Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, September 2009

MMI Network News, September 2009

Editorial: Black and white


Dear reader,

Rich countries recruit qualified staff from low and middle income countries in order to secure their health care systems. In the countries of origin, the international migration of health workers often has a negative impact, deepening the crisis of the national health system. 

The map of global health workforce migration could be drawn in black and white: A couple of “bad guys” such as the UK, Canada and the USA are responsible for most of the international migration of nurses and doctors from countries suffering a critical shortage of health workers. But the patterns of health workforce migration are more complex and involve countries such as Switzerland or the Netherlands which – until now – rather recruit health staff from neighboring countries. The problem starts when these neighbors also need expatriate staff in order to fill the gaps…

On 17 September, the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, meeting in Copenhagen, will discuss health workforce policies in Europe including international recruitment of health personnel. Discussions will focus on the draft WHO “Global code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel.”

The Medicus Mundi International Network will be there, delivering a statement to the Committee and pleading for a strong global code of practice: “While we respect the efforts on protecting the rights of individual health workers to migrate, one of the main objectives of the code must be to reduce negative effects of international migration of health workers for source countries and their population. Ethical recruitment of health workers must contribute to this objective and must not become a justification or promotion for continued recruitment from countries with a shortage.”

We will keep you updated on the results of our advocacy efforts in the October issue of our newsletter. 

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


MMI Network Focus: Health Workforce Migration

MMI Network: Advocacy 
MMI Statement to the 59th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe
Health workforce policies in the WHO European Region

”Sound and effective national health workforce planning and corresponding investments in training will preclude the countries’ need to recruit health personnel from abroad. Needless to say that international recruitment practices of any country should be coherent with and never be contradicting to nor undermine policies, programmes and initiatives undertaken as part of official development assistance and/or migration policies.” 

The MMI statement to the 59th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, on agenda item 7(c), Health workforce policies in the WHO European Region including International recruitment of health personnel: draft global code of practice will be delivered to the Committee on Wednesday 16 September 2009 and then published on our website. The statement was drafted by us in cooperation with Wemos Foundation, the Netherlands.

WHO: Managing health workforce migration - towards a global code of practice

WHO: draft global code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel (second part of that document)

WHO Europe draft resolution: Health workforce policies in the WHO European Region

Wemos Background document on the Health personnel crisis and the role of the Netherlands

MMI Network: Event
“How to do it, if not by stealing”
Round table on international recruitment of health personnel
Bern, Switzerland, 24 September 2009

MMS | ”The members of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland expect the Swiss government and administration (mainly the Federal Office for Health and the Swiss Development Cooperation) to play an active and positive role in the development of an  international code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel, and to develop clear and constructive positions and policies in the key issues related to health workforce migration such as: Destination countries of workforce migration should strive to create a self-sufficient national health workforce; destination countries of workforce migration must compensate the value of transferred wealth via direct financial and technical support to the affected countries and health systems, contributing to a reduction in the push factors in order to make it more attractive for health workers to stay in their respective countries.” Round table organized by Medicus Mundi Switzerland and the Medicus Mundi International Network.



Medicus Mundi International: Network Events and News

MMI Network Event: Executive Board Meeting
Reporting, discussing, and levelling the field…
MMI Executive Board Meeting
Basel, Switzerland, 25 September 2009

MMI | ”We will use the meeting to review the implementation of the various work plans of the MMI Network for the year 2009 (Executive Board, secretariat, working groups on human resources and strategic positioning).” The invitation has been sent to the Network members in August. If you like to join us, please get in touch with the secretariat.   

MMI Network Campaign: STOP MALARIA NOW
Show your face against malaria!

action medeor | ”Please join with campaigners across the globe and show ‘your face against malaria’ to the EU-Governments. Upload a photo showing you and your friends with or without the “mosquito”. All photos will be added to an Africa-shaped photo-mosaic showing all campaign supporters. At the end of the campaign this will be handed to the European Commission as well as to relevant decision-makers in various European countries. Each photo will remind European Heads of State of the promises they have made and of the need for them to do more in the fight against malaria and other poverty-related diseases.” As a rather funny additional feature, you now can even produce your own promotion video for this campaign – see photo.

Produce your promotion video:

MMI Network Campaign: Cordaid
Cordaid HIV and AIDS Award 2009: “Home based care leadership”
Submissions can be sent up to 15 September 2009 | ”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 Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Chronic Diseases in Developing and Newly Industrialized Countries:
A new challenge for Global Health
Basel, 10 November 2009

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. (8th Symposium of the Medicus Mundi Switzerland Network)


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

MMI Key Issue: Human resources for health
The performance of a national health workforce:
How to assess it? How to strengthen it?
Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 14-16 October 2009

WHO | “An international symposium focusing on the theme ‘The performance of a national health workforce: How to assess it? How to strengthen it?’ will be organized in October 2009 in Neuchatel, Switzerland. The meeting will provide decision-makers and researchers interested in human resources of the health system an occasion to exchange their views and assess the state-of-the-art in the matter. The symposium is being hosted by the Swiss Health Observatory.” Topics include a discussion on the impact of international migration of health workers.


