Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, 20 August 2014

MMI Network News, 20 August 2014

Ebola news - stay tuned (Editorial)

Could we dream that Ebola is a wakeup call
for strengthening of WHO and global health governance
- can something useful emerge from tragedy?
(Tweet by Ilona Kickbusch, 9 August)


Dear reader,

Sometimes I do not only read posts on Twitter, but I can really hear the deep sighs of my colleagues, such as the one of Kristof Decoster when he wrote, earlier this week: “Looks like every worthy global health cause (health systems strengthening, vaccination, research for neglected diseases) is now jumping on the Ebola outbreak bandwagon.”

O yes, these days one can get just too much of articles, blog posts and tweets such as “My worthy global health cause in the light of the Ebola epidemic” or “Ebola in the light of my worthy global health cause”. And, with the hypes around Universal Health Coverage (“How my worthy global health cause is part of UHC”) and the follow-up of the Millennium Goals (“Why my worthy global health cause must be included in the post-2015 global health targets”), we have already had plenty of the same over the last two years. Lots of static noise, little content...

Call it a vanity fair - and ignore it, or react cynically. But besides the boring promotional “me too” messages, there is also plenty of sound and inspiring analysis by colleagues who use the Ebola epidemic as what it also is: a great magnifying glass on structural crises and issues which otherwise could not be seen so clearly. And as things might move easier in times of crisis, I share the hope that “something useful might emerge from tragedy”, as Ilona Kickbusch put it. I therefore invite you to have a look at the selection of “Ebola voices” below and at the reports on how some MMI Network members are involved in the fight against the epidemic. Stay tuned.

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International. Network Health for All

 

Ebola voices

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Can the World Health Organization lead? Do we want it to?
Jeremy Youde in: The Washington Post

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has caused more illness and death than any previous one, and we all hope that the World Health Organization is able to quickly and effectively coordinate a response to the current Ebola outbreak. We must remember, though, that many of WHO’s shortcomings in responding to this outbreak are the result of limitations placed on the organization. If we want a WHO that can respond more quickly and with more resources, the international community has to be willing to support such an organization.

> http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/08/08/can-the-world-health-organization-lead-do-we-want-it-to/


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They'd find a cure if Ebola came to London
John Ashton in: The Independent

We must tackle the scandal of the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in research to produce treatments and vaccines, something they refuse to do because the numbers involved are, in their terms, so small and don't justify the investment. This is the moral bankruptcy of capitalism acting in the absence of an ethical and social framework.

> http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/theyd-find-a-cure-if-ebola-came-to-london-9644515.html


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Ebola, polio, HIV: it’s dangerous to mix healthcare and foreign policy
Sophie Harman in: The Guardian

The so-called “securitisation” of healthcare is not new. The outbreak of HIV set a precedent as the first health issue to be recognised by the UN security council as an explicit threat to international security. While HIV was a genuine global crisis, there have been recent examples in which foreign policy objectives have been cloaked by apparently innocuous public health activities.

> http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/aug/14/ebola-polio-hiv-healthcare-foreign-policy


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Ebola experimental treatment only for the exceptional
Kim Yi Dionne in: The Washington Post

When I say I think West Africans should have access to experimental treatment, I’m not saying that the company manufacturing ZMapp (or the other companies with experimental Ebola treatments) should be allowed to run clinical trials that disregard ethical principles on unhealthy West Africans to learn whether their treatment is effective and safe. Rather, I’m saying that West Africans suffering from Ebola should have the same access to treatment and care that Americans have.

> http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/08/10/ebola-experimental-treatment-only-for-the-exceptional/?wpisrc=nl-cage


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Ebola - underscoring the global disparities in health care resources
Anthony S. Fauci in: NEJM

Premature deployment of unproven interventions could cause inadvertent harm, compromising an already strained relationship between health care professionals and patients in West Africa. Rapid but proper evaluation of candidate therapies and vaccines is needed. Should exemptions be offered for compassionate or emergency use, distribution of scarce interventions must be conducted with careful ethical guidance and regulatory review. It is unlikely that any miracle cure will end the current epidemic. Rather, sound public health practices, engagement with affected communities, and considerable international assistance and global solidarity will be needed to defeat Ebola in West Africa.

> http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1409494?query=featured_home&


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One lesson for Ebola from HIV: Donors must help protect health workers
Mead Over in: CGD Global Health Policy

Thanks to decades and billions of dollars of donor support for the battle against HIV, many African health facilities now have the rubber gloves, goggles, and face masks that were defined as the “universal precautions” to protect against HIV infection.  But few yet have enough complete sets of gowns, masks, hair coverings, aprons, and rubber boots depicted in the guidelines to protect staff from Ebola.  And fewer still have trained all their staff, including cleaners, orderlies, clerks and receptionists, in the proper techniques for putting on, removing and discarding or sterilizing this equipment. Donors must mobilize emergency task forces to procure and transport this full-body protective gear to all health facilities in the affected countries.  And donors must help governments to distribute this gear and train their health providers in its use.  

> http://www.cgdev.org/blog/one-lesson-ebola-hiv-donors-must-help-protect-health-workers


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Ebola has infected public discourse with a new xenophobia
Lola Okolosie in: The Guardian

Four months ago Ebola looked like yet another far-off possibility not worth worrying about. The disease’s quiet rampage in the distant forests of west Africa went largely unnoticed. It is only now, with the possibility of Ebola reaching us via the next flight in, that we realise how interconnected we are. In the age of diaspora and globalisation, it is ridiculous to think that we are, or could be, a fortress.

