Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, April 2013

image: One Million Health Workers campaign
image: One Million Health Workers campaign

Editorial: One Million Community Health Workers until 2015 (this is NOT a satire)

Dear reader,

This is NOT a April fool hoax nor a satire, but shall explain to you how one Million Community Health Workers can be produced and deployed across sub-Saharan Africa until 2015:

“We are launching a new campaign that aims to expand and accelerate community health worker programs in sub-Saharan African countries, scaling them up to district, regional, and national levels to meet the health-related Millennium Development Goals. With the use of the latest communications technology and diagnostic testing materials, these frontline workers link the rural poor to the broader healthcare system of doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics.

The new campaign will work with governments and aid agencies to finance and train the cadre of health workers, each of whom would serve an average of 650 rural inhabitants, at an estimated cost of $6.58 per patient per year. this adds up to an estimated $2.5 billion, which includes funding already being spent by NGOs and governments on these programs. These estimates fall within projected governmental health budgetary constraints and are within the boundaries of donor assistance already pledged and anticipated.

How it works:

Point-of-care diagnosis: Biomedical technology has now produced rapid home test kits for malaria and HIV diagnosis, sputum collection for the detection of tuberculosis by genetic amplification, and pregnancy tests. These innovative instruments have enormous potential for impacting healthcare provision in the developing world, especially at the periphery of the health system and in rural areas.

Scalable supervision: Broadband access and smartphones can link community health workers to the national health system and allow for real-time disease surveillance, child and maternal health monitoring, mobile training, supply chain management and capturing of vital events.

Standardized care: Arming lay health workers with consistent supplies of life-saving medicines and easy-to-follow treatment protocols guarantees a minimum quality of services delivered to these clients. Active care and disease detection according to rigorous guidelines has greater benefit to the formal health system than the usual passive case detection and referrals to upper levels of care.

Rapid training: There is persuasive evidence that short-term intensive trainings on the most critical competencies for community healthcare delivery can be effective for deploying on-the-ground, functional frontline health workers at scale, without a large initial time lag between recruitment and deployment.”

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


  • The text and the illustration are taken from the “about us” page of the One Million Community Health Workers campaign, The campaign was launched at the Davos World Economic Forum in January 2013.

Notes by TS:

  • The fact sheet of the campaign lists the following partners: GAVI Alliance, Glaxo Smith Kline, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, RESULTS, Roll Back Malaria, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) UNAIDS, UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, United Nations, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, USAID, the World Bank. The full list of partners also includes all those directly interested in the deal, mainly the IT and diagnostics industry.
  • The following alternative titles for this editorial were finally dropped for the sake of political correctness: (1) High-tech, low skills, good money (2) It's the economy, stupid (3) Warning: This medicine may affect your health system.
  • Recent articles promoting the One Million Community Health Workers campaign include: 1 million community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015. Prabhjot Singh and Jeffrey D Sachs in: The Lancet, 29 March 2013; Deployment of community health workers across rural sub-Saharan Africa: financial considerations and operational assumptions. Gordon C McCord, Anne Liu & Prabhjot Singh in: Bulletin of the WHO, April 2013
  • Looking forward to the long expected publication of WHO guidelines on scaling up and transforming health workers education later on this year. See
  • Next week is World Health Workers Week: “Moving toward Universal Health Care depends upon everyone having access to a skilled, motivated, supplied and supported health worker within a robust health system.”
  • To state it again clearly: this is NOT a satire. Your feedback is most welcome and will be published on the website of the MMI “Get involved in global health” blog.


MMI Network: Events and resources

MMI Network events 2013: register now!
Primary Health Care and cooperation: A utopia?
Barcelona, 7-8 June 2013

The Jubilee events of the Federation of Medicus Mundi Spain (MM Spain) will start with a scientific conference on “Primary Health Care and Cooperation: A utopia?” in the Medical College of Physicians of Barcelona, in the upper side of the city. The Assembly of MMI on Saturday morning will be hold in parallel with the MM Spain Jubilee Assembly at Casal del Metge (Mutual medical), located in the Gothic Quarter close to the Cathedral. There will be a jubilee dinner on Saturday evening and further jubilee side events from Friday to Sunday. Looking forward to seeing you soon in Barcelona!

