Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, April 2011

(c) action medeor
(c) action medeor

Editorial: Health system strengthening is key for progress in malaria control

Dear reader,

Malaria continues to be a major threat for health and development in endemic countries. Sub-Saharan Africa is hardest hit by the disease. 91% of all malaria-related deaths occur in that region, where malaria is the leading cause of death for children under five. 

Despite progress targets were not reached

Six years ago the World Health Assembly established the goal to half the numbers of malaria cases and deaths recorded in 2000 by the end of 2010 and by 75% or more by 2015. 781,000 persons died of malaria worldwide in 2009 compared to about one million in 2000. That means a reduction of about 20%, which could only be achieved through a vast increase in international funding for malaria control. Nevertheless, the 2010 goal was not achieved. Global estimates indicate that USD 5.1 billion are needed each year to fully fund the fight against malaria, but only USD 1.5 billion were disbursed in 2009. In view of this financing gap global efforts need to be intensified instantly in order to achieve the established targets. 

But more funding alone is not the solution of the problem

Today, malaria can be prevented, diagnosed and treated with a combination of available tools. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITN), Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) for pregnant women and other vector control methods as well as awareness raising activities for affected populations are proven tools of malaria prevention. Laboratory-based diagnosis for all suspected cases of malaria is an essential tool to control the disease and avoiding maltreatment. Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) are presently the most effective medicines for treating uncomplicated malaria. In order to avoid resistance strains it is critical that ACTs are administered to confirmed malaria cases only and patients complete the full treatment course. But all these tools need to be available for the affected population. However, accessibility, acceptability and affordability of these interventions still remain problems in endemic countries.

From disease control to health system strengthening!

Therefore, the international community should refocus its efforts from disease-specific programmes towards strengthening of local health systems. Only with a functioning and locally accepted health infrastructure in place, access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria can be ensured for all people in need. In this context it is essential, that commodities including medicines and qualified health personnel match the needs, clinics and health centres are reachable and treatment is affordable for patients. Interventions aiming at improving use rates of general health services combined with improvement of professional case management and a proven set of malaria control measures will have a much deeper impact on cure rates than malaria interventions on their own. Strengthening local health systems therefore significantly contributes to reduce the malaria burden, offering a viable and sustainable option for development at the same time.

Antje Mangelsdorf, action medeor/STOP MALARIA NOW!
MMI Network News, April 2011

25 April is World Malaria Day:


MMI Network: News, events and resources

MMI Network News: Wemos
Anke Tijtsma new Wemos director

"As of May 1, Anke Tijtsma is Wemos’ new director. Anke Tijtsma is a medical anthropologist with extensive experience in health advocacy at national and global level. She takes a special interest in human rights, equity in health and health systems strengthening. Tijtsma is keen to ensure Wemos’ involvement in the discourse on improved governance in health, both at the global level and in the Netherlands. 'I am a strong supporter of multi-sectoral approaches for tackling health challenges. I am also eager to enhance Wemos' contribution to the achievement of health in all policies', says Tijtsma. Until recently Tijtsma was a senior advocacy officer at Wemos. Over the past six years she has focused her advocacy work on Human Resources for Health. Her extensive network has given Wemos a high profile on this theme, internationally as well as nationally. In particular, her work on the Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel has been successful.” (Wemos news release)
Our congratulations to Anke, a dedicated activist of the Medicus Mundi International Network and its HRH working group - and to Wemos!

MMI Network News
First set of MMI Network programs 2011-15 confirmed

Based on the MMI Network Strategy 2011-15, an initial set of Network programs was confirmed by the Board of the Medicus Mundi International Network in March 2011:

  • Human resources for health: “MMI will contribute to the implementation of the WHO code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel.” | The MMI Human Resources for Health working group plans a side event to this year's World Health Assembly on code implementation.
  • Health systems research: “MMI will foster mutually beneficial partnerships between NGOs and research institutions” | After a successful workshop in Antwerp in November 2010, the MMI Health Systems Research and NGOs advisory group is developing new plans.
  • Global health policy: “MMI will contribute to the dialogue on global health policy and governance.” | The MMI Global Health Governance team is involved in the debates on Global Health Governance and on WHO reform. The team will participate in a global stakeholder meeting in Delhi, in early May, and in events and advocacy organized by civil society organizations around the World Health Assembly.

Meetings of the working groups related to the Network programs will take place during the MMI Assembly in Geneva, on 19 May 2011.  

