The GBCHealth Conference: Public-Private Partnerships for Stronger Global Health?

U.S. Army medical researchers take part in World Malaria Day 2010, Kisumu, Kenya, April 25, 2010

U.S. Army medical researchers take part in World Malaria Day 2010, Kisumu, Kenya, April 25, 2010. Photo: U.S. Army Africa/flickr.

At the GBCHealth Conference in New York last week, business, civil society, government, and other key stakeholders gathered to discuss the role of business in global health. Topics discussed included HIV/AIDS thirty years into the epidemic, health programs in the workplace, and women’s health. The GBCHealth Conference is a major forum for global health experts, funders, implementers, and policy makers.

One important outcome of the conference was the announcement of the MDG Health Alliance, which is led by leaders in the private sector, UN and public sector, and academia and focuses on Millennium Development Goals 4, 5, and 6 (reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases). Early initiatives will focus on treating childhood diarrhea, which is a major killer of children in the developing world, the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and digital content for community health worker training programs. The alliance will develop and strengthen public-private partnerships for global health efforts. Jeffrey C. Walker, who will focus on health care workers for the alliance and is a former private equity CEO, called for targeted, cost-efficient solutions,saying, “We don’t have all the answers, but we might be able to help convene the people who do…Don’t think of this as corporate responsibility. Think of this as strategy.  Approach it as helping yourself as you help others.” » More

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Brazil: Questions Surrounding Rio’s ‘Pacifying Police’ Units

The 18th Rio UPP was launched in November 2011 in the Managueira neighborhood which has 20,000 inhabitants. Image by SEASDH on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The 18th Rio UPP was launched in November 2011 in the Managueira neighborhood which has 20,000 inhabitants. Image by SEASDH on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

In recent years, the state government of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has adopted a security policy based on the installation of Pacifying Police Units (Unidades de Polícia Pacificadoras), known as UPPs. The aim of the UPP strategy [pt] is to place permanent police units in favelas (shanty towns) to tackle crime and promote social policies.

Since December 2008, 18 different favelas out of almost 1,000 in the capital city of Rio have received UPPs. In an article for Rede Brasil Atual [pt], Maurício Thuswohl  argues that the UPPs have been placed in strategic areas:

“O desenho traçado pelas UPPs no mapa do Rio evidencia a intenção do governo de criar um cinturão de segurança nos bairros com maior poder aquisitivo e nas áreas da cidade onde ocorrerão eventos e concentração de turistas estrangeiros durante a Copa do Mundo de 2014 e as Olimpíadas de 2016.”

“The outline of the UPPs on a map of Rio testifies to the government’s intention to create a ‘safety belt’ for more affluent neighborhoods and areas of the city where there will be events and large numbers of foreign tourists during the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.” » More

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LRA Commander, Caesar Achellam, “Captured” – Some (Mostly Skeptical) Thoughts

Ugandan army in Soroti, Uganda, April 2011
In what has generally been reported as a “major coup” for African Union forces – and by extension the KONY2012 faithful – a senior LRA commander, Caesar Achellam was detained over the weekend while crossing the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

While the Ugandan army (the UPDF) were quick to exclaim that they had captured a “big fish” and many reported that Achellam’s arrest marked a huge victory in the hunt for Kony, there are good reasons to be skeptical of these claims.

Who is Caesar Achellam?

Achellam is a senior commander in the LRA. He was, at least as of 2008, a Major General. It was reported that he was close to Vincent Otti, the LRA’s second in command who was executed in 2008, on orders from Kony, for having been too deeply involved in efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict. Many of those who were close to Otti feared for their lives and Achellam apparently sought to surrender himself. While it is unclear how, he clearly regained the trust of Kony, rising to a prominent position in the LRA. Some say that, at the time of his “capture”, he was the fourth most senior commander in the LRA, perhaps even the LRA’s most senior strategist. Despite his seniority, however, Achellam is not amongst those LRA combatants indicted by the ICC. » More

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ICC’s Ocampo Seeks New Charges in DRC

Luis Moreno-Ocampo in the DRC

Bulengo IDP Camp: North Kivu, DRC: A woman shields herself from the mid-day sun with an umbrella in Bulengo IDP camp, near Goma, DRC. (Photo: IRIN-News/flickr)

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ICC, has asked judges to issue new charges against two alleged warlords in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. While experts welcome the idea that rebel militia commanders should be held to account, they are still debating how much of a contribution justice mechanisms can make to protracted peace efforts in the region.

On May 14, the ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, requested additional charges against Bosco Ntaganda relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including acts of murder, persecution and sexual slavery carried out between September 2002 and September 2003 in the Ituri region of eastern DRC.

Ntaganda, the military commander of the National Congress for Defence of the People or CNDP, was first charged by the ICC in 2006 for using child soldiers under the age of 15 to fight, but he has remained at large since the charges were made public in April 2008. » More

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China’s Peaceful Return to Africa?

Chinese Engineers Join Peacekeeping Force in Darfur

Photo: United Nations Photo/flickr

During the 2006 China-Africa summit, which convened officials from 48 African countries, the Chinese government handed out billions of dollars in investment for infrastructure projects and loans, under the banner of “the common pursuit of friendship, peace, cooperation and development” . A year later, the EU tried to copy this language at their EU-Africa summit, held in Lisbon. Much like the ISN’s pro-con discussion last week on foreign investment in Africa, they pointed to the dangers as well as the opportunities in China’s increased engagement with Africa, and pointed fingers at Zimbabwe for violating Human Rights. African leaders were not impressed. They emphasized the colonial past, did not appreciate the finger pointing, and did not find what little investment the EU had to offer very convincing in comparison to China’s hand-outs the year before. The positions of African governments, however, have changed since then. It will be interesting to see how China reacts.

China’s earlier encounters with Africa were quite positive from an African point of view. Under Mao, China gave technical assistance, health care support and started education programs in order to strengthen African societies so that they could revolt against their oppressors and become communist states. China also re-affirmed its commitment to a ‘peaceful rise’ and to its five principles of foreign engagement which included non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, equality and mutual benefit. Hence the warm African welcome when China returned to the stage in the 1990s. » More

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