Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, June 2009

MMI Network News, June 2009

Editorial: Contracting - an ongoing crisis

Dear reader,

Contracting between faith-based district hospitals and public health authorities in Africa faces a crisis. 

This is the main conclusion of a study conducted for the Medicus Mundi International Network by the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp (ITM), and including cases from Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania and Chad. On 21st May 2009, the MMI Network launched the study report “Contracting between faith-based and public health sector in Sub-Saharan Africa: An ongoing crisis?” in a public event at Chateau de Bossey, Switzerland.

Within the next months, MMI will share results with international cooperation actors, but mainly with each of the countries included to the study, organizing participative restitution under the lead of local stakeholders. Disseminating the results of the study, we hope to contribute to the development of awareness of the situation and the urgency of change – and finally to the joint search for structural solutions.

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


Network news and resources added to the MMI electronic platform

MMI Network report
Contracting between faith-based and public health sector
in Sub-Saharan Africa: An ongoing crisis?

“In spite of the wide variety of contexts and experiences of the included cases, a study conducted for the Medicus Mundi International Network by the ITM Antwerpshow that contracting between the State and faith-based district health sector has run into great difficulties. To make matters worse, there is no general awareness of the crisis, certainly not among the public sector actors. Unless correcting measures are taken, this almost hidden crisis risks to jeopardize in the medium-term the important contribution which the faith-based facilities make to the provision of care in Africa.”

Contracting between faith-based and public health sector in Sub-Saharan Africa: An ongoing crisis? The case of Cameroon, Tanzania, Chad and Uganda. By Delphine Boulenger, Basile Keugoung & Bart Criel, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp. Study commissioned and published by the Medicus Mundi International Network (MMI), Basel, May 2009. Our gratitude goes to the ITM Antwerp team, to the MMI Network members and to all the people and organisations that supported the realization of this study.

Download the report from:

Foreword by Guus Eskens, MMI President:

Launch event presentations, 21 May 2009:

MMI Conference documentation: Cordaid – MMI Network
Quest for Quality. Private not-for profit health institutions address the human resources crises

Geneva, 20 May 2009 | The 2006 World Health Report “Working Together for Health” was dedicated to the health workforce. In the same year WHO launched the human resources decade. In 2009 the workforce issue has disappeared from the headlines and from the WHA agenda. The draft WHO code of practice on international recruitment of health personnel has been postponed to next year’s Assembly. Nevertheless, the issue remains high on the agenda of the MMI Network. 

Private not-for-profit organisations play a crucial role in health provision for the poor in many countries. The private not-for-profit sector has made significant contributions to reducing health personnel attrition rates with emphasis on improving retention of health workers deployed in often neglected rural areas. In a technical meeting organized as a side event to the 62nd WHA, MMI and Cordaid presented a number of these initiatives and discussed their implications for a national health workforce strategy.     

Meeting documentation:

Cordaid “Quest for quality” report:

MMI Network News: Annual Assembly
Network Policy approved

Geneva, 21 May 2009 | “Medicus Mundi International is the Network of private not-for-profit organisations working in the field of international health cooperation and advocacy. The Network members fight global poverty by promoting access to health and health care as a fundamental human right (‘Health for All’). The Network aims at enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the work of its members and their partners through sharing know-how and joining forces. The Network’s key strategy is to strengthen the health system as a whole. Strengthening the private not-for-profit health sector is an essential aspect in this.”

The Annual Assembly of the Medicus Mundi International Network took place in Château de Bossey near Geneva, Switzerland. The Assembly approved the Network’s annual report and financial statement of the last year and, as an important step for the further Network promotion and development, a “MMI Network Policy”. Both documents are available on the MMI ePlatform. The reports of the MMI Assembly and the related EB meeting can be downloaded from the internal pages of the MMI ePlatform or ordered at the MMI Secretariat.

MMI Annual Report 2008:

MMI Network Policy: 

Reports of the MMI Assembly and the related EB meeting: Download from the internal section of the MMI ePlatform or order at the MMI Secretariat.

MMI Network Papers: Medicus Mundi Switzerland A model thematic community in the health sector

MM Switzerland | “’It’s the people that make the music!’ This is a very appropriate characterization of a community of practice, which also applies to, the Swiss platform on HIV/AIDS and international cooperation. Committed people who are eager to share and learn are a key element and requirement of a lively thematic platform. Since its inception, platform has developed into a central pivot in international cooperation on issues surrounding HIV and AIDS, winning as partners a representative and growing number of organizations” (Contribution of Helena Zweifel, Medicus Mundi Switzerland, to the MMI Annual Report 2008)

Contribution of Medicus Mundi Switzerland:

MMI Annual Report:

2009 conference: Cultural approaches to HIV and AIDS 

MMI Network Papers: Doctors with Africa Cuamm
Equal Opportunities for Health: Action for Development

Cuamm | “Doctors with Africa Cuamm, committed for over 50 years to promoting health as a right in Africa, have launched a public awareness campaign on global health at the European level. Many European organizations are sharing this effort. This is important. In particular, it is very encouraging to note how members of the Medicus Mundi International Network cooperate in this and other similar projects toward a common goal. We believe that this is a learning process that also helps enhance the effectiveness of the MMI Network.” (Contribution of Serena Foresi, Elisabetta Bertotti and Giovanni Putoto, Cuamm, to the MMI Annual Report 2008)

Contribution of Cuamm:

MMI Annual Report: 

MMI Network Papers: Medicus Mundi International
Helping all Players pull at the same rope

