Author Archives: International Health Policies

The WHO Global conference on NCDs in Montevideo, Uruguay: Towards an integral response to the…

On behalf of the Latin American Network for Multidisciplinary Research on Chronic Diseases A 46-year-old woman affected by a heart attack in Zimbabwe, a (male) heavy smoker aged 68 and recently diagnosed with lung cancer in Australia, a 52-year-old Indonesian man with neurological stroke sequelae due to long-term undiagnosed hypertension, …  All of them share underlying determinants and face the consequences of a rising global epidemic: non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as they are commonly labelled. These “socially transmitted conditions”—as some (other) people would prefer to call them—are  estimated to account for 63% of global mortality nowadays. It is predicted that they will account for around 70% of global deaths by 2030, if business continues as usual. Even more importantly, NCDs are also significantly related to preventable premature mortality and disability. Each year, 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 die from an NCD.

Posted in Aging, Aid, Cancer, Conferences, Financing, Funding, Hub Selects, Mental Health, Online, Policy & Systems, Poverty, Publications, Research, Social, Surveillance, Universal Health Coverage | Comments closed

Don’t give up before you even tried ! (or what I wish Naomi Klein’s interview in Antwerp…

Last Sunday  we went with a group of ex-ITM-colleagues to hear Naomi Klein talk about her latest  book “No is not enough” in the beautiful De Roma theater in Antwerp. A journalist led the conversation with Naomi. Her questions were unfortunately almost exclusively focused on Trump, a topic Klein didn’t manage to escape either. Klein’s latest book is indeed for a large part about who Trump really is (his own “lifestyle” brand, out to make profit by being true to his brand’s values), but it ends with a strong call for unification of efforts to access political power and for immediate action. Yet by limiting the discussion to Trump, and despite the relevance of Klein’s analysis, the audience was left with a sense of helplessness and fatalism

Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Hub Selects, Policy & Systems, Politics, Social | Comments closed

Time to take the conversation on adolescent health out of airconditioned conference rooms, and…

From October 27th to 29th, New Delhi, a wonderfully vibrant, colorful and youthful city, hosted over 1000 delegates and 125 youths from 65 different countries exploring issues related to adolescent health. The 11th World Congress on Adolescent Health, themed “Investing in Adolescent Health – The Future is now” was organized by the International Association for Adolescent Health in partnership with donors and consortium partners. As two public health researchers working in the field of adolescent health in Tanzania, we were more than happy to be at the conference, as you can imagine. The event featured 8 keynote lectures, 4 plenaries, 3 debates, 81 oral presentations and over 100 poster presentations.

Posted in Aging, Aid, Equity & Access, Gender, HIV/AIDS, Hub Selects, Mental Health, Online, Policy & Systems, Research, Social, Violence & Conflict | Comments closed

Water is For Fighting Over

Mark Twain is often credited for the quote, “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over”. Despite the quote’s likely questionable origin, water is becoming an increasingly angry and thirsty elephant-in-the-room for world leaders. Tipped as the “oil of the 21st century”, will swelling water demands precipitate the levels of conflict seen with oil? Or can such an intrinsic aspect of human life avoid the geopolitical issues associated with the more volatile liquid? There is no denying the importance of water in global growth; a critical overarching ingredient for nearly all 17 SDGs in one way or another

Posted in Environment, Hub Selects, Policy & Systems, Politics, Poverty, SDGs | Comments closed

Is the Future of Global Healthcare Made in China?

