Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, January 2009

MMI Network News, January 2009

Editorial: Impact of the financial crisis on health

Dear reader,

In the last meeting of the MMI Executive Board, Nina Urwantzoff of Misereor expressed what we all felt: a deep concern regarding the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on health: She told us: “In the current state of world economic turbulences, I fear that the most vulnerable will once again be the marginalized populations. It would be one of the biggest possible errors to hope to solve the world crisis by concentrating the economic effort on the first world and ignoring the rest. More than ever before, the first world has to multiply its aid efforts. It would mean a big step forward if we managed to convince those who take financial decisions that there is no long-term better investment than to fight poverty in all parts of the world!”

There are other strong statements, such as by Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General: "We must not repeat the mistakes of the past. We cannot afford, in this time of crisis, to squander our investments, to abandon our drive for greater balance in this world, which I firmly believe is a marker of civilized society. I am calling on all governments and political leaders to maintain their efforts to strengthen and improve the performance of their health systems, to protect the health of the people of the world, and in particular of those most fragile, in face of the present financial and economic crisis."

In the meantime headlines have changed, but our concern remain the same. So we were happy to learn from WHO that they will organize a consultation on the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on health, next week, in Geneva. We will be there.

In Global Health Initiatives and international debates, the discussion concentrates on the role of national governments, international organisations, big donors and multilateral funds. In general, the role of smaller private not-for-profit organisations, which play a crucial role in health provision in many countries and struggle to become a fully integrated actor within the public health system, are overlooked in the debate. There is little interest in their problems and potential solutions. Exactly these organisations are the partners of the members of the MMI Network. It is time to raise our voice!

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International



MMI Network Events: What’s up

MMI Network Partners: WHO
Health impacts of the current financial and economic crisis
Geneva, 19 January 2009

WHO | "In view of the concerns being expressed by Member States and other partners regarding the health impacts of the current financial and economic crisis, the WHO Director-General proposes to hold a half a day panel discussion and consultation with WHO Member States, international organizations, representatives of civil society, and other key stakeholders, on this topic, on the morning of 19th January 2009, immediately prior to the opening of the 124th session of the WHO Executive Board." The MMI Network will be represented at this consultation by Carlo Santarelli, Enfants du Monde, a Board member of MM Switzerland. (photo: WHO)

> WHO: 124th Session of the Executive Board
WHO DG Margaret Chan: Impact of the global financial and economic crisis on health

MMI Network Partners: CHAs
Building partnerships for Health Systems Strengthening in Africa
Biennial conference of African Christian Health Associations
Kampala, 23-26 February 2009

CHAK | “The conference objectives include: To explore opportunities for partnerships with Christian Health Associations in Africa towards strengthening health systems and sustainability; to reflect on the role and potential of North-South Medical Missions in Africa in today’s context; to discuss promising retention strategies for Human Resources for Health; to share some innovations and best practices in health care financing; to facilitate networking for sharing information, learning and building of partnerships.” The MMI Network will be represented at the conference by Cordaid and Misereor. 


MMI Network Events: Network Governance
MMI Executive Board Meetings 2009

The Executive Board of Medicus Mundi International will meet four times this year:

  • 6th March 2009 (The Hague)
  • 21th May 2009 (Geneva: General Assembly and EB meeting)
  • 25th September 2009 (Basel)
  • 27th November 2009 (venue to be confirmed)

Network members: please mark these dates in your agenda, and join us, if you like!

MMI Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Cultural approaches to HIV and AIDS
Bern, 6 May 2009 | “Conceptions of health and disease, and related beliefs, traditional practices and the use of medicinal plants are rooted in culture and have an impact on behavior and how people cope with the epidemic. Responses to HIV and AIDS need to be culturally appropriate, gender and age responsive, grounded in human rights and involve people living with HIV at all stages. Based on experiences and knowledge of partner organisations and others, cultural sensitive approaches to prevention, treatment, care and support of partner organisations are explored.” ( conference 2009; the Swiss platform HIV/AIDS and development is a project organized by Medicus Mundi Switzerland.


Network events on the MMI ePlatform:
Contribute: Announce your upcoming events on our ePlatform and in this newsletter!




MMI Network: News and Resources

MMI Network Campaign: Cordaid
Cordaid AIDS Award – update

Cordaid | “There is a large number of religious organisations in the fight against AIDS. For example, the Catholic church takes 25% of the prevention and care programmes for its account; a vital stake in the global fight against AIDS. Cordaid rewards religious leadership in the fight against AIDS. For the 2008 AIDS Award, 25 entries were received. These entries are now being judged by an international jury, based on the following criteria: Courage/leadership, innovation, creativity innovativeness, personal sacrifice, and the importance of the contribution in the fight against AIDS. This amount of entries and the content of the entries has been a motivation for Cordaid and has encouraged us that much that we have decided that in 2009 we will continue with the Award.”

>  Network Campaigns:

MMI Network Campaign: Stop Malaria Now!
Prioritise malaria control! A call upon European governments

stopmalarianow | “Today, with the world in the midst of financial turbulence, the possibility of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is receding fast. On the occasion of the second International Conference on Financing for Development, Stop Malaria Now! urged the donor community to not lose sight of the urgent need to control malaria in spite of the worldwide financial turbulence.” Stop Malaria Now! is a consortium of nine health and development NGOs from Europe and Africa co-ordinated by action medeor and including four other MMI Network members.

