Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, September 2011

MMI Network News, September 2011

Editorial: Health – a human right!

Dear reader,

Health as a human right is a central issue of international health policy. And yet millions of people die every year due to easily preventable diseases. And millions have only limited access or no access at all to healthcare due to poorly functioning health care systems. The right to health, rooted in the Human Rights Declaration, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights but also in the constitution of the World Health Organization, is too often forgotten, neglected, and violated. How can it be strengthened? Who is in charge? What role can we play ourselves?

Many NGOs working in the field of international health cooperation contribute to the advancement of the right to health just by what they are doing. Advocating for the right to health is a more difficult task, and it starts at home: To gain more support for the right to health – and first, just a broad agreement that, in fact, there is a right to health – we must lead a policy dialogue in the country we are based in. For this purpose, the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland (MMS) recently worked out a position paper, which primarily targets to influence the new development cooperation strategy of the Swiss Government: Referring to the right to health, the Network demands that Switzerland shows a stronger commitment to global health issues and gets involved in a more coherent manner in health cooperation aiming at improving the health situation in low-income countries. 

On the global level civil society organizations are involved in discussing and shaping the “post 2015 agenda”: Shall the Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015 be completed with some missing topics such as non-communicable diseases and then be renewed? Or do we, in order to bring the right to health forward, rather need a new, more focused and maybe better global instrument? Is it time for a “Framework Convention on Global Health” such as recently proposed?

For those who are rooted in health service provision and health cooperation, for the practitioners, NGO desk officers and grassroot workers, it might be not that easy to warm to high politics and debates on issues such as the right to health. But you have all the stories on the right to health, the good ones and the bad ones. To make advocacy work, your support and your stories are needed.

Martin Leschhorn Strebel, Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Organizer of the Swiss Health Cooperation Symposium
Health – a Human Right, Basel, 8 November 2011

Key References

  • Health – a Human Right. Swiss Health Cooperation Symposium organized by Medicus Mundi Switzerland, Basel, 8 November 2011
  • Beyond 2015: global campaign aiming to influence the creation of a post 2015 development framework    
  • The Joint Action and Learning Initiative: Towards a Global Agreement on National and Global Responsibilities for Health. Larry Gostin et al. in: PLoS Medicine, May 2011
  • Realising the Right to Health in Our Lifetimes? Towards a Framework Convention on the Right to Health. Section27 discussion document, March 2011 


Brescia, Italy, 28 October 2011: Mother and Child health - before and after 2015. Conference and Workshop

Announcement: see MMI ePlatform


MMI Network: News, Events and Resources

MMI Network: News
Memisa Belgium and i+solutions apply for MMI membership

MMI Secretariat | Recently, Memisa Belgium and i+solutions, The Netherlands, submitted applications for membership in the Medicus Mundi International Network. On the other hand, the catholic German NGO Misereor, member of Medicus Mundi International since 2007, informed us that they will resign from their membership in MMI by the end of this year.

Board and executive secretary of the MMI Network look forward to submitting the two membership applications of Memisa Belgium and i+solutions to the upcoming extraordinary Assembly of the Medicus Mundi International Network in Brescia, on 27 October 2011. And all of us regret the retirement of Misereor. We appreciated your contributions over the last years!

Memisa Belgium:
How to become a MMI Network member:
MMI Network meeting in Brescia: 

MMI Network: Networking tools
Get involved in global health!

To launch the new "Get involved in global health" blog of the Medicus Mundi International Network, Remco van de Pas, Wemos, reported from the 61st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he represented the Medicus Mundi International Network and the Democratizing Global Health Coalition. Remco mainly focused on the WHO reform and read a MMI/DGH statement in which the Coalition offers alternatives for the reform, which would make WHO more effective and democratic.
Members and activists of the Medicus Mundi International Network are kindly invited to join the editing team of "Get involved in global health!" and to post their own contributions to our blog. But have a look at it first!

Global health governance, thematic guide:  
MMI blog: Get involved!

MMI Network campaign: Cordaid
268 Nominations received for the Cordaid HIV/AIDS Award 2011

Cordaid | "We are very proud to announce that we received a total of 268 nominations (186 CSOs and 81 FBOs) from 46 countries in response to our call for nominations for organisations showing vision, leadership and commitment with regard to the linking of community- and formal health and care services for people living with HIV. Review round 1 has started and will be concluded on the 20th of September. This is an internal review round undertaken by Cordaid staff which results in a selection of the top 25%. This group will be presented to an external review panel. A new update will be posted at the start of the second review round." Cordaid HIV/AIDS award team, 5 September 2011

MMI Network event: EPN
Access to quality medicines: priority needs, priority actions for today and tomorrow. 21-23 March 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

EPN | ”The biennial Forum and General meeting of the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN) is an opportunity for Network members to meet physically to discuss and make critical decisions in relation to the activities of the Network. In 2010, during the EPN Forum in Nairobi, participants from 20 countries discussed strategies for building sustainable pharmaceutical systems and for the delivery of quality pharmaceutical services within the church sector. They came away with a sense that the two day forum provided them with an immeasurable learning experience and access to information and resources that would help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. At next year’s Forum in Addis Ababa, the theme of discussions will be ‘Access to quality medicines: priority needs, priority actions for today and tomorrow’. Mark the date! More information will follow soon.”
MMI Network events:

MMI Network: Advocacy
Addressing non-communicable diseases by investing in health workers

HWAI | "With this letter, we want to highlight the crucial role that health workers have in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and the need to set concrete targets for addressing the critical shortfall of health workers needed to respond to the NCD crisis." HWAI letter to UN Member State Delegates at NCD summit, September 2011, endorsed by MMI.

