Another Boondoggle in Havana

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Global Forum for Health Research, an advocacy organization largely funded by the World Bank, is celebrating its 2009 Forum from November 16-20 in Havana, Cuba.

The Global Forum's Head of External Affairs, Susan Jupp, was presented this challenge in response to her posting in famed NYU Economics Professor William Easterly's blog, AID Watch:

You state, "we work with policy-makers, civil society, the private sector, the media. And we would welcome suggestions from those reading this blog on how to be more effective."

Here are some ideas to promote your core values of (1) "health as a right"; (2) "Equity"; and (3) "Research as an indispensable tool".

- To promote health as a right, demand that the Red Cross be granted free and unconditional access to all political prisoners in Cuba and elsewhere.

- To promote equity, ensure conferences attendees stay in hotel facilities where ordinary Cubans are not denied entry, as is currently the case.

- Advocate freedom of research and publication by Cuba's own doctors (in view that doctors exposing shortcomings in the Cuban health system are routinely thrown in jail).

- To reach out to civil society, invite the few brave independent bloggers in the island to attend the conference and report on it using conference provided web access (the latter is strictly controlled in Cuba, being restricted primarily to tourist facilities).