> Network Campaigns:

MMI Network Marketplace: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Swiss Tropical Institute: Health Technology Unit

STI | "The Health Technology Unit (HTU) of the Swiss Centre for International Health at the Swiss Tropical Institute is a centre of competence in the field of technology management in health care. The Health Technology Unit is mainly oriented towards international development efforts in low income and transition countries, but also provides services to various institutions in Switzerland and the European Union. We focus on technology and know-how transfer through systematic assessment, appropriate solutions, process and system optimization including human resources and institutional capacity building. Beside consultancy services we manage a number of long term projects in various countries. Our Unit provides assistance in health systems planning and project implementation with a special focus on physical resources, process optimisation and the introduction of information and communication systems.” (The Swiss Tropical Institute is a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland)

> Network Marketplace: 

MMI Network Marketplace: CUAMM
Health Systems through Conflict and Recovery
Course in Padova, 18 to 29 May 2009

CUAMM | "In its fifth edition, the course taking place at Doctors with Africa Cuamm in Padova (Italy) from introduces participants to the study of health systems going through, or emerging from conflict. The main features of conflict-affected health systems are analysed within a sector-wide perspective, touching upon the most critical issues to be addressed, and the range of available responses. The understanding of lessons learned in such unstable environments is supported by the study of materials drawn from a variety of troubled countries”

> Network Marketplace: 

MMI Network Resources: Medicus Mundi International
Milestones: Strategic repositioning of church-based health services

The MMI ePlatform contains a collection of historical milestones and key documents related to the involvement of Medicus Mundi International in conferences dealing with the repositioning of church-based health services. The collection is based on the documents available at the MMI Secretariat. Please help us to complete it.

> Network Resources:

Network news and resources on the MMI ePlatform:
Contribute: Publish your news and resources on our ePlatform and in this newsletter!




MMI Key Issues and Network Topics

MMI Key Issue: Governance and Accountability
Accountability and the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health

PHA-Exch | “Accountability in the context of the right to the highest attainable standard of health is the process that provides individuals and communities with the opportunity to understand how governments and others have discharged their right to health obligations. In other words, accountability provides governments and others with the chance to explain what they have done and why. Where mistakes have occurred, accountability requires redress. It is a process that helps to identify what works, so it can be repeated, and what does not, so it can be revised.” (Helen Potts, Accountability and the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, University of Essex, 2008)


MMI Key Issue: Health Financing
Health amid a financial crisis: a complex diagnosis

WHO |  “The global financial crisis could have profound implications for the health spending plans of national governments. Unless countries have safety nets in place, the poor and vulnerable will be the first to suffer. Jane Parry and Gary Humphreys report.” (WHO Bulletin 2009;87:4–5).



MMI Key Issue: Global Health Policy
Setting a Developing Country Agenda for Global Health

PHA-Exch | “In May 2008, the Global Economic Governance Program of Oxford University brought together a group of current and former health ministers and senior health officials from developing countries to discuss gaps and challenges they face in dealing with current global health financing and governance arrangements. This short report summarizes key points emerging from the meeting. Over the course of the meeting, participants voiced their frustrations with the current state of health assistance. Already, within countries health policy-makers face strong incentives to prioritize clinical care and infectious diseases and to under-fund prevention and wider inter-sectoral health issues such as access for the poor to health services and maternal mortality. Crucially, national health strategies need to aim at stronger health systems.  However, far from helping to correct this imbalance, at present, donors are exacerbating and magnifying it”

> Group Report May 2008.pdf

MMI Key Issue: Health System Integration
Feature: non-state health care providers

Eldis | “In recent years there has been a proliferation of non-state health providers in developing countries, with such roles often playing a significant function in health service delivery. Non-state providers vary widely, and can include formal providers, such as NGO-run medical clinics, and informal ones such as traditional healers. The can include market-based for-profit providers, from large private firms to informal local entrepreneurs, and non-profit providers such as NGOs, volunteer groups and faith based organisations. However, problems with non-state providers often occur, including dual practice, informal charging, and low quality of care provided by unregulated, informal, or unqualified practitioners.” (Eldis Health Reporter, December 2008)


MMI Key Issue: Community Health
Participation guide: involving those directly affected

Eldis Manuals Reporter | ”Participation in health and development communication programmes can strengthen the voice of ordinary citizens and ensure their involvement in decisions that affect them, their families, and their communities. Those directly affected by the issue addressed in a health and development program have wisdom, abilities, and experience the programme can and should build on. This guide presents a simple set of guidelines to design and implement participatory health and development communication programmes. It is intended for programme officers, programme staff, and development practitioners interested in effectively involving those directly concerned in the health and development communication programmes they support. (M. Tapia et al., Participation guide: involving those directly affected in health and development communication program. International HIV/AIDS Alliance 2007)


Key issues on the MMI ePlatform:
Contribute: Let us know about interesting resources and news to be published in this newsletter!




About the Medicus Mundi International Network News

The next issue of our monthly newsletter is scheduled for mid-February 2009 – please send us your eventual contributions until 13th February. You can subscribe to the newsletter by sending a simple “subscribe” message to the secretariat.

Contact: Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network
Murbacherstrasse 34, CH-4013 Basel
Phone +41 (61) 383 18 11,

"We fight global poverty by promoting health.
Within the Medicus Mundi International Network,
we share our know-how and our commitment for
accessible, equitable and sustainable health care.”

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