Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, June 2011

MMI Network News, June 2011

Time to untie the knots (instead of an editorial)

Dear reader,

As the UN health agency, the WHO remains in today’s globalised world the “directing and coordinating authority” for the realization of the right to health and universal coverage. Its role as the sole global legal authority in health is embedded in its constitution, and needs to be strongly supported. The last few decades, however, have witnessed the rapid emergence of new actors who have highlighted health as a priority and largely shaped the global agenda, but also contributed to much fragmentation in health governance. Their increasing prominence has produced a shift in institutional culture, favouring the penetration of market values into areas where they do not traditionally belong and resulting in a new sphere of influence in health policies. This trend has progressively stifled the voices of Member States and weakened the institutional mandate of WHO, with controversial implications.

We are convinced that WHO needs to rediscover its fundamental multilateral identity. Drawing on its strengths, the organization has to take advantage of its reform process to rethink and reassert itself as the leading actor in a broader governance for health that is coherent with the need for solid public policy responses to the neoliberal prescriptions, so that globalization be shaped around the core values of equality and social justice.

But governance for health starts at home. Governments, the main stakeholders of WHO, have clear obligations to the people they represent. Beyond mere institutional approaches, issues related to public policies in health have to be democratically debated and tackled at the local, national and regional level. This entails the continued participation and meaningful contribution of communities, public opinions, and their direct empowerment through education and knowledge sharing. Unless and until governments have the people directly affected around the decision-making tables, their health policies will remain ineffective. Health democracy, namely participation, transparency and accountability in health, is a pre-condition for countries to make an impact in the decision making processes at the global level, within WHO and in other multilateral fora.

For once, this is not a proper editorial. We just quoted the “Delhi Statement”, endorsed by the Medicus Mundi International Network and other NGOs and public interest groups that met in Delhi from 2 to 4 May 2011, in the run-up to the World Health Assembly, in order to shape an informed and common position on the WHO reform process, and to prepare their contributions on the complex issue of the global governance for health. The Delhi Statement contains a set of principles that are essential for democratising global governance for health. It emphasizes the need for looking at global governance for health through the lenses of the right to health. The statement found great attention during the discussions on global health governance and WHO reform at the World Health Assembly.


  • Time to untie the knots: the WHO reform and the need for democratizing global health. Delhi statement, May 2011. Available as pdf file on the MMI ePlatform
  • Civil society and global health policy and governance. Thematic guide on the MMI ePlatform
  • Thematic focus: World Health Assembly and WHO reform
    see below


MMI Network: News, Events and Resources



Event with Network participation
Moving the ethical hiring of health workers forward
Madrid, Spain, 17 June 2011

AFGH | “The seminar will discuss the implementation of the WHO Code of Conduct on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel. It is organised by the General Directorate for Planning and Evaluation of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Action ‘Health professional migrations between Latin America and Europe: creating chances for shared development’, MPDC and Action for Global Health. The seminar is addressed to health experts from agencies and ministries of foreign affairs, HR managers from ministries of health care and other public officers involved in the implementation of the Code.” | Remco van de Pas, Wemos, and Carlos Mediano, FAMME, will represent the MMI Network at the seminar. Remco van de Pas will give an input on the Dutch example of civil society coordination.

Network event: Swiss TPH / Medicus Mundi Switzerland
The History of Health Care in Africa:
Actors, Experiences, and Perspectives in the 20th Century
Basel, Switzerland, 12 -14 September 2011

"Health in Sub-Saharan Africa has always been experienced, debated and pursued in a specific historical context. At the same time the history of health and health care in a specific local setting cannot be separated from processes on a larger scale. Neither diseases nor ideas and practices about health, healing and care stopped at colonial or national borders. This conference looks beyond the borders of colonial empires and national states by bringing together researchers with different temporal and spatial perspectives on the history of health, health care and medical research in Sub-Saharan Africa. The conference concludes the three-year research project 'History of Health Systems in Africa: Swiss Mission Hospitals and Rural Health Delivery in the 20th Century', led by the Department of History in collaboration with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Basel." | The Swiss TPH is a member of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland.

Network event: Medicus Mundi International
MMI Network meeting and workshop on mother and child health
Brescia, Italy, 27-28 October 2011

The Network meeting will include a workshop on mother and child health, a board and working group meetings and an extraordinary assembly (budget and adoption of new network members): Thanks to Medicus Mundi Italy for your kind invitation! Please mark the dates! A proper announcement will be published in the July edition of the Network News.

MMI Network and members
Annual Reports 2010

Medicus Mundi International, Medicus Mundi Switzerland and Cordaid recently published their annual reports on their websites.

Medicus Mundi International: available in English
Medicus Mundi Switzerland: available in German and French
Cordaid: available in Dutch

MMI Network report: Cuamm
Strengthening district health systems in Karamoja

”In Karamoja in northern Uganda, many children do not live to see their fifth birthday. In an initiative to improve child survival, Doctors with Africa Cuamm has formed a partnership with UNICEF to strengthen Karamoja’s district health systems.” | Peter Lochoro, Rogers Ayiko, Giovanni Dall’oglio, in:, June 2011.