MMI Network News: HRH working group
WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel: Public hearing on implementation monitoring guidelines, 21 March to 17 April 2011

“All persons concerned with the international recruitment of health personnel are invited to contribute to this web-based public hearing on the draft Guidelines - Member States, health workers, recruiters, employers, academic and research institutions, health professional organizations, and any relevant subregional, regional and international organizations, whether governmental or nongovernmental. Input received during the course of this web-based public hearing will contribute to a revised draft of the Guidelines.” (WHO)
MMI thematic guide: Migration and recruitment of health personnel

MMI Network News: HRH working group
Global Health Workforce Alliance survey 2011

“The Global Health Workforce Alliance Secretariat and Merlin are pleased to launch a short questionnaire to better understand the priority actions needed, and by whom, to ensure progress on the human resources for health crisis, over the next three years. The results will be used in the development of future strategies and approaches by the Alliance and to ensure commitment across the membership. Merlin will collate and analyse the responses on behalf the Secretariat. Please complete your questionnaire by 18 April 2011. A report will be made available to all Alliance members as soon as possible." (GHWA)
The MMI Network is a member of the Alliance.

MMI Network Event: Stop Malaria Now!
Insight Malaria: The work of the 13 young filmmakers celebrates premiere
Cologne, Germany, 15 April 2011

Stop Malaria Now! celebrates the premiere of the international fim-project "Insight Malaria". Join us and get a variety of insights into cultural believes and living condition in East-Africa. We show two exciting documentaries. Learn more about the everyday life in Kenya and positives results in the fight against the disease. In "Insight Malaria" 13 young filmmakers from Africa and Europe show how people master their everyday life with malaria. The following programme includes a live photo-reportage from German honourary ambassador of Kenya Hartmut Fiebig. He and his breathtaking pictures provide further insights into East African cultures and countries.

Stop Malaria Now! is a consortium of nine health and development NGOs from Europe and Africa co-ordinated by the German medical aid organisation action medeor e.V and including Doctors with Africa CUAMM, Eine Welt Netz NRW, Federation of Medicus Mundi Spain, the Kenya NGOs Alliance Against Malaria, Medicines for Malaria Venture, Medicus Mundi Italy, Medicus Mundi Poland and the Polish Medical Mission.
See also: Editorial of this newsletter

MMI Network Event: MMI/EPN
WHO global forum: Addressing the challenge of noncommunicable diseases
Moscow, 27 April 2011

The WHO Global Forum "Addressing the challenge of noncommunicable diseases" will bring together a wide group of stakeholders to share views and experiences to date on the challenges and opportunities in noncommunicable disease prevention, treatment and control. Global Forum participants will identify and commit to priority actions to strengthen global action to prevent and control NCDs. The Medicus Mundi International Network will be represented at this Global Forum by Natalia Cebotarenco, Moldavia, Coalition of Rational and safe Use of Medicines (CoRsUM), a member of the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN).

MMI Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Switzerland's commitment: United Against Malaria
Bern, Switzerland, 27 April – 7 May 2011

"Malaria casts a shadow over the daily life of two billion people worldwide and leads to the premature death of at least one million children every year. This multimedia exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the complexity of malaria and its consequences. It highlights the approaches used by members of the Swiss Malaria Group to meet the challenges of this disease. The Swiss Malaria Group is chaired by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC and is composed of actors from the public sector, the private sector and civil society." | . An exhibition of the Swiss Malaria Group. The Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland and some of its members are part of the Swiss Malaria Group.

MMI Network Event
MMI Assembly in the week of the World Health Assembly
Geneva, 19 May 2011

As in the previous years, the Annual Assembly of the Medicus Mundi International Network will take place in Geneva. Our Assembly is linked with the 64th World Health Assembly (WHA) which will take place from 16 to 24 May 2011 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. We plan to use the Assembly day also for meetings and briefings of the MMI working groups and teams (Human Resources for Health, Global Health Governance and Health Systems Research and NGOs). The MMI Network will be involved in civil society networking and advocacy around the WHA and intends to organize a side event on the implementation of the WHO code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel, probably on Wednesday, 18 May. Please mark the dates. A formal invitation and draft program will soon be sent to the Network members and partners.

MMI Network: Swiss Tropical Institute
Improving access through effective health financing
Presentations at Swiss TPH symposium, Basel, 5 April 2011

„Invited speakers and experts from international organizations, partner countries and the Swiss TPH presented experiences and discuss options and strategies for improving access to health services through effective health financing. Special attention was given to the challenges encountered in building up social protection mechanisms.” | The presentations of the symposium are available now. The Swiss TPH is a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland.  

MMI Network: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Linking HIV and reproductive and sexual health and rights
Documentation of aidsfocus conference, 7 April 2011

Based on the experience of the partner organisations of, and following up on discussions held at a global level, the conference discussed challenges and strategies of linking HIV and reproductive health and rights in policy and practice. | The documentation is available now. is a project coordinated by Medicus Mundi Switzerland.  


Global health policy: MMI updates

  • Connected citizens: The power, peril, and potential of networks. Diana Scearce, Knight Foundation 2011
  • Aid from OECD countries - who gives the most and how has it changed? Claire Provost on: Guardian datablog
  • Health-systems strengthening: current and future activities. Jesper Sundewall et al. in: Lancet
  • Priority actions for the non-communicable disease crisis. Robert Beaglehole et al. in: Lancet
  • Governing global health: is Europe ready? Inge Kaul and David Gleicher, Global Health Europe Research Paper, 2011 (pdf)
  • Assessing proposals for global health governance reform. Hoffman SJ (ed.), McMaster Health Forum; 2011 (pdf)
  • Saving money and lives in cardiovascular disease prevention. WHO published an interesting study, but "money and lives"?
  • Why America steals doctors from poorer countries. Jonathan Wolff in: Guardian
  • People are not property: Please stop saying that countries “steal” doctors from Africa. Michael Clemens on: Blattman's
  • It's time for a new development model. Rick Rowden started a discussion on: poverty matters (Guardian)
  • 30 priority medicines for mothers and children. WHO 2011
  • After 2015: progress and challenges for development. Claire Melamed and Lucy Scott, ODI Background Note, March 2011
  • The Abuja Declaration: Ten years on. 2001 promises of commitment and solidarity - 2011 reality and potential. WHO 2011
  • Health is Global: an outcomes framework for global health 2011-15. A UK CDS publication (2011)
  • Antimicrobial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow. World Health Day, 7 April 2011
  • World Health Day in the Netherlands: Wemos advocated for solutions to address the global shortage of health workers
  • World Health Day: How to make a terrifying message boring. Tom Paulson on: humanosphere
  • Can social inclusion policies reduce health inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa? Laetitia C. Rispel et al. in: JHPN
  • Missing Midwives. Save the Children report shortage of 350,000 trained midwives in developing countries (2011, pdf)
  • On the path to global open access to public knowledge: A few more miles to go. Editorial and article in: PLoS medicine
  • Reforming the World Health Organization. Devi Sridhar and Lawrence O. Gostin in: JAMA
  • What should the UN Summit on non-communicable diseases deliver? The position ("proposed outcomes") of the NCD Alliance
  • UN Rapporteur for the Right to Health asked to intervene in the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade negotiation (KEI)
  • Water in the world of global health. Alanna Shaikh on: end the neglect
  • Why is mental illness so low on the global health agenda? Tom Paulson on: humanosphere
  • On the move against tuberculosis. 24 March was World TB Day
  • What will aid look like in 2031? Madeleine Bunting on: Poverty Matters blog - with many comments
  • Health district development and the need to dig deeper. EM Einterz visited "a typical health district" in Africa. Lanc
  • Health care: an African solution. Lancet editorial on efforts to provide African solutions to health care within Africa
  • Kenya: Testing the integration of HIV and public healthcare.
  • A trip to the inside of the Global Health Sausage Factory. Karen Grepin: "Global health data is a lot like sausage."
  • HIV/AIDS: UNAIDS, activists urge countries to get clever with TRIPS. PlusNews - with links to related UNAIDS brief
  • Non-communicable disease and the Rule of Rescue. Mark Shrime on:
  • Human resources for mental health: workforce shortages in low- and middle-income countries. WHO HRH Observer, Feb 2011
  • Sweden's strategy for WHO 2011-2015, Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, March 2011
  • India: Equity must accompany economic growth for good health. K. Srinath Reddy in: PLoS Medicine
  • Getting the politics right for the September 2011 UN NCD Meeting. Devi Sridhar
  • India: access to affordable drugs and the right to health. Anand Grover and Brian Citro in: The Lancet
  • WHO to tackle pandemic influenza, de-linkage, prizes, R&D financing and non-communicable diseases. Thiru Bala
  • Universal Health Coverage: What’s all the buzz about? Christina Synowiec on: Blog 4 Global Health
  • Saving lives at birth. Campaign by USAID, Gates Foundation, Government of Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, WB
  • Global health and foreign policy. UN General Assembly resolution, December 2010
  • The benefits of recession. Questions of accountability are now political as well as professional priorities. Lancet ed.
  • Future role and financing of WHO. Miriam Faid and David Gleicher in: Health Diplomacy Monitor
  • The mental health workforce gap in low- and middle-income countries: TA Bruckner et al. in: WHO Bulletin
  • Gender empowerment and female-to-male smoking prevalence ratios. Sara C Hitchman & Geoffrey T Fong in: WHO Bulletin
  • Smiles or residents: Improving global surgery capacity. Mark Shrime on: Global Health Hub
  • Tackling tuberculosis with an all-inclusive approach.WHO Bulletin talks with Lucica Ditiu, the new secretary of Stop TB
  • Sanitation: Inculcating sustainable behavioural change in Sub-Saharan Africa. Luke Whaley on: Think Africa Press
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