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Washington, D.C., The National Academies Press, 2008 Dec 15.  p.At this historic moment, the incoming Obama administration and leaders of the U.S. Congress have the opportunity to advance the welfare and prosperity of people within and beyond the borders of the United States through intensified and sustained attention to better health. The United States can improve the lives of millions around the world, while reflecting America's values and protecting and promoting the nation's interests. The Institute of Medicine-with the support of four U.S. government agencies and five private foundations-formed an independent committee to examine the United States' commitment to global health and to articulate a vision for future U.S. investments and activities in this area.
Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2007 Nov; 7(11):705.An expert advisory group, convened by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), has concluded that it would be inadvisable to embark on a widespread pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccination programme in European countries at the present time. Pre-pandemic vaccines, currently being developed by several pharmaceutical companies, can be made ahead of the emergence of pandemic influenza virus, unlike "true" pandemic vaccines. However, experts have concluded that there remains too much uncertainty as to whether the H5N1 avian influenza virus, on which pre-pandemic vaccines currently under development are based, will ever be responsible for a pandemic. According to Johan Giesecke (ECDC, Stockholm, Sweden), "If there is an H5N1-based pandemic, the strategy of having stockpiled pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccines, even if the vaccines incompletely match the pandemic virus, may prevent more infections and deaths than waiting for specific "true" pandemic vaccines...however, there is no guarantee that the next human influenza pandemic will evolve from the current H5N1 avian influenza virus". (excerpt)
The Global Campaign for the Health MDGs: Challenges, opportunities, and the imperative of shared learning.
Lancet. 2007 Sep 22; 370(9592):1018-1020.On Sept 5, the International Health Partnership (IHP) was launched by the UK, and on Sept 26, Women and Children First: the Global Business Plan for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health will be launched by Norway. These two new efforts, along with the Canadian Catalytic Initiative to Save a Million Lives, have been packaged as part of a broader Global Campaign for the Health Millennium Goals (MDGs). Such an explosion of proposals, which is meant to accelerate action for achieving MDGs 4, 5, and 6, should be welcomed by the world's health community. The proposals are further recognition of the continued commitment by high-income countries to address key health challenges in low-income and middle-income countries. Building on a decade of expanding work in global health, we can hope that these high-profile initiatives will sustain interest and address major obstacles to improving the health of the poorest people in the magnitude and time-frame demanded by the MDGs. Nevertheless, as is often the case with new policy efforts, the main operative aspects of the proposals and their likely consequences can be difficult to identify. We frame questions on five key issues that these announcements highlight. (excerpt)
New York, New York, Human Rights Watch, 2007 Sep. 108 p. (Human Rights Watch Vol 19, No. 14(A))Since mid-2005, hundreds of civilians have been killed, more than 10 thousand houses burned, and approximately 212,000 persons have fled their homes in terror to live in desperate conditions deep in the bush in northern Central African Republic (CAR). Bordering eastern Chad and war-ravaged Darfur in Sudan, this area has been destabilized by at least two major rebellions against the government of President Francois Bozize. The vast majority of summary executions and unlawful killings, and almost all village burnings, have been carried out by government forces, often in reprisal for rebel attacks. While both main rebel groups have been responsible for widespread looting and the forced taxation of the civilian population in areas they control - and rebels in the northeast have committed killings, beatings, and rape - their abuses pale in comparison to those of the Central African Armed Forces (Forces armees Centrafricaines, FACA) and the elite Presidential Guard (Garde presidentielle, GP). As the International Criminal Court (ICC) begins investigations into atrocities committed during the 2002-2003 rebellion against former President Patasse, it should also investigate possible war crimes under its jurisdiction committed in the current round of fighting. (excerpt)
ARROWs for Change. 2004; 10(2):1-2.The 2004 global and regional roundtables reviewing and monitoring progress of the Cairo Programme of Action (POA) implementation concluded that this document remains a critical comprehensive UN document which outlines an agenda and framework linking human rights principles with population and development, poverty eradication, social justice, gender equality, women's empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and NGO participation. Ten years into the POA, progress in implementation in the Asia-Pacific region remains poor. ARROW's eight-country regional monitoring study revealed that one million women have died unnecessarily in childbirth, pregnancy and unsafe abortion since Cairo. Only China has attained the goal of reducing maternal mortality by 50% by the year 2000. Nationally, the ICPD POA has not yet been clearly institutionalised in national development frameworks like women's development, health, population and in poverty. Although there has been significant progress in theregion in the area of violence against women and the creation of national machineries like ministries and commissions, women are still not able to exercise control over their reproductive and sexual lives due to the following barriers. (excerpt)
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2007 Mar; 85(3):192-199.International health policy-makers now have a variety of institutional instruments with which to pursue their global and national health goals. These instruments range from the established formal multilateral organizations of the United Nations to the newer restricted-membership institutions of the Group of Eight (G8). To decide where best to deploy scarce resources, we must systematically examine the G8's contributions to global health governance. This assessment explores the contributions made by multilateral institutions such as the World Health Organization, and whether Member States comply with their commitments. We assessed whether G8 health governance assists its member governments in managing domestic politics and policy, in defining dominant normative directions, in developing and complying with collective commitments and in developing new G8-centred institutions. We found that the G8's performance improved substantially during the past decade. The G8 Member States function equally well, and each is able to combat diseases. Compliance varied among G8 Member States with respect to their health commitments, and there is scope for improvement. G8 leaders should better define their health commitments and set a one-year deadline for their delivery. In addition, Member States must seek WHO's support and set up an institution for G8 health ministers. (author's)
Integration of the human rights of women and a gender perspective: violence against women. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Erturk. Addendum. Mission to Mexico.
