Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, August 2009

MMI Network News, August 2009

Editorial: You might call it an “unsolicited message”

“A fool can learn from his own experience,
the wise learn from the experiences of others.”

Dear reader,

Medicus Mundi International (MMI) is the Network of private not-for-profit organisations working in the field of international health cooperation and advocacy. The Network members promote access to health and health care as a fundamental human right. The Network aims at enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the work of its members and their partners. The Network is a living community where members come together voluntarily to share and develop their knowledge, solve common problems and develop joint activities…

This sounds reasonably good, doesn’t it? Hopefully it does, as I just quoted the new “Network Policy” of the Medicus Mundi International Network adopted by its Assembly in May 2009 – a key document laying the ground for the Network’s future development. When you read the whole document, one thing is obvious:

The MMI Network now intends to grow. Referring to Democritus, the existing members of the Medicus Mundi International Network consider themselves as “wise”, so they are keen to involve and include more organisations. In fact there are good reasons to join the Network, such as: increasing effectiveness of joint advocacy and sensitization; learning from and benchmarking with other institutions; enlarging institutional and personal networks, establishing partnerships and creating synergies. 

The monthly newsletter is just one example: our Network members and partners use it in order to publish their news, campaigns, reports and resources – and at the same time to see what’s on in international health and to learn from the others.

For some of the readers, this is an “unsolicited message”: We sent this issue of our monthly newsletter to a series of “new contacts”, mainly representatives and key e-mail addresses of private not-for-profit organisations working in the field of international health cooperation and advocacy. Sorry for bothering you, but every first contact is “unsolicited”. If new recipients like to continue getting our monthly newsletter, please send us a simple “subscribe” message, otherwise you will not receive further issues. Please consider forwarding the newsletter to your organisation’s staff, members and/or partners. If you like to know more about the MMI Network and how to become a member, please get in touch with us.

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network

MMI Network Policy and other basic documents:

Network Events and News

MMI Network Campaign: Cordaid
Cordaid HIV and AIDS Award 2009
“Home based care leadership” | ”Cordaid and partners of the Caregivers Action Alliance’s (CAA) Organising Committee (HelpAge International, Huairou Commission, VSO International) as well as the World YWCA, reward and encourage leadership around the strengthening of home based care in responding to HIV and AIDS in the “global South” by awarding €15.000 for an organisation and €5.000 for an individual.” All related information can be found on the "Cordaid partners" website.”

MMI Conference Report: Doctors with Africa Cuamm
A plan of action to teach and advocate global health

Padua, 3-4 April 2009, conference organized by Cuamm together with 29 relevant partners and associates within the project “Equal opportunities for health: action for development”. 150 international participants representative of the health community attended the conference with the aim of elaborating a common plan of action to promote and teach global health, therefore focussing on concrete proposals and actions (PDF)

MMI Network News: Doctors with Africa Cuamm
Doctors with Africa Cuamm on YouTube

Doctors with Africa Cuamm have started publishing videos on YouTube - on their programs and projects and on global health issues. You find there also five interviews form the international conference "Equal opportunities for health: action for development".

MMI Conference Report: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Culture and condoms. Integrating approaches to HIV and AIDS

Bern, 6 May 2009, conference. The conference looked at the complex inter-relationships of culture and HIV/AIDS. Based on experiences and knowledge of partner organisations and others, cultural sensitive approaches to prevention, treatment, care and support of were explored. The power point presentations of the conference are now put on-line. More extensive papers, complemented and enriched with stories, experiences, discussions and reflections on the issue are published in the reader, the Bulletin of Medicus Mundi Switzerland No 113 (August 2009).


MMI Network Members: Annual Reports 2008
Many languages – one common concern: Health for All

action medeor | “It is to be feared that our help will be even more in demand in future since the effects of the world-wide economic and financial crisis will hit our partners in the south harder than the countries in the north.”

Annual report of action medeor (English, German, French, Spanish)

AGEH | “Es ist das, was uns stets angetrieben hat, nach neuen Wegen des Miteinanders zu suchen, um gemeinsam mit Menschen aller Kontinente und Kulturen an einer humanen Entwicklung zu arbeiten und ein Leben in Gerechtigkeit und Frieden zu ermöglichen: Nicht für, sondern nur durch und mit den Menschen lässt sich die Welt menschlich gestalten“

Annual report of AGEH (German only)

Doctors with Africa Cuamm | “State budget support by large international donors is a good, efficient way of providing aid, but it must be accompanied and integrated by robust, intelligent support to peripheral healthcare providers and services at district level, without which all good intentions fail to provide ascertainable results for the poor.”

