April/May Global Health Readings

First off, I read the wonderful book Factfulness that Bhavna Seth kindly gave me, by the crew behind Gapminder.  I highly recommend it – well written, easy to get through in pieces, and it provides a great vantage on development that they characterize as “possibilist,” contrasting with “optimist” – not blind faith that things will improve, but respect for data showing improvement in many ways from the difficult baseline.  There are a number of critiques leveled against it – insufficient weight on climate change, lack of focus on underlying economic structures that lead to inequality – but while it’s not perfect, on my first read I thought it held together remarkably well.


UNAIDS recommending improved access for patients who use IV drugs – a nice global echo of the struggle we face with our patients regularly.  Their policy recommendations are pretty bold (from a US perspective), and increasingly data-based, as I see it.


Ongoing work from MSF around access to medications, here detailing their reasoning behind supporting a global campaign for transparency in medication pricing. If successful, I do think this could have a marked impact on drug costs, especially in LMIC. If it begins to make headway, there will doubtlessly be a lot of opposition from pharma companies and groups.


Helpful article detailing the growth of development finance institutions (DFIs), which are gov’t funded agencies that invest in projects (public or private) within low and middle income countries. As such they straddle aid (support given away) and business investment (where money provided is expected to gain an eventual profit), ideally providing a source of capital to higher-risk projects typically seen in less stable low-income countries. It’s honestly not an area I know very well, and as such it was helpful to have an article that walks through some of the main areas where DFIs operate and some of the primary challenges they face.


3 articles discussing the recent announcement by the WHO that they are reconfiguring the organization, in part in response to the marked critiques received during our prior Ebola outbreak. The tone from development folks seems to be tentative support for the thrust married to decent concern that the changes laid out don’t go far enough.  Either way, it’s an effort that will impact global health considerably as it plays out.


Finally, for Drew – drones in action:
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