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NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening

NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening

Basel, 21 December 2010. Today, the Medicus Mundi International Network signed on to the NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening.

The NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening is a response to the growth in the number of international non-governmental organizations associated with increase in aid flows to the health sector. The Code was drafted in 2007/2008 by a coalition of activist or service delivery organizations. The purpose of the Code is to offer guidance on how international NGOs can work in host countries in a way that respects and supports the primacy of the government’s responsibility for organizing health system delivery.

In May 2010, the Medicus Mundi International Network adopted a strategy for the years 2011-15 focusing on health systems strengthening. Discussing the role of international NGOs in health systems strengthening (or weakening), we recently re-discovered the NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening as a most relevant document for our work.

We were confirmed by Health Alliance International, the host organization for the Code, that the Code is still much alive. Health Alliance International and other signatories are actively implementing the Code and welcome additional signatories and further dialogue on best practices.

Based on this feedback and on a recent report on the Code's implementation, the Executive Board of Medicus Mundi International now decided to sign on to the Code as a Network.

However, this does not have direct consequences for the 15 Network members as the MMI Network distinguishes itself from an ‘umbrella organization’ in the sense of "not imposing leadership, coordination or representation on its members“ (MMI Network Policy).  

Nevertheless, having signed on to the Code as a Network, we will reflect on how to contribute ourselves to its further development and implementation and how to promote it within the Network, its members and partners. Promoting the NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening will also be closely related to our promotion of the WHO Code of Practice on International Recruitment of Health Personnel strongly advocated by our Network. In this sense, signing on means an obligation and a challenge for us!

Thomas Schwarz, MMI Executive Secretary

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References and resources

  • MMI Network Strategy 2011-15: “We will make the MMI Network a real community of change for strengthening health systems”: MMI ePlatform (PDF)
  • Editorial in MMI Network News, October 2010: NGOs contribute to health systems strengthening - a matter of course, isn’t it? (MMI ePlatform)
  • NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening: Website
  • NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening: Full text (PDF)
  • Study on successes and challenges in implementing the NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening - May 2010 (PDF)
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