Annual report of Doctors with Africa Cuamm (Italian, English, Portuguese)

Medicus Mundi Switzerland | “…pour que la coopération au développement dans le domaine de la santé continue de disposer d’un lobby fort, ce qui est essentiel puisque la santé est la clé du développement et de la lutte contre la pauvreté.“ 

Annual report of Medicus Mundi Switzerland (French and German only)

Medicus Mundi Spain | “Existe el riesgo de que tanto los donantes como los Ministerios de Salud no incrementen sus presupuestos y deriven, ante las nuevas pandemias, los escasos recursos sanitarios que mantienen los frágiles sistemas de salud a la lucha contra estas enfermedades.“ 

Annual report of Medicus Mundi Spain (Spanish only)

Misereor | “Unser Leitwort, ‘Mit Zorn und Zärtlichkeit an der Seite der Armen’, drückt das Spannungsfeld aus, in dem sich unsere Arbeit bewegt: Auf der einen Seite steht der ‘heilige’ Zorn über ungerechte Verhältnisse, der zum Handeln antreibt, auf der anderen Seite das Mitgefühl mit dem Nächsten.”

Annual report of Misereor (German only)

MMI Network Resource: Swiss Tropical Institute
Go International!

"This new handbook for preparing health professionals for development cooperation and humanitarian aid is hot off the press. Published (in German) by Hans Huber and edited by Elgin Hackenbruch, the book includes chapters on ‘HIV/Aids: Much More than a Health Problem’ authored by Claudia Kessler of the Swiss Centre for International Health of the Swiss Tropical Institute STI (a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland) and ‘Strategic Project Management: Project Cycles and Planning’ by Axel Hoffmann of the STI. Among other SCIH/STI collaborating authors are Hans Jochen Diesfeld, Rainer Külker and Dagmar Domenig." (Source: SCIH Update August 2009)

MMI Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Chronic Diseases in Developing and Newly Industrialized Countries:
A new challenge for Global Health
Basel, 10 November 2009

8th Symposium of the Medicus Mundi Switzerland Network. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 60% of all deaths. This invisible epidemic is an under-appreciated cause of poverty and hinders the economic development of many countries. Contrary to common perception, 80% of chronic disease deaths occur in low and middle income countries. A challenge for not only for these countries, but for global health policy and also for the NGOs working in the field of international health.

Contribute: Publish your news and announce your events on our ePlatform and in this newsletter!


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

MMI Key Issue: Global Health Policy
The giants of philanthropy

ihpnetwork | ”After three decades of neoliberal orthodoxy coupled with the ‘public-private partnership’ paradigm, which encourages corporate involvement in policy-making and promotes corporate social responsibility as an alternative to effective public regulation, the New Philanthropy offers the danger of extending the undue influence of private actors over public policy and institutions. There is nothing inherently wrong with this sort of philanthropy, and there are many examples of it catalysing development and promoting social justice. In a global economy that increases the disparity between rich and poor, philanthropy and  generosity need to be encouraged. But not at the expense of social justice, or as a substitute for a more effective public redistribution of wealth.” (David McCoy, in: The Guardian, 5 August 2009)

MMI Key Issue: Global Health Policy
A social explanation for the rise and fall of global health issues

WHO Bulletin| ”This paper proposes an explanation concerning the rise, persistence and fall of issues in global health: a way to understand the reasons some health issues come to attract attention from leaders of international organizations and national political systems, while others are neglected.” (Jeremy Shiffman, in: Bulletin of the WHO, August 2009)

MMI Key Issue: Human Resources for Health
Managing health workforce migration - towards a global code of practice

WHO | “Health worker migration has been increasing worldwide over the past decades, especially from lower income countries whose health systems are already very fragile. To address this situation, the World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA57.19 which called for the development of a Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel. A multi-stakeholder process to articulate the content of the Code has been initiated. The consultative process of drafting of the Code is being led by WHO through its mechanisms for global policy making.”

MMI Key Issue: Human Resources for Health
Designing financial-incentive programmes for return of medical service in underserved areas: seven management functions

HST Bulletin | “In many countries worldwide, health worker shortages are one of the main constraints in achieving population health goals. Financial-incentive programmes for return of service, whereby participants receive payments in return for a commitment to practise for a period of time in a medically underserved area, can alleviate local and regional health worker shortages.” (Till Bärnighausen and David E Bloom in: Human Resources for Health, June 2009) 

MMI Key Issue: Human Resources for Health
Task shifting: the answer to the human resources crisis in Africa?