MMI Network report: SolidarMed / Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Integrating antiretroviral treatment into primary health care:
Exploring a diagonal approach

Programmes aimed at fighting single diseases have helped many, but they have also weakened public health systems. This does not have to be the case. Individual disease programmes can help to develop the capacity of primary health care systems. | Thomas Gass, SolidarMed, in:, June 2011. SolidarMed is a member of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland

MMI Network report: EPN
30 years of strengthening pharmaceutical services

“In 1981 the World Council of Churches started, within its Christian Medical Commission, a programme to address pharmaceutical issues in Church Health Systems. This programme evolved over the years into what is now the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network: an independent non-profit Christian membership organization.” | A “short story” contribution to MMI Annual Report, by EPN.

MMI Network report: Medicus Mundi Navarra / FAMME
Inclusive primary health care in Guatemala

“A story from Guatemala, told twice: how it could have happened, and how it really was. The story illustrates what inclusive primary health care really means and that it can be an important contribution to strenghtening a national health system. | A “short story” contribution to MMI Annual Report, by Medicus Mundi Navarra, a member of the Federation Medicus Mundi Spain (FAMME).

MMI Network report: Smile Train Italy
A year of unexpected smiles

“In 2010, thanks to the organization of successful surgical missions and scientifical workshops, Smile Train Italy developed a great position on international cooperation focused on health-care and quality of life. Smile Train Italy’s working group had a good year, carrying out of nine surgical missions, operating 537 babies with cleft lip and palate and other facial deformities, with the entrance of the organization in the activity of  social network, and the realization of training courses based health-care and clinical research addressed for many physicians and nurses. | A “short story” contribution to MMI Annual Report, by Smile Train Italy.

MMI Network conference report: ACHAP
Improving women’s and children’s health in Africa
FBOs' response towards attainment of MDG targets

Accra, 21-24 February 2011 | The 5th Biennial Africa CHAs Conference was hosted by the Christian Health Association of Ghana in collaboration with the secretariat of the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP). 75 participants from various countries of Africa, Europe and USA attended the conference. ACHAP members, acknowledging their unique dual role of advocacy and service delivery towards improving access to quality health care in general including maternal and child health services ACHAP dedicated the conference to MDG 4 and 5.

MMI Network activists: Cordaid
José Utrera: Farewell to MMI!

”Dear All, as part of the changes taking place in Cordaid, there was a possibility that I would change of function in the organisation. Now it is clear and since tomorrow, May 12, I will start to work in the Conflict Transformation Department for Latin America, specifically for Colombia and Guatemala. I would like to thank you all for the cooperation during the period I worked for the health department. It was for me a great learning experience. I wish you all success with your important activities and it was really a pleasure to work with each one of you. With kind regards, José L. Utrera, Cordaid.” – And farewell to you, Dear José!

MMI Network activists: Wemos
Anke Tjitsma interviewed by GHWA

”Wemos Foundation has been a key member of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) since early 2009. As a Dutch NGO advocating for the right to health for all people in developing countries, Wemos has influenced public health policies in the areas of the health workforce, health financing, medicines and nutrition. Wemos Foundation recently appointed Anke Tijtsma as Director. The Alliance wishes her full success in this challenging endeavor and looks forward to working closely with her to make steady progress in addressing the global health workforce crisis. The Alliance spoke with Anke Tijtsma about her vision as new Director of Wemos Foundation.” | GHWA website

Publish your news and announce your upcoming events on our ePlatform and in our monthly newsletter!

Thematic focus: MMI at the 64th World Health Assembly - global health governance and human resources for health

Around this year’s World Health Assembly, the Medicus Mundi International Network was involved in civil society networking and advocacy. Remco van de Pas and Thomas Schwarz of the MMI Global Health Governance team contributed to the "WHA watch" organized by the People's Health Movement and other civil society organizations, including MMI. Our Network joined World Vision and the Geneva Graduate Institute as co-hosts of a WHA side event on global health governance. During the debates at the Committee A, the main body of the World Health Assembly, the MMI team made statements on global health governance (see below) and on noncommunicable diseases.

A proposed WHA side event on the implementation of the WHO code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel, prepared by MMI together with Action for Global Health and supported by a considerable number of NGOs unfortunately could not take place. Nevertheless the MMI working group on Human Resources for Health lead by Anke Tijtsma and Remco van de Pas, Wemos, used the World Health Assembly to strengthen links and cooperation with WHO, the Global Health Workforce Alliance and partner NGO networks such as the Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative and contributed to a technical meeting on the implementation and monitoring of the code of practice.

WHO reform: recent papers and WHA statements

International Health Policy: MMI Updates

Since we started to use the real-time short messaging service "Twitter", we published there already more than 1000 bits and pieces of news on international health policy. Each update is 140 characters or less - these are the rules of the game. Just enough for a headline, eventually an author, a date, the source – and a shortened link to the website where you find the full information. Have a look at as selection of “MMI Updates” published during the last month:



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