Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, April 2012


Editorial: We all are family - aren't we?

Dear reader,

Recently I received a letter from an “inter-governmental publishing house specialising in health care titles for governments and NGOs worldwide (…) working with various organisations including the UN Secretary General’s Office, The international Centre for Migration, Health and Development, Roll Back Malaria, Medicines for Malaria Venture and WHO”. They announced a new issue of a publication that “will cover major disease areas such as HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, and NCDs in the context of the global health and economic situation”, to be distributed to Ministers and advisory teams attending the G20 summit in Mexico in June 2012.

The Medicus Mundi International Network was kindly invited to get involved: “I understand that these areas are of great interest to your organisation and I am keen to explore with you how you might support us in influencing this crucial grouping. If you take part, we will bring your organisation to the attention of Health Ministers and their advisory teams around the world. In light of the excellent work you are undertaking, which fits well with our subject matter and objectives, I would be very happy to offer your organisation some space to publish a case study, technical paper or even an advertisement within the publication.”

The enclosed promotional leaflet included a price list, e.g. for a one page advertisement “facing contents” or for a “three A4 page colour case study”.

I then had a look at the 2011 issue of the same publication - and I was just shocked by the dominance of advertisements by international partnerships and commercial enterprises mixed with editorial content written by prestigious authors. 

The same week, I received an announcement of a book entitled “Expanding the pie: Fostering effective NGO and corporate partnerships” to be published in April 2012. I then remembered that great “public private partnership” event on neglected tropical diseases in London, in January, involving the U.S. and U.K. governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, 13 pharmaceutical companies, and officials from countries particularly afflicted by neglected tropical diseases. And I remembered last year’s Global Forum on non-communicable diseases in Moscow, where the structure of the working groups allowed the for-profit private sector, directly represented also by companies, to not only present their case, but to exercise a prevailing influence, shaping the outcome of the Forum.

Let us admit: boundaries between public and private interests are not blurred today; they just seem not to exist anymore. We all are family, aren’t we?

Maybe I see ghosts. Maybe I am stubborn, not able to adapt to this new world of overall friendship and cooperation. But let me nevertheless clearly state that I am a bit worried. You might try to convince me that I am wrong.

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


Medicus Mundi International: Network Events 2012

MMI Annual Assembly and WHA
Geneva, 25 May 2012

As usually, the Annual Assembly of the Medicus Mundi International Network will take place in the week of the World Health Assembly. We will meet at the Ecumenical Institute Château de Bossey outside Geneva. Save the date! The formal invitation will be sent to the Network members in early May. Network members who want to register for the World Health Assembly are kindly invited to get in touch with the Secretariat.

MMI Assembly:
World Health Assembly:


MMI at the People’s Health Assembly
Cape Town, 6-11 July 2012

”The People’s Health Assembly (PHA) is a global event bringing together health activists from across the world to share experiences, analyse the global health situation, and develop civil society positions which promote health for all. It is an opportunity to reassess, redirect and re-inspire. “PHA3 is about impacting directly in the struggle for social justice: health for all, decent living conditions for all, work in dignity for all, equity and environmental justice.”

The Medicus Mundi International Network intends to contribute to the People’s Health Assembly with a series of workshops on the role of NGOs in national health systems and global health policy. A proposal supported by various Network members and partners was submitted to the planning committee of the Assembly.

People’s Health Assembly:
MMI proposal:

MMI Network Meeting: Health systems strengthening in fragile states
Amsterdam, 10-11 October 2012

After our inspiring event in Brescia, last year, the Medicus Mundi International Network appreciates very much the kind invitation by Cordaid to hold our 2012 Network meeting in Amsterdam. The related conference on "health systems strengthening in fragile states" directly links with the thematic focus of the Medicus Mundi International Network:

"There are two main approaches to health services delivery in fragile states: the humanitarian approach and a more developmental approach, these days often labelled as 'health system strengthening'. In the humanitarian approach saving lives comes first, and humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality may be at odds with providing health services under a government umbrella. A key feature of health system strengthening is to get the government and its Ministry of Health back in the driver's seat, taking charge of health policy setting, monitoring and regulation. Which approach is taken depends on donor views on whether it appears to be possible to strengthen a country’s health system, or whether there is a need to focus on humanitarian delivery of services. Both approaches need to take into account the often profound governance problems that exist in fragile states." (source: Eldis)

Save the dates! Network members interested to get involved in the conference preparation are invited to get in touch with the MMI secretariat.


MMI Network: News and Resources


MMI Network campaign: Wemos
Health Unlimited

"Picture this. You have been admitted to hospital. Your surgeon’s assistant is from a country that faces a serious shortage of health personnel. In her country, health workers are poorly paid, have no training opportunities, and work with outdated equipment. The drugs you are given during your stay in hospital were tested unethically by Western pharmaceutical companies. Volunteering for the trial was the only way for people to get treatment or earn some money. Health systems everywhere have become interconnected. An outbreak of influenza in one country can easily spread to others, including the Netherlands. And the way we operate in the Netherlands can have adverse effects on people’s health elsewhere. Imagine a world where caring for ourselves can go hand in hand with caring for people’s health abroad. We encourage everybody working in health to ensure fair care. For example, through sound national workforce planning, by making new vaccines available worldwide and by only accepting drugs that have been properly and ethically tested. That’s 'Health Unlimited'."

