Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, August 2011

MMI Network News, August 2011

Editorial: Update on WHO reform

Dear reader,

Let me quickly update you on the ongoing reform of the World Health Organization proposed by the WHO Director General in January and confirmed by the World Health Assembly in May 2011. Since mid-August, some key documents related to the reform are finally available on the WHO website, including concept papers on WHO governance, on an independent evaluation of WHO and on a proposed new World Health Forum as well as an overview and a timeline for the reform process. The next steps of the reform process are outlined as follows: 

“The process of reform is Member State-driven and inclusive. Online consultations and briefings with Geneva-based missions are ongoing and the reform process will also be discussed at the regional committee meetings. Consultations will continue in the months leading up to a special session of the Executive Board 1-3 November 2011.”

Despite the pretended "inclusiveness" of the process, the World Health Organization – and its reform website – have not provided yet any entry point for comments of “other interested parties” on the reform proposals, even not for NGOs in official relations with WHO such as the Medicus Mundi International Network. And time is running. This is disappointing, as the MMI Network was informed before that our contributions and those of other NGOs and partners of WHO were “highly valued and encouraged”. Now we see ourselves put outside the fence of the WHO construction site.

Having followed the reform process very closely and actively so far, we will not remain just silent watchers. In view of the September reprisal of negotiations in Geneva, the “Democratizing Global Health” group to which the MMI Network belongs will shortly publish an advocacy paper with our joint concerns regarding the problems, gaps and limitations of the WHO reform, with our own vision of the reform and with our proposals for concrete action.

Let me know if you like to follow this process more closely or even get actively involved in the MMI global health governance team. And watch the websites listed below: things are continuing to move fast on the WHO construction site.

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network

References and updates:


Network meeting and Network events

MMI Network meeting and open technical workshop
Mother and child health - before and past 2015
Brescia, Italy, 27-28 October 2011

“Medicus Mundi Italy is happy to invite you all to join the board meeting and extraordinary assembly of the MMI Network to be held in Brescia on the 27 October 2011, followed by an open technical workshop on mother and child health on the 28 October 2011 in the wonderful setting of Santa Giulia, declared World Heritage by UNESCO just a few weeks ago. With only three years ahead to the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals, the time is particularly appropriate to discuss the future scenarios of the efforts concerning the health of all the mothers and children in the world.” (welcome message by Francesco Castelli, President of Medicus Mundi Italy – first announcement and call for contributions available now)

MMI Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Chronic illnesses - a global challenge
Basel, Switzerland, 25-26 August 2011

Swiss Public Health Conference. Nicolaus Lorenz, Deputy Director of the Swiss TPH and Director of its Swiss Center for International Health (SCIH), President of the Medicus Mundi International Network and Chair of the Public Health Schweiz special interest group on Global Health, will moderate the workshop “Health Themes of the Future: Non-Communicable Diseases and Beyond”. Claudia Kessler, Deputy Director of the SCIH will present work done by her and her team for Medicus Mundi Switzerland (MMS) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to review trends in international health and the relevance of non-communicable diseases. A panel consisting of Andreas Loebell of the SDC, Peter Beyer of the WHO, Ilona Kickbusch of the Graduate Institute Geneva and Claudia Kessler of the Swiss TPH will open the issue for discussion. (Source: Swiss TPH; the Swiss TPH and the Graduate Institute Geneva are both members of Medicus Mundi Switzerland; conference program available in German and French only)

MMI Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Maternal health and access to sexual and reproductive rights
Bern, Switzerland, 1 September 2011

One year after the High Level Meeting on the Millennium Development goals, the question arises: Where are we in regard to maternal mortality and reproductive rights? The conference is organised by the interdisciplinary centre gender of the University of Berne (IZFG), in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Amnesty International Switzerland, PLANeS, and others. (PLANeS is a member of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland. The conference is in English; however flyers are available in German and French only)



MMI Network Event: 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.)

MMI Network Event: Cordaid and Wemos
An Ideal Match?! Connecting NGOs and Academia in Research for Global Health
Amsterdam, 14 September 2011

NGOs are increasingly engaging in research, whereas academic institutions are developing partnerships with NGOs around health research in low- and middle-income countries. Though such alliances do seem mutually beneficial, their actual realisation is often less straightforward. Some see a gap between the ‘elitist academics’ (the thinkers) and the ‘down-to-earth implementing NGOs’ (the do-ers). The symposium will provide a platform for addressing the rationale behind NGO involvement in global health research; and the reasons for academia’s engagement with development actors for a joint approach to global health research. Strengths and weaknesses of both groups will be explored. The symposium will also address those conditions which are favourable to developing strategic alliances and synergic actions between the ‘do-ers’ and the ‘thinkers’ and common obstacles in this process.

MMI Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland     
Health - a Human Right
Basel, Switzerland, 8 November 2011

Health is a human right: too often forgotten, this is the central issue of international health policy and health cooperation. And yet millions of people die each year in developing countries due to easily preventable diseases. This is a basic violation of the human right to health. In addition, women, minorities and marginalized people often have limited access to healthcare due to poorly functioning healthcare systems. That is why this year's Swiss Health Cooperation Symposium will reflect on and debate, among others, the following questions: How can we strengthen the human right to health? At what stage are we in establishing this basic human right? How must we shape both international and Swiss politics in order for it to gain acceptance? What does “the right to health” mean for the establishment of health cooperation? (Organizers: Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland and the Swiss Red Cross)

MMI Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
10 years after the Doha Declaration: The future agenda at the interface of global public health and IP - an outlook on the next ten years
Geneva, 22-23 November 2011

To mark the tenth anniversary of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, this two-day symposium will take stock of key achievements since Doha. It will showcase practical solutions, share lessons learnt and identify bottlenecks and gaps in knowledge. A High-Level Dialogue will explore issues of the future at the interface of intellectual property (IP) and global public health. The event, held at the invitation of Ms. Ruth Dreifuss, former President of Switzerland and Chair of the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health, will bring together key Geneva based stakeholders in the area of IP and global health. (The Global Health Programme of the Graduate Institute, Geneva, is a member of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland; a detailed program is not yet available)

MMI Network Event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Gender in Medicine: it is about improving quality
Basel, 9-10 December 2011

The autumn Symposium 2011 of the Swiss TPH will commemorate the 5 year period funded by the Gabriele Trust Foundation to forward women’s health and gender research at the Medical Faculty of the University of Basel. The symposium features the conceptual challenges of integrating the concept of gender in a biomedical research context, in clinical practice and in Public Health, and presents research strategies and findings of the last decade regarding gender sensitive interventions and health care, both internationally and in Switzerland, as part of a quality of care issue. (The Swiss TPH is a member of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland)

Network members (and their members and staff) are welcome to announce upcoming events on our ePlatform and in our monthly newsletter!

MMI Network News

MMI Network news: Medicus Mundi Italy
High honors for Francesco Castelli

The president of Medicus Mundi Italy, Francesco Castelli, was recently awarded with the highest order of the Italian Republic, the "Cavaliere dell'Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana". Our congratulations!

MMI Network members:
Annual Reports 2010

Publish your news and resources on our ePlatform and in our monthly newsletter!


Medicus Mundi International Network: Thematic guides on the MMI ePlatform

Most of our thematic guides on our electronic platform have been recently updated. They lead you to internet resources beyond the limits of the Medicus Mundi International Network. Network members are invited to highlight further key topics of their work, suggesting – or editing – another thematic guide.


Global 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 some of our “tweets” published during the last month:

  • MDGs: Where are the health workers? Sarah Dwyer and Sara Pacqué-Margolis on: CapacityPlus

  • UN Member States jeopardise international progress on non-communicable disease epidemic. Letter to UN Secretary-General

  • Kumariah Balasubramaniam was one of the world's most knowledgeable and resolute health activists. S. Pincock in: Lancet

  • Social Determinants of Health: Resuscitating the agenda in Rio. Ted Schrecker on: healthy policies

  • “Irrelevant” WHO outpaced by younger rivals. Nigel Hawkes in BMJ (extract only, no free access to the full text)

  • New sources of aid: charity begins abroad. Big developing countries are shaking up the world of aid.

