Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hiding Broken Practices Behind New Catchphrases

Here is another example of why we need more independent reporting on global health and development. A study from the Public Library of Science found that many global health initiatives are still effectively siloed efforts that focus on single diseases or institutions and do not, despite claims to the contrary, support overall health systems.

And yet, as I have seen in my own travels through Malawi, Lesotho, South Africa and Zambia, improving health systems is precisely what is needed in many poor countries and impoverished areas. "Health system strengthening" has become the new catchphrase but, according to the PLOS report and the lived experience of many in the global health field, there has been no real change in action to support this goal.

One positive trend: the researchers note that while their funding came from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, "the funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript." This slightly more detailed conflict-of-interest statement should be adopted more widely when reporting or writing about global health.

Related post:
Who Pays for Global Health News and Why?

No comments: