Sweden gets top ranks for gender equality work in global health

The Swedish International development agency, Sida, is at the forefront of gender equality work in global health, according to the 2018 Global Health Report 50/50 published on March 8th.

In a response to the 2018 report from the international initiative Global Health 50/50, the Swedish State Secretary for international development, Ulrika Modéer, published an op-ed on the development platform ‘Biståndsdebatten’ in which she applauded the work of Sida, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights. She also calls for continued work to engage boys and men in global health, increase the proportion of female managers in global health actors, and create workplaces that are free from sexism.

Debate article - Bistå (in Swedish)

Publication - Global Health 50/50 Report

Sweden Global health

Save the Children pushes for Norwegian divestment from companies aggressively pushing infant formula in developing world

The Norwegian Secretary-General of Save the Children, Tove Wang, has pushed for the Norwegian Government Petroleum Fund’s withdrawal from investments in companies aggressively pushing infant formula in developing countries.

Wang refers to reports published by Save the Children, which show that all the large producers of infant formula are in breach of the World Health Organization’s marketing guidelines from 1981. The Norwegian Government Petroleum Fund has invested heavily in five of the six largest producers of infant formula. This is in stark contrast to one of the three focus areas of the fund, children’s rights.

Op-ed - Dagbladet (in Norwegian)

Norway Global health

Progress in reducing drug-resistant TB in Western Province of Papua New Guinea

An op-ed from the Lowy Institute in Australia has highlighted progress made by Australia's efforts in Papua New Guinea to reduce multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in the Western Province. Australia has spent almost A$39 million (US$29 million) on addressing the spread of TB in the southern part of this province.

Nonetheless, due to difficulties in geographic access to the province, healthcare system weaknesses, poor nutrition, and insufficient provincial health budgets, problems are predicted to continue. 

Op-ed - Lowy Institute 

Australia Global health

Canada announces projects in Haiti’s health sector

Canada announced $35.5 million (US$27.8 million) in development assistance for three projects aimed at improving women and girls’ health and promoting their sexual and reproductive rights in Haiti.  Spread among three projects, Canada’s assistance will help build the government’s capacity to train, recruit, deploy, and retain midwives in the country’s most underserved regions; transform the Haitian energy sector by promoting the use of clean energy and cookstoves; and improve the implementation of a program to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.

Press release – Global Affairs Canada


Canada Global health

Evaluation of Australia’s investment in PDPs supports TB and malaria as priorities

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has released a review of its experience with product development partnerships (PDPs). It found that tuberculosis- (TB) and malaria-focused PDPs continue to be a priority. The TB Alliance; FIND, an international non-profit organisation that enables diagnostic tests for poverty-related diseases; and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) were considered sound investment decisions.

The evaluation recommends Australia continue to focus on TB and malaria diagnostics and medicines and invest in vector control. DFAT management agreed with all 5 recommendations of the review.

Evaluation document – DFAT

Management response – DFAT

EDCTP to focus on co-infections and co–morbidities

A stakeholder meeting report of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP) urges long-term and more integrated management of poverty-related infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to address co-infections and co-morbidities in low- and middle-income countries. EDCTP stakeholders report that the unique diagnostic, treatment and prevention challenges associated with these conditions decrease chances of recovery or cure and ultimately increase morbidity and mortality. Co-infections and co-morbidities will be a priority topic for EDCTP in 2018.

Website – EDCTP

Swedish civil society criticizes Global Fund cooperation with Heineken

Following the announcement of a partnership between the second largest beer producer globally, Heineken, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a series of prominent Swedish actors have spoken out in criticism.

The general secretary of the Swedish Mission Council, the chairman of the Swedish United Nations Association, and the head of Sweden’s youth sobriety organization have, in a recent article, called on the Minister of Development Cooperation to work towards ending such a partnership. The three cite Sweden's planned contribution of SEK2.5 billion (US$292 million) to the fund, and the connection between alcohol consumption and both HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, drawing attention to studies demonstrating alcohol's part in facilitating the spread of these diseases, its negative effects on treatment, and its links to deaths among tuberculosis sufferers. 

While emphasizing the need for cooperation between the private and public sector to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, the three suggest there is a need to be wary of such relationships when there is much to gain for one partner.

News article - Biståndsdebatten (in Swedish) 

Sweden Global health

Doctors Without Borders Italy publishes two new reports on conditions of migrants and refugees in Italy

Doctors Without borders Italy has published the report “Fuori Campo-Out of sight”, about the living conditions of migrants and refugees in Italy.

The first edition was published two years ago. The document is based on Doctors Without Borders (MSF) monitoring of several informal settlements, such as slums, squats and occupied buildings in Italy during 2016 and 2017. MSF attests to approximately 10,000 migrants and refugees living in inhumane conditions, due to inadequate welcoming policies. The report finds that refugees and migrants are living in informal settlement and have limited access to basic services. MSF has asked all the Italian local and national authorities to ensure that all migrants and refugees have access to the medical care, shelter, food, and clean water for the entire period they stay in Italy, regardless their legal status.

MSF Italy also carried out a second study titled “Harmful borders” on the situation in Ventimiglia, an Italian town on the border of France. Of the 287 migrants interviewed by MSF, almost one in four said they experienced episodes of violence at the border.

Report – Doctors Without Borders (in Italian) 

Report – Doctors Without Borders

Italy Global health

Spain’s ISGlobal ranked as the third most influential global health think tank in Europe

According to the Lauder Institute’s “Global Go To Think Tank Index”, the Spanish health research center Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has been ranked among the world’s ten most influential think tanks working in global health. ISGlobal has climbed up from the 16th place in 2016 to the 9th position in 2017. This ranks it the third most important global health institution in Europe and the only one not located in the United Kingdom.

Press release -ISGlobal

Spain Global health Global health R&D

New partnership between the Global Fund and Heineken sparks strong opposition from Norwegian government and 2,000 organizations

The Norwegian government, and 2,000 international organizations, have called for an end to the partnership between Heineken, the second largest beer manufacturer in the world, and the Global Fund against Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM). This partnership has sparked criticism due to alcohol's negative impact on both prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Norway is a large donor to the fund, and the Norwegian government has stated that it will not accept such a partnership, as it is incompatible with Norwegian development policy.

It is not yet decided what will happen to Norway’s contribution if the partnership with Heineken continues.

News article - Vårt Land (in Norwegian)

Norway Global health