HRH | ”The objective of the present publication is to narrate part of the many struggles related to advocacy for access to medicines of engaged civil society. Through the experiences of five middle-income countries—Brazil, China, Colombia, India, and Thailand—we present the reader the perspective of local civil society organizations about the national impact of intellectual property protection and access to medications.” (Uta Lehmann et al, in: Human Resources for Health, June 2009)

MMI Key Issue: Global Health Policy
Sign onto the Call for Global Health Systems Impact Assessments

Lancet | ”The idea behind Global Health Systems Impact Assessments is actually quite simple: all global health activities should consider the impact that they have on the underlying health system before their activity begins.” “Those engaged in global health should hold governments and other affiliated organisations accountable for the effect of global health activities on existing health systems” “Non-governmental organisations and staff who participate in humanitarian work should participate in development of and sign onto codes of conduct, such as the NGO Code of Conduct; take into account effect of their programmes on existing health system; work with academic and other institutions to develop Health Systems Impact Assessments that are appropriate to their specific situation”

MMI Key Issue: Access to Health
The Treatment Timebomb

HRH | ”We are sitting on a treatment timebomb. We must reduce the price of second-line HIV medicines and less toxic first-line medicines before millions need them. We cannot sleepwalk into a situation where we can only afford to treat a tiny proportion of those infected.” (Report of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on AIDS, July 2009)

Lancet editorial:
What is a Patent Pool?

MMI Key Issue: Access to Health
Intellectual Property Rights and Access to ARV Medicines: Civil Society Resistance in the Global South

e-drug | ”The objective of the present publication is to narrate part of the many struggles related to advocacy for access to medicines of engaged civil society. Through the experiences of five middle-income countries—Brazil, China, Colombia, India, and Thailand—we present the reader the perspective of local civil society organizations about the national impact of intellectual property protection and access to medications.” (ABIA report, July 2009)


MMI Key Issue: Health Financing
Financing Global Health 2009: Tracking Development Assistance for Health

IHME | ”Financing Global Health 2009 provides the most comprehensive picture available of the total amount of funding going to global health projects spanning two decades. It takes into account funding from aid agencies in 22 developed countries, multilateral institutions, and hundreds of nonprofit groups and charities. Prior to this report, nearly all private philanthropic giving for health was unaccounted for, meaning that nearly a third of all health aid was not tracked.” (IHME, July 2009)

MMI Key Issue: Church based services
UNFPA policy roundtable on working with faith-based organizations

UNFPA | In early August 2009, UNFPA was hosting a policy roundtable with leaders 41 international faith-based organizations who are involved in development and relief programmes in over 120 countries. Twelve UN agencies and international development counterparts also participated in the Roundtable. “The meeting follows on the heels of a series of regional consultations with faith-based organization that culminated in a Global Consultation (Istanbul, October 2008). Based on these meetings UNFPA has amassed a detailed list of recommendations for concrete actions, launched the first Global Interfaith Network and Directory for Population and Development and developed Guidelines for Engaging Faith-based Organizations.”

Statement of UNFPA Director:   

MMI Key Issue: Capacity Building
Learning for performance: a guide and toolkit for health worker training and education programs

Eldis | “This guide, published by The Capacity Project and IntraHealth, presents Learning for Performance, a systematic instructional design process that is targeted to fix a performance problem or gap when workers lack the essential skills and knowledge for a specific job responsibility, competency or task.” The guide is available in English, French and Spanish; an interactive website produced by IntraHealth, is available in English only. 
Interactive website:

MMI Key Issue: Research Priorities
Promoting Health and Equity: Evidence, Policy and Action - Cases from the Western Pacific Region

Eldis | “This book identifies ways to promote the more systematic use of equity research in health policy and action. Using case studies on evidence-to-policy process, the authors illustrate how the process has worked in eight countries of the Western Pacific Region. This book provides useful ideas for promoting evidence-based debate, analysis and policy development for health equity over the longer term.” (Regional Office for the Western Pacific, World Health Organisation, 2009)

Contribute to the MMI Network News: Let us know about interesting resources and news to be published in this newsletter!

MMI updates on Twitter: bits and pieces of news on international health policy and cooperation compiled for you by the Medicus Mundi International Network


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