MMI Key Issue: Human resources for health
Tackling the Human Resource Management Piece of the Puzzle

HIF-net | "The authors of this report outline the depth and breadth of the Human Resource Management (HRM) challenges and highlight areas to invest in that would be likely to yield significant long-term results. The report describes the HRM problems that contribute to the health worker crisis, as these have often been underplayed-or not addressed at all; identifies specific actions that ought to be taken to address these HRM challenges; and concludes with some examples of broad futuristic thinking and innovations to stimulate donor and programmatic funding opportunities for strengthening HRH." (Ummuro Adano et al., Capacity Project Technical Brief, December 2008)

Download PDF:

MMI Key Issue: Health system integration
What is the fuss about social franchising? 

Eldis | ”In recent years social franchising has emerged as a recurrent issue in the debate about the role of the non-state sector for health services in low and middle income countries. As countries strive to achieve the ambitious objectives of Millennium Development Goals, health care decision makers and planners realise increasingly that the public sector alone may not have the ability to meet the needs of the population. What is social franchising? For the uninitiated, it can be considered the standardised delivery of health services in terms of appearance and quality, but with a social purpose. Social franchising is defined as a system of contractual relationships usually run by a non-governmental organization which uses the structure of a commercial franchise to achieve social goals. The definition can further be expanded to mean: the social franchise is an adaptation of a commercial franchise in which the developer of a successfully tested social concept (franchisor) enables others (franchisees) to replicate the model using the tested system and brand name to achieve a social benefit.” (Eldis Health systems reporter, 1 September 2009)

MMI Key Issue: Health system integration
Innovative Pro-Poor Healthcare Financing and Delivery Models

zunia | ” The report describes 33 innovative pro-poor healthcare financing and delivery programs in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa that are led by or engage the private heath sector. The programs were selected based on their relevance to broader health systems and potential to achieve positive impact for poor people. While these programs range from donor-driven initiatives to large-scale government-subsidized efforts to for-profit businesses, they all involve the private health sector.” (Donika Dimovska et al., Innovative pro-poor healthcare financing and delivery models. Results for Development Institute 2009)

Download PDF:

MMI Network: Services
International Health Policy Updates on “Twitter”

MMI Secretariat | Since we started to use the real-time short messaging service "Twitter", we published there already more than 60 “tweets”: small bits and pieces of news on international health policy and cooperation. Each update is 140 characters or less, including a link to a website. Just enough for a headline, eventually an author, a date, the source, a date – and a shortened link to the website where you find the full information. 

For once, and to give you an idea, have a look at our tweets of the last couple of days:

  • Skill Flow: A Fundamental Reconsideration of Skilled-Worker Mobility and Development, M. Clemens, CGD August 2009
  • DDT use to fight the spread of malaria provokes political battle in Uganda 
  • South Africa's health: departing for a better future? A series of reports and comments in: The Lancet, August-Sept. 2009
  • Greater international economic sharing - the first step towards achieving health care for all. M Mesbahi 2009
  • Towards transformational change for health in Africa. Margaret Chan, WHO, at WHO Africa RC meeting, 31 August 2009
  • Novartis attacks Indian patent law again threatening access to affordable medicines (MSF essential medicines, 28 August 2009)
  • In Katine, Uganda, a Coke is easy to buy. Medicine isn't. S. Boseley in: The Guardian, 20 August 2009
  • WHO assessment of interactions between global health initiatives and country health systems. In: The Lancet, June 2009
  • Maximizing positive synergies between health systems and Global Health Initiatives. WHO initial research findings 2009
  • Value for money in working with the non-state sector in health. The DFID experience. V. Walford, August 2009 (Eldis)
  • Social franchising to improve quality and access in private health care in develop. countries. Bishai et al 2009 (Eldis)
  • Innovative Financing Mechanisms to Advance Global Health. IAVI policy brief, June 2009
  • Health through people’s empowerment: a rights-based approach to participation. Pol De Vos et al in: HHR 11.1, 2009
  • Global mental health: a failure of humanity. Arthur Kleinman in The Lancet, 22 August 2009
  • Corporate responsibilities for access to medicines. Klaus M. Leisinger, Annual Report of the Novartis Foundation (PDF)
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Why 19 August 2009 is the first World Humanitarian Day
  • WHO Europe, Draft resolution: Health workforce policies in the WHO European Region. Download from
  • What we mean by social determinants of health. Global health conditions and power relations. Vicente Navarro, IJHS 2009
  • CONCORD Aid Watch report, May 2009: "In a time of crisis, European Aid has never been more important" Download PDF:


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