On the 15th of August 2017 the newly appointed director of WHO Tedros Adhanom made his first official visit to China. After three days Tedros left with a pledge of 20 million dollars more and a clarified plan to use China’s One belt One Road initiative as the backbone of global healthcare reforms targeting women, children, teens and emergencies. This is just the latest in China’s growing trend of commitment to global health, clearly a different tone than that being set by US President Donald Trump whose most recent budget proposal saw him attempting to slash international healthcare funding by 1/3. Although China has been engaging in health aid from the Mao era on, China’s “global health” journey really began eleven years ago for China, after the SARS epidemic, with an overhaul of their own healthcare system called the Rural Co-operative Medical Care System. This initiative extended healthcare options to China’s 800 million rural resident and expanded China’s current healthcare coverage to 94.7% of its population

Posted in Aging, Aid, Ebola, Funding, Hub Selects, Influenza, Malaria, Online, Policy & Systems, Publications, Vaccines | Comments closed

Don’t be afraid of the “C” word, health researchers

“Class”- a word that (most) researchers are more than reluctant to employ. Don’t get me wrong, analysis of health inequalities based on income, poverty, socioeconomic gradients and so on abound. Sophisticated statistical tools are being used to show us the obvious – that health outcomes are poor for those with fewer resources, no matter which country they belong to. We call them the poor, the “grassroots”, the “left behind”.

Posted in Aging, Aid, Hub Selects, Policy & Systems, Poverty, Research, Social | Comments closed

Exploring the Debate Smorgasbord at ECTMIH2017

Having previously never attended a tropical medicine conference, I was equal parts excited and apprehensive about ECTMIH. I wondered if I would find anything to suit my non-clinical, non-biomedical interests, and yes, I admit I was being a bit finicky, seeing as the congress was supposed to be focusing on tropical Medicine. Anyway, it turns out my fears were unfounded as I found a variety of sessions that appealed to me. I immediately picked out the debates, because as an avid ex-debater myself, and someone who studied in the post-colonial school system of Nigeria (modelled after the British system), I always look forward to the fiery exchange of views that takes place in these sessions.

Posted in Aging, Aid, Conferences, Delivery, Hub Selects, Policy & Systems, Research | Comments closed

Turn left, then right: political changes in Latin America and their impact on health systems

As you might have noticed, Latin America is going through a period of important political changes and turmoil. As the political pendulum is swinging back, more and more conservative (or downright neoliberal) governments are replacing the democratic, progressive ones that were prevailing in previous years. These changes have a number of causes, among others the fact that many voters have perhaps grown a bit tired of these progressive governments after some years in power (as is the case in all democracies with incumbents), the lack of effectiveness of their administration, as well as a perception of (too much) political patronage, bureaucracy and corruption. Importantly, however, a structured strategy from right-wing politicians and parties to remove progressive governments from power (and ditch their policies) also played a key role, via so-called parliamentary coups d’état, ultimately ‘soft’ versions of the ones that have taken place in previous decades in the region. This strategy has been put into action since June 2009, when the Honduran Congress resolved the destitution of President Manuel Zelaya, considering that his government’s actions were violating the Constitution and the judiciary order of the Central American country.

Posted in Aging, Corruption, Delivery, Environment, Financing, Funding, Hub Selects, Policy & Systems, Social | Comments closed

WHO ready for the fake news era? Yes Sir!

While awaiting some real & in-depth analysis of what exactly went wrong before the weekend in the unsavoury Mugabe-story, as well as what triggered the rescinding of the goodwill ambassadorship by Sunday afternoon –  we hope with many this was just a one-off gaffe, but only time will tell …- below you find a fictitious conversation among WHO communication & strategy staff over the weekend, in the corridors of the Geneva headquarters… “Looks like these global health “observers” – who don’t have much better to do with their weekend anyway – are anxiously following our WHO twitter account, for an update on our Mugabe story. It seems our grand master plan is working! Indeed, we, at the WHO, want to do things differently in the new SDG era. No more “High-Level decisions” taken by a bunch of 20, 30 white men at High-Level Breakfasts & the like, no, we believe in social media, and a movement of global citizens pushing WHO & others forward, towards a better NCD (and global/planetary health) future!  In the new times, citizens around the world have to feel engaged, so what better strategy could one think of than inviting Mugabe for the NCD goodwill ambassadorship in Africa

