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Recent Releases In Global Health

Innovative Health Financing Can Benefit Global Health, Pharma: “The launch of pneumococcal vaccination in Nicaragua under AMC [advance market commitment] has shown that innovative approaches to health financing can benefit both global health and pharmaceutical companies,” according to a Lancet Infectious Diseases editorial that describes how the roll-out of GAVI initiative is helping to provide developing countries with low-cost pneumococcal vaccines. “The involvement of more manufacturers could help such programmes to grow and create a competitive market to provide access to lifesaving vaccinations for more children in the poorest countries,” the editorial states (February 2011).

Academia Needs To Collaborate On Global Health Interests: “So far many of the initiatives that champion the cause of global health have arisen in high-income countries. But if they are to have an effect on reducing inequities in health and not merely be perceived as self-interest on the part of institutions in rich nations, they must embrace institutions in low-income and middle-income settings as equal partners,” write the authors of a Lancet Comment that describes a new organization in Europe – the European Academic Global Health Alliance (EAGHA) – that is working to bring together academic institutions  “to play an active part in developing a programme of action to ensure that academic contributions to global health are maximized” (Haines et al., 1/29).

Mobile Finance’s Promise For Improving Maternal Health: A discussion paper (.pdf) presented at the World Economic Forum examines “key intersection points and cross-sector synergies between mobile financial services, or MFS, and healthcare,” Menekse Gencer, the founder of the consulting service mPay Connect, writes in a “U.N. Dispatch” blog post about her paper. According to Gencer, “One of the most exciting linkages between mHealth and mobile financial services can be found in the field of maternal health” (1/28).

How To Refocus TB Drug Development: To achieve global control of the TB epidemic, “there is an urgent need for new TB drugs, which can: (1) shorten treatment duration; (2) target MDR [multi-drug resistant] or XDR [extensively drug-resistant TB] strains; (3) simplify treatment by reducing the daily pill burden; (4) lower dosing frequency (for example, a once-weekly regimen); and (5) be co-administered with HIV medications,” write the authors of a Nature review article that offers the authors’ views on how to “refocus discovery and development efforts and identify the underlying knowledge gaps and scientific obstacles in TB drug development” (Koul et al., 1/27).

Fighting Malnutrition And Obesity: In a post on the Washington Post’s “Davos Diary” blog, James Kondo, a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum, writes about “Table for Two,” a global initiative he founded “to simultaneously address global hunger and obesity.” According to Kondo, “The mechanism is simple: every time someone eats a certified healthy meal at a cooperating cafeteria or restaurant, 25 cents will be donated to fund a school meal in a region suffering from hunger” (1/27).

From The WEF To The G20: On Reuters’ “Davos Notebook” blog, Joe Cerrell, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s European Office, writes about the role of development and global health at the forum. “Today, it is not surprising and is rather, somewhat expected, that CEOs devote a portion of their time in Davos to articulating what their companies are doing to advance the global development agenda,” he writes. “One suggestion on the next party [development advocates] need to crash is the G20, where there’s been little success to date in driving development onto the agenda” (1/26).

Global Health Can Promote Job Growth In The U.S.: “Global health R & D is ultimately going to make people’s lives better, whenever researchers find new ways to curb diseases that respect no national borders. But it’s also smart economics. States around the country have pushed investment in it for these reasons,” according to a Huffington Post blog post by John Edward Porter, an Illinois Republican and former member of Congress, and Storer Rowley, former National Editor of the Chicago Tribune. Porter and Rowley explore how global health research could improve the economy in Illinois and other states (1/27).

Blogs Respond To Reports Of Corruption At Global Fund: “Corruption doesn’t only happen with the Global Fund’s monies. Many developing countries are plagued with the same problems—poor management capacity and oversight capacity, and corruption—whether the Global Fund, PEPFAR, or the UN system supports them. The difference is that the Global Fund actually reports” its findings,” Nandini Oomman, director of the HIV/AIDS Monitor at the Center for Global Development (CGD) writes in a post on CGD’s “Global Health Policy” that probes some of the lessons that can be learned in how the development community addresses development and corruption (1/25). “The Global Fund should be praised, not slammed, for its investigations and for its openness. But, it also needs to be challenged to find a way to estimate how representative [the cases of corruption identified by the Fund] may be,” William Savedoff, also of CGD, argues in a second post on CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog (1/24). “By implementing stringent standards and by being diligent in quickly addressing issues such as those raised in the IG’s report, the Global Fund has made tremendous progress in the fight against AIDS. In just eight years it has saved 6.5 million lives by providing AIDS treatment for 3 million people,” Bobby Shriver and Bono, co-founders of PRODUCT (RED) write in a Huffington Post blog post (1/25). Health consultant and writer Alanna Shaikh writes in the “End The Neglect” blog: “We can’t do anything about corruption if we won’t talk about it. [USAID] Administrator [Rajiv] Shah took an important step in acknowledging the existence of corruption and pledging USAID’s commitment to its elimination. In addition to its Office of Inspector General, the agency now has a task force devoted to monitoring, investigating, and responding to suspicious activity” (1/27).

Malaria Eradication Research Agenda: “The interruption of malaria transmission worldwide is one of the greatest challenges for international health and development communities. … [B]y aggressively scaling up control with currently available tools and strategies, much greater gains could be achieved against malaria, including elimination from a number of countries and regions; however, even with maximal effort we will fall short of global eradication,” write the authors of an introductory article to a collection of 12 reviews in PLoS Medicine (1/25). The collection “highlights the outcomes of a series of consultations among more than 250 experts that were undertaken by the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) initiative,” according to a PLoS Medicine press release (Alonso et al., 1/25).

Challenges, Call For Action On Finding HIV Cure: Despite the fact “[c]ombination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has led to a major reduction in HIV-related mortality and morbidity. … HIV can still not be cured. With the absence of an effective prophylactic or therapeutic vaccine, increasing numbers of infected people, emerging new toxicities secondary to cART and the need for life-long treatment, there is now a real urgency to find a cure for HIV,” write the authors of a Journal of the International AIDS Society commentary piece that reflects on some of the barriers to curing HIV. “We need scientists, clinicians, affected communities, industry, politicians and government to embrace the challenge and work together towards finding a cure for HIV,” the authors conclude (Lewin et al., 1/24).

USAID’s Modernization Plans: The Center for Global Development’s “Global Prosperity Wonkcast” features an interview with Connie Veillette, director of the center’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Initiative. In the interview, Veillette, an “advocate for effective aid who spent much of her career working for Republicans on Capitol Hill,” discusses USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s efforts to reform the agency (MacDonald, 1/24).

Center for Global Development Web Tool Tracks MDG Progress: The new web tool  “visually represents each individual country’s progress towards the highly ambitious MDG targets. It illustrates whether each country has performed above or below required rates of improvement on the eight core Millennium Declaration goals,” the center’s Ben Leo and Ross Thuotte write on the “Global Development: Views from the Center” blog (1/20).