Logistics, health, and aid: Some humourless links - A Humourless Lot

Home > Aid and aid work, Logistics, Public health > Some humourless links

Some humourless links

by Michael Keizer on March 26, 2009

Some jottings that have been sitting in my to-do stack for too long.

  • Alanna Shaikh discusses the mechanics of getting rid of HIV/AIDS, and rightly flags the impossible logistics of such a plan. Be sure to scroll down to the comments section for a chuckle and an occasional blood pressure spike.
  • GlaxoSmithKline offers to make drugs more accessible for the world’s poor. It always surprises me that some think that making drug prices lower will automatically dramatically cut total cost. Just calculate the cost of getting a tablet of paracetamol to an Ethiopian patient, and you will see where the it actually is being incurred. Small hint: it is not the amount received by the manufacturer.
  • The European Union allocates an extra EUR 27 million ‘to strengthen global humanitarian preparedness and the response capacity of international organizations’. One of the purposes would be to improve international coordination and integrated logistics. More to come on integration of logistics, courtesy of a very interesting recent doctoral promotion (don’t touch that dial!), but it is already interesting to note how more and more donors see the importance of earmarking funds for logistics.

(Picture: Liquid Links by Desirae. Some rights reserved.)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Alanna March 26, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Thanks for linking to me. If someone would like to go explain to Lianne in the comments – “why is it unethical to make people with HIV take drugs that makes them not contagious? If I had HIV, I wouldn’t want to risk giving the disease to other people. Is there something I don’t know about the drugs that’s really unpleasant, that makes this wrong?” – I’d be grateful! I just couldn’t face explaining it to her, myself.


Michael Keizer March 26, 2009 at 6:31 pm

In fact it is an interesting question, which boils down to what world view you have. I guess Lianne is a unabashed and unmitigated utilitarian — a rapidly vanishing minority, so we should cherish them.


Jurgen March 26, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Re; Glaxo, note the new book by Ellen ‘t Hoen “The global Politics of pharmaceutical monopoly power”; http://tinyurl.com/cden9f.

She is now advisor of Unitaid for the patent pool, see also:


Michael Keizer March 27, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Thanks for the pointer, Jurgen! I think it is actually a good illustration of what I am trying to say: the book seems to be predicated (as is e.g. UNITAID) on a belief that solving issues on the procurement side of AR drugs will automatically solve all problems of ART. However, in reality issues surrounding logistics and infrastructure (including human infrastructure, i.e. doctors, nurses, and other practitioners) will probably still cause big problems. In fact, cost of logistics, HR, and drugs to treat opportunistic infections (one that is often too easily forgotten) can be a multiple of the procurement cost of AR drugs.

BTW: don’t you think it is great that ‘t Hoen decided to publish the book under a Creative Commons licence?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: