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Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

This African Smart Card Helps Catch Disease Outbreaks

“Just as any good community healthcare manager should, Ignicious Bulongo has his eyes peeled for disease outbreaks from his post at the Ng'ombe Integrated HIV/TB Clinic, located in the Zambian capital.
The facility provides primary care to nearly 50,000 people, many of whom, Bulongo says, live in poverty, employed as domestic workers and bus drivers. Environmental and sanitation conditions are less than ideal, so catching disease outbreaks early on is crucial for protecting the community's health.
The 2010 introduction of the SmartCare system, an electronic health record system developed by Zambia's Ministry of Health and the U.S. Center for Disease Control, has helped make Bulongo's job easier. Instead of holding patients accountable for paper "exercise books" documenting their medical histories, the details of individuals' diagnoses and treatments can now be stored on a smart card they hold in their wallets, as well as locally at their health clinic and in the larger SmartCare network.” READ MORE 
Biggest Mobile Opportunities Aren't in Smartphones

“Facebook has noticed something that other companies would do well to heed: The biggest opportunity right now isn't in smartphones, where users are bombarded by the fruits of an ever-more-competitive market for apps and mobile services. Rather, the big play for some companies, especially any that wish to expand into emerging markets, is on the "dumbphones" — aka non-smartphones or, in industry parlance, feature phones — that most people in rich countries have now left behind.
We've known for some time that Facebook's strategy for grabbing its "next billion" users is to convince them that Facebook and the web are one and the same by making access to Facebook free on every model of phone. But now Javi Olivan, head of "growth and analytics" at Facebook has dribbled out a handful of other interesting details about Facebook's strategy.”  READ MORE

The New England Journal of Medicine
“Global health is at the threshold of a new era. Few times in history has the world faced challenges as complex as those now posed by a trio of threats: first, the unfinished agenda of infections, undernutrition, and reproductive health problems; second, the rising global burden of noncommunicable diseases and their associated risk factors, such as smoking and obesity; and third, the challenges arising from globalization itself, such as the health effects of climate change and trade policies, which demand engagement outside the traditional health sector. These threats are evolving within a multifaceted and dynamic global context characterized by great diversity among societies in norms, values, and interests, as well as by large inequalities in the distribution of health risks and the resources to address them.
A robust response to this complex picture requires improved governance of health systems — certainly at the national level but also at a worldwide level in what could be thought of as the “global health system.” However, the concept of governance is still poorly understood despite its growing visibility in current debates about global health. In this article, we define and discuss the importance of good global governance for health, outline major challenges to such governance, and describe the necessary functions of a global health system.”  READ MORE
Reuters Institute
“News is becoming more mobile, more social, and more real-time. This year’s survey reveals continuing shifts in how, when, and where people access the news, with digital patterns becoming more entrenched – particularly amongst the younger half of the population. Audiences increasingly want news on any device, in any format, and at any time of day. 
But our survey reveals that the multi-platform and digital revolution is not proceeding at an even pace in all countries. What happens in the US does not necessary follow automatically in Europe or elsewhere. Geography, culture, and government policy also play their part, with Germany and France still showing strong allegiance to traditional forms of media. We also see marked differences in ‘participatory cultures’, with very different rates of take up in social media, commenting, and voting across our surveyed countries.” READ MORE
Center for Global Development
“For nearly 20 years, Transparency International has published a Corruption Perceptions Index that ranks countries (176 last year) according to how corrupt they are perceived to be by a small group of individuals. This approach was chosen in light of the difficulty of measuring actual corruption and the expense of running broad surveys. Transparency International does some great work, pushing issues of transparency and accountability up on the agenda, and there are very many serious and deeply committed people involved. The problem with the Index, however, can be found in the name. Perceptions are not facts, and in this case they may be an unhelpfully distorted reflection of the truth. 
Imagine a situation in which lawmakers in a lower-income country end up shutting major business figures out of a commodity deal. Suspicions of corruption are raised -- but, importantly, with zero evidence. There may have been foul play, but then again, there may not have been. As we all know, stuff happens and it's only natural to want to find someone to blame. But now, with the perception that corporate dealings aren't exactly kosher, that particular country, regardless of the absence of evidence, will be affected in its CPI ranking.”  READ MORE
Voices from Eurasia
There’s no anticorruption without citizen engagement

“The message is clear: local communities, citizens and even institutions at times, are demanding that public services are free from corruption and respond to real needs that people have on their way to improving their livelihoods.
For this to happen, there must be more transparency and accountability within the public sector. But how does that happen?
  • How can we ensure the efficient use of public resources?
  • What are the ways of approaching bureaucratic institutions?
  • How can we promote transparency and accountability in inflexible governments and public administrations?”  READ MORE