Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, 22 July 2014

MMI Network News, 22 July 2014

Proposed SDGs - a disappointment (editorial)

Dear reader,

As a milestone in a long process, the Open Working Group (OWG) mandated by the UN in 2012 to produce a set of proposals for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to succeed the Millennium Development Goals delivered its outcome document “for consideration and appropriate action” by the UN General Assembly. The proposal includes 17 development goals (goal 3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”) and 169 targets. And it is a disappointment.

With its approach to propose goals and targets to be reached “by 2030”, the outcome document is a shopping list of great societal ambitions: “End preventable deaths of newborns and under-five children” (target 3.2), “achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all” (3.8), “achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all” (6.1), “ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services” (7.1) ...and so on. I share all these visions and would love to see the world transformed within 15 years into a good one for all, but I cannot see how the structural determinants behind these issues will be changed by just by another declaration of intent. The key question of what needs to be done to translate ambitions into action and who is responsible for this remains unanswered. The “means of implementation” targets added to each goal and containing particular interventions within each sector are certainly not sufficient for this purpose.

Is it good or bad that the working group sometimes seems to be afraid of its own courage? For targets such as “end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere” (5.1) or “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation” (5.2), there is no indication that this should be achieved by 2030.

I do not get further into the specific achievements and failures of the current proposal. You might read it yourself (do it!) or have a look at the analysis by Neva Frecheville. Let me just repeat Richard Horton’s conclusion, referring to the zero draft of the outcome document published already some weeks ago: “Sustainable development? No. Try utopia instead. The SDGs are fairy tales, dressed in the bureaucratese of intergovernmental narcissism, adorned with the robes of multilateral paralysis, and poisoned by the acid of nation-state failure. Yet this is served up as our future. The health goal is a mixture of business-as-usual (the MDGs rebooted), non-communicable diseases and universal health coverage (deservedly new entrants), and a strange assortment of promises about healthy life expectancy, essential medicines, and air pollution. Is this negotiated wish-list really the best we can do?”

Horton then proposes a fundamentally different vision for and approach to sustainability. Other comments insist on development goals built around addressing inequality. However, after two years of the post-2015 process and with its final steps already scheduled, it is not possible any more to admit its failure. Rebooting is no option.

So if we cannot really hope for a good result, is at least the post-2015 process a progress from the past? If you look at the extent of the debate on sustainable development, you might agree. But, after all, the last two years mainly deepened the divide within the development community and its sectors. I expect the winners of the current SDG proposal (and there are many of them seeing their baby – or call it silo – finally given the deserved attention) as well as the losers (and, as you might guess, there are many of them, and the blogs and journals are already full of their complaints) to continue their struggle for a place on the final list of goals and targets by lobbying the country representatives at the upcoming UNGA meetings.

And what happens with the over 3 Million “civil society voices” collected on an internet platform and with all the outcome documents of hundreds of national and thematic consultations? Let us not confuse such happenings with democratic governance. As long as “poverty continues to be treated more or less as a natural phenomenon, rather than as the result of unequal power relations” (Nadja Meisterhans) and as long as these power relations remain unchallenged at a national and global level, we are far from there.

A luta continua.

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network

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References

 

MMI Network: Events, news and resources

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Network event: medico international
The Right to Health in the Post-2015 Agenda
Berlin, 8-9 September 2014

“Health politics have become a crucial part of the global agenda. In 2015 UN-member states will take decisions affecting the lives of billions of people as they agree on a new framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). One major question in the recent debate on the Post 2015 process is to what extend it has the potential to oblige states, international organizations and private health actors to establish and contribute to health systems equally accessible to all. This one and a half-days meeting in Berlin brings together experts on health and post-2015 from civil society organizations (notably coming from the global south), politics, academia, international organizations, and state organizations. Also it presents results related to the political and scientific analysis provided by Go4health.”

> http://www.medico.de/en/themes/health/documents/health-for-all-implementing-the-right-to-health-in-the-post-2015-agenda/1271/
 

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Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
"Now I can be somebody. I can think for myself…"
Berne, 9 September 2014

How can girls and women who have experienced violence and are living in a violent environment be supported to cope with traumatic experiences and to live in dignity? This is the topic of an aidsfocus.ch meeting point on psychosocial support in the context of violence, HIV, and poverty. aidsfocus.ch, the Swiss Platform HIV/AIDS and international cooperation, is hosted and coordinated by Medicus Mundi Switzerland.

> http://www.aidsfocus.ch/platform/Event.2014-07-09.3333


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Network event: MMI, Cordaid, Memisa, Swiss TPH
An ideal match! Successfully connecting NGO practice and Health Systems Research
Cape Town, 3 October 2014

The MMI Network participates in the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 30 September to 3 October 2014, with a session on "An ideal match! Successfully connecting NGO practice and Health Systems Research." The session targets NGOs, researchers, policy makers and funders to learn how international NGOs working in the field of health development cooperation have successfully started integrating an evidence based approach into their institutional culture and operational practice. Experiences of successful collaboration of NGOs and research institutions will be discussed. The focus will be less on the content of the research collaboration but on processes allowing innovative interaction between critical actors in a people-centred health system..