[Geneva, Switzerland], United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, 2006 Jan 13. 26 p. (E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.4)The present report contains the findings of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences on her mission to Mexico, which took place from 21 to 25 February 2005. It addresses the diverse forms of violence against women in the country and identifies key measures and initiatives needed to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of women and the elimination of violence against women. The Government of Mexico is party to a range of international standards that provide women with protection, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women. While the different levels of Government have taken significant steps towards fulfilling their international obligations, there is a need to do more to improve the police and justice sectors as well as the coordination between federal and State levels. The present report makes the case that the high levels of violence against women in Mexico are both consequence and symptom of widespread gender discrimination and inequality. Additional layers of discrimination on the basis of national origin, ethnicity or socio-economic status coupled with a lack of equal access to State protection intersect with gender discrimination and make some groups of women - namely migrant, poor and indigenous women - particularly vulnerable to violence. (excerpt)
Unkept promises: what the numbers say about poverty and gender. An international citizen's progress report on poverty eradication and gender equity. Advance Social Watch report 2005.
Montevideo, Uruguay, Social Watch, 2005. 114 p. (Social Watch Report)Almost five years have passed since the largest gathering ever of heads of State and government made this solemn promise to the peoples of the world: "we will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty."1 Almost ten years have passed since the leaders of the world solemnly committed themselves in Copenhagen "to the goal of eradicating poverty in the world, through decisive national actions and international cooperation, as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of humankind."2 This is an ambitious agenda. So much so that it was compared by many leaders to the historic task of slavery abolition in the 19th century. Inspired by the Copenhagen Declaration and the complementary Beijing Platform for Action towards gender equity, 3 citizen groups from all over the world came together to form the Social Watch network. Every year since then, Social Watch has published a comprehensive report monitoring the governments' compliance with their international commitments. The findings of the national Social Watch coalitions in over 60 countries and the analysis of the available indicators coincide: the promises have remained largely unmet. Unless substantial changes are put in place soon, the targets set for the year 2015 will not be achieved. (excerpt)
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2005 Feb. 79 p. (UNAIDS/05.28E)This report summarizes UNAIDS' assistance to countries in 2004 and 2005. Drawn from the reports of UNAIDS' Country Coordinators from over 75 countries, the report is divided into five chapters. Basic information on UNAIDS and how it operates, especially at country-level. How UNAIDS is contributing to implementation of the "Three Ones" principles. The many ways in which UNAIDS has assisted countries in strengthening their responses to AIDS. How UNAIDS is working to enhance the United Nations system's capacity to assist countries in responding to AIDS. How UNAIDS plans to meet key challenges for the future. (excerpt)
Adolescence Education Newsletter. 2005 Dec; 8(2):3.The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has launched the State of World Population 2005 report. Its central message is that, in the next decade, the world can free hundreds of millions of people from poverty, save the lives of 30 million children and two million mothers, and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS -- all by strategic investments in various aspects of the quality of life for women and young people, particularly education, sexual and reproductive health (SRH), and economic opportunities. One of the key chapters of the report addresses the current reproductive health situation for young people, who now comprise nearly half the world's population. It describes how gender-based expectations greatly influence the experience of adolescence -- often times diminishing opportunities and increasing risks for girls. The report calls the adolescent population a "missing link" in the policy and budgets of many national governments, saying "though many countries have developed youth policies or programmes, few give youth concerns the concerted and sustained attention they deserve." (excerpt)
