Global Health Policy Blog

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis on global health issues and how better policies can improve well-being for everyone. Also check out our Views from the Center blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

A Global Burden of Disease Data Plus Model to Inform Domestic Decision-Making: In Search of Super-local Data

Global Burden of Disease (GBD) country rankings can strengthen the case of advocates at global and national levels for prioritising investment towards the major drivers of mortality and morbidity. But as discussed in our earlier blog post, when it comes to informing specific investment cases within these broader priorities, GBD data alone are not enough to allow consideration of trade-offs and of opportunity costs of alternative investment choices addressing the same problem. The next step in using data to trigger action ought to be the generation, in conjunction with domestic stakeholders, of what we call below “super-local data.”

Measuring Progress towards Health SDGs: Great Effort, More Needed

Earlier this month, the first analysis of countries’ progress towards attaining the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was published in the Lancet. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) used Global Burden of Disease Data (GBD 2016) to create an index for 37 (out of 50) health-related SDG indicators between 1990–2016, for a total of 188 countries. Based on the pace of change recorded over the past 25 years or so, the researchers then projected the indicators to 2030. The punchline: if past is prologue, the median number of SDG targets attained in 2030 will be five of the 24 defined targets currently measured. Not very inspiring.

WHO’s Draft Concept Note: Treating the Symptoms, Not the Causes?

Global health policy enthusiasts will be excited to see that WHO has recently published a draft Concept Note on the 2019-2023 Programme of Work under the stewardship of its new Director-General. We see two glaring missed opportunities: 1) more centrality to universal health coverage (UHC) as an organizing principle for WHO and its work, and 2) more emphasis on enhancing the value for money of public spending on UHC and elsewhere.

Research in the Time of Ebola: How We Can Do Better

The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a disturbing demonstration of the inadequacy of international institutions to assist the affected peoples or learn how to better treat and prevent their illness. Experts on a CGD panel discussed their experiences working on crisis response during the Ebola outbreak—and how we can do better.

Taking Stock of Aid Agency Evaluations in Global Health: Here’s What We Know about Evaluation Quality and What Funders Can Do Better

With the US Congress considering cuts to foreign assistance and aid budgets in other donor countries coming under increased pressure, evidence about what works in global development is more important than ever. Evidence should inform decisions on where to allocate scarce resources—but to do so, evaluations must be of good quality. 

Tobacco Companies Fail the Corporate Social Responsibility Test of a Free-Market Advocate

Philip Morris International and other cigarette manufacturers are among the most profitable firms in the world, selling the world’s most lethal legal product. They prominently advertise their commitment to corporate social responsibility on everything from child labor to renewable energy. They’ve even conceded that smoking is dangerous and say they are committed to a smoke-free world. But none of these initiatives make up for breaching their most fundamental corporate social responsibility—one defined quite cogently by free-market-advocate Milton Friedman—to pursue their profits “without deception and fraud.”

Is UK Aid Being Spent Properly? We Just Don’t Know

In late July, the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) published a progress report on Her Majesty’s Government spending that found that in 2015, a fifth of the £12.1 billion the country spent on aid was committed through government departments and cross-government funds other than the Department for International Development (DFID), the UK’s aid agency.

The Changing Landscape of Global Health Procurement: Acting Now to Prepare for the Future

Health products—including drugs, devices, diagnostics, and vector control tools—are essential for meeting the healthcare needs of any population. Right now, many low- and lower-middle-income countries rely on donor-managed mechanisms to procure a large share of these health commodities. But this status quo won’t stay static for long, and the global health community must prepare for sweeping changes in global health and procurement over the next 10–20 years. Here’s some of what we see happening now and on the immediate horizon.

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