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Who Runs the (Global Health) World?

This is a joint post with Rachel Silverman. 

In her classic 2011 anthem, Beyonce posited that it was girls “who run the world.” Yet in the world of global health, we worry that Beyonce may be mistaken – from our observations, it appears that women remain severely underrepresented in top leadership positions.

Meet the Global Health Family: A Cheat Sheet

This is a joint post with Rachel Silverman.

Through our Value for Money working group, we’ve spent much of the past year immersed in the world of global health funding agencies. With so many new agencies, particularly in the last quarter century (Figure 1), understanding the intricacies of the global health family can be daunting, even for the most devoted observers.

Experimentation for Better Health: Lessons from the US for Global Health

In recent weeks, the public health world and political pundits alike have been abuzz about results from the “Oregon Experiment,” a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that finds no statistical link between expanded Medicaid coverage and health outcomes such as high cholesterol or hypertension. Limitations of the study aside, the Oregon Experiment is a good example of the importance of rigorously testing all US health programs, rather than just assuming ‘more care = better health’.  The Innovation Center at the United States Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, created under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act, represents a new and encouraging approach to address this problem, an approach that we think has important lessons for global health.

The Paper-to-Policy Pipeline: Reflections from Evidence Live 2013

Alongside Victoria Fan, I recently attended the Evidence Live conference in Oxford, hosted by the BMJ and Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM). While the conference’s clinical focus was outside my normal global health/economics comfort zone, I was immensely impressed by the rigor, candor, and nuance of discussion, particularly around tough issues like publication bias and conflict of interest.

Institute of Medicine Pushes PEPFAR on Data Collection, Disclosure

The Institute of Medicine, the prestigious health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has weighed in with a massive report on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the multibillion dollar US effort to confront the epidemic in the developing world. The evaluation validates PEPFAR’s enormous reach during its first 10 years and identifies concrete actions that Congress and PEPFAR should take for the program to become more sustainable moving forward.

What We’re Looking For in the IOM Report on PEPFAR

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) will soon release its much anticipated report evaluating the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Conducted at the request of Congress, the forthcoming report should follow up on points raised by a previous IOM report (2007), which provided a “short-term evaluation” of implementation after PEPFAR’s first three years, and which was soon followed by PEPFAR’s Congressional reauthorization in 2008. The new report is expected to broadly assess the cumulative performance of US HIV/AIDS programs, with two main tasks:

“Better Than Average” Is Not Good Enough: Accelerating Child Survival in India

Last week, the Government of India held a star-studded National Summit on child survival, “co-convened”* with USAID and UNICEF. The high-profile meeting featured politicians (the Minister of Health & Family Welfare, the US Ambassador to India), heavy-hitters in global child health (Bob Black, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Mickey Chopra, Geeta Rao Gupta) along with some Indian stars of child health (Vinod Paul, Abhay Bang, Yogesh Jain), and even a Bollywood actress/“child rights activist” Nandana Sen (daughter of Nobel Laureate and Professor Amartya Sen), to name a few.

Population is Personal: Reflections on Policy Communication from PopPov 2013

In the wonky worlds of economics and demography, quantitative models and regression output tables rule supreme. But with such sterile and aggregated methods, it can be all too easy to forget that those endless p-tests and robustness checks relate to the most intimate and meaningful aspects of human life. If we want population or demographic research to translate into policy significance, it’s worth asking in the most blunt and human terms: What are we really talking about when we talk about population? And relatedly, how can we best be understood by those we’re trying to reach?

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.

What’s in a Pilot? A View from South Africa’s National Health Insurance (NHI)

This is a joint post with Rachel Silverman.

Last week, I attended a conference on South Africa’s national health insurance (NHI), which was hosted in Pretoria by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). A key recurring theme and consensus emerged: South Africa must develop a clearer plan and strategy for the “piloting” phase of its national health insurance.

Some background: In 2011, the government of South Africa committed itself to providing all of its citizens with “a defined package of comprehensive (health) services” through national health insurance. While the details are still up in the air, the government issued a preliminary policy paper which estimated NHI to cost R255 billion (~US$30 billion) per year by 2025, if implemented as planned over a 14-year period.

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