Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, February 2015

WHO EB meeting - the view from the ground: Sitting at the speaker's desk, waiting to be called to read the MMI statement
WHO EB meeting - the view from the ground: Sitting at the speaker's desk, waiting to be called to read the MMI statement

Advocacy for HRH at the WHO Executive Board meeting (editorial)

Dear reader,

All over the world politicians, scholars and media are watching the World Health Organisation critically after its slow response to Ebola. So even a generally rather dull annual WHO Executive Board meeting can turn into “big news”. Especially the special session on Sunday 25 January that focused on the response to Ebola in West Africa found great attention.

Knowing all the sensitivities between Member States, I can understand that delegates applauded after the Ebola resolution got endorsed. I’m very happy that the resolution contains a clear focus on building and nurturing strong health systems and calls on Member States to “strengthen capacities to recruit, develop, train, and retain the health workforce in developing countries, particularly in the most affected and highly at-risk countries.” But I consider it a missed opportunity that the resolution doesn’t refer to the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (WHO Code) nor mentions mitigating the negative effects of migration and mobility of health workforce.

I recently wrote in another editorial that the Ebola crisis in West Africa vividly exposes the dramatic results of exceedingly weak health systems and health workforce shortages: It is likely that lives could have been saved had there been more qualified health workers available in the countries hardest hit by the virus. Many thousands of qualified workers from African and Asian countries are working in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in Europe, without any compensation for the poverty-struck countries that trained them. MMI member Health Poverty Action has been campaigning on compensation for a long time. As a result, the issue of how to strengthen health systems in developing countries has been taken up by the UK House of Common’s International Development Committee.

It is a universal responsibility to address future outbreaks, given that we live in an increased interdependent world. This presupposes a prioritisation of policy coherence for development, including the sustainable management of health workforce migration at a global level. Moreover, apart from strengthening the health workforce in low- and middle-income countries through development aid (as included in the Ebola resolution), it is becoming increasingly important to “put our own house in order” in Europe. The WHO Code needs to be properly implemented within Europe too - and national health workforces need to be built up, nurtured and retained.

Therefore my interest in the EB was (besides the special session on Ebola) primarily with the Secretariat’s report on the WHO Code. The Board was asked to consider the processes that have been established to facilitate the first review of the relevance and effectiveness of the Code