Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, March 2009

MMI Network News, March 2009

Editorial: Yes, we are talking about a Network...

Dear reader,

In its work plan 2009, the MMI Executive Board stated: “We miss a network policy and/or mission statement of the Medicus Mundi International Network which clearly states who and what we are, how we see our particular role in international health cooperation and networking, what we concretely do and what we do not, who are our members and partners, what membership in the MMI network means and what we offer to our members – and to our partners who are not members.” 

The MMI secretariat was therefore asked to start a dialogue with MMI members and partners about the identity of the MMI Network and their understanding of being a Network member or partner. Until now, three questionnaires have been sent out to our key contacts, and first results have been discussed at the MMI Executive Board meeting in early March. 

Today, as an appetizer, some strong statements received so far:

  • “Shared vision: The principles of Primary Health Care are still in place and MMI supports them as a way of achieving access to health services of the poorest in a sustainable way. Mission: share the knowledge between members and plan joint activities to promote access to services of health in a sustainable way, not only for members but for the rest of actors of health cooperation.” (Carlos)
  • “The common vision of Health For All is not revolutionary new and is, as a matter of fact, shared by many other existing organizations throughout the world. New members and institutions will knock on the MMI doors if there is something specific that makes MMI a bit different from the variety of existing organizations. We still have to reflect, not on what we share with so many others in the world (PHC and its values), but what makes us particular. This has to be made explicit. In my analysis, our links and connections with the private not-for-profit sector in general, and the church-based health care delivery sector in particular, would/could be part of our ‘unique selling proposition’.” (Bart)
  • “I think it’s good to restrict membership to international NGOs and networks, including southern, regional groups. That will further strengthen networking, sharing and advocacy.” (Arjan)
  • “There are strong limitations of a mix of North-South membership. This only superficially inclusive approach should be phased out, as MMI has not the resources to provide a comprehensive, also material support.” (Nick)
  • “Sorry, are you talking about a Network?” – “Yes” – “Ah, yes, what else…” (George)

There are no secrets around this “stakeholder dialogue” – so we invite you to a look at the feedback received so far: MMI as a formal Network? Aim, mission, mandate? Network members and partners? Network activities? (PDF files on the MMI ePlatform). We will use these results for drafting a policy document which will be send to the Network members for review. I am looking forward to more debate – and to some conclusions!

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


MMI Network Events: What’s up

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 behaviour 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.)

MMI Network Event: MMI Network
MMI side event at World Health Assembly 2009?
Geneva, 20 May 2009

MMI | The Medicus Mundi International Network will eventually participate in the 62nd World Health Assembly with a side event on Wednesday, 20th May 2009, on private not-for profit health institutions coping with the human resources crises - such as in 2008 when we organized a technical meeting on "Contracting experiences". A decision will be taken – and communicated to the Network members – within the next two weeks. If you like to get involved before, please contact the MMI secretariat.

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


Network News and Resources added to the MMI electronic platform

MMI Network News: Cordaid
Statement by the Pope on condoms harms Catholic development aid

Cordaid | “Cordaid does not agree with the statement of Pope Benedict XVI that the use of condoms could worsen the AIDS problem. Scientifically there is no doubt that a proper use of condoms can prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV / AIDS. This scientific evidence should also be taken seriously by the Roman Catholic Church.” (Read the full Cordaid Press Release, The Hague, 19th March  2009)

MMI Network Resources: Medicus Mundi Spain
La salud en la cooperación al desarrollo y la acción humanitarian

FAMME | An annual report on health and development cooperation published by Medicus Mundi Spain together with MdM Spain and Prosalus. The report 2008 is focusing on Spanish development cooperation but drawing a broad picture of international health development and health development policy issues such as 60 years of the Alma Ata declaration; public private partnerships, climatic change and health. (151 pages, in Spanish)

MMI Network Resources: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
30 years after Alma Ata: The Future of Community Health

MMS | “The Declaration of Alma Ata and the concept of primary health care that it propagates are a key point of reference for most of organizations working in healthcare provision. The just published Bulletin of Medicus Mundi Switzerland collects contributions from a conference, which took place last November in Basel. It is an important Reader, which discusses central issues of international health policy and experiences of international health cooperation.”

MMI Network News 
Survey on the results of Medicus Mundi International’s
involvement in catholic Bishops conferences

A long history is linking the Medicus Mundi International Network (MMI) with private not-for-profit (PNFP) and mainly faith-based health institutions, be it as members of the Network or as partners or beneficiaries of its activities. Since the year 2000, MMI has deepened its relations with PFNP health services providers with the objective to help them cope with the transformation of their working environment and convince them of the necessity to adapt to these changes (= “strategic positioning” approach).

