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1.  Reverse innovation: an opportunity for strengthening health systems 
Globalization and Health  2015;11(1):2.
Canada, when compared to other OECD countries, ranks poorly with respect to innovation and innovation adoption while struggling with increasing health system costs. As a result of its failure to innovate, the Canadian health system will struggle to meet the needs and demands of both current and future populations. The purpose of this initiative was to explore if a competition-based reverse innovation challenge could mobilize and stimulate current and future leaders to identify and lead potential reverse innovation projects that address health system challenges in Canada.
An open call for applications took place over a 4-month period. Applicants were enticed to submit to the competition with a $50,000 prize for the top submission to finance their project. Leaders from a wide cross-section of sectors collectively developed evaluation criteria and graded the submissions. The criteria evaluated: proof of concept, potential value, financial impact, feasibility, and scalability as well as the use of prize money and innovation team.
The competition received 12 submissions from across Canada that identified potential reverse innovations from 18 unique geographical locations that were considered developing and/or emerging markets. The various submissions addressed health system challenges relating to education, mobile health, aboriginal health, immigrant health, seniors health and women’s health and wellness. Of the original 12 submissions, 5 finalists were chosen and publically profiled, and 1 was chosen to receive the top prize.
The results of this initiative demonstrate that a competition that is targeted to reverse innovation does have the potential to mobilize and stimulate leaders to identify reverse innovations that have the potential for system level impact. The competition also provided important insights into the capacity of Canadian students, health care providers, entrepreneurs, and innovators to propose and implement reverse innovation in the context of the Canadian health system.
PMCID: PMC4328056
Reverse innovation; Innovation; Health; Health systems; Costs; Leadership development; Competition
2.  China’s role as a global health donor in Africa: what can we learn from studying under reported resource flows? 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):84.
There is a growing recognition of China’s role as a global health donor, in particular in Africa, but there have been few systematic studies of the level, destination, trends, or composition of these development finance flows or a comparison of China’s engagement as a donor with that of more traditional global health donors.
Using newly released data from AidData on China’s development finance activities in Africa, developed to track under reported resource flows, we identified 255 health, population, water, and sanitation (HPWS) projects from 2000–2012, which we descriptively analyze by activity sector, recipient country, project type, and planned activity. We compare China’s activities to projects from traditional donors using data from the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Creditor Reporting System.
Since 2000, China increased the number of HPWS projects it supported in Africa and health has increased as a development priority for China. China’s contributions are large, ranking it among the top 10 bilateral global health donors to Africa. Over 50% of the HPWS projects target infrastructure, 40% target human resource development, and the provision of equipment and drugs is also common. Malaria is an important disease priority but HIV is not. We find little evidence that China targets health aid preferentially to natural resource rich countries.
China is an important global health donor to Africa but contrasts with traditional DAC donors through China’s focus on health system inputs and on malaria. Although better data are needed, particularly through more transparent aid data reporting across ministries and agencies, China’s approach to South-South cooperation represents an important and distinct source of financial assistance for health in Africa.
PMCID: PMC4298065  PMID: 25547314
China; Africa; South-South cooperation; Development assistance for health; Foreign aid; Politics; Health systems; Malaria; Human resources for health
3.  Involvement of low- and middle-income countries in randomized controlled trial publications in oncology 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):83.
We describe trends in participation by investigators from low- and middle-income countries (LMCs) in publications describing oncology randomized control trials (RCTs) over a decade.
We used Medline to identify RCTs published in English from 1998 to 2008 evaluating treatment in lung, breast, colorectal, stomach and liver cancers. Data on author affiliations, authorship roles, trial characteristics, funding and interventions were extracted from each article. Countries were stratified as low-, middle- or high-income using World Bank data. Interventions were categorized as requiring basic, limited, enhanced or maximal resources as per the Breast Health Global Initiative classification. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with authorship by investigators from LMCs.
454 publications were identified. Proportion of articles with at least one LMC author increased over time from 20% in 1998 to 29% in 2008 (p = 0.01), but almost all LMC authors were from middle-income countries. Proportion of articles with at least one LMC author was higher among articles that explicitly reported recruitment in at least one LMC vs those that did not (76% vs 13%). Among 87 articles (19%) that involved authors from LMCs, 17% had LMC authors as first or corresponding authors, and 67% evaluated interventions requiring enhanced or maximal resources. Factors associated with LMC authorship included industry funding (OR = 3.54, p = 0.0001), placebo comparator arm (OR = 2.57, p = 0.02) and palliative intent treatment (OR = 4.00, p = 0.0003).