> http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/04/ebola-public-discourse-xenophobia-midwives-nigeria?CMP=twt_gu


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More: MMI updates on Twitter

 

Ebola response: MMI Network members

An overview on how some of the MMI Network members are involved in the fight against the Ebola virus disease epidemic in West Africa, based on information available on their websites. Is your report/last update missing? Please let us know. We will keep the list updated on a dedicated “who works where” page on our website.


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Ebola in Sierra Leone
Doctors with Africa Cuamm, August 2014

"The highest alert level in the country remains. The sanitary cordons are reinforced in some cases by army checkpoints and police. The population movements are restricted. Some villages with suspected cases are quarantined. The operators of Doctors with Africa Cuamm are on the ground in the district of Pujehun." (Italian with Google translation to English)

> https://translate.google.com 

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Ebola: blanket of fear over Sierra Leone
Cordaid, August 2014

Cordaid has 29 projects in Sierra Leone, where the Ebola epidemic has gained strength in the last month. "The disease has laid a blanket of fear over the country," says Marjan Kruijzen, healthcare expert for Cordaid. "People say it is worse than the civil war of twelve years ago. Then, we knew where the danger was coming from. Now, the risk is everywhere."

> https://www.cordaid.org/en/news/ebola-spreads-blanket-fear-over-sierra-leone/


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Ebola: isolation ward for Liberia urgently needed
action medeor, August 2014

action medeor raises funds for the construction of two isolation units with at least 8 beds each for suspected and confirmed cases of the disease. The isolation consist of a heat insulating cover with lock, a workplace for medical staff, eight beds and toilets, two sinks with water filters and a waste incineration unit. The stations are to be built on the site of JFK Memorial Hospital in Monrovia.  (German with Google translation to English)

> https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fmedeor.de%2Fde%2Faktuell%2Fkurzmeldungen%2F1098-ebola-isolierstation-fuer-liberia-dringend-benoetigt.html&sandbox=1


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Urgent Appeal: help communities combat the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone
Health Poverty Action, July 2014
For nine years, Health Poverty Action has been working with women and communities in Sierra Leone.  We’ve strengthened them in their struggle for health by improving maternal healthcare and combating violence against women. But the recent Ebola outbreak in the region is putting this vital work under major threat – and the people here need our support to overcome this new danger.

> http://www.healthpovertyaction.org/news/urgent-appeal-help-communities-combat-spread-ebola-sierra-leone/

 

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Ebola Virus Disease: WHO updates and resources
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en/

 

 

MMI Network Events

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Network event: medico international
The Right to Health in the Post-2015 Agenda
Berlin, 8-9 September 2014

“Health politics have become a crucial part of the global agenda. In 2015 UN-member states will take decisions affecting the lives of billions of people as they agree on a new framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). One major question in the recent debate on the Post 2015 process is to what extend it has the potential to oblige states, international organizations and private health actors to establish and contribute to health systems equally accessible to all. This one and a half-days meeting in Berlin brings together experts on health and post-2015 from civil society organizations (notably coming from the global south), politics, academia, international organizations, and state organizations. Also it presents results related to the political and scientific analysis provided by Go4health.”

> http://www.medico.de/en/themes/health/documents/health-for-all-implementing-the-right-to-health-in-the-post-2015-agenda/1271/
 

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MMI Symposium and Network meeting hosted by Medicus Mundi Switzerland
"Not without us!": Youth and sexual and reproductive health in international cooperation
Basel, 5-6 November 2014

This year's MMI Network meeting is hosted by Medicus Mundi Switzerland (MMS) and linked with the 14th annual Swiss Health Cooperation Symposium organized by MMS. Mark the dates! If you are interested in contributing to the Symposium, be that by giving a talk or presenting a project, please send a short abstract by the end of August 2014 to the secretariat of Medicus Mundi Switzerland. Possible topics:

  • Sexual and reproductive rights: How can they be integrated in international health cooperation?
  • Youth-oriented health services and eliminating obstacles faced by youths; Teenage pregnancies
  • Sexual education
  • Involving youths in topics of sexual and reproductive health and rights

> Call for papers: http://www.medicusmundi.org/en/contributions/events/2014/sexual-and-reproductive-health-and-rights


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Network event: Be-cause Health
Putting People at the Heart of Development. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Post-2015 Era
Brussels, 28 November 2014

“At the brink of the ‘Post-2015 Era’ the relevance of the ICPD Programme of Action is increasingly evident. As health and development stakeholders, we are continuously challenged to develop strategies that enable us to overcome the shortcomings of the past and to close the gaps that prevent vulnerable populations from the full enjoyment of their right to sexual and reproductive health. This seminar will provide an excellent opportunity for exchanging experiences, insights and ideas regarding these challenges, allowing us to elaborate on the linkages between SRHR and sustainable development and to advance SRHR in the years ahead.” Be-cause health is, through Memisa, a close partner of the MMI Network.

> Call for abstracts: http://www.be-causehealth.be/en/events/be-cause-health-annual-seminars/seminar-2014.aspx#.U7KyDrHJAwc


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More announcements: MMI Network events


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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Universal health coverage
Health systems strengthening
Health services, health economics

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

www.bit.ly/mmi-uhc

See also below:
Health beyond 2015
Twitter: #UHC

 

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Health policy and systems research

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

 

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Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals

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
Communicable diseases and diseases control

 

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Women’s and children’s health
Sexual and reproductive rights and health
(including related events)

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

 

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Prevention and control of NCDs
Disabilities, Mental Health, Care

 

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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

MMI thematic guide:
www.bit.ly/ghgovernance

Twitter: #globalhealth #healthgovernance

 

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World Health Organization
WHO reform and financing

MMI thematic guide
www.bit.ly/whoreformguide

 

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Health beyond 2015
MDGs and SDGs

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

Twitter: #health2015 #post2015 #globalhealth

 

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Development, aid, NGOs, international institutions

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

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