'Senseless' turf battles between health development and relief agencies

August 14, 2006

Health development agencies are contributing to the status quo of insufficient public health budgets in poor countries, argues Gorick Ooms, Executive Director of the Belgian section of the medical relief agency Médecins Sans Frontières.

In a provocative Essay in PLoS Medicine, Ooms argues that "development agencies want their interventions to be sustainable." In other words, the country that is receiving health development agency support (the "host country") must have sufficient funding generated from the country's own resources to support these interventions.

But public health budgets in the world's poorest countries, says Ooms, are inadequate and increasing these budgets requires stronger national and international financial commitments. If public health budgets were increased, the level of health care within the capacity of the host countries would be higher.

"Health development advocates assume that public health budgets will not be increased," says Ooms, "and base their sustainability estimations on this assumption. In doing so, they contribute to the status quo of insufficient public health budgets."

Medical relief organizations, on the other hand, are "not driven by health development approaches," he says, but by "a humanitarian impulse; there are overwhelming needs and there is an obligation to respond to those needs."

The "turf battles" between emergency medical relief agencies and health development agencies are senseless, says Ooms. "Health development advocates should not blame medical relief advocates for ignoring concerns about sustainability. The actions of medical relief agencies have nothing to do with ignorance; they are a deliberate choice. The status quo of insufficient public health budgets deserves only a firm rejection."

Citation: Ooms G (2006) Health development versus medical relief: The illusion versus the irrelevance of sustainability. PLoS Med 3(8): e345.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030345

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-08-ooms.pdf

LINK TO TRANSLATION OF THE ARTICLE INTO FRENCH: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-08-ooms-translation.pdf

Related image for press use: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-08-ooms.jpg

· Caption: A Rally to Demand Greater Access to HIV Medicines (Photo: Eric Miller)

CONTACT:
Gorik Ooms
Médecins Sans Frontières
General Direction
Rue Dupré 94
Brussels, 1090 Belgium
+32 474 989848
gorik@brussels.msf.org

What will it take to make a topical microbicide for blocking HIV-1 transmission?

A topical microbicide is a product (such as a cream or gel) that can be used vaginally or rectally by a woman or a man to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV-1 infection during sexual intercourse. An effective microbicide could make a significant contribution to reducing the global spread of HIV. But what will it take to make one? What types of inhibitory compounds could be developed as a practical product, and what obstacles must be faced?

Per Johan Klasse (Weill Medical College of Cornell University) and colleagues discuss some of the newer approaches to developing microbicides. "We believe," say the authors, that "a successful microbicide would have to fulfill four interrelated criteria: safety, acceptability, efficacy, and affordability."

Citation: Klasse PJ, Shattock RJ, Moore JP (2006) Which topical microbicides for blocking HIV-1 transmission will work in the real world? PLoS Med 3(9): e351.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030351

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-09-moore.pdf

CONTACT:
John Moore
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
1300 York Avenue, Box 62
New York, NY 10021 United States of America
+1 212 746-4462
+1 212 746-8340 (fax)
jpm2003@mail.med.cornell.edu
-end-
All works published in PLoS Medicine are open access. Everything is immediately available without cost to anyone, anywhere--to read, download, redistribute, include in databases, and otherwise use--subject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.

About PLoS Medicine
PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org

About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org

PLOS

Related Sustainability Articles from Brightsurf:

New method adds and subtracts for sustainability's true measure
Policies across the world seek clear paths to sustainability, but it takes a broad look to know their true impact.

Striving and stumbling towards sustainability amongst pandas and people
Understanding how achieving one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals spins off more SDG success -- or sabotages progress on another goal across spatial and administrative boundaries.

Is less more? How consumers view sustainability claims
Communicating a product's reduced negative attribute might have unintended consequences if consumers approach it with the wrong mindset.

Innovations for sustainability in a post-pandemic future
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the world into turmoil and disrupted the status quo, but it is also providing opportunities for innovation in the way we live and work.

Thematic package: Corona and sustainability
The COVID-19 pandemic remains an important topic throughout the world.

Digital agriculture paves the road to agricultural sustainability
In a study published in Nature Sustainability, researchers outline how to develop a more sustainable land management system through data collection and stakeholder buy-in.

Lack of transparency in urban sustainability rankings
UPV/EHU researchers have looked at the quality and good methodological practices employed and published in 21 rankings, indexes and similar tools used for classifying and monitoring urban sustainability.

New research shows sustainability can be a selling point for new ingredients
The first UK consumer study on the use of Bambara Groundnut as an ingredient in products has shown that sharing information on its sustainable features increased consumers' positive emotional connection to food.

Sustainability strategies more successful when managers believe in them
New research from Cass Business School has found that business sustainability strategies can succeed alongside mainstream competitive strategies when managers believe in them.

Sustainability claims about rubber don't stick
Companies work hard to present an environmentally responsible image. How well do these claims stack up?

Read More: Sustainability News and Sustainability Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.