An increasing number of publications describing oncology RCTs involve authors from LMC countries but primarily in non-leadership roles in industry-funded trials.
PMCID: PMC4273324  PMID: 25498958
Randomized controlled trials; Publications; Cancer; Low and middle income countries; Authorship; Sponsorship
4.  Non‐Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in developing countries: a symposium report 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):81.
In recent years, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have globally shown increasing impact on health status in populations with disproportionately higher rates in developing countries. NCDs are the leading cause of mortality worldwide and a serious public health threat to developing countries. Recognizing the importance and urgency of the issue, a one-day symposium was organized on NCDs in Developing Countries by the CIHLMU Center for International Health, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich on 22nd March 2014. The objective of the symposium was to understand the current situation of different NCDs public health programs and the current trends in NCDs research and policy, promote exchange of ideas, encourage scientific debate and foster networking, partnerships and opportunities among experts from different clinical, research, and policy fields. The symposium was attended by more than seventy participants representing scientists, physicians, academics and students from several institutes in Germany and abroad. Seven key note presentations were made at the symposium by experts from Germany, UK, France, Bangladesh and Vietnam. This paper highlights the presentations and discussions during the symposium on different aspects of NCDs in developing countries. The symposium elucidated the dynamics of NCDs in developing countries and invited the participants to learn about evidence-based practices and policies for prevention and management of major NCDs and to debate the way forward.
PMCID: PMC4267750  PMID: 25498459
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs); Developing countries; Symposium
5.  Adapting to the health impacts of climate change in a sustainable manner 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):82.
The climate is changing and this poses significant threats to human health. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing Pacific Island countries and territories due to their unique geophysical features, and their social, economic and cultural characteristics. The Pacific region also faces challenges with widely dispersed populations, limited resources and fragmented health systems. Over the past few years, there has been a substantial increase in international aid for health activities aimed at adapting to the threats of climate change. This funding needs to be used strategically to ensure an effective approach to reducing the health risk from climate change. Respecting the principles of development effectiveness will result in more effective and sustainable adaptation, in particular, 1) processes should be owned and driven by local communities, 2) investments should be aligned with existing national priorities and policies, and 3) existing systems must not be ignored, but rather expanded upon and reinforced.
PMCID: PMC4271334  PMID: 25498769
Climate; Change; Adaptation; Health; Resilience; Development effectiveness; Harmonisation; Alignment
6.  Integration of community home based care programmes within national primary health care revitalisation strategies in Ethiopia, Malawi, South-Africa and Zambia: a comparative assessment 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):85.
In 2008, the WHO facilitated the primary health care (PHC) revitalisation agenda. The purpose was to strengthen African health systems in order to address communicable and non-communicable diseases. Our aim was to assess the position of civil society-led community home based care programmes (CHBC), which serve the needs of patients with HIV, within this agenda. We examined how their roles and place in health systems evolved, and the prospects for these programmes in national policies and strategies to revitalise PHC, as new health care demands arise.
The study was conducted in Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia and used an historical, comparative research design. We used purposive sampling in the selection of countries and case studies of CHBC programmes. Qualitative methods included semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, service observation and community mapping exercises. Quantitative methods included questionnaire surveys.
The capacity of PHC services increased rapidly in the mid-to-late 2000s via CHBC programme facilitation of community mobilisation and participation in primary care services and the exceptional investments for HIV/AIDS. CHBC programmes diversified their services in response to the changing health and social care needs of patients on lifelong anti-retroviral therapy and there is a general trend to extend service delivery beyond HIV-infected patients. We observed similarities in the way the governments of South Africa, Malawi and Zambia are integrating CHBC programmes into PHC by making PHC facilities the focal point for management and state-paid community health workers responsible for the supervision of community-based activities. Contextual differences were found between Ethiopia, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia, whereby the policy direction of the latter two countries is to have in place structures and mechanisms that actively connect health and social welfare interventions from governmental and non-governmental actors.
Countries may differ in the means to integrate and co-ordinate government and civil society agencies but the net result is expanded PHC capacity. In a context of changing health care demands, CHBC programmes are a vital mechanism for the delivery of primary health and social welfare services.
PMCID: PMC4279695  PMID: 25499098
Community and home based care; Primary health care; Integration; Co-ordination; Integrated care; Chronic care
7.  A concept in flux: questioning accountability in the context of global health cooperation 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):73.
