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Recent Releases On Global Health

Lancet Commends U.K. All-Parliamentary Group on AIDS Call For HIV Drug Patent Pool

A Lancet editorial examines recent recommendations by the U.K. All-Parliamentary Group on AIDS for pharmaceutical companies to implement an HIV drug patent pool – an appeal, “Drug companies have dismissed” in the past. The authors conclude, “Although the voice of the All-Parliamentary Group is a welcome addition to the fight for improved access to essential medicines, unless there is political clout behind the rhetoric, drug companies will continue to resist potential solutions, such as patent pools” (7/25).

Eroded Social Systems Unable To Feed World’s Poor

A Lancet perspective piece examines why social systems around the world have become “eroded” and are unable to feed “impoverished people.” According to the article, “As a result of the present economic and development crisis, the World Bank should be challenged to radically change its lending policies and engage in local development for freedom.” It lists four recommendations to achieve this (Heikins, 7/25).

Tailoring HIV Interventions To Men’s Needs

“Emerging evidence suggests that we are far more successful at providing combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) to women than to men,” according to a Lancet comment. The authors write that “men’s health-seeking behaviour are poorly understood in the AIDS epidemic, and encouraging men to get tested and into treatment is a major challenge, but one that is poorly recognised.” They conclude that “far from being seen as a challenging group requiring specific interventions, reflections on men and HIV/AIDS are usually limited to their culpability as drivers of the epidemic” (Mills et al., 7/25).

Report Tracks Global Development Assistance

A Kaiser Family Foundation report released tracks the most recently available data on official development assistance from the U.S., European Community and other donor nations to low- and middle-income countries. The data reflects decisions made prior to the current global economic crises, which could threaten donor support for sustaining and building on global health efforts.  However, the recent U.S. announcement of a new multi-year global health initiative and the G8’s reiteration of its health-related commitments suggest global health remains a key concern for donor nations (7/23).

JAMA Explores Ancillary Care In Developing Countries

JAMA Grand Rounds explores what a researchers’ responsibility is to providing clinical care for conditions discovered during clinical trials in developing countries. The piece “argues that investigators can have a responsibility to provide care for a wide range of health needs, including at times care for conditions not connected to the research question or study procedures” (Dickert et al., 7/22). An accompanying commentary says, “More discussion of ancillary care as an important emerging issue for global reflection in research ethics is needed” and appeals for “[p]ublic health researchers and sponsors [to] reflect on ancillary care issues characteristic of group-focused public health research in low-resource settings” (Hyder et al., 7/22).

PLoS Medicine Examines Efforts To Strengthen Regulatory Agencies In Developing Countries

A PLoS Medicine Policy Forum examines how as “preventative vaccines for global diseases are becoming a reality,” regulatory agencies such as the FDA, Health Canada and the European Union’s European Medicines Agency (EMEA) are working to help strengthen developing country regulatory authorities that often “lack the capacity to review applications for new vaccines, resulting in lengthy delays in obtaining permission to conduct clinical trials” (Brennan, 7/21).

PLoS Medicine Examines Policies To Improve AMFm Implementation

Another PLoS Medicine Policy Forum examines the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) program, “that aims to address inadequate access to [artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs)] for treating P. falciparum malaria by subsidizing producer prices.” With the facility expected to begin operations in late 2009, the authors suggest policies AMFm can adopt to improve patient care and measures that could improve AMFm implementation, among other issues (Moon et al., 7/21).

Study Examines Health Worker Attrition Rates In Kenya

A Human Resources For Health study examines health worker attrition rates across Kenya. The study recommends additional investigation and finds that “appropriate policies to retain staff in the public health sector may need to be tailored for different cadres and level of health facility” (Chankova, et al., 7/21).

Developing Scientific Research Capacity In Low-Income Countries

A PLoS Biology article explores how to develop scientific research capacity in low-income countries. “Research is a major driver of social and technological innovation that can lead to health and equity improvements through a knowledge-to-action process,” the authors write. The article concludes: “Global health goals will be achievable when the necessary tools and knowledge are in the hands of our colleagues in the South, along with adequate human and physical infrastructure for health care and health research, supported by a dynamic international community” (Coloma/Harris, 7/21).

http://www.smartglobalhealth.org Launched By CSIS Commission

The newly formed Commission on Smart Global Health Policy from the Center for Strategic and International Studies launched its Web site this week – www.smartglobalhealth.org.