As the need for support in strategical positioning of their health services was mainly expressed to the Medicus Mundi International Network by catholic institutions, MMI focused its strategy on sensitizing and supporting catholic Bishops, the owners of the catholic church’s health services, in a series of regional and national meetings and conferences related to the “Healing Ministry” of the church. 

In order to learn from the past experiences, to take into account the current situation (expectations of the stakeholders, needs of the partner institutions, changes in the environment and current trends) and to further involve its members in this endeavour, MMI decided to review its strategic focus and the related activities. 

From this limited and selective review (we call it a "survey" rather) MMI is expecting  key information and recommendations that will help to (re-)formulate our intervention strategy related to the support of private not-for-profit health institutions in the field of strategic positioning, and, if necessary, to reorient its activities.

Terms of reference for the "survey on the results of MMIs involvement in catholic Bishops conferences" were drafted, and a "call for bids" was issued by the secretariat on 17th March 2009, inviting members and partners of the MMI Network who have not been directly involved to consider if they can undertake the survey for us.

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: Reports, Events, Resources

MMI Key Issue: Global Health Policy
Economic Governance for Health

EG4Health | “Global economic governance and the international trade policies and financial systems which it creates are underlying causes of the world’s failure to meet the health needs of billions of people. There is an urgent need for fundamental reform of global economic governance. Economic Governance for Health (EG4Health) seeks a fair, democratic, transparent and accountable system that is based on a framework and approach that prioritizes health and social objectives, including poverty eradication and an effective response to climate change. EG4Health has been established to enable the global community of health workers to support and promote this reform agenda, working collaboratively with other actors and sections of society. EG4Health is not a membership organisation - it is a platform for you (or your organisation) to engage with some of the fundamental determinants of health. EG4Health will help you do this.”

MMI Key Issue: Global Health Policy
Human Rights, Health and Poverty Reduction Strategies

WHO | “The task of addressing poverty, health and human rights cannot be handled by any single global institution and requires rigorous interdisciplinary and coordinated action. This is why the WHO and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have worked together with a range of stakeholders to develop this guide. It is intended as a tool for health policymakers to design, implement and monitor a poverty reduction strategy through a human rights-based approach. It contains practical guidance and suggestions as well as good practice examples from around the world..”

MMI Key Issue: Maternal and Newborn Health
The State of the World’s Children 2009

UNICEF | The State of the World’s Children 2009 examines the current state of maternal and neonatal health, explores the fundamentals of a supportive environment for mothers and newborns, and outlines ways to strengthen efforts in support of primary health care. The report highlights the importance of establishing a continuum of maternal and newborn care framework and the imperative of strengthening health systems and working together. Africa and Asia are a key focus of this report, which complements the previous year’s issue on child survival. (photo: UNICEF)

MMI Key Issue: Future of church-based health services
The contribution of religious entities to health in sub-Saharan Africa

ARHAP | “The overall purpose of this study was to provide a description of the contribution of faith based organisations (FBOs), institutions, and networks to the health of vulnerable populations in resource-poor areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA); and to identify key areas for investment that would accelerate, scale up and sustain access to effective services, and/or encourage policy and resource advocacy among and in African countries." (African Religious Health Assets Programme. Research report for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2008)

MMI Key Issue: Future of church-based health services
TEC Health Policy

MMI | In June 2007, MMI participated in a health session of the Tanzania Bishops Conference on “The Role of the Church in providing Social Services for the promotion of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation with special attention to Health” The Health Policy of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference published in 2008 is a direct result of the Dar es Salaam conference. In the “acknowledgements”, TEC expresses its gratitude to MMI and Cordaid for the support of the conference and to MMI representative Edgar Widmer for his inputs.

MMI Key Issue: Health system integration
Health markets and future health systems: innovation for equity

Eldis | ”The spread of market relationships has advanced so far in many countries that official policies often have limited relevance to the realities that poor people face when coping with health problems. Given the pervasiveness of markets for health-related goods and services and the great degree to which the poor obtain medical care in these markets, the authors argue that it is time for health policymakers to take action to improve their performance, based on a systematic understanding of how these markets operate. Interventions intended to benefit the poor need to acknowledge and take into account the influence of power and conflicts of interest on their outcome and this should be anticipated in a detailed stakeholder analysis." (George Bloom et al., Global Forum for Health Research, 2009. Photo: id21health)

see also:

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

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