Accountability in global health is a commonly invoked though less commonly questioned concept. Critically reflecting on the concept and how it is put into practice, this paper focuses on the who, what, how, and where of accountability, mapping its defining features and considering them with respect to real-world circumstances. Changing dynamics in global health cooperation - such as the emergence of new health public-private partnerships and the formal inclusion of non-state actors in policy making processes - provides the backdrop to this discussion.
Accountability is frequently reduced to one set of actors holding another to account. Changes in the global health landscape and in relations between actors have however made the practice of accountability more complex and contested. Currently undergoing a reframing process, participation and transparency have become core elements of a new accountability agenda alongside evaluation and redress or enforcement mechanisms. However, while accountability is about holding actors responsible for their actions, the mechanisms through which this might be done vary substantially and are far from politically neutral.
Accountability in global health cooperation involves multipolar relationships between a large number of stakeholders with varying degrees of power and influence, where not all interests are realised in that relationship. Moreover, accountability differs across finance, programme and governance subfields, where each has its own set of policy processes, institutional structures, accountability relations and power asymmetries to contend with. With reference to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, this paper contributes to discussions on accountability by mapping out key elements of the concept and how it is put into practice, where different types of accountability battle for recognition and legitimacy.
In mapping some defining features, accountability in global health cooperation is shown to be a complex problem not necessarily reducible to one set of actors holding another to account. Clear tensions are observed between multi-stakeholder participatory models and more traditional vertical models that prioritise accountability upwards to donors, both of which are embodied in initiatives like the Global Fund. For multi-constituency organisations, this poses challenges not only for future financing but also for future legitimacy.
PMCID: PMC4258948  PMID: 25487705
Accountability; Global health; Health policy analysis; Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS; Tuberculosis and Malaria
8.  The economic burden of diabetes in India: a review of the literature 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):80.
Diabetes and its complications are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in India, and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is on the rise. This calls for an assessment of the economic burden of the disease.
To conduct a critical review of the literature on cost of illness studies of diabetes and its complications in India.
A comprehensive literature review addressing the study objective was conducted. An extraction table and a scoring system to assess the quality of the studies reviewed were developed.
A total of nineteen articles from different regions of India met the study inclusion criteria. The third party payer perspective was the most common study design (17 articles) while fewer articles (n =2) reported on costs from a health system or societal perspective. All the articles included direct costs and only a few (n =4) provided estimates for indirect costs based on income loss for patients and carers. Drug costs proved to be a significant cost component in several studies (n =12). While middle and high-income groups had higher expenditure in absolute terms, costs constituted a higher proportion of income for the poor. The economic burden was highest among urban groups. The overall quality of the studies is low due to a number of methodological weaknesses. The most frequent epidemiological approach employed was the prevalence-based one (n =18) while costs were mainly estimated using a bottom up approach (n =15).
The body of literature on the costs of diabetes and its complications in India provides a fragmented picture that has mostly concentrated on the direct costs borne by individuals rather than the healthcare system. There is a need to develop a robust methodology to perform methodologically rigorous and transparent cost of illness studies to inform policy decisions.
PMCID: PMC4279984  PMID: 25443136
India; Diabetes; Cost of illness; Economic burden; Out-of-pocket expenditure
9.  Looking at non-communicable diseases in Uganda through a local lens: an analysis using locally derived data 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):77.
The demographic and nutritional transitions taking place in Uganda, just as in other low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), are leading to accelerating growth of chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Though still sparse, locally derived data on NCDs in Uganda has increased greatly over the past five years and will soon be bolstered by the first nationally representative data set on NCDs. Using these available local data, we describe the landscape of the globally recognized major NCDs- cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease- and closely examine what is known about other locally important chronic conditions. For example, mental health disorders, spawned by an extended civil war, and highly prevalent NCD risk factors such as excessive alcohol intake and road traffic accidents, warrant special attention in Uganda. Additionally, we explore public sector capacity to tackle NCDs, including Ministry of Health NCD financing and health facility and healthcare worker preparedness. Finally, we describe a number of promising initiatives that are addressing the Ugandan NCD epidemic. These include multi-sector partnerships focused on capacity building and health systems strengthening; a model civil society collaboration leading a regional coalition; and a novel alliance of parliamentarians lobbying for NCD policy. Lessons learned from the ongoing Ugandan experience will inform other LMIC, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, as they restructure their health systems to address the growing NCD epidemic.