Posted in Funding, Hub Selects, Human Rights, Policy & Systems, Social | Comments closed

Let’s get political…

The ninth edition of the World Health Summit (WHS) was held during October 15th -17th, in a nice former cinema hall in the city of East Berlin, built in the early 1960s and with a rather appropriate name for the occasion, “Kosmos”.  This year, the event was attended by 2,000 participants from 100 countries, all aiming “to improve healthcare all over the world”. Well, at least, that’s the idea. Although I was a bit afraid this would be a “mini Davos-like” event, as described (arguably, by a biased observer)  in past editions, it was surprising and even encouraging to see a good demographic balance, with very young students and professionals, as well as senior high-profile researchers, decision-makers and CEOs from pharmaceutical companies, among other usual suspects. Even a royal member of the Kingdom of Jordan, Princess Dina Mired, actively participated as the President-Elect of the Union for International Cancer Control

Posted in Aging, Aid, Cancer, Equity & Access, Hub Selects, Policy & Systems, Research, SDGs, Social, Universal Health Coverage, Vaccines | Comments closed

Overcoming Ebola – why we need to be in it for the long haul

By Gorik Ooms Gorik wrote this blog together with Rachel Hammonds, Remco Van de Pas, Sara Van Belle, Kristof Decoster and Wim Van Damme (all Read More

Posted in Featured Content, Hub Selects, Infectious Disease | Comments closed

Health Systems Complexity: A “Gardening” Metaphor

By Woldekidan Kifle Amde on September 12, 2014 | For over two weeks (since 18 August), members of Emerging Voices for Global Health 2014, with the help of Read More

Posted in Aid & Development, Delivery, Featured Content, Financing, General Global Health, HIV/AIDS, Infectious Disease, Policy & Systems, Politics | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Article: Can Aid Donors Help Support LGBT Rights in Developing Countries?

Rachel Hammonds reflects on Monday’s half-day event at ODI exploring whether international aid can play a role in defending lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in developing countries. The 7 July Overseas Development Institute (ODI) conference addressing this issue was a lively, thought provoking event. The excellent chairing by the witty Simon Fanshawe (Kaleidoscope Trust) ensured that the packed panels (7 minutes per speaker!) progressed more smoothly than my fraught Channel crossing Eurostar ordeal involving over eight hours of delays. LGBT Discrimination – a Trojan Horse? Jessica Horn (African based women’s rights consultant) argued persuasively that the choice to discriminate is a political one and that LGBT-phobia is a Trojan Horse through which African leaders can distract voters and restrict debate on other power related issues.  Several panellists suggested that Western grandstanding helps further polarize the issue and is counterproductive.  There was much agreement that it is time for Westerners to get off the moral high horse and quietly fund the priorities of grass roots activists and engage with global and regional mechanisms like the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

Posted in Aid, Funding, Hub Selects, Human Rights, Mental Health, Politics, WASH | Comments closed

50th anniversary of the Master of Public Health course at ITM

This speech was given by professor Bart Criel (ITM) at the graduation ceremony of this year’s MPH students (July 3rd). Dear Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, dear MPH graduates, This ceremony for the 50th anniversary of our Master of Public Health (MPH) course is a time to celebrate, to acknowledge the achievements of the course, to thank a great many people, but also to reflect on the way forward … It is with humility that I stand here. My role in and contribution to the MPH is relatively recent and therefore limited. But it is an honor for me to be addressing you on this occasion, and I like to see myself as a spokesman of the many people who have contributed to this Masters… I would first like to briefly take you through the highlights of the history of the MPH  from 1964 till today; discuss some of the most important recent changes; but also reflect on the future… The Antwerp MPH has a long and passionate story. Describe it as an opportunity to pay our respect to the late Harrie Van Balen and the late Pierre Mercenier, the founding fathers of the course.

Posted in Aid, Conferences, Delivery, Environment, HIV/AIDS, Hub Selects, Malaria, Social, Tuberculosis | Comments closed