Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, May 2013

MMI Network News, May 2013

Editorial: Global health democracy (starts at home)

Dear reader,

As the UN health agency, WHO remains in today’s globalized world the “directing and coordinating authority” for the realization of the right to health. Its role as the sole global legal authority in health is also embedded in its constitution and needs to be strongly supported. The World Health Organization is an intergovernmental organization, and WHO’s decision making supremacy lies with its governing bodies. In the World Health Assembly and the sessions of the Executive Board, this is often translated into the simple statement that “WHO belongs to the member states”.

This ownership of the member states is incontestable, but let us have a closer look at these “owners”: Who are their representatives at the 66th World Health Assembly that starts in a couple of days? Who appoints these delegates and for whom will they speak? What positions on agenda items will they bring along? How have these positions been developed and shaped? Are they coherent with their country’s position in other fora? To whom will the delegates report back after the World Health Assembly? And what mechanisms exist to control that a country fulfils its commitments resulting from the WHA resolutions adopted with their support?

Legitimacy, coherence, accountability are great challenges. In addition to the health diplomacy programs for WHO member states representatives in Geneva, there is an urgent need for another effort: to improve global health democracy.

“Civil society relations” are part of the WHO reform agenda (1). But these relations should not be dealt with at a global level only: All WHO member states need to define policies and instruments for engaging civil society – the “extended state” (2) – not only in their domestic health policies, but also in the making of their positions on global (health) issues. There is no blueprint for this process; modalities and solutions need to be rooted in the political culture and the existing institutional settings of every country. Resulting policies and instruments for policy coherence (such as a foreign health policy) and policy dialogue with civil society (such as hearings, national health assemblies) should be monitored in order to allow accountability. And they might be shared with other countries at a regional and global level in order to foster best practices and mutual learning. This needs support and leadership by WHO both at global and regional level and should be integrated in their structured dialogue with member states.

On the other hand, the process of democratizing global health policy at a national level should correspond and be complemented with instruments of civil society involvement at the regional and global level – not only at the governing body meetings of the WHO, but in the whole cycle of policy shaping and making, including commissions and working groups. And here we are back at some core demands regarding the WHO reform.

The Medicus Mundi International Network, as part of the “Democratizing Global Health coalition on the WHO reform”, is advocating for a WHO in which the normative processes for global health policy are led by countries, based on coherent positions resulting from a democratic political process at the domestic level. True global health democracy starts at home. There is not shortcut or quick fix for it at a global level.

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


  1. WHO reform process: see our thematic guide 
  2. See Thomas Gebauer, High time to re-politicise NGOs


MMI Network events 2013: Act now to get involved!

Deadlines for active involvement of MMI Network members and partners in our key events in the current year are approaching fast. So it is high time to act if you want to ensure your participation:

WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel: Stoking up the fire for Code implementation
WHA civil society side event, Geneva, 22 May 2013

“The challenge of Code implementation the looks different for destination and source countries of health workforce migration: Destination countries need to address the issue of coherence between domestic and global health policies, as they have to tackle national and global shortages at the same time. Many source countries of migration have not yet taken advantage of the Code and its provisions. They should consider developing stronger leadership for implementation of the Code, as it could greatly support their efforts in the fields of health workforce development and retention.”

This civil society side event to the World Health Assembly is organized by the Medicus Mundi International Network on behalf of the European “Health workers for all and all for health workers” project and many other involved partners and co-promoters. If you want to attend in this event, you need to be a registered WHA delegate – see above.

> Side event announcement:
> Deadline for WHA registration via MMI: 12 May 2013
> 66th World Health Assembly:  

MMI Jubilee Assembly in Barcelona, 7-8 June 2013
Primary Health Care and cooperation: A utopia?
- register your participation before 15 May!

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 before 15 May: online at MM Catalunya

MMI Network meeting Brussels, 27-28 November 2013
Health-y answers to comple#ity: Are we able to move beyond the control panel?
- submit your stories now!

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: News and resources

Network campaign: MMI, members and partners
Health workers for all and all for health workers

Everyone should have access to health workers. However, if the situation remains as it is today, one billion people world-wide will never see a health worker in their life. The first ‘World Health Worker Week’ (8-12 April) marked the launch of the ‘Health workers for all and all for health workers’ project, a European civil society initiative that contributes to a sustainable health workforce worldwide. The secretariat of the MMI Network and five Network members are part of the project consortium coordinated by Wemos.

> Project launch, 10 April 2013:
> Project website:


MMI marketplace: Doctors with Africa Cuamm
Treatment outcomes among children on antiretroviral therapy in Beira, Mozambique

“We are looking for a young researcher for a retrospective cohort study of children on antiretroviral therapy at four health centres in Beira, Mozambique. The four health centres cater for about 87% of children on ART in Beira town. The study wants to find out whether treatment outcomes among children transferred from Beira Central Hospital to the health centres differed from those of children enrolled directly at the centres and in general show the impact and the effect of decentralisation in the Mozambican context. Data will be extracted from patients' files.”

> DWA Cuamm proposal:     

MMI marketplace: Doctors with Africa Cuamm
Diagnosis and treatment delay in Tuberculosis in four sub-Saharan African countries

“It is estimated that every year there are 9.4 million new tuberculosis cases and nearly two million people deaths from tuberculosis. The magnitude of the tuberculosis epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), that accounts for approximately 80% of the world’s tuberculosis⁄ HIV co-infection cases is well recognized. Reservoirs for high levels of tuberculosis transmission rest predominantly in those with undiagnosed pulmonary disease and early diagnosis and prompt effective therapy are the key elements of the TB control programme. We are looking for a young researcher to undertake an in-depth analysis of the health-seeking behaviour of TB patients and health system response in four sub-Sahara African countries: Angola, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.”

> DWA Cuamm proposal:

MMI marketplace: Call to Network members
Publish your proposal on the MMI marketplace!

The two „NGO research proposals” by Cuamm are put on the newly established MMI marketplace “NGOs in search of research: our request – and our offer". We invite other Network members and partners to do the same! 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:


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 and its members:
See above and in the MMI Network events guide


Health systems strengthening
Health services, health financing

MMI thematic guide:


Health systems research

MMI thematic guide:


Universal health coverage

MMI thematic guide:


Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals

MMI thematic guides:


Access to medicines and vaccination
Medical research and development


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

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 for health
WHO reform

MMI thematic


Health beyond 2015
MDGs and SDGs

MMI thematic guide:


Annual events:
World Health Day; Malaria Day; Immunization Week


Other topics




MMI Network News are edited and distributed by e-mail by the secretariat of Medicus Mundi International. Network members (only) are kindly invited to send us your contributions.

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