PMCID: PMC4240853  PMID: 25406738
Non-communicable diseases; Chronic conditions; Low- and middle-income countries; Uganda; Health system financing; Multi-sector collaboration
10.  Contract Research Organizations (CROs) in China: integrating Chinese research and development capabilities for global drug innovation 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):78.
The significance of R&D capabilities of China has become increasingly important as an emerging force in the context of globalization of pharmaceutical research and development (R&D). While China has prospered in its R&D capability in the past decade, how to integrate the rising pharmaceutical R&D capability of China into the global development chain for innovative drugs remains challenging. For many multinational corporations and research organizations overseas, their attempt to integrate China’s pharmaceutical R&D capabilities into their own is always hindered by policy constraints and reluctance of local universities and pharmaceutical firms. In light of the situation, contract research organizations (CROs) in China have made great innovation in value proposition, value chain and value networking to be at a unique position to facilitate global and local R&D integration. Chinese CROs are now being considered as the essentially important and highly versatile integrator of local R&D capability for global drug discovery and innovation.
PMCID: PMC4240890  PMID: 25406839
Contract research organization; CRO; Pharmaceutical R&D; Global integration; China
11.  Evidence for cost-effectiveness of lifestyle primary preventions for cardiovascular disease in the Asia-Pacific Region: a systematic review 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):79.
Countries of the Asia Pacific region account for a major share of the global burden of disease due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and this burden is rising over time. Modifiable behavioural risk factors for CVD are considered a key target for reduction in incidence but their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness tend to depend on country context. However, no systematic assessment of cost-effectiveness of interventions addressing behavioural risk factors in the region exists.
A systematic review of the published literature on cost-effectiveness of interventions targeting modifiable behavioural risk factors for CVD was undertaken. Inclusion criteria were (a) countries in Asia and the Pacific, (b) studies that had conducted economic evaluations of interventions (c) published papers in major economic and public health databases and (d) a comprehensive list of search words to identify appropriate articles. All authors independently examined the final list of articles relating to methodology and findings.
Under our inclusion criteria a total of 28 studies, with baseline years ranging from 1990 to 2012, were included in the review, 19 conducted in high-income countries of the region. Reviewed studies assessed cost-effectiveness of interventions for tobacco control, alcohol reduction, salt intake control, physical activity and dietary interventions. The majority of cost-effectiveness analyses were simulation analyses mostly relying on developed country data, and only 6 studies used effectiveness data from RCTs in the region. Other than for Australia, no direct conclusions could be drawn about cost-effectiveness of interventions targeting behavioural risk factors due to the small number of studies, interventions that varied widely in design, and varied methods for measurement of costs associated with interventions.
Good quality cost-effectiveness information on interventions targeting behavioural interventions for the Asia-Pacific region remains a major gap in the literature.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12992-014-0079-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4251847  PMID: 25406936
CVD; Systematic review; Cost effectiveness; Asia-pacific region
12.  Illicit cigarette consumption and government revenue loss in Indonesia 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):75.
Illicit cigarettes comprise more than 11% of tobacco consumption and 17% of consumption in low- and middle-income countries. Illicit cigarettes, defined as those that evade taxes, lower consumer prices, threaten national tobacco control efforts, and reduce excise tax collection.
This paper measures the magnitude of illicit cigarette consumption within Indonesia using two methods: the discrepancies between legal cigarette sales and domestic consumption estimated from surveys, and discrepancies between imports recorded by Indonesia and exports recorded by trade partners. Smuggling plays a minor role in the availability of illicit cigarettes because Indonesians predominantly consume kreteks, which are primarily manufactured in Indonesia.
Looking at the period from 1995 to 2013, illicit cigarettes first emerged in 2004. When no respondent under-reporting is assumed, illicit consumption makes up 17% of the domestic market in 2004, 9% in 2007, 11% in 2011, and 8% in 2013. Discrepancies in the trade data indicate that Indonesia was a recipient of smuggled cigarettes for each year between 1995 and 2012. The value of this illicit trade ranges from less than $1 million to nearly $50 million annually. Singapore, China, and Vietnam together accounted for nearly two-thirds of trade discrepancies over the period. Tax losses due to illicit consumption amount to between Rp 4.1 and 9.3 trillion rupiah, 4% to 13% of tobacco excise revenue, in 2011 and 2013.
Due to the predominance of kretek consumption in Indonesia and Indonesia’s status as the predominant producer of kreteks, illicit domestic production is likely the most important source for illicit cigarettes, and initiatives targeted to combat this illicit production carry the promise of the greatest potential impact.
