial burden of disease among young children, and consequently must be a major focus of efforts to improve child health. In their systematic analysis published in The Lancet Global Health, David A McAllister and colleagues1 report encouraging estimates: between 2000 and 2015, the global incidence of pneumonia in young children (aged <5 years) reduced by 30% and the number of pneumonia deaths in young children almost halved in that time. However, pneumonia remains a leading cause of preventable illness and death in this age group, and overcoming this will require considerable effort. …”

CGD (blog) – Do Indices Move the Needle on Gender Equality?

M Buvinic et al; https://www.cgdev.org/blog/do-indices-move-needle-gender-equality

« …For issues like women’s empowerment and gender equality, does the ever-increasing number of indices produce new, actionable insights? Only indices that have a solid analytical grounding, are built on good data, and convey a clear policy message may help move the needle on gender equality…. »  With among others, the six good rules of indices, the fact that good indices depend on more and better gender data, …

Global Health Action – A systematic review of the use of adolescent mystery clients in assessing the adolescent friendliness of health services in high, middle, and low-income countries

V Chandra-Mouli et al; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/16549716.2018.1536412

Mystery client methodology is a form of participatory research that provides a unique opportunity to monitor and evaluate the performance of health care providers or health facilities from the perspective of the service user. However, there are no systematic reviews that analyse the use of mystery clients in adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) research and monitoring and evaluation of programmes. “ This study aims to “assess the use of adolescent mystery clients in examining health care provider and facility performance in providing ASRH services in high, middle, and low-income countries.”

WB Investing in Health blog – All hands on deck: Halting the vicious circle of stunting in Sub-Saharan Africa

WB Investing in Health (blog) –  All hands on deck: Halting the vicious circle of stunting in Sub-Saharan Africa

Blog related to a WB study from June  – All Hands on Deck : Reducing Stunting through Multisectoral Efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa   “that lays the groundwork for more effective multisectoral action on reducing stunting by analyzing and generating empirical evidence useful for informing the joint targeting and, if necessary, the sequencing of sector-specific interventions in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.   Our report—launched at the global conference, “Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition,” organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) November 28–30, 2018, in Bangkok—also  provides the lessons from successful country cases to identify the key ingredients of a multisectoral strategy that maximizes the chance of reducing undernutrition and hence stunting….”

And a quick link:

DevexWomen Deliver launches local Deliver for Good campaigns

Women Deliver launched its latest advocacy campaign, Deliver for Good, in three countries Wednesday as its latest push to highlight the central role of girls in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Deliver for Good campaign launched globally in 2016, but will now take off at the local level in three targeted countries — India, Senegal, and Kenya. Each country will focus on specific objectives based on the campaign’s 12 strategic investment areas, ranging from comprehensive health services and economic empowerment to sexual health and rights and equitable, quality education….”

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Access to medicines

HPW – Cancer Drugs Unaffordable For Millions, Treatment Costs Exceed Other Diseases, WHO Reports

https://www.healthpolicy-watch.org/cancer-drugs-unaffordable-for-millions-treatment-costs-exceed-other-diseases-who-reports/

High prices for cancer medicines are “impairing the capacity of health care systems to provide affordable, population wide access,” states the summary of a new World Health Organization report published this week. Cancer drug prices exceed those of medicines used for treating other major diseases, with costs growing at a faster rate, states the report, “Medicines, vaccines and health products; Cancer Medicines,” which is to be reviewed by WHO’s Executive Board in their January session….”

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Human Resources for Health

Guardian – Thousands of Cuban doctors leave Brazil after Bolsonaro’s win

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/nov/23/brazil-fears-it-cant-fill-abrupt-vacancies-after-cuban-doctors-withdraw?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Cuba has begun withdrawing 8,300 doctors working in some of the poorest regions of Brazil, prompting fears that indigenous villages, small towns and isolated rural communities could soon be left without medical care.”