MMI | “In June 2008, the Medicus Mundi International Network was invited to the 8th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of the Central African Region (ACERAC). This exceptional invitation was a unique opportunity for a lay organization to talk directly to more than 60 bishops of the Central African Region. All six countries of the region were represented: Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Central African Republic. For MMI, participating in the ACERAC conference was obvious considering its long history working with faith-based organizations. Furthermore, this conference at a very high hierarchical level of the Catholic Church allowed MMI to fulfill its role of working with international bodies rather than at the field level, where members of its Network are active.” (Contribution of Thomas Vogel, Medicus Mundi Switzerland, to the MMI Annual Report 2008)

Contribution of Thomas Vogel:

MMI Annual Report:

MMI Network Papers: Medicus Mundi Spain
Health in development cooperation and human action. Report 2008

MM Spain | The annual report "La salud en la cooperación al desarrollo y la acción humanitaria" 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 The original report (Spanish language) can be found on the website of Medicus Mundi Spain. An executive summary in English is now available on the MMI ePlatform.

Spanish report:

English summary:



MMI Key Issues and Network Topics: Reports, Events, Resources

MMI Key Issue: Global Health Policy
Health not a commodity but a right, also in times of influenza A

WCC | ”What do you think about when you hear the word ‘health’? A doctor with a stethoscope, lab testing tubes, coloured pills? Wrong answer, grassroots health activists say. You should be thinking first of clean drinking water, nutritious food, a safe work environment and essential health care made accessible at the community level. Yes, even in times of influenza A. A large spectrum of grassroots health activists – nearly one hundred sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) – gathered in Geneva in mid-May to bring those issues to the forefront of the global public health discussion.” (Juan Michel, WCC media relations officer, report on the Civil Society Health Forum "Equity, Justice and Health", Geneva, 15-16 May 2009, and the World Health Assembly)

MMI Key Issue: Global Health Policy
Towards a common definition of global health

Lancet | ”Global health is fashionable. It provokes a great deal of media, student, and faculty interest, has driven the establishment or restructuring of several academic programmes, is supported by governments as a crucial component of foreign policy, and has become a major philanthropic target. Global health is derived from public health and international health, which, in turn, evolved from hygiene and tropical medicine. However, although frequently referenced, global health is rarely defined. When it is, the definition varies greatly and is often little more than a rephrasing of a common definition of public health or a politically correct updating of international health. Therefore, how should global health be defined?” (Jeffrey P Koplan et al, in: The Lancet,  Volume 373, Issue 9679, 6 June 2009, free registration required)

MMI Key Issue: Human Resources for Health
Research on the migration of health workers between Africa and the UK

HCW | ”Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) would like to hear your experiences and views on the international migration of health workers. Your responses will contribute to a VSO report on the international migration of health workers. The aim is to understand how migration systems could be improved to benefit health workers and health systems in both the UK and Africa. Health workers of African origin are invited to complete the survey, and we would also like to hear from UK health workers who have worked overseas.” (posted by Kathy Peach on the HCW discussion list, 8 June 2009)

MMI Key Issue: Human Resources for Health
Incentives for health worker retention in Kenya

Eldis | ”In Kenya, a lack of personnel in key areas of the country’s health system is worsened by internal migration (from rural to urban areas). This in turn exacerbates the inequitable distribution of health personnel .Communities in the poorest areas of the country suffer most from this. In response, the Kenyan government has developed new standards to improve working conditions through a number of financial incentives.” (Eldis Health systems reporter, 28 April 2009)

MMI Key Issue: Primary Health Care
Primary health care renewal at the 62nd World Health Assembly

ihpnetwork | ”Primary health care is back on the international agenda as the Resolution on Primary Health Care (PHC) including Health System Strengthening was adopted at the 62nd World Health Assembly. The resolution also recognizes the key role Civil Society must play in the PHC renewal. However this participation must move beyond service delivery and address the lack of accountability in health interventions to ensure universal coverage. Speaking at a forum discussion at the World Health Assembly, Carissa Etienne, WHO Assistant Director-General, called on the role civil society to hold the WHO, governments and health workers to account to the policy directions enshrined in this resolution.” (action for global health news, 26 May 2009)

WHO | “The 62nd World Health Assembly, which brought together health ministers and senior health officials from WHO's Member States, closed today with the adoption of resolutions on a variety of global health issues including primary health care, the prevention and control of multidrug- resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, public health, innovation and intellectual property and pandemic influenza preparedness.” (WHO media release, 22 May 2009)

WHA PHC resolution:

WHA documentation:

MMI Key Issue: Access to Health
World Health Statistics 2009

WHO | “Out of every 10 deaths worldwide, six are due to non-communicable conditions; three to communicable, reproductive or nutritional conditions; and one to injuries. Many developing countries have mortality patterns that reflect high levels of infectious diseases and the risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth, in addition to the cancers, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases that account for most deaths in the developed world.” (WHO's annual compilation of data from its 193 Member States, was published on 21 May 2009. Detailed data on hundreds of indicators are available by country and region) 

MMI Key Issue: Research Priorities and Partnerships
Civil Society Engagement in Research for Health

COHRED | “Are you a member of a civil society organisation? Or active in research for health and how people's need can have stronger input into research agendas and policies? Interested in joining a community of like-minded professionals who are active in making this happen? We welcome all interested organisations and people to: Contribute their voice to the debate on civil society organisations' engagement in research for health; access to data on civil society organisations to help identify partners; engage with peers on how civil society organisations' can help focus research for health on people's real needs.” (COHRED call for CSO engagement, May 2009)


About the Medicus Mundi International Network News

MMI Network News are edited and distributed by e-mail by the secretariat of Medicus Mundi International. Please send us your contributions for the next issue of the newsletter until 10th July 2009.

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