PMCID: PMC4251944  PMID: 25406595
Illicit; Kretek; Cigarette; Tax loss; Indonesia
13.  Development assistance for health given to Nepal by China and India: a comparative study 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):76.
Development assistance for health (DAH) promotes health development in low and middle income countries. China and India, as emerging donors, have scaled-up their DAH programs during the recent years. Nepal, as a neighboring country to China and India, has witnessed the history and development of China’s and India’s DAH.
This research uses a literature review and in-depth individual interviewing to compare the history and forms of DAH given from China and India to Nepal.
During 60-years of DAH to Nepal, China and India have gradually increased the scale and forms of DAH, and both focus on dispatching medical teams or faculty, building health facilities and gifting medicines and equipment. However, the inclusiveness of Nepalese culture, diplomatic interests, and Nepal’s cultural, linguistic and geographical closeness to India make the DAH of India different from that of China. India’s DAH also includes support to grass roots NGOs and public health interventions.
China’s and India’s insistence on a recipient-driven mechanism keeps the aid programs aligned with Nepal’s health development plan and respects Nepal’s “ownership”. China can learn from India to start the development assistance for health related NGOs and public health intervention.
PMCID: PMC4255654  PMID: 25406661
China; India; Nepal; Development Assistance for Health
14.  A systematic mapping of funders of maternal health intervention research 2000–2012 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):72.
The priorities of research funding bodies govern the research agenda, which has important implications for the provision of evidence to inform policy. This study examines the research funding landscape for maternal health interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
This review draws on a database of 2340 academic papers collected through a large-scale systematic mapping of research on maternal health interventions in LMICs published from 2000–2012. The names of funders acknowledged on each paper were extracted and categorised into groups. It was noted whether support took a specific form, such as staff fellowships or drugs. Variations between funder types across regions and topics of research were assessed.
Funding sources were only reported in 1572 (67%) of articles reviewed. A high number of different funders (685) were acknowledged, but only a few dominated funding of published research. Bilateral funders, national research agencies and private foundations were most prominent, while private companies were most commonly acknowledged for support ‘in kind’. The intervention topics and geographic regions of research funded by the various funder types had much in common, with HIV being the most common topic and sub-Saharan Africa being the most common region for all types of funder. Publication outputs rose substantially for several funder types over the period, with the largest increase among bilateral funders.
A considerable number of organisations provide funding for maternal health research, but a handful account for most funding acknowledgements. Broadly speaking, these organisations address similar topics and regions. This suggests little coordination between funding agencies, risking duplication and neglect of some areas of maternal health research, and limiting the ability of organisations to develop the specialised skills required for systematically addressing a research topic. Greater transparency in reporting of funding is required, as the role of funders in the research process is often unclear.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12992-014-0072-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4243307  PMID: 25367638
Research; Funding; Maternal health; Priorities; Evidence; Research and development
15.  Towards a comprehensive global approach to prevention and control of NCDs 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):74.
The “25×25” strategy to tackle the global challenge of non-communicable diseases takes a traditional approach, concentrating on a few diseases and their immediate risk factors.
We propose elements of a comprehensive strategy to address NCDs that takes account of the evolving social, economic, environmental and health care contexts, while developing mechanisms to respond effectively to local patterns of disease. Principles that underpin the comprehensive strategy include: (a) a balance between measures that address health at the individual and population level; (b) the need to identify evidence-based feasible and effective approaches tailored to low and middle income countries rather than exporting questionable strategies developed in high income countries; (c) developing primary health care as a universal framework to support prevention and treatment; (d) ensuring the ability to respond in real time to the complex adaptive behaviours of the global food, tobacco, alcohol and transport industries; (e) integrating evidence-based, cost-effective, and affordable approaches within the post-2015 sustainable development agenda; (f) determination of a set of priorities based on the NCD burden within each country, taking account of what it can afford, including the level of available development assistance; and (g) change from a universal “one-size fits all” approach of relatively simple prevention oriented approaches to more comprehensive multi-sectoral and development-oriented approaches which address both health systems and the determinants of NCD risk factors.
The 25×25 is approach is absolutely necessary but insufficient to tackle the the NCD disease burden of mortality and morbidity. A more comprehensive approach is recommended.
PMCID: PMC4215019  PMID: 25348262
Non-communicable diseases; Prevention; Health systems
16.  Accreditation as a path to achieving universal quality health coverage 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):68.
