Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, September 2013

MMI Network News, September 2013

Editorial: Dealing with complexity can be rather complicated

Dear reader,

The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation (Albert Einstein) The world is ordered • The world is predictable • Every cause has one effect • The whole can be understood by understanding its parts • The world is chaotic • The world is unpredictable • Any cause can lead to more than one outcome • The sum of the parts is less and different than the whole RESPONSE IS PREDICTABLE RESPONSE IS UNPREDICTABLE • A car is a complicated system • A jumbo is a complicated system • A children’s birthday party is a complex system • The stock exchange is a complex system Humans respond to patterns, the first pattern that comes to mind triggers our response  In former days, seeing a big yellow face, with big white teeth and big paws meant “run or you are a big cats lunch” • Psychologically we  Can’t keep more than a few things in mind at any one time  Can’t easily detect connections between seemingly unconnected objects/facts  Can’t easily anticipate behaviour more than a step or two ahead Dörner, 1996   • Simple Scientific World View o Linear, output is proportional to input o Additive o Simple rules yield simple results o Stable o Predictable o Quantitative o Normal distribution • Complex Scientific World View o Nonlinear, small changes may diverge o Multiplicative o Simple rules yield complex results o Unstable o Limited predictability o Qualitative plus quantitative o Inverse power-law distribution West, 2010 Gauss – Bell curve Circa 1800 Pareto – Inverse Power-laws Circa 1900 • Simple Scientific World View o Linear, output is proportional to input o Additive o Simple rules yield simple results o Stable o Predictable o Quantitative o Normal distribution • Complex Scientific World View o Nonlinear, small changes may diverge o Multiplicative o Simple rules yield complex results o Unstable o Limited predictability o Qualitative plus quantitative o Inverse power-law distribution West, 2010 Gauss – Bell curve Circa 1800 Pareto – Inverse Power-laws Circa 1900 Complexity Science and Complexity Theories represent a convergence of different types of ideas and theories to address the non-linearity and dynamics of the real world systems, often known as complex adaptive systems Note: no system can every be completely described • Characteristics of a Complex Adaptive System  Non-linearity  Open to environment  Self-organization  Emergence  Pattern of interaction  Adaptation and evolution  Co-evolution ... 

...well, this is what I found on a website when I followed the invitation by a colleague to “have a look at a great introduction to complexity in health”. I must admit that I was somewhat perplexed when I read this cryptic text. And I guess you understand why. But I was also fascinated: Wow, a text which itself reflects its topic! So I spent a couple of minutes trying to understand it, in order to appreciate its “greatness” and also to test my analytical fitness. And when I discovered a “download pdf” button, I followed it with mixed feelings. After a very long and complicated (!) registration procedure, the download link led me to the powerpoint slides of a really interesting lecture by Joachim P. Sturmberg, a complexity guru. When I had a look at the first slides, I discovered that what I first found on the website was just the mashed bullet points – without slide titles and images – of that presentation.

What I learnt from this experience: (1) I shall not confuse complicated with complex. (2) Looking complicated does not mean that a matter is really complex. Perceived complexity can also just be the result of a technical error (when I visited the academia.edu website again today, I discovered that the cryptic text has been replaced by a proper preview of the presentation) or an intellectual trap (I was looking for something “complex”, so I took the text provided on the website as it was, without questioning it).

Anyhow, believe me or not: health systems are in fact complex adaptive systems. Ask Sturmberg. Or others. And if you like to learn more about complexity and how to deal with it in public health and health care, just join me in the upcoming MMI Network meeting “Health-y answers to comple#ity: Are we able to move beyond the control panel?” hosted and organized by our Belgian partners Memisa and Be-cause Health. See you in Brussels, in November!

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network

 

MMI Network: Events, news, resources

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Network event: Memisa / Medicus Mundi International
Health-y answers to comple#ity: Are we able to move beyond the control panel?

Brussels, 27-28 November 2013, Medicus Mundi International Network meeting hosted by Memisa and linked to the annual seminar of Be-cause Health. The seminar will take place on 28 November at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. If the event’s 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. Register now for the seminar! A specific invitation (and registration form) to the MMI Assembly will be sent to the Network members and partners in October.

> Register now for the seminar! www.bit.ly/mmi2013-brussels

 

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Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Universal health coverage and global health beyond 2015

Basel, 6 November 2013. How can global health policy be structured to ensure that even the poorest people in developing countries have access to health services? That's one of the topics of the ongoing international debate on the new development goals for the period beyond 2015. The World Health Organization (WHO) is advocating universal health coverage (UHC) as a way of making health services affordable and accessible to all. At its this year's symposium, Medicus Mundi Switzerland will be discussing how UHC is defined and what form it should take in the light of the new development policy agenda..

> Announcement: www.medicusmundi.ch/mms-en/services/events/symposium2013
> MMI discussion paper on UHC: www.medicusmundi.org/en/contributions/news/2013/mmi-uhc-discussion-paper

 

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MMI Network members
Annual Reports 2012

Some more Network members have published their annual reports 2012:

Collection of annual reports: www.medicusmundi.org/en/network-resources/network-reporting


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.


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Health systems strengthening
Health services, health financing
Health systems research

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/mmi-hss

 

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Universal health coverage

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/mmi-uhc

See also below:
Health beyond 2015

Twitter: #UHC

 

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Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals
Third Global Forum on HRH

MMI thematic guides:
www.bit.ly/mmi_hrh
www.bit.ly/mmimigrationguide

Twitter: #HRH, #healthworkers #healthworkerscount, #3GFHRH,

 

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Access to medicines and vaccination
Medical research and development
Neglected diseases

 

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

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/mmi-mch

 

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

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/mmi_sdh

Twitter: #SDH, #HIAP

 

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Global health governance and policy
WHO reform

MMI thematic guides:

www.bit.ly/ghgovernance

www.bit.ly/mmi-beyond2015guide

www.bit.ly/whoreformguide

www.bit.ly/mmi-ngoguide

Twitter: #globalhealth #healthgovernance

 

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Health beyond 2015
MDGs and SDGs

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/mmi-beyond2015guide

See also above:
Universal Health Coverage

Twitter: #health2015 #post2015 #UNGA #globalhealth

 

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Other topics


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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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