A Wemos initiative to make Dutch health care more sustainable.


MMI Network report: Medicus Mundi Spain
Health in development cooperation and human action. Report 2011

"The Health in development cooperation and human action report made by Medicus Mundi Spain, Médicos del Mundo and Prosalus, was published for the first time in 2002. During 10 years, we have kept the main aims: knowing what is happening in the global health and what the main actors do – especially Spanish actors – with the purpose of influencing on the health cooperation policies. From 2002 to 2011, we have attended many changes; we describe some of them in this new edition of the report."

The original report in Spanish can be found on the website of Medicus Mundi Spain. An executive summary in English is available now on the MMI ePlatform:

Full report, Spanish:
Executive Summary, English:  

MMI Network reporting: Memisa
Annual report 2011

"La lutte contre la mortalité maternelle est une priorité pour Memisa, et également un bon indicateur de la qualité des soins de santé et du fonctionnement du système de santé publique dans son ensemble. Des familles et des communautés entières sont directement associées à cette problématique. La réduction de la mortalité maternelle est l’un des Objectifs du Millénaire les plus difficiles à atteindre." (Frank de Paepe)

The Annual Report of Memisa is available in French and Dutch language.

Dutch version:
French version:


MMI Network news: MM Poland
Twentieth anniversary of Medicus Mundi Poland, 1992-2012

In order to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Medicus Mundi Poland, the Foundation Redemptors Missio, published a short video clip. Anniversary events will be announced later on. Congratulations to the Polish member of the MMI Network!


MMI Network paper: Wemos
Negotiating global health at the World Health Organization: The case of the
Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel

“(1) The Global Code of Practice on the international Recruitment of Health Personnel (COP) is a successful tool of modern global health diplomacy and demonstrates how health governance with a different network and range of actors can be conducted under coordination by WHO. (2) The COP considers (global) health workforce development and health systems, but fails to include other crucial determinants that have an impact on migration and the development of health systems in both source and destination countries. (3) The ongoing WHO reform demonstrates how important global health has become. Member states currently position themselves in what the future role of the organisation should be.” Three theses by Remco van de Pas, Wemos, for the AfGH workshop "Teeth for the tiger - Strengthening the role of the World Health Organization in global health", Berlin, March 2012.


MMI Network paper: Wemos
The EU's role in global health and the WHO reform; between health and foreign policy

“This paper firstly explores the EU’s growing role and position on health and global health matters, how this role has emerged and the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for the EU’s role in global health. Secondly, this paper turns to the EU position on the WHO reform debate and the extent to which the EU represents a single voice in discussions. It concludes that the EU is emerging as a significant player in global health policy and initiatives, for example being pro‐active in leading up to the recent UN High level meeting on non‐communicable diseases (NCDs). Throughout the WHO reform debate, the EU has presented common positions on the reform, bringing the experience of EU internal governance practices to the table, especially on matters such as stakeholder engagement and transparency. However, as health is increasingly acknowledged as a cross‐border, foreign policy issue involving a number of ‘determinants’ and requiring cross‐sectoral action, the potential for ‘horizontal’ tensions and ‘turf wars’ between EU actors is evident (e.g. between health, development and foreign policy).” The Hague, February 2012. Co-author Remco van de Pas, Wemos, is member of the MMI global health governance team.


MMI Network resource: Doctors with Africa Cuamm
Health and Development

The English version of DWA Cuamm's journal "Health and Development", issue no. 62, December 2011, is available now online. Contents include: Mothers and children first (Rev. Dante Carraro); Child Mortality: an avoidable slaughter (G. Maciocco); "Stop malnutrition in Wolisso" project (A. Pezzin); How to leave (M.C. Vescovi); Training and accessibility to safe delivery (C. Di Benedetto); Quality of mother - child care at Wolisso (F. Uxa); Kuplumussana group of Beira, Mozambique (G. Segafredo, A. Atzori); Mortality in children under 5 (A. Cattaneo); Use of Misoprostol in post-partum haemorrhage (S. Donà); Financial barriers to safe delivery in Africa (G. Putoto).

Meeting documentation: Medicus Mundi International Network
Board meeting in Basel, 16 March 2012: Focus on health research

The Board meeting of the Medicus Mundi International Network hosted by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute included a re-launching event of a wider MMI research working group and talks with staff of the Swiss TPH  in order to see how they do operational research and what they could offer to the MMI Network and its members. Presentations by the Swiss TPH are available now in the public part of the MMI ePlatform.

International Health Policy: MMI Updates

Bits and pieces of news on international health policy: each “MMI update” is 140 characters or less - these are the rules of the game on twitter. Just enough for a headline, eventually an author, a date, the source – and a link to the website where you find the full information. Have a look at some of our “tweets” published during the last month. As usual, it’s a bit much, so take it or leave it.

Human resources for health

MMI thematic guide:


Health systems strengthening
Health services, health financing
Universal health coverage

MMI thematic guide:  


Health Systems Research

MMI thematic guide:  

Access to medicines and vaccination


Women’s and children’s health


World Health Day: Good health adds life to years
7 April 2012


Looking back to World TB Day
24 March 2012


Looking back to World Water Day
22 March 2012

Equity and human right to health
Social determinants of health

MMI thematic guide:  


Global health governance and policy
Beyond 2015, MDGs and SDGs


NGO debate


Noncommunicable diseases


Other topics



Follow the MMI Updates on Twitter:

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