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Recent Releases In Global Health

Aid Agencies’ Practices, Competition Should Be Examined, Lancet Editorial Says 

“Picture the situation in Haiti: families living on top of sewage-contaminated rubbish dumps, with no reliable sources of food and water and virtually no access to health care. This scenario depicts the situation in Haiti before the earthquake that catapulted this impoverished and conflict-ridden country into the international headlines,” writes a Lancet editorial that examines the competitive nature of humanitarian organizations. “Just like any other industry, the aid industry must be examined, not just financially as is current practice, but also in how it operates from headquarter level to field level. It seems increasingly obvious that many aid agencies sometimes act according to their own best interests rather than in the interests of individuals whom they claim to help” (1/23).

Lancet Comment Calls For Increased Role Of Secondary Care

A Lancet comment calls for an increased emphasis on the role of secondary care – “defined as health care provided at primary, secondary and tertiary hospitals and referral” in health systems in fragile states. Such efforts, the authors write, are “fundamental to achieving the reductions in maternal, neonatal, and child mortality which are central to the [Millenium Development Goals] MDGs.” They continue, “As the deadline for meeting the MDG targets fast approaches, it is time to put secondary care back on the international agenda and to explicitly acknowledge the inclusion of primary level hospitals in a comprehensive primary health-care approach. … It is not sufficient to ensure access to services at the primary level and neglect the required specialist care for those who need it” (Campbell/Doull, 1/23).

Policy Tracker Monitors U.S. Haiti Earthquake Response

The Kaiser Global Health Policy Tracker is following the U.S. response to the Haiti earthquake with detailed information on action from the Obama administration and Congress (1/22).

Blog: Advocates Decry Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog writes of a letter signed by almost “1,500 physicians, scientists, and other global health leaders from the U.S. and around the world” calling on “Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to stop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before his country’s Parliament.” The letter “said the Ugandan legislation would violate human rights and undermine public health, posing a particular threat to Uganda’s successful HIV/AIDS programs” (Shesgreen, 1/19). The blog also reports on Thursday’s Congressional hearing about the bill, which was convened by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (Shesgreen, 1/22).

Paul Farmer Discusses Global Health Topics

In a video from the Duke Global Health Institute, Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer participates in discussion about global health disparities, “the scarcity of trained health professionals, environmental health issues and the growing burden of pandemic and infectious diseases in developing countries” (1/21).

Xconomy.com Reflects On Impact Of Technology On Global Health

Xconomy.com examines the impact recent developments in technology has had on scientists’ understanding of global infectious disease. “The challenge of developing robust health solutions that can be delivered in resource constrained areas can show the way to provide local solutions at reduced costs. Necessity may drive invention but economics is likely to drive the use of resultant effective and efficient interventions. The solutions are within reach; we need to work together to bring them to fruition within the next decade,” the author writes (Stuart, 1/21).

Malaria Journal Launches New Series On Eradication

A Malaria Journal editorial announces a new, ongoing thematic series focusing on malaria elimination. “‘Towards malaria elimination’ offers the first and continuous, scientific platform on elimination and eradication. It is aimed at exchanging, discussing and developing evidence, innovation and concrete experience from all areas and levels,” according to the editorial (1/20).

Journal Of International AIDS Society Examines Efforts To Integrate HIV Treatment, Primary Care

A Journal of the International AIDS Society study examines a case study of efforts to integrate HIV programs into existing public-sector primary health care (PHC) system in Mozambique. Based on their findings, the authors write, “The integration approach enables the public sector PHC system to test more patients for HIV, place more patients on ART more quickly and efficiently, reduce loss-to-follow-up, and achieve greater geographic HIV care coverage compared to the vertical model.” They conclude, “The rapid expansion of funding for HIV/AIDS programming provides a unique opportunity to improve all PHC services in African settings. Mozambique experience so far shows that rapid ART scale up and system-wide strengthening must go hand in hand” (Pfeiffer et al., 1/20).

Blog: ‘Steep Increase’ For PEPFAR’s HIV Prevention Programs, Goosby Says

At a recent forum, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby “promised a ‘steep increase’ in PEPFAR’s prevention activity, as the program pivots from an emergency U.S. response to a broader long-term, country-driven endeavor,” the Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog writes. In response to a question about PEPFAR’s strategy amid “minimal funding increases,” Goosby “said the modest funding increases allocated so far, along with cost savings, such as anticipated decreases in treatment costs and eliminating funding that’s now directed to multiple groups to serve the same populations, would be sufficient to beef up prevention …” (Shesgreen, 1/19). Video and audio of the event, as well as a full transcript are available from CSIS.

PLoS Medicine Examines Lessons Learned From Evolution Of Malaria Research And Delivery

A PLoS Medicine Policy Forum examines how the global health system for malaria research and the delivery of products has evolved over the past century, and highlights lessons learned that are applicable to the challenges facing the global health system today. “Building an effective global health system takes times,” the authors write. “It required decades to build up research capacity in malaria-endemic countries to the present level … Investments in capacity building in other relatively neglected areas, such as noncommunicable diseases, must begin today if we expect similar dividends in the future” (Keusch et al., 1/19).

Blog Calls For Strengthening Of International Recruitment Practices Of Health Workers

Physicians for Human Rights’ “Health Rights Advocate” blog examines the challenges of severe health worker shortages around the world and reflects on efforts to ensure international recruitment practices of health professionals are done fairly and ethically. According to the blog, members of the WHO executive board were to consider the latest draft of the Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel this week. The blog features a link to a letter written by the Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative and national and international NGOs offering recommendations for how the WHO can improve the code and bolster fragile health systems (Williams, 1/18).

Blog: 6 Lessons For Disaster Relief In Haiti

On the Center for Global Development’s “Views from the Center” blog, John Simon, who coordinated the disaster responses in South Asia and Central America under former President George W. Bush, outlines six recommendations for disaster response based on the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and the South Asia earthquake of 2005. Among other things, Simon recommends tight coordination between civilian and military efforts (1/17).

Global Health Essay Contest Winners Highlighted

CSIS Commission on Smart Global Health Policy recently announced the winners of their global health essay contest. Contest entrants were asked to respond to the following question: “What is the most important thing the U.S. can do to improve global health over the next 15 years?” (1/2010).