> First announcement: Download PDF
> MMI jubilee page:
> Register your participation: online at MM Catalunya

MMI Network events 2013: call for stories
Health-y answers to comple#ity: Are we able to move beyond the control panel?
Brussels, 27-28 November 2013

This year’s Medicus Mundi International Network meeting will be hosted by Memisa and linked to the annual seminar of Be-cause Health on 28 November at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. If its working title is confusing, this might even be intentional: the conference is all about providing health care in a complex environment and how to deal with this complexity. The Assembly, a Board meeting and workshops of the Medicus Mundi International Network are scheduled for 27 November.

> MMI conference page:
> Call for stories and submission form: see also 
> Deadline for submission of stories: 15 May 2013

MMI Network resources: Research Marketplace
“NGO in search of research: our request – and our offer”

The newly established MMI marketplace “NGOs in search of research: our request – and our offer" has not yet fully taken off the ground. We invite Network members and partners to post their proposals on this platform! NGO proposals are not binding, but shall allow the start of a dialogue. The Medicus Mundi International Network will provide and promote this marketplace, but will leave it up to the interested parties (NGO, researcher, training institution) to lead this dialogue, to eventually agree on terms of cooperation and to establish an appropriate contractual relation.

> Call for proposals:
> Marketplace:

Network resource:
MMI Network: who works where? 

MMI Network members (and their members) are invited to present an overview of their projects or individual project descriptions and reports in the "who works where" section of the MMI ePlatform. In order to find out which Network member works where, you might use the advanced search option of the ePlatform, selecting a country you are particularly interested in. More information on the network members and their activities can be found in their annual reports also available on the MMI ePlatform.


Network resource: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Executive Course on Global Health Diplomacy
Geneva, 1-5 July 2013

"Diplomacy is undergoing profound changes in the 21st century – and global health is one of the areas where this is most apparent. The negotiation processes that shape and manage the global policy environment for health are increasingly conducted not only between public health experts representing health ministries of nation states but include many other major players at the national level and in the global arena. These include philanthropists and public-private players. As health moves beyond the purely technical to become an ever more critical element in foreign policy, security policy and trade agreements, new skills are needed to negotiate global regimes, international agreements and treaties, and to maintain relations with a wide range of actors. The course focuses on health diplomacy as it relates to health issues that transcend national boundaries as well as how they are being addressed by different groups and at different levels of governance." The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies is a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland.


Network paper: DWA Cuamm
Mothers and children first: the results of the surveys on coverage,
quality and equity of health services in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda

Download the results of the surveys by DWA Cuamm on coverage, quality and equity of health services as PDF files:

> Ethiopia
> Tanzania
> Uganda

Network paper: Cordaid
Gender inequality and fragility in the post-MDG framework

“Despite the progress that has been made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), fragility and gender inequality risk undermining development in many countries and reversing the gains that have been made over the past decades. As debates around the post-2015 agenda continue, it is critical that these two issues are prioritised in any future goals, targets and indicators that are proposed, and that they are linked strategically to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and the New Deal on Engagement in Fragile States. This Cordaid paper highlights key recommendations and possible actions that could be taken over the coming months to ensure a more coordinated approach to addressing fragility and gender inequality in the post-MDG framework.” Gender Inequality and Fragility in the post-MDG Framework. Karen Barnes Robinson, Cordaid 2013



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.

Upcoming events

Events of the MMI Network:
See MMI events guide

Health systems strengthening
Health services and health care
Health systems research

MMI thematic guide:

Universal health coverage
Health financing

MMI thematic guide:

Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals

MMI thematic guides:

Access to medicines and vaccination
Medical research and development
Trade and public health

Infectious, noncommunicable and neglected diseases
Burden of Disease
World TB day

Women’s and children’s health
Sexual and reproductive rights and health
International Women’s Day

MMI thematic guide:

Equity and human right to health
Social determinants of health
Poverty and social protection

MMI thematic guide:

Global health governance and policy
Development assistance, NGO debate
WHO reform

MMI thematic guides:

Health beyond 2015
MDGs and SDGs       

MMI thematic guide:

The Novartis Glivec case


Other topics

Follow the MMI Updates on Twitter:

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