> http://www.medicusmundi.org/en/contributions/events/2014/an-ideal-match-successfully-connecting-ngo-practice-and-health-systems-research


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MMI Symposium and Network meeting hosted by Medicus Mundi Switzerland
"Not without us!": Youth and sexual and reproductive health in international cooperation
Basel, 5-6 November 2014

This year's MMI Network meeting is hosted by Medicus Mundi Switzerland (MMS) and linked with the 14th annual Swiss Health Cooperation Symposium organized by MMS. Mark the dates! If you are interested in contributing to the Symposium, be that by giving a talk or presenting a project, please send a short abstract by 25 August 2014 to the secretariat of Medicus Mundi Switzerland. Possible topics:

  • Sexual and reproductive rights: How can they be integrated in international health cooperation?
  • Youth-oriented health services and eliminating obstacles faced by youths; Teenage pregnancies
  • Sexual education
  • Involving youths in topics of sexual and reproductive health and rights

> Call for papers: http://www.medicusmundi.org/en/contributions/events/2014/sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights


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Network event: Be-cause Health
Putting People at the Heart of Development. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Post-2015 Era
Brussels, 28 November 2014

“At the brink of the ‘Post-2015 Era’ the relevance of the ICPD Programme of Action is increasingly evident. As health and development stakeholders, we are continuously challenged to develop strategies that enable us to overcome the shortcomings of the past and to close the gaps that prevent vulnerable populations from the full enjoyment of their right to sexual and reproductive health. This seminar will provide an excellent opportunity for exchanging experiences, insights and ideas regarding these challenges, allowing us to elaborate on the linkages between SRHR and sustainable development and to advance SRHR in the years ahead.” Be-cause health is, through Memisa, a close partner of the MMI Network.

> Call for abstracts: http://www.be-causehealth.be/en/events/be-cause-health-annual-seminars/seminar-2014.aspx#.U7KyDrHJAwc 


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Network campaign: MMI and several Network members and partners
European Call to Action: A health worker for everyone, everywhere! 

The world is 7.2 million health workers short. This seriously threatens the health of people worldwide. Especially middle and low income countries are severely affected. The partners in the project ”Health workers for all and all for health workers” (HW4All) including the MMI Network and several of its members and partners call on European decision makers to contribute to securing sustainable health workforces. We now invite relevant institutions and the public to sign our Call for Action “A health worker for everyone, everywhere!”

> https://interact.healthworkers4all.eu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=4620361

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Network report/campaign: Health Poverty Action
Honest Accounts? The real causes of global poverty

“There is a story that governments of donor countries like to tell about the rich world’s relationship with Africa. It is a story of generosity, charity and benevolence. It is a story of selfless aid givers supporting the needy and impoverished people of Africa. While this is the story that governments like to tell, it is not the correct story. The report, ‘Honest Accounts? The true story of Africa’s billion dollar losses,’ released by Health Poverty Action with a number of UK and African partners, shows that $192 billion a year is being taken out of Africa by the rest of the world – almost six and a half times the amount of ‘aid’ it receives.”

> http://www.healthpovertyaction.org/campaigns/honest-accounts/

 

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Network report: EPN
Access to medicines - an issue of social justice

"EPN believes access to medicines is a basic human right and every effort should be made to ensure that all actors in the health sector take up the challenge of ensuring that medicines are available, accessible and affordable to all, including the poor and marginalised. This sentence is taken from the EPN strategy (2010-2015). Access to medicines is still number one of the four strategic priority areas of EPN. (...) There is no court on earth which will punish the injustice, inequality, the lack of funding for health care for the poor. The broad spectrum of this Contact Magazine gives nutrition for fruitful insights and to bear the consequences." WCC Contact Magazine, No.196, December 2013, published by the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN). Download as PDF file (3 MB)

> http://www.epnetwork.org/download.php?id=489

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Network reporting. Cordaid, Medicus Mundi Spain
Annual Reports

The annual reports of Cordaid (English, focus on fragility) and Medicus Mundi Spain (Spanish) have been recently added to our collection of Network members’ reporting.

> https://www.cordaid.org/en/publications/annual-report-2013
> http://bit.ly/1qy9iTO
> http://www.medicusmundi.org/en/network-resources/network-reporting

 

International Health Policy: MMI Updates

Bits and pieces of news on international health policy: each “MMI update” is 140 characters or less - these are the rules of the game on Twitter. Just enough for a headline, eventually an author, a date, the source – and a link to the website where you find the full information. Have a look at some of our “tweets” published during the last month. As usual, it’s a bit much, so take it or leave it.

 

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Universal health coverage
Health systems strengthening
Health services, health financing

MMI thematic guides:
www.bit.ly/mmi-hss

www.bit.ly/mmi-uhc

See also below: Health beyond 2015
Twitter: #UHC

 

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Health policy and systems research

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/mmi-research
  

 

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Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals

MMI thematic guides:
www.bit.ly/mmi_hrh

www.bit.ly/mmimigrationguide

Twitter: #HRH, #healthworkers #healthworkerscount

 

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Access to medicines and vaccination
Medical research and development
Communicable diseases and diseases control

 

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Women’s and children’s health
Sexual and reproductive rights and health

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/mmi-mch

 

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Prevention and control of NCDs
Disabilities, Mental Health, Care

 

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Equity and human right to health
Social determinants of health
Poverty and social protection

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/mmi_sdh

Twitter: #SDH, #HIAP

 

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Global health governance and policy

 

MMI thematic guides:

www.bit.ly/ghgovernance

www.bit.ly/mmi-ngoguide

www.bit.ly/whoreformguide

Twitter: #globalhealth #healthgovernance

 

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Health beyond 2015
MDGs and SDGs

MMI thematic guide:

www.bit.ly/mmi-beyond2015guide

Twitter: #health2015 #post2015 #globalhealth

 

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Development, aid and international institutions

 

Follow the MMI Updates on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/mmi_updates

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