As many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) pursue health care reforms in order to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), development of national accreditation systems has become an increasingly common quality-enhancing strategy endorsed by payers, including Ministries of Health. This article describes the major considerations for health system leaders in developing and implementing a sustainable and successful national accreditation program, using the 20-year evolution of the Thai health care accreditation system as a model. The authors illustrate the interface between accreditation as a continuous quality improvement strategy, health insurance and other health financing schemes, and the overall goal of achieving universal health coverage.
PMCID: PMC4200136
Accreditation; Universal health coverage; Quality improvement; Low and middle-income countries; Health financing
17.  Country progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: adjusting for socioeconomic factors reveals greater progress and new challenges 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):67.
The health Millennium Development Goals (4, 5, 6) impose the same ambitious 2015 targets on every country. Few low-income countries are on track to reach them. Some authors have proposed country-specific targets as a more informative method by which countries can measure their progress against their potential.
This paper demonstrates a supplementary approach to assess individual country progress that complements the global goals by adjusting for socioeconomic resources and prior time trends. A minimum performance target adjusts for time and national GDP. Fast-track targets, based on best-performing countries’ progress within regional and income groups, adjust for health and non-health sector factors known to affect maternal and child health.
Measuring by the minimum performance target, 74% and 59% of low- and middle-income countries are on track for reducing child mortality and maternal mortality, respectively, compared with 69% and 22% using global MDGs. Only 20% and 7% of low- and middle-income countries are on track for the child and maternal mortality fast-track targets.
Supplementary targets in maternal and child health, adjusted for each country's resources and policy performance can help countries know if they are truly underperforming relative to their potential. Adjusted targets can also flag countries that have surpassed their potential, and open opportunities for learning from success.
Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, as part of the Success Factors Study on reducing maternal and child mortality.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12992-014-0067-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4197219  PMID: 25270882
18.  The limits of global health diplomacy: Taiwan’s observer status at the world health assembly 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):71.
In 2009, health authorities from Taiwan (under the name “Chinese Taipei”)a formally attended the 62nd World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization as observers, marking the country’s participation for the first time since 1972. The long process of negotiating this breakthrough has been cited as an example of successful global health diplomacy. This paper analyses this negotiation process, drawing on government documents, formal representations from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and key informant interviews. The actors and their motivations, along with the forums, practices and outcomes of the negotiation process, are detailed. While it is argued that non-traditional diplomatic action was important in establishing the case for Taiwan’s inclusion at the WHA, traditional concerns regarding Taiwanese sovereignty and diplomatic representation ultimately played a decisive role. The persistent influence of these traditional diplomatic questions illustrates the limits of global health diplomacy.
PMCID: PMC4197227  PMID: 25270977
Taiwan; World health organization; World health assembly; Global health diplomacy
19.  A call for a moratorium on the .health generic top-level domain: preventing the commercialization and exclusive control of online health information 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):62.
In just a few weeks, the Internet could be expanded to include a new .health generic top-level domain name run by a for-profit company with virtually no public health credentials - unless the international community intervenes immediately. This matters to the future of global public health as the “Health Internet” has begun to emerge as the predominant source of health information for consumers and patients. Despite this increasing use and reliance on online health information that may have inadequate quality or reliability, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently announced it intends to move forward with an auction to award the exclusive, 10 year rights to the .health generic top-level domain name. This decision is being made over the protests of the World Medical Association, World Health Organization, and other stakeholders, who have called for a suspension or delay until key questions can be resolved. However, rather than engage in constructive dialogue with the public health community over its concerns, ICANN chose the International Chamber of Commerce—a business lobbying group for industries to adjudicate the .health concerns. This has resulted in a rejection of challenges filed by ICANN’s own independent watchdog and others, such that ICANN’s Board decided in June 2014 that there are “no noted objections to move forward” in auctioning the .health generic top-level domain name to the highest bidder before the end of the year. This follows ICANN’s award of several other health-related generic top-level domain names that have been unsuccessfully contested. In response, we call for an immediate moratorium/suspension of the ICANN award/auction process in order to provide the international public health community time to ensure the proper management and governance of health information online.
PMCID: PMC4177061  PMID: 25283176
eHealth; Global health governance; Information technology; Internet; Domain names; Health Internet
20.  On the margins of aid orthodoxy: the Brazil-Mozambique collaboration to produce essential medicines in Africa 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):70.
On the back of its recent economic development and domestic success in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Brazil is helping the Government of Mozambique to set up a pharmaceutical factory as part of its South-South cooperation programme. Until recently, a consensus existed that pharmaceutical production in Africa was not viable or sustainable. This paper looks into practicalities and evolution of this collaboration to illustrate the characteristics of Brazilian development cooperation in health, with the aim of drawing lessons for the wider debate on aid and local production of pharmaceuticals in Africa.