  • (India:) Instead of a man on the moon, why not a fully vaccinated kid? Denizhan Duran on: CGDev globalhealthpolicy

  • The best things in life are (nearly) free: Technology, knowledge and global health. U Casabonne and C Kenny CGDev 2011

  • Stop making excuses. Accountability for maternal health care in South Africa. Human Rights Watch 2011

  • Philanthropic foundations and the public health agenda. Bill Wiis on: corporationsandhealth

  • Health in All Policies: The emperor’s old clothes. Sebastián Peña Fajuri on: healthy policies

  • Public health sector and food industry interaction: time to be honest about underlying interests. Hawkes/Buse in: EJPH

  • Getting to a post-2015 framework: What are the scenarios? Amy Pollard, CAFOD 2011

  • Targetry and equity. Claudio Schuftan on: WPHNA blog

  • Guardian fact pages on Millennium Development Goals

  • UN summit on noncommunicable diseases: Updated draft political declaration available now – and critizised by WPHNA

  • Adding value to health. Annual Report 2010 of the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA)

  • Action on noncommunicable diseases: balancing priorities for prevention and care. Maher/Ford in: WHO Bulletin

  • Transforming the global TB response through effective engagement of civil society. Getahun/Raviglione in: WHO Bulletin

  • International Conference on Urban Health, Belo Horizonte November 1-5, 2011

  • First draft outcome document for the high-level forum on Aid Effectiveness, Busan, 29 Nov - 1 Dec 2011. OECD, June 2011

  • Communities of practice: missing link for KM on implementation issues in low-income countries? Meessen et al. in: TMIH

  • Preventing substandard, spurious medicines and protecting access to generics in Africa. Machemedze et al., EQUINET 2011

  • Quality of care in the provision of sexual and reproductive health services. Shawn Malarcher and Iqbal Shah, WHO 2011

  • Political will for better health, a bottom-up process. Wim De Ceukelaire, Pol De Vos and Bart Criel in: TMIH

  • Taking health to the people. South Africa's health system is on the brink of a dramatic change. F. Simjee on: health-e

  • Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion: 25th anniversary commemoration. WHO Europe public health forum

  • The relationship between maternal education and mortality among women. Analysis of a WHO survey. Karlsen et al. in: BMC

  • Global public-private health partnerships: ten years of experience and evaluation. Buse/Tanaka in: IDJ

  • Is immunisation child protection? Adam Finn and Julian Savulescu in: The Lancet

  • National health policies and intern. health programmes in historical and comparative perspective. G Hochmann in: RECIIS

  • Aid Effectiveness. Progress and status quo of democratic ownership and meaningful civil society participation in the health sector (AfGH)

  • United behind the Right to Health: the story of the Action for Global Health network in Europe. AfGH 2011 (pdf)

  • The vaccine paradox. Richard Horton and Pamela Das miss civil society fervour about access to vaccines. The Lancet

  • Shared health governance. Jennifer Prah Ruger in: American Journal of Bioethics

  • Healthworkers count. Expand the number and better support those already in place! Campaign website

  • Healthcare Deserts: Severe healthcare deprivation among children in developing countries. Save the Children 2011

  • Mid-level health providers: a promising resource. Andrew Brown et al. in: rpmesp (pdf)

  • MDG failures prove need for a new rights-based development agenda. Center for Economic and Social Rights, July 2011

  • Bridging the divide. Wafaa M. El-Sadr et al. on HIV scale-up in low- and middle-income countries, in: JAIDS supplement

  • Should health professionals play the global health security card? Stefan Elbe in: The Lancet

  • From global health to publicly oriented local health…systems. JP Unger on: ITM International Health Policies blog

  • A human health perspective on climate change. Christopher J. Portier et all, US Interagency Working Group 2011(pdf)

  • HIV/AIDS: themed issue of The Lancet (free registration required)

  • Involving legislators in evidence-informed policy processes: a neglected part of the governance agenda. N Jones, ODI

  •  Governance in the health sector: A strategy for measuring determinants and performance. WD Savedoff, WB HDN 2011 (pdf)

  • An equal start why gender equality matters for child survival and maternal health. Save the children 2011 (pdf)

  • The role of the private sector in health care. Health Policy and Planning supplement

  • In a globalised world we need globalised regulation, Jonathan Glennie on: Guardian, Poverty Matters

  • Framing international trade and chronic disease. Ronald Labonte et al. in: Globalization and Health

  • Are there particular social determinants of health for the world's poorest countries? EB Eshetu & SA Woldesenbet in: AHS

  • From aid and humanitarianism to solidarity. Discourses on development & realities of exploitation. H Campbell, Pambazuka

  • Strengthen WHO’s role in global health governance! Beijing Declaration of BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting, July 2011

  • Revitalising primary healthcare requires an equitable global economic system - now more than ever. Sanders et al. in: JECH

  • Primary health care and social determinants of health: essential and complementary approaches. Rasanathan et al. in: JECH

  • 1st EU Global Health Seminar, 27-29 June 2011: Background documents


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