News

Reputational Incentives for Restaurant Hygiene

Jin G., Leslie P. Am. Econ Journal Microeconomics Vol 1 (1) page 237-267 (2009)

In an econometric analysis of restaurant hygiene quality in Los Angeles, Jin and Leslie report that franchised chain restaurants have significantly better hygiene than independent restaurants because of the reputational effects of franchise branding. An information asymmetry exists in food service (because the quality of the product is not observed until after purchase) forcing consumers to purchase products based on factors like reputation and brand recognition. The reputational effects confirmed by this study may explain the success of clinical social franchises in developing countries where similar information asymmetries exists.

New Strategies to Increase TB Drug Compliance Using Cell Phones Tested

1/06/09 - The Lancet reports on three pilot developing world projects where cell phones are being used to increase patient adherence to tuberculosis medications. The SIMpill is a small pill bottle with a unique SIM-card that automatically delivers a unique identification to a central server when opened and calls the patient or caregiver if it does not receive the code within a proper time frame. SIMmed, a competing method, asks patients to dial a number to record medication events, and similarly reminds patients if they forget a dose. Finally the “X out TB” initiative requires patients to urinate on a filter paper each day after taking medication. The paper detects metabolites of isoniazid in urine and subsequently reveals a code that the patient sends via SMS to a central server. If a patient accumulates enough correct answers by the end of the month, they receive a modest financial reward. All of these projects are intended to reduce the cost of monitoring adherence, normally conducted through direct observation by a health worker.

Oxfam releases anti-private sector report

12/10/08 - An Oxfam report, "Blind optimism: challenging the myths about private health care in poor countries", finds that evidence in favour of private-sector solutions to health care is weak. Yet a growing number of international donors are promoting private-sector health-care delivery in the poorest countries, while neglecting expansion of government provision of free health services. No comparative assessment of evidence in favor of a public-sector solution to health care is given.

FDA Panel Confirms Effectiveness of Malaria Drug

12/1/08 - In a major step toward full approval, an advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration issued a report confirming positive results for the drug Coartem in treating malaria. Coartem, an artemisinin-based combination therapy, has been used extensively in places where malaria has developed resistance to traditional anti-malarial drugs. The drug’s maker Novartis has provided it to public health systems in developing countries at no cost in conjunction with the WHO and Global Fund, including over 62 million treatment courses in 2006. Novartis may receive a priority review voucher from the FDA for future drug development as part of Congress’ new system to incentivize drug maker research on tropical diseases.

Gates Foundation to Support Development of an X-Prize for Effective TB Diagnosis

The Gates Foundation has provided a planning grant to the X-Prize Foundation to develop a competitive research prize (similar to its previous prize for a manned spaceflight) for an effective and accurate diagnosis tool for tuberculosis. The foundations hope that the financial incentive will spur biotechnology entrepreneurs to develop a rapid, low-cost, and sensitive diagnostic test to help reduce the burden of disease in developing countries.

UN and DSM Nutritional Products Win Award for Micronutrient Power

ICIS, a leading chemical and petroleum industry magazine, awarded the UN World Food Program and Netherlands-based DSM Nutritional Products a prize for their joint initiative in producing a cost-efficient micronutrient packet for distribution in the developing world. The MixMe tasteless powder packet, which is now being distributed in Nepal, Kenya, and Bangladesh, contains vitamins and trace minerals which, when added to normally micronutrient deficient foods like corn and rice, helps avert numerous childhood and adult morbidities. The non-profit arm of DSM, Sight and Life, provides the WFP with expertise, high nutrient products, and financial assistance in the initiative, currently in its second year.

Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health

Bamako International Conference Centre in Bamako, Mali
November 17 – 19, 2008

Presented by Council of Health Research for Development, Global Forum for Health Research, The Republic of Mali, UNESCO, The World Bank, The World Health Organization

This forum will gather policy-makers and researchers to focus on the key linkages between the health sector and research, science and technology, higher education, and the global innovation system. Ministerial discussions will occur on the role of the private sector in health systems, as well as research for health system strengthening in Africa and health policy and systems research.

U.S. - Africa Private Sector Health Forum

Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C., USA
November 20-21, 2008
Presented by the Corporate Council on Africa

This forum will bring together private and public sector leaders from the U.S. and Africa, including companies, entrepreneurs, financial institutions, and development banks. The forum will highlight investment opportunities in private sector health care and delivery in Africa. Workshop and plenary session topics will range from medical franchising to leveraged partnerships, innovative financing mechanisms to risk pooling and health insurance, amongst others.

Role of the Private Sector in Health Symposium

In Beijing, China
July 11, 2009

This iHEA pre-conference symposium is intended to bring together policymakers and researchers to map out knowledge on the role of the private sector in health care and health systems development and to determine where further research is needed. Sessions will be conducted on innovations in private sector-government health care relations and understanding the nature of mixed health systems, amongst others.

For further information about attending, visit the iHEA website and view the announcement.