We show that the project process has been very long and complex, has involved multiple public and private partners, and cost in excess of USD34 million. There have also been setbacks in the process, and although production has already started, it is unclear whether all the project’s original objectives will be met.
The Brazil-Mozambique’s pharmaceutical factory experience illustrates positives as well as limitations of Brazil’s unorthodox approach to health development cooperation, highlighting its contribution to pushing the boundaries of the debate on local production of pharmaceuticals in resource-poor settings.
PMCID: PMC4190436  PMID: 25252701
AIDS; Pharmaceutical production; Aid architecture in health; Brazil pharmaceuticals; ARV; Manufacturing in Africa; Aid effectiveness in health
21.  Trade and investment liberalization and Asia’s noncommunicable disease epidemic: a synthesis of data and existing literature 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):66.
Trade and investment liberalization (trade liberalization) can promote or harm health. Undoubtedly it has contributed, although unevenly, to Asia’s social and economic development over recent decades with resultant gains in life expectancy and living standards. In the absence of public health protections, however, it is also a significant upstream driver of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes through facilitating increased consumption of the ‘risk commodities’ tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed foods, and by constraining access to NCD medicines. In this paper we describe the NCD burden in Asian countries, trends in risk commodity consumption and the processes by which trade liberalization has occurred in the region and contributed to these trends. We further establish pressing questions for future research on strengthening regulatory capacity to address trade liberalization impacts on risk commodity consumption and health.
A semi-structured search of scholarly databases, institutional websites and internet sources for academic and grey literature. Data for descriptive statistics were sourced from Euromonitor International, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the World Trade Organization.
Consumption of tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed foods was prevalent in the region and increasing in many countries. We find that trade liberalization can facilitate increased trade in goods, services and investments in ways that can promote risk commodity consumption, as well as constrain the available resources and capacities of governments to enact policies and programmes to mitigate such consumption. Intellectual property provisions of trade agreements may also constrain access to NCD medicines. Successive layers of the evolving global and regional trade regimes including structural adjustment, multilateral trade agreements, and preferential trade agreements have enabled transnational corporations that manufacture, market and distribute risk commodities to increasingly penetrate and promote consumption in Asian markets.
Trade liberalization is a significant driver of the NCD epidemic in Asia. Increased participation in trade agreements requires countries to strengthen regulatory capacity to ensure adequate protections for public health. How best to achieve this through multilateral, regional and unilateral actions is a pressing question for ongoing research.
PMCID: PMC4180923  PMID: 25213212
Non-communicable diseases; Trade liberalization; Tobacco; Alcohol; Processed foods; Asia; Transnational corporations
22.  Learning from developing countries in strengthening health systems: an evaluation of personal and professional impact among global health volunteers at Addis Ababa University’s Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital (Ethiopia) 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):64.
The positive impact of global health activities by volunteers from the United States in low-and middle-income countries has been recognized. Most existing global health partnerships evaluate what knowledge, ideas, and activities the US institution transferred to the low- or middle-income country. However, what this fails to capture are what kinds of change happen to US-based partners due to engagement in global health partnerships, both at the individual and institutional levels. “Reverse innovation” is the term that is used in global health literature to describe this type of impact. The objectives of this study were to identify what kinds of impact global partnerships have on health volunteers from developed countries, advance this emerging body of knowledge, and improve understanding of methods and indicators for assessing reverse innovation.
The study population consisted of 80 US, Canada, and South Africa-based health care professionals who volunteered at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital in Ethiopia. Surveys were web-based and included multiple choice and open-ended questions to assess global health competencies. The data were analyzed using IBRM SPSS® version 21 for quantitative analysis; the open-ended responses were coded using constant comparative analysis to identify themes.
Of the 80 volunteers, 63 responded (79 percent response rate). Fifty-two percent of the respondents were male, and over 60 percent were 40 years of age and older. Eighty-three percent reported they accomplished their trip objectives, 95 percent would participate in future activities and 96 percent would recommend participation to other colleagues. Eighty-nine percent reported personal impact and 73 percent reported change on their professional development. Previous global health experience, multiple prior trips, and the desire for career advancement were associated with positive impact on professional development.