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2006 May; 84(5):338.The context for this theme collection is the publication of the report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health. The report of the Commission -- instigated by WHO's World Health Assembly in 2003 -- was an attempt to gather all the stakeholders involved to analyse the relationship between intellectual property rights, innovation and public health, with a particular focus on the question of funding and incentive mechanisms for the creation of new medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tests, to tackle diseases disproportionately affecting developing countries. In reality, generating a common analysis in the face of the divergent perspectives of stakeholders, and indeed of the Commission, presented a challenge. As in many fields -- not least in public health -- the evidence base is insufficient and contested. Even when the evidence is reasonably clear, its significance, or the appropriate conclusions to be drawn from it, may be interpreted very differently according to the viewpoint of the observer. (excerpt)
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2006 May; 84(5):337-424.Developing countries are failing to make full use of flexibilities built into the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to overcome patent barriers and, in turn, allow them to acquire the medicines they need for high priority diseases, in particular, HIV/AIDS. First-line antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for HIV/AIDS have become more affordable and available in recent years, but for patients facing drug resistance and side-effects, second-line ARV drugs and other newer formulations are likely to remain prohibitively expensive and inaccessible in many countries. The problem is that many of these countries are not using all the tools at their disposal to overcome these barriers. Medicines protected by patents tend to be expensive, as pharmaceutical companies try to recoup their research and development (R&D) costs. When there is generic competition prices can be driven down dramatically. The TRIPS Agreement came into effect on 1 January 1995 setting out minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property, including patents on pharmaceuticals. Under that agreement, since 2005 new drugs may be subject to at least 20 years of patent protection in all, apart from in the least-developed countries and a few non-WTO Members, such as Somalia. Successful AIDS programmes, such as those in Brazil and Thailand, have only been possible because key pharmaceuticals were not patent protected and could be produced locally at much lower cost. For example, when the Brazilian Government began producing generic AIDS drugs in 2000, prices dropped. AIDS triple-combination therapy, which costs US$ 10 000 per patient per year in industrialized countries, can now be obtained from Indian generic drugs company, Cipla, for less than US$ 200 per year. This puts ARV treatment within reach of many more people. (excerpt)
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2006 Apr; 84(4):327-332.Every year, WHO produces the World health report: the 2005 report concentrated on maternal, neonatal and child health. But what is the value of these reports? Are they ritualistic publications designed to promote WHO, or are they worthy of proper discussion and debate? One would think that given the current crises in global health, the annual report of the UN's primary agency for health would be important. However, unless there is evidence that these reports are taken seriously, discussed and debated, and shown to have an effect, a conclusion might be drawn that they are largely insignificant. And that would consign WHO to a level of insignificance that it does not warrant. In this discussion of the 2005 report, I aim to provoke a response from both WHO and the international health community to demonstrate that the annual World health reports are meaningful. Furthermore, I suggest here that WHO shows its commitment to the recommendations of the 2005 report by monitoring how well recommendations have been taken forward. (author's)
Adapted for use in former Soviet countries, WHO/US government PMTCT protocols are introduced in three Russian cities.
