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Top 10 Posts of 2012 from CGD’s Global Health Policy Blog

It’s that magical time of the year when we bring you the top 10 most read entries on the CGD Global Health Policy Blog.  Together, these top posts had a total almost 20,000 unique page views. This year the blog asked for your feedback on evaluating the quality of health aid, addressed the debate over entities like the GHI and AMFm, and discussed everything from cash transfers to priority-setting.

The Global Fund and Value for Money – Amanda Glassman

This Wonkcast was originally recorded in September 2012.

In this austere budget climate, generating “value for money” (VFM) is a top concern for global health funding agencies and their donors, who want the biggest bang for their buck in terms of lives saved and diseases controlled. To this end, CGD has convened a working group to help shape the VFM agenda for global health funding agencies, with a particular focus on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Leading these efforts is my guest this week, Amanda Glassman, a senior fellow and director of the global health policy program at the Center for Global Development.

The Future of AMFm: Realpolitik and Realistic Options (Part II)

This week the Global Fund Board will determine whether to “expand, accelerate, terminate or suspend the Affordable Medicines Facility – malaria (AMFm).” Ideally, the Board would make an evidence-based decision. However, both the sufficiency and the relevance of available technical evidence have been questioned (see here and here). The role of political and process evidence is also not very transparent. Below, we lay out our understanding of the potential options and the factors the Board should consider.

The Future of AMFm: Making Sense from All the Noise

This is a joint post with Heather Lanthorn.

The Global Fund Board’s decision over the Affordable Medicines Facility – malaria (AMFm) rapidly approaches, and tensions within the malaria community are acute. In her global health blog for The Guardian, Sarah Boseley characterizes the rift as one of

huge arguments and intense passions…[because] it is about the belief on one side that the private sector is the most effective way to get medicines to those who need them – and the certainty on the other side that bolstering the public sector to diagnose and treat people is a fairer and safer way to go. These are not just practical matters, but highly political.”

A Global Health Mystery: What’s Behind the US Government Position on AMFm?

As the Global Fund’s November board meeting approaches – where the future of the Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria (AMFm) hangs in the balance – there is much anxiety that AMFm will be terminated in 2013. The reason for such anxiety is clear: no donors have pledged funding commitments for after December 2012. But there’s another elephant in the room: the US government’s apparent lack of support, particularly its legislated “opt-in” stance on AMFm: “the Global Fund should not support activities involving the ‘Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria’ or similar entities pending compelling evidence of success from pilot programs as evaluated by the Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat Malaria Globally.” (Conversely, an opt-out stance would be to support AMFm unless no compelling evidence is presented.) This very specific and strict provision makes the AMFm’s continued survival all but impossible without an explicit endorsement by US Global Malaria Coordinator (currently Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer) who leads the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) housed in the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

One Year Later: What Happened to Noncommunicable Diseases?

One year ago, the United Nations held a high-level meeting on non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control that culminated in a General Assembly Resolution 66/2 to adopt a 13-page “political declaration” to “address the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases worldwide.” The event presented a united front against NCDs and its flashiness garnered lots of media attention. But one year later, where has the attention and commitment to NCDs gone?

Should UNITAID Rethink Its Raison d’Être?

UNITAID: maybe you’ve heard of it, or maybe not. Launched in 2006, UNITAID has lived in the shadow of its older and bigger global-health siblings (the Global Fund, GAVI, and PEPFAR, to name a few). Perhaps due to its relative obscurity and late entry to a crowded global-health field, UNITAID has proactively worked to differentiate itself through a focus on commodities, market shaping, novel funding sources, and innovation. To wit, UNITAID’s stated mission is “to contribute to scale up access to treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis for the people in developing countries by leveraging price reductions of quality drugs and diagnostics, which currently are unaffordable for most developing countries, and to accelerate the pace at which they are made available.”

What’s New in the Child Survival Call to Action?

The newly released new child mortality data by UNICEF has findings that are encouraging yet still worrisome: the world has made progress in reducing child deaths globally; yet each day some 19,000 children die every day largely from preventable causes. USAID highlighted this new publication to remind the world of its “Child Survival Call to Action: Ending Preventable Child Deaths,” co-hosted by USAID, India, Ethiopia, and others on June 14 and 15. Before we completely forget what happened in mid-June, we revisit the event and its desired goals by taking a closer look at the event’s “Roadmap”. Bottom line: The Child Survival Call to Action does not bring much new money or knowledge, but it brings some laudable political attention and a promising emphasis on delivery and accountability. But without more systematic attention from countries and donors, the new child survival agenda risks being another same-old global-health flavor-of-the-month, potentially crowded out by competing priorities in global health.

The Global Fund and Value for Money – Amanda Glassman

In this austere budget climate, generating “value for money” (VFM) is a top concern for global health funding agencies and their donors, who want the biggest bang for their buck in terms of lives saved and diseases controlled. To this end, CGD has convened a working group to help shape the VFM agenda for global health funding agencies, with a particular focus on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Leading these efforts is my guest this week, Amanda Glassman, a senior fellow and director of the global health policy program at the Center for Global Development.

Can We Assess Ag Aid Quality?

This is a joint post with Edward Collins.

Can we assess ag aid quality? The short answer: sort of.

For at least a decade, aid effectiveness has been in the spotlight because of concerns that, in some cases, aid may do more harm than good and, more recently, because of growing budget pressures. In 2005, donor and recipient countries agreed on a set of principles for more effective aid and a process to monitor implementation of those principles with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Based on these principals, and with the objective to provide an independent evaluation of donor performance, Nancy Birdsall, Homi Kharas, and colleagues launched a joint Center for Global Development and Brookings Institution project to assess the Quality of Official Development Assistance, QuODA for short. Now in its second edition, this project motivated CGD colleagues Amanda Glassman and Denizhan Duran to apply the QuODA methodology to health aid and now, we’ve done the same thing for agricultural aid.

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