Professionally and personally meaningful learning happens often during global health outreach. Understanding this impact has important policy, economic, and programmatic implications. With the aid of improved monitoring and evaluation frameworks, the simple act of attempting to measure “reverse innovation” may represent a shift in how global health partnerships are perceived, drawing attention to the two-way learning and benefits that occur and improving effectiveness in global health partnership spending.
PMCID: PMC4172777  PMID: 25190076
Global health; Twinning partnership; Collaboration; Health systems partnership; Reverse innovation; Africa
23.  Hospital accreditation: lessons from low- and middle-income countries 
Globalization and Health  2014;10(1):65.
The growth of accreditation programs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) provides important examples of innovations in leadership, governance and mission which could be adopted in developed countries. While these accreditation programs in LMICs follow the basic structure and process of accreditation systems in the developed world, with written standards and an evaluation by independent surveyors, they differ in important ways. Their focus is primarily on improving overall care country-wide while supporting the weakest facilities. In the developed world accreditation efforts tend to focus on identifying the best institutions as those are typically the only ones who can meet stringent and difficult evaluative criteria.
The Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN), is an initiative launched in 2010 that enables policymakers aiming for UHC to learn from each other’s successes and failures. The JLN is primarily comprised of countries in the midst of implementing complex health financing reforms that involve an independent purchasing agency that buys care from a mix of public and private providers [Lancet 380: 933-943, 2012]. One of the concerns for participating countries has been how to preserve or improve quality during rapid expansion in coverage. Accreditation is one important mechanism available to countries to preserve or improve quality that is in common use in many LMICs today.
This paper describes the results of a meeting of the JLN countries held in Bangkok in April of 2013, at which the current state of accreditation programs was discussed. During that meeting, a number of innovative approaches to accreditation in LMICs were identified, many of which, if adopted more broadly, might enhance health care quality and patient safety in the developed world.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12992-014-0065-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4159532  PMID: 25185526
Innovation in accreditation; Quality improvement; Low and middle-income countries
24.  Globalization of leptospirosis through travel and migration 
Leptospirosis remains the most widespread zoonotic disease in the world, commonly found in tropical or temperate climates. While previous studies have offered insight into intra-national and intra-regional transmission, few have analyzed transmission across international borders. Our review aimed at examining the impact of human travel and migration on the re-emergence of Leptospirosis. Results suggest that alongside regional environmental and occupational exposure, international travel now constitute a major independent risk factor for disease acquisition. Contribution of travel associated leptospirosis to total caseload is as high as 41.7% in some countries. In countries where longitudinal data is available, a clear increase of proportion of travel-associated leptospirosis over the time is noted. Reporting patterns is clearly showing a gross underestimation of this disease due to lack of diagnostic facilities. The rise in global travel and eco-tourism has led to dramatic changes in the epidemiology of Leptospirosis. We explore the obstacles to prevention, screening and diagnosis of Leptopirosis in health systems of endemic countries and of the returning migrant or traveler. We highlight the need for developing guidelines and preventive strategies of Leptospirosis related to travel and migration, including enhancing awareness of the disease among health professionals in high-income countries.
PMCID: PMC4131158  PMID: 25112368
Leptospirosis; Travel; Migration
25.  Local level inequalities in the use of hospital-based maternal delivery in rural South Africa 
There is global concern with geographical and socio-economic inequalities in access to and use of maternal delivery services. Little is known, however, on how local-level socio-economic inequalities are related to the uptake of needed maternal health care. We conducted a study of relative socio-economic inequalities in use of hospital-based maternal delivery services within two rural sub-districts of South Africa.
We used both population-based surveillance and facility-based clinical record data to examine differences in the relative distribution of socio-economic status (SES), using a household assets index to measure wealth, among those needing maternal delivery services and those using them in the Bushbuckridge sub-district, Mpumalanga, and Hlabisa sub-district, Kwa-Zulu Natal. We compared the SES distributions in households with a birth in the previous year with the household SES distributions of representative samples of women who had delivered in hospitals in these two sub-districts.
In both sub-districts, women in the lowest SES quintile were significantly under-represented in the hospital user population, relative to need for delivery services (8% in user population vs 21% in population in need; p < 0.001 in each sub-district). Exit interviews provided additional evidence on potential barriers to access, in particular the affordability constraints associated with hospital delivery.
The findings highlight the need for alternative strategies to make maternal delivery services accessible to the poorest women within overall poor communities and, in doing so, decrease socioeconomic inequalities in utilisation of maternal delivery services.
PMCID: PMC4110704
Maternal health; Socio-economic inequalities; Access; Maternal delivery services

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