Connections. 2005 Aug-Sep;  p..HIV/AIDS is called a women's disease in African countries because almost 60 percent of the people infected with the virus are women. This comparison may soon also be relevant for Russia where the relative share of women among people with HIV is rising steadily. In some regions it is already in excess of 40 percent. Russian experts attribute this situation to the development of the commercial sex trade, as well as to a rising rate of transmission through sexual contact with drug users. The gravest situation is the escalating incidence of HIV/AIDS among women of childbearing age, especially those between 15 and 30. More and more cases of the disease are being reported in this group. Many of them are diagnosed during pregnancy, which translates to a corresponding increase the number of HIV-infected children in Russia. At the start of 2005, approximately 10,000 such children had been registered, whereas in 1996 there were only 18 of them. While it is practically impossible to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among adults, mother-to-child transmission of the virus can be controlled. The question, "How?" is complex and multifaceted. It was discussed in detail by participants in a series of workshops sponsored by UNICEF and AIHA in three Russian cities-- Magnitogorsk, Orenburg, and Chelyabinsk--between May and August this year. (excerpt)
Lancet. 2006 Feb 4; 367(9508):396.Zimbabwe is a small country in southern Africa that is in the midst of an economic, political, social, and HIV/AIDS crisis. Over the past few years at least a quarter of the population, including most of its doctors and nurses, has emigrated, leaving behind them a crumbling health-care system, which was once the envy of most of Africa, and one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world. Zimbabwe does not see any of the US government's PEPFAR funds, and has been excluded from many bilateral programmes designed to improve access to HIV care and treatment. (excerpt)
Forced Migration Review. 2005 Jul; (Spec No):12-14.The tsunami was a tragic reminder that some people are always more vulnerable than others. The vast majority who lost their lives were people living in poverty, forced to live in inadequate housing along the shoreline. In the Maldives – which had only been removed from the UN’s least developed country category six days before the disaster – it was the poor, who do not have bank accounts and so keep money at home, who lost the most. Damage to the island republic has been estimated at 62% of GDP and is expected to reduce the country’s economic growth rate from the pre-tsunami forecast of 7.5% pa to only 1%. In all affected states initial responses to the tsunami were shaped by fears that the accumulation of dead bodies would represent a major threat to public health. Human bodies are indeed a source of emotional stress and their collection is important from a psychosocial perspective. However, efforts to explain to people that corpses do not represent an immediate health threat were half-hearted. In the general rush to dispose of bodies many traditional ritual practices were set aside, leading to a lingering sense of guilt that will need to be addressed through counselling. (excerpt)
Global Task Team on Improving AIDS Coordination among Multilateral Institutions and International Donors. Final report.
Geneva, Switzerland, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV / AIDS [UNAIDS], 2005 Jun 14. 32 p.The Global Task Team recognizes that the world must do more to effectively tackle AIDS in the years to come. Strengthening coordination, alignment and harmonization, in the context of the “Three Ones” principles, UN reform, the Millennium Development Goals, and the OECD/DAC Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, is essential for rapid scale-up of the AIDS response. National ownership of plans and priorities is the overarching rubric that efforts to harmonize and align must support and under which coordination efforts should occur. Within this rubric, the Global Task Team has focused primarily on ways UN system organizations and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria can rapidly improve the alignment and quality of their support to national AIDS responses, make money currently available work for people infected and affected by HIV, and ultimately support the scale-up of prevention and treatment programmes. The recommendations are presented under four main headings: 1. Empowering inclusive national leadership and ownership 2. Alignment and harmonization 3. Reform for a more effective multilateral response 4. Accountability and oversight. (excerpt)
Habitat Debate. 2005 Sep; 11(3):19.Leo Tolstoy famously wrote that all happy families are alike, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. If the same can be said about dysfunctional cities, we must be prepared to deal with the unique micro-realities of each ailing community. This can only be done practically by encouraging residents to engage in a form of therapy that begins with local self-discovery. This must be a central aim in monitoring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In an economically pressurized world where more than 95 percent of all development decisions are made by members of civil society, each acting more or less in their own self-interest, central coordinative systems of governance are failing. Squatters and slumlords everywhere make their choices outside the world of plans and regulations, as do an increasing number of small-scale entrepreneurs. This self-interest promotes unsustainable urban development, inhibiting a cooperative vision for the future that the complex urban ecology demands. The collective future is no-one’s baby and in effect has become an orphan. (excerpt)
Habitat Debate. 2002 Dec; 8(4): p..Over the past fifteen years, there has been increasing evidence of the advantages of involving “the beneficiaries” in the development process. From a relatively passive involvement as providers of information, this involvement has changed both quantitatively and qualitatively, so that it is now accepted that the stakeholders should be involved in all stages of the process from design to implementation and evaluation. Through such involvement, civil society, especially the poor, effectively become partners in the project and the development process. The Urban Management Programme (UMP), a joint programme of UN-HABITAT, UNDP and the World Bank, has extended this principle to other domains of governance, partly out of recognition that government alone is not able to decide on the priority issues and the future vision for the city. More significantly, bringing the civil society into the development process as partners provides more than just additional resources. The increase in commitment, knowledge and expertise plus the shared sense of ownership provide better chances for successful outcomes. (excerpt)
