Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, January 2015

Photo: SolidarMed
Photo: SolidarMed

2015 and beyond: invest in a strong health workforce! Guest editorial

Dear reader,

The current Ebola virus outbreak in western Africa has exposed vulnerable health systems, dire shortages of health workers and a deep mistrust between authorities, health workers and the communities at risk. Policy-makers responsible for health systems need to investigate what is not working and what can be done to make systems resilient, sustainable and, ultimately, ready to meet the challenges of the next global pandemic.

Shortcomings in the health workforce stretch well beyond Africa and current disease outbreaks. The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals proposed a broad health agenda – the ambitions of which are yet to be matched by investment in the health workforce. We simply need more health workers. In 2013, to reach a threshold of just 34.5 skilled health professionals per 10 000 population, approximately 7.2 million more midwives, nurses and physicians were needed – and this shortfall is predicted to rise to at least 12.9 million in the coming decades.

The post-2015 development agenda needs to address many major issues, but few are more pressing than the global health workforce crisis. Many global leaders will have an opportunity to inform the post-2015 agenda when they next meet as the Executive Board of the World Health Organization in the end of January. Shared investment in a strong health workforce is needed now, so that we can face the next pandemic with resilience rather than fragility, with coordinated action rather than fragmentation and with confidence instead of fear.

The UN Secretary-General has stated that ‘inaction and business-as-usual must be dismissed…the year 2015 is the time for global action’. Civil Society has a critical role to play in ensuring this is the case; especially on the targets and accountability mechanisms that will ensure governments and partners deliver the necessary investment in the health workforce.

James Campbell, Executive Director
Global Health Workforce Alliance 

Based on: Reversing a global health workforce crisis.
Editorial (with Michel Sidibé) in: WHO Bulletin, January 2015  


MMI Network: News, events and resources

Network members and partners
A peaceful, just and healthy New Year!

The MMI Secretariat wishes all Network members and partners a healthy new year and renewed energy in our efforts to advance Health for All!

Network paper: Wemos/MMI
Overcoming the health workforce gap

“Access to a skilled health worker should be considered an essential part of the right to health as well as required to guarantee basic health protection. However, countries have not agreed upon an international framework that regulates a minimum level of available health workers for the population.” Linda Mans, Wemos, and Remco van de Pas, ITM Antwerp, MMI Board member, introduce the health workforce chapter of Global Health Watch 4.


Network conference documentation: MM Switzerland
Personalized Medicine - The Public Health Perspective

Basel, 11-12 December 2014. "For most health applications the clinical utility and cost- effectiveness of personalized medicine approaches remain to be assessed. In fact, the evaluation of systems medicine approaches for their sensitive application towards improving public health is a priority for biomedical and epidemiological research over the next decade, both in high and low income countries." Documentation of the autumn symposium of the Swiss TPH.


Network news: Health Poverty Action
UK commits to review its recruitment of health workers from low income countries

Health Poverty Action has been campaigning for the UK and other wealthy countries to compensate low income countries that are providing a subsidy to the NHS through their health workers. Health Poverty Action’s call for health worker compensation was picked up during a parliamentary debate last week, with the Minister, Desmond Swayne, committing to commission a review of the NHS use of foreign workers.


Network reporting: Health Poverty Action
Annual Review 2013-14

“Thanks to the advance of technology and communication we now hear more quickly than ever about the latest natural disaster or advent of war. In many cases we hear directly from those suffering the effects of these events and we’re able to see, first-hand, the inequality they live with. But many millions more, who endure similar or worse levels of injustice, are invisible to us – and receive little or no external support. These are the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. They might be living in hard to reach places, or discriminated against because of their culture and ethnicity. It is among these communities that some of the world’s greatest tragedies are to be found. But it’s also where we find some of the world’s most inspiring stories: people working together, overcoming all odds, and achieving incredible things in their struggle for life, health and social justice.”




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.

At the end of a year and the beginning of a new one


Universal health coverage, UHC Day
Health systems strengthening
Health services, health financing

MMI thematic guides: and

See also below:
Health beyond 2015

Twitter: #UHC


Health policy and systems research

MMI thematic guide:  

Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals

MMI thematic guides: and

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


Access to medicines and vaccination
Medical research and development
Communicable diseases and diseases control


Ebola situation and response
Ebola and health systems
Ebola and the state of global health governance

MMI thematic guide:


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

MMI thematic guide:


Prevention and control of NCDs
Nutrition, Disabilities, Mental Health, Care

MMI thematic guide:


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

MMI thematic guide:

Twitter: #SDH, #HIAP


Global health governance and policy

MMI thematic guides: and

See also: Ebola, WHO reform, development

Twitter: #globalhealth #healthgovernance


World Health Organization
WHO reform and financing

MMI thematic guide:


Health beyond 2015
MDGs and SDGs

MMI thematic guide:

Twitter: #post2015 #SDGs


Development, aid and international institutions

MMI thematic guides: and


Follow the MMI Updates on Twitter:

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