“…. Leasing medical professionals is Cuba’s main export, bringing in more hard currency than tourism: last year professional services by doctors and nurse brought in $11bn , compared to $3bn in tourism. The chance to earn abroad is major incentive to study medicine, especially after a decade of private sector expansion where young Cubans have become less willing to work for the state. … Sending doctors abroad also helps Cuba project soft power: Cuban doctors are currently working in 67 countries, and Cuban medical teams are often at the forefront of disaster relief efforts in the region (where they work free of charge.) …”

 

Human Resources for Health – Understanding HRH recruitment in post-conflict settings: an analysis of central-level policies and processes in Timor-Leste (1999–2018)

M P Bertone et al; https://human-resources-health.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12960-018-0325-5

“Although human resources for health (HRH) represent a critical element for health systems, many countries still face acute HRH challenges. These challenges are compounded in conflict-affected settings where health needs are exacerbated and the health workforce is often decimated. A body of research has explored the issues of recruitment of health workers, but the literature is still scarce, in particular with reference to conflict-affected states. This study adds to that literature by exploring, from a central-level perspective, how the HRH recruitment policies changed in Timor-Leste (1999–2018), the drivers of change and their contribution to rebuilding an appropriate health workforce after conflict.

BMJ Global Health (Commentary) – Tackling health professionals’ strikes: an essential part of health system strengthening in Kenya

G Irimu et al; https://gh.bmj.com/content/3/6/e001136

Since 2013, Kenya’s public health sector has been affected by frequent short strikes, culminating in nationwide strikes lasting a total of 250 days by doctors and nurses in a span of 11 months in 2016/17. Health professionals have the right to go on strike, but their strikes crippled health services with almost no public hospital inpatient services being provided, thus violating people’s right to healthcare. To avoid similar instances in the future, mechanisms should be established for dispute resolution, anticipating and pre-empting changes within the health system that result to conflict between parties. There are no ‘magic bullets’ to avert all problems due to these strikes in what are complex, politically managed and highly professionalised health-sector organisations. Reactive solutions such as sacking striking workers, jailing trade union officials neither address the underlying problems nor build resilience of the health system.”

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Emerging Voices

BMC Health Services – “Sometimes it is difficult for us to stand up and change this”: an analysis of power within priority-setting for health following devolution in Kenya

R Mc Collum (EV 2014) et al; https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-018-3706-5

Practices of power lie at the heart of policy processes. In both devolution and priority-setting, actors seek to exert power through influence and control over material, human, intellectual and financial resources. Priority-setting arises as a consequence of the needs and demand exceeding the resources available, requiring some means of choosing between competing demands. This paper examines the use of power within priority-setting processes for healthcare resources at sub-national level, following devolution in Kenya….”

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Miscellaneous

Nature (News) – Funders flesh out details of Europe’s bold open-access plan

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07557-w?utm_source=briefing-dy&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=briefing&utm_content=20181128

“‘Plan S’ will allow researchers to publish in hybrid journals under certain conditions until a 2023 review.”

Guardian – Liberals must learn the politics of emotion to beat rightwing populists

Paul Mason; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/26/liberals-politics-emotion-right-wing-populists

Very much worth reading in our – as you know – rather populist times.

On a merrier note, do also take the quiz “How populist are you? “   (with 4 quadrants).  I sure hope none of you ends up in the top right corner : )

In this excellent Guardian series on ‘New Populism’, make sure you also read this Longread: Why we stopped trusting elites   The credibility of establishment figures has been demolished by technological change and political upheavals. But it’s too late to turn back the clock. By William Davies.”

So it seems UN SG Guterres had more than a point when he said, earlier this week, ’Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’  (UN News)

On the eve of the G20 international forum in Argentina, and ahead of next week’s COP24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for global leadership to be stepped up, “at a time of declining global trust.””

“… In a press briefing on Wednesday, Mr. Guterres said that the meetings, both of which he is attending, come at a crucial moment: “Our world is obviously facing a crisis of confidence. Those left behind by globalization are losing trust in governments and institutions,” he told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York. … … “Inequality is pervasive and increasing, especially within nations. Trade disputes are escalating. And an undercurrent of geopolitical tensions is adding further pressure to the global economy.””

IRIN – Venezuela to receive emergency UN aid for the first time

Irin;

Venezuela is to receive more than $9 million in assistance from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, according to the official list of 2018 allocations. The move signals the first known acceptance of UN emergency activity from President Nicolás Maduro’s government, which has up until now refused international assistance and argued that there is no humanitarian crisis in the South American nation….”