Habitat Debate. 2002 Dec; 8(4): p..Initiated by the Huairou Commission, the local-to-local dialogues represent an innovative global strategy which is grounded in local action. It is a method by which organizations engage in an on-going dialogue with local authorities to forge sustainable development. The Huairou Commission publicized the project through its global networks, GROOTS International, HIC Women and Shelter, International Council of Women (ICW), Women and Peace, Women Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), International women and Cities Network. This was the means by which organizations interested in moving in this direction decided to combine their local efforts with this global initiative. (excerpt)
Habitat Debate. 2002 Dec; 8(4): p..Since 1997, the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) has actively promoted gender equality through its international task force on Women in Local Government. The task force has been addressing the political and professional under representation of women in decision making positions, and has developed both gender mainstreaming, and positive action in local government policy development and service provision. The IULA policy paper and the Worldwide Declaration on Women in Local Government is a result of broad consultations with IULA’s inter governmental and UN partners. In the coming years the Global Programme should result in IULA becoming the worldwide source of key information regarding women in local decision making. The overall programme objective is to promote equal representation of women in local government decision-making and the mainstreaming of gender in local government policy-making and service-provision through awareness raising, training programmes for women officials and production of materials to support the advancement of women. (excerpt)
Reproductions. 2000 Apr; (3): p..THIS is with reference to the note on "Politics of Population and Development.” There is much evidence to suggest that population control figures as a major item in the agenda of governments and international agencies. Initiatives taken prior to Rio 92 conference and elsewhere indicate that the population question is emerging as a major question. In national reports prepared for UNCED, population dynamics was listed as one of the three major problems by more than 90 per cent of developing countries with reference to planning for sustainable development. As usual, they needed more funding and technical assistance to meet the increasing demands of population programmes and family planning services. (excerpt)
American Journal of Public Health. 2005 Jul; 95(7):1091-1092.In recent years the World Bank has become “the world’s largest external funder of health.” According to Ruger, this situation reflects the Bank’s increased sensitivity to poverty and its growing sophistication— beginning under the leadership of US Secretary of Defense turned World Bank President (1968–1981) Robert McNamara—about development theory and practice. Such an uncritical portrayal befits the World Bank’s own Web site (a major source for Ruger’s article), but Journal readers should expect more. Missing from this officialist version are discussions of the Bank’s undemocratic governance and decision-making structures; the untoward human effects of longstanding World Bank pro-privatization policies and practices, most notably structural adjustment programs (which have denuded the social welfare infrastructure of developing countries in areas such as housing, education, health services, subsidies, and family transfers); and the impact on health of the Bank’s newfound focus on the health sector. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., International Center for Research on Women [ICRW], 1998. 16 p. (ICRW Working Paper No. 6)How is it that 556 million women and girls throughout the world are illiterate, and this is not viewed as a violation of their right to education? When 600,000 women die annually as a result of complications of pregnancy, and an additional 18 million women suffer from pregnancy-related morbidities that go untreated, how is this not seen as a failure of governments to meet their obligations to promote, protect, and fulfill women's rights to the most basic attainable standard of health? How can the feminization of poverty be viewed as anything less than a violation of women's rights to an adequate standard of living, equal access to employment, credit, property, and training? These alarming statistics constitute the foundation of the literature on women in development (WID), and are generally referred to as "the state of the world's women." The time has come to call these realities what they truly are: human rights violations. It is fitting that the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 1948--comes at a time when a new discourse on human rights and development is emerging. This new thinking is especially important to the field of women in development, as it holds the potential of launching a revitalized effort toward ensuring gender equity and equality for the next century. This trend, however, has only recently begun to gain a sense of currency among WID researchers and practitioners. Until recently, the promotion and protection of human rights and the realization of sustainable development have been viewed as separate domains. Notably, development measures are rarely viewed as contributing to the realization of specific human rights--for example, the right to food--when that is precisely what such measures have done. (excerpt)
[Sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. A question of human rights] Saúde sexual e reprodutiva e direitos reprodutivos. Uma questão de direitos humanos.
Sexualidade & Planeamento Familiar. 2001 Nov-Dec; (32):45-52.There is currently an international consensus that reproductive rights are human rights. In the work, it is defended that, although the governments have taken some steps to guide and broaden the services in order to better satisfy the sexual and reproductive health needs of the populations, to advance equality and parity between the sexes and to promote reproductive rights, it is necessary to do much more to make health and reproductive rights a reality for women and men in the entire world. The UN Conference and the agreement about reproductive health (RH) and reproductive rights (RR). Any of the global Conferences that the UN holds in this decade - each one focusing on an important, different and particular question - amplifies the same common message: that to have success, the development efforts should be centered on the people. Ensuring human rights and satisfying the basic necessities of the people are the first critical steps in the resolution of global problems. The right to development itself included key elements such as broadening the access of the population to basic social services and sustaining means of life, balancing the interaction between people, resources and the environment and equitably reconciling the needs of the present with those of future generations. (excerpt)