Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

The MMI Secretariat moved to Switzerland

The MMI Secretariat moved to Switzerland

In January 2008 Medicus Mundi Switzerland (MMS) officially took over the activities of Medicus Mundi International’s executive secretariat. This decision followed the reflexion on the need to reinvigorate and reinforce MMI as a strong international network. Being born out of Medicus Mundi International, Medicus Mundi Switzerland knew exactly about the prestigious past of MMI and understood its important, yet unmet, potential. This is why a proposal, written by MMS, was submitted to the board of MMI in order to assess the acceptability of strong measures to perpetuate the existence of the organization.

Our proposal referred to various founding documents of MMI and essentially said, in the today’s world, the realization of MMI’s ambitious goals needs to rely on a strong executive secretariat, having the means for action and the necessary resources to develop its own activities and reinforce the visibility of MMI on the international scene. What we exposed to the other members of MMI was not a suggestion to transfer the existing activities, but a request to each member to substantially increase its contribution to give the executive secretariat the necessary means to carry out the strategic plan. After some deliberation, the proposal we had developed was adopted.

When it was clear that Medicus Mundi Belgium could not host the MMI office any longer, an invitation to tender was sent out to the members of MMI to find out who would take up the tasks of the newly defined executive secretariat. In response to this request, MMS decided to submit a proposal showing its experience in the facilitation of a network, as well as the extensive exposure to such activities of our team in Basel.

MMI has accepted our proposal and, in October 2007, we have signed an agreement defining the provision of services in four different modules: (i) the core activities related to the executive secretariat and the administration of MMI; (ii) the development of a common IT platform to share and disseminate information as well as promote MMI internationally; (iii) the support to organizational development and the strengthening of the network; and (iv) the support to existing MMI working groups.

Our expectations and fears with respect to MMI

We decided to offer our services to MMI as we were convinced to have the necessary experience and the dynamism to help achieve the ambitious objectives of the strategic plan. In addition, we are persuaded that a strong MMI network will benefit the members of the Swiss network and will engender new opportunities at all levels.

“Network Health for All”

Medicus Mundi Switzerland is the network of Swiss organizations working in the field of international health. Currently MMS brings together 46 Swiss organizations active in international health. As a network, MMS promotes the sharing of experience, knowledge and know-how among its members and partners, aiming to establish a living community of practice.

Medicus Mundi Switzerland’s projects aim at improving the collaboration among its members and more generally with organizations active in international cooperation. In order to do so, several mediums and platforms have been initiated to promote exchange and contribute to the achievement of “health for all”. Amongst these vehicles are our “paper publication”, the Bulletin, our yearly symposium in Basel, our electronic newsletter and currently one thematic platform named

Medicus Mundi Switzerland has been a Member of Medicus Mundi International since its foundation in 1973.

Having said this, it becomes clear that we have high expectations for the enhanced international network, especially as it is carrying the image of Medicus Mundi at the global level. We also have some fears. First, because we know that the financial efforts by MMI’s member organizations will not be endless and that results will have to be reached within a relatively short time span. Second, if we want a strong MMI network, we do not want to lose MMS’ specificities and autonomy of thought and action. Lastly, the quality of our proposal to support MMI is undoubtedly resulting from the exceptional professionalism of Thomas Schwarz who played an instrumental role in MMS’s current success.

While we are delighted by his decision to take up the challenge to deal with the executive secretariat of MMI, we know that on the level of the secretariat of MMS we take a risk by putting such valuable forces at the service of MMI.

On the other hand, we also know that our new MMS team (Helena Zweifel, Martin Leschhorn and Martina Staenke) will be able to maintain the highest quality standards and has the required determination the maintain the development of our network.

In the name of the committee of Medicus Mundi Switzerland, I would like to express my wish for a long-lasting and fruitful relationship with Medicus Mundi International and we wish great success for Thomas Schwarz in his new functions.

(HOSTED BY … A NETWORK. Thomas Vogel, President of Medicus Mundi Switzerland, in: MMI Annual Report 2007)

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