See also ReutersU.N. approves $9 mln in aid for crisis-stricken Venezuela

Minds & Machines – AI4People—An Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations

L Floridi et al; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11023-018-9482-5

This article reports the findings of AI4People, an Atomium—EISMD initiative designed to lay the foundations for a “Good AI Society”. We introduce the core opportunities and risks of AI for society; present a synthesis of five ethical principles that should undergird its development and adoption; and offer 20 concrete recommendations—to assess, to develop, to incentivise, and to support good AI—which in some cases may be undertaken directly by national or supranational policy makers, while in others may be led by other stakeholders. If adopted, these recommendations would serve as a firm foundation for the establishment of a Good AI Society.”

In related news, you might also want to read this interview with  Bart De Witte  (in ‘Innovator’)

Bart de Witte is chair of the faculty of future medicine at the recently founded futur/io, a new European education and research institute focused on exponential technologies and desirable futures. He is also a faculty member specializing in digital health at Switzerland’s University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich and the University of Applied Science in Burgenland, Austria. De Witte, who has over 20 years of global digital health experience in 26 countries, is currently director of digital health at IBM, focusing on digital health transformation, stimulating innovation and leveraging the company’s investments around artificial intelligence…”

Quote: “…The risk here is that is that the medical knowledge that will be digitalized will be centralized, monopolized, privatized and become exclusive. So the question is do we keep healthcare as a public good or make healthcare knowledge part of a private industry?”

Duncan Green (blog) – How can Activists get better at harnessing Narratives for social change?

https://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/how-can-activists-get-better-at-harnessing-narratives-for-social-change/

Duncan Green discusses a recent “webinar where Oxfam teams in Peru, Uganda, South Africa and Niger were swapping notes on how to think and work around narratives, in particular the kinds of narratives being used to close down civic space in countries around the world. The argument is this: Narratives are being used to close civic space by delegitimising civic actors and activism (think ‘enemies of the people’ or ‘foreign stooges’). Our hypothesis is that they can also open it. To do that we need to: …”

IDS – Tackle underemployment AND unemployment in Africa argues IDS Bulletin

https://www.ids.ac.uk/news/tackle-underemployment-and-unemployment-in-africa-argues-ids-bulletin/

As 12 million young people enter the African labour force each year, there are only 3 million new jobs for them. The major challenge is not just about creating enough jobs for them, but on creating ‘decent’ jobs, argues the new IDS bulletin. The Bulletin ‘Youth Employment and the Private Sector in Africa’include articles written by seven young African academics, part of the Matasa Fellows Network, on the challenges of employment and job creation in Africa’s private sector….”

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Research

Health Research Policy and Systems – Healthy bi-regional connection: The EU-LAC Health initiative has promoted equitable and collaborative health research and innovation

T Corral et al; https://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-018-0390-1

The European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean regions have enjoyed privileged relations since the first bi-regional Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1999, and the lunching of a Strategic Partnership. Health research stands as one of the major areas of research and development expenditure in both regions and has also been the focus of roughly 30% of all bilateral cooperation agreements and programmes. EU-LAC Health, a project funded by the European Union from 2011 to 2017, had the main objective to develop a consensus roadmap to enhance and coordinate the bi-regional collaboration between the European Union member states and Latin America and Caribbean countries in health research. From April 2013, EU-LAC Health has also supported the Working Group on Health created and designated by decision-makers at the highest political level to implement a bi-regional Join Initiative on Research and Innovation. This article collects and summarises the context, methodology (series of workshops, surveys and iterative deskwork by multiple bi-regional stakeholders) of this project, as well as the main outputs of (1) definition of a strategic roadmap, containing a scientific research agenda, to guide policy-makers in equitable and collaborative health research and innovation; (2) launching of the Joint Initiative on Health Research and Innovation, with the vision of being the reference body on the bi-regional health research and innovation collaboration; and (3) funding of 13 bi-regional health research and innovation projects….”

Health Research Policy & Systems – An analysis of research priority-setting at the World Health Organization – how mapping to a standard template allows for comparison between research priority-setting approaches

R F Terry et al; https://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-018-0391-0

A review of research priorities completed by WHO technical units was undertaken. Results of the mapping were recorded in a database that was used to generate analysis and compare research priorities and the different methodological approaches used in their development….”

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