Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, November 2011

photo: Christoph Engeli (MMI Symposium 2011)
photo: Christoph Engeli (MMI Symposium 2011)

Human Rights: Breaking the silence of powerlessness (instead of an editorial)

Dear reader,

Human rights is about breaking the silence of powerlessness that keeps the needs and desires of those affected by poverty from becoming part of national political agendas. The human rights discourse in health represents the resurrection of or the return to a greater focus and action on the basic causes of the conceptual framework of preventable ill-health, preventable malnutrition and preventable deaths. 

States have the duty to improve health services and we have to hold them accountable to it. The values we are advocating for are underpinned by international human rights law. And that gives us added strength. The focus now has shifted to the politico-legal links between health and human rights. 

Most of us stand accused for our complacency towards violations of human rights; we cannot escape taking part of the blame. NGOs will need to revision and remission themselves and ask themselves: Are we part of the problem or of the solution?

We now have to contribute to clarify universal minima for human rights in the health field, to establish explicit human rights goals and measurable objectives in health. We may not exert political leadership on these issues yet, but we cannot run away from showing intellectual leadership at least. The call is for us to move from a basic needs to a rights based approach in which beneficiaries are empowered to become active claim holders. 

The bottom line is that there will be no more business as usual. We simply have to overcome the culture of silence and apathy around human rights issues. Orthodoxy (the right doctrine) is not enough; orthopraxis (the right acting) is what is ultimately important: What you push is what you change. No more being “rational and apolitical”, no more espousing the “ideology of the extreme center”. Dreaming is OK, but being naive is not. What about becoming scholar-practitioner-activists? 

We are in for an exciting new era. We need all the courage we can muster. Wouldn't you rather become a protagonist than a bystander? Never be sorry to be too late.

Claudio Schuftan

Instead of an editorial: extracts from a keynote by Claudio Schuftan, People’s Health Movement, at the Symposium “Health – a Human Right” of Medicus Mundi Switzerland, Basel, 8 November 2011. Photo by Christoph Engeli. Conference documentation with full text of the keynote:


MMI Network: News, Events and Resources

MMI Network / Medicus Mundi Italy: conference documentation
Mother and Child health - before and after 2015
Brescia, Italy, 28 October 2011

The Medicus Mundi International Network appreciated very much the kind invitation by Medicus Mundi Italy to hold its Network meeting in Brescia – and the hospitality we encountered during our stay. With only three years ahead to the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals, the conference on “Mother and Child health - before and after 2015” allowed to discuss the future scenarios of the efforts concerning the health of all the mothers and children in the world. In addition, Network members used the “marketplace” part of the conference to share current projects and plans in the field of mother and child health. The documentation of the Brescia conference is available now and includes all the inputs.   

MMI Network: News
Memisa and i+solutions: Welcome to two strong new Network members

At the extraordinary general assembly of the Medicus Mundi International Network in Brescia, 27 October 2011, Memisa, Belgium, and i+solutions, the Netherlands, were accepted as new members of the Medicus Mundi International Network. Welcome!

Memisa Belgium:
How to become a MMI Network member: MMI ePlatform


MMI Network marketplace: i+solutions
Training on management of pharmaceutical supplies

i+solutions provides training on all major issues related to the management of pharmaceutical supplies. Our goal is to help strengthen local knowledge so that current and future essential drug programs can be implemented more efficiently, safely, and cost effectively. Many years, we have experience in developing and executing trainings, in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners. Our curriculum covers a broad spectrum of topics and includes for example Monitoring & Evaluation and Management of Artemisin-based Combination Therapies. The scope of trainings offered is broadening each year, closely following new trends and developments in the field.

MMI Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
How Information and Communication Technology
can improve access to health services
Basel, 2 December 2011

"This year, the topic of the annual symposium of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development is: “New media: drivers of democratization and development?” The morning session will focus on new media as a tool of democratization. The afternoon session looks at the potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for development. Specifically, speakers will present key learnings on how e-health applications can improve access to quality healthcare and ultimately help contribute to the achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)." Annual symposium of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, a member of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland.


MMI Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Gender in medicine: it is about improving quality
Basel, 2 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.There are key-note lectures from international leaders on the concept of gender in medicine, on gender paradoxes met in health care and Public Health, and on achievements and challenges of gender sensitive health interventions and health care.” The Swiss TPH is a member of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland.

MMI Network: global health policy
Reform process might undermine WHO's constitutional mandate and its core functions. MMI statement at the Special Session of the WHO Executive Board on WHO reform, 1 November 2011

The report ‘WHO Reforms for a healthy future’ released by the Secretariat of the World Health Organization on 15th October 2011 was the guiding document for a special session of the Executive Board on the WHO reform that took place from 1 to 3 November 2011. Representing the "Democrating Global Health Coalition", Medicus Mundi International Network contributed to the debate with a short statement (only 300 words allowed) read by Remco van de Pas, Wemos.

MMI ePlatform

MMI Network: global health policy
What next after the Millennium Development Goals?
"Beyond 2015" letter to the UN Secretary General

"Directors of 64 organisations (36 Southern and 28 Northern) from 33 countries, among them the Medicus Mundi International Network, sent a letter on behalf of the Beyond 2015 campaign to the UN Secretary General on 19 October 2011. The aim of the letter was to share with the UNSG a number of recommendations and action points that would maximise the chances of a UN-led post-2015 agreement meeting the Beyond 2015 "essential must-haves" of leadership, substance, accountability and legitimacy. As such the letter encouraged the Secretary General to provide his personal leadership on the post-2015 agenda, to lay out his vision for the process in a detailed roadmap, and welcomed the Secretary General’s commitment towards a process open to a multi-stakeholder participation.

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International Health Policy: MMI Updates

Since we started to use the real-time short messaging service "Twitter", we published there already more than 1300 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:

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