PDF on MMI ePlatform: 
MMI thematic guide: NCDs:
MMI global health program:

MMI Network campaign: Stop Malaria Now!
Fight against malaria: I can change it!
An advocacy guide for young campaigners

Stop Malaria Now | In this guide you can learn more about the tropical disease malaria, its vectors, and the methods to avoid the hundred millions of infections every year. It offers guidelines that will help you to identify the activity you can do, as well as explanations and practical examples that show you how to do it. The guide directs you through the process of advocacy work and advises you on how to make your engagement a success story." The advocacy guide developed by "Stop Malaria Now!" is available in German, English , Italian, and Polish versions.    

MMI Network resources: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Exemption de paiement: pour un accès universel aux soins de santé des enfants de moins de 5 ans et des femmes enceintes | Terre des hommes, a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland that helps children and their mothers to benefit from their right to healthcare, food and hygiene in a sustainable manner and within their communities, just published a report on best practices of payment exemptions in Burkina Faso. The report is available in French only.


International Health Policy: MMI Updates

Since we started to use the real-time short messaging service "Twitter", we published there already more than 1200 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:

  • No child out of reach. Time to end the health worker crisis. Patrick Watt et al., Save the Children 2011
  • Analysing commitments to advance the global strategy for women's and children's health. PMNCH 2011 Report
  • NCDs: How politics, commerce, and science complicated the fight against a 'Silent Epidemic'. S Fink & R Rabinowitz in: foreignaffairs
  • Levels & trends in child mortality. UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, September 2011
  • Are new UN child health estimates good news? Joy Lawn on: globalpost
  • UN High-Level Meeting puts NCDs on the map, falls short of setting goals or targets. NCD Alliance press release
  • Political declaration adopted at the UN General Assembly, 19 September 2011 (available in 6 languages)
  • Targets to monitor progress in reducing the burden of NCDs. WHO Technical Working Group 2011
  • Psst! Keep it quiet, but gender equality isn't just tied to economic growth. Moussié Monday in: Guardian
  • Flaws in governance and oversight of Global Fund: verdict could be devastating for fight against Aids. S. Boseley in: Guardian
  • High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: Busan conference offers chance to tackle aid effectiveness. J Glennie in: Guardian
  • Scaling up action against noncommunicable diseases: How much will it cost? WHO report, September 2011
  •  First Climate and Health Summit, Durban, South Africa, 4 December 2011
  • Compendium of new and emerging technologies that address global health concerns. WHO 2011
  • UN high level meeting on non-communicable diseases, 19-20 September 2011: civil society positions   
  • Access to essential medicines and technologies for non-communicable diseases. WHO resources collection
  • The global partnership for development: Time to deliver. MDG Gap Task Force Report, UN 2011
  • Impact of health expenditure on achieving the health-related MDGs. Clovis Freire and Nobuko Kajiura. UN ESCAP 2011 
  • Much ado about malaria mortality. Bill Brieger on:
  • Join up, Scale up: why we need to tackle global health together. Rachel Lander on:
  • Immunisation and health systems strengthening: The great debate. Bruno Rivalan on:
  • Optimizing Global Fund proposals to promote women's and children's health. PMNCH 2011
  • Low-cost healthcare goes high-tech. Ch Papesch commenting the UN "Innovating for Every Woman, Every Child" report on: ipsnews
  • The re-imagined Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Andrea Yip on: drawedit
  • The World we want beyond 2015. Montreal communiqué for post MDG agenda. On: Beyond2015  
  • Universal Health Coverage. Ann Appelmans & Luc Van Leemput, ITM SHSOP working paper 3, 2011
  • Expansion of the private health sector in east and southern Africa. Jane Doherty, Equinet Discussion Paper 2011
  • Can integration of HIV with other health services strengthen the health response? Theo Smart in: HATIP
  • Health technologies and innovation in the global health arena. Sidhartha R. Sinha and Michele Barry in: NEJM
  • Save WHO! Background to current WHO reform initiatives and possible advocacy messages. David Legge on: GHWatch (pdf)
  •  HIV, sexuality and youth. Linking HIV and reproductive health and rights. Bulletin No. 121 of Medicus Mundi Switzerland
  • Factors associated to infant mortality in Sub-S. Africa. P Viguera Ester et al. in: Journal of Public Health in Africa
  • The worst country in the world to be a sick child. Sarah Boseley's global health blog
  • Aid effectiveness: bringing country ownership (and politics) back in. David Booth, ODI Working Paper 2011
  • What future for India’s Patent Act? Update on Novartis vs. Union of India case. Joanna Keenan-Siciliano on: Ip-health
  • Grappling with the tensions around NCDs. George Alleyne et al. in: Global Health Magazine (themed issue on NCDs)
  • Gates - a benevolent dictator for public health? Laura Freschi and Alanna Shaikh in: Alliance magazine
  • HIV/AIDS, chronic diseases and globalisation. Christopher J Colvin in: Globalization and Health
  • Meeting global health challenges through operational research and management science. Geoff Royston in: Bulletin of WHO
  • Remind me again: why are we here? Amal Shafik & Bart Criel on community-based health insurance in: Bulletin of WHO
  • Beyond aid… research and innovation as key drivers for health, equity and development. in Cape Town, April 2012
  • Building the field of health policy and systems research: An agenda for action. Sara Bennet et al. in: PLoS Medicine
  • Neonatal mortality levels for 193 countries: A systematic analysis of progress, projections, and priorities. PLos Med
  • Access to essential medicines as part of the right to health. Hogerzeil & Mirza in: World Medicines Situation, WHO 2011
  • Evidence-based policymaking in global health – the payoffs and pitfalls. Gavin Yamey & Richard Feachem in: EBM (pdf)
  • Changing the future of obesity: science, policy, and action. Steven L Gortmaker et al. in: Lancet (series)
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