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Donor leverage and access to bird flu vaccines

Indonesia believed WHO’s approach to sharing bird flu samples was overly accommodating to corporate priorities, and that it could use leverage to redress inequities. The same approach could be applied to other biological materials and personal data, such as those gathered in clinical trials.

>by CHAN Chee Khoon, Women’s Development Research Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang.

AuthorAID is brought to the test

>by Anthony Robbins and Phyllis Freeman

Co-editors Journal of Public Health Policy

SUMMARY: AuthorAID aims to help developing country researchers publish their work in ways that will have the greatest influence - on research, policy and action - by pairing authors with scientific mentors and 'author's editors'. The concept has met a strong response amongst health researchers interested in influencing health policy, but it can be applied to almost any subject. If funding efforts succeed, a major trial is about to begin under the auspices of the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), focusing on tropical disease research, biological and water resources. Readers are invited to participate.

Japan's health revolution to be bestowed on Africa

Post-war Japan tackled several tropical diseases with community action - now it will help Africa do the same

Co-editors Journal of Public Health Policy

SUMMARY: After the devastation of the Second World War, Japan was mostly rural and in a state not unlike that of sub-Saharan Africa today - but using the concept of 'village living' it succeeded in creating massive improvements in national health, and in the economy, within two decades. Malaria, leprosy, schistosomiasis and filariasis were eradicated. Through its new Health Development Initiative, and research in the Millennium Villages Project, Japan aims to encourage Africa to follow a similar path, towards and beyond the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

>by Andy Crump (i) and Taro Yamamoto (ii)

Time to analyse tropical disease research

>by Robert Ridley and Hans Remme (Director, TDR; Coordinator, Science Strategy and Knowledge, TDR), May 06


SUMMARY: With so many organizations now at work in global health research, there is a greater need than ever to develop a shared agenda with commonly agreed priorities - so that each group can contribute unique value. An analysis by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical diseases (TDR) should provide insights for a new strategy.

Promoting evidence-based health care in Africa through training in research synthesis

>by Taryn Young, Jimmy Volmink (South African Cochrane Centre, South African Medical Research Council), May 06


SUMMARY: Reliable information to guide health care practice and policy is buried in a sea of studies of mixed quality. Research synthesis, a method of tracking, appraising, and summarizing primary research, has become an important tool for evidence-based practice and policy. Expertise in the process is however still very limited in Africa. The South Africa Cochrane Centre was established to change this situation through training.

Scaling ‘3 by 5’ to Universal Access requires enhanced prevention

>by Wim Van Damme, Katharina Kober, Guy Kegels, and Marie Laga (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium)


SUMMARY: In countries of high incidence of HIV/AIDS, within 20 years health systems that were mainly set up to deliver maternal and child health services and care for acute episodes of disease will have to cater for large numbers of people living in need of lifelong chronic disease care (1,2). Critical, context-specific thinking on the scale and nature of the challenges ahead for AIDS treatment, and the assistance provided by scaled-up prevention, is essential if universal access is to be achieved. Meanwhile local communities are of necessity developing their own solutions, which deserve scientific study.

WHO to debate global R&D "framework"

Square brackets – to enclose controversial text – now litter a resolution from Kenya and Brazil for May’s World Health Assembly. The resolution calls for debate on a radical proposal to transform global health R&D, but the organization’s Executive Board is pulling the punches. Never-theless there could still be significant developments.


by James Love, Director, Consumer Project on Technology, Washington


(March 06)

AIDS care threatened by crisis in human resources for health in sub-Saharan Africa

Local, internationally-shared research is urgently needed to investigate the requirements for health staff in different delivery models for antiretroviral therapy, and to estimate how compatible these are with local availability of those staff. Innovative approaches to ART delivery, in public and private facilities, and in communities and civil society organisations, should also be studied, to investigate and compare their effectiveness.


By Wim Van Damme, Katharina Kober, Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium (Sept 05)

Action research to prevent non-communicable disease

Global organizations are needed to face the rapidly growing challenge in low and middle income countries of research for non-communicable diseases, which are deeply culture and context-dependent. But research on NCDs in developed countries is at least partially relevant, and a new research partnership between developing and developed countries – CAPCoD - is edging open the door.


By Corrie Paeglow, Mahmood Adil, Derek Yach - Global Health Division, Yale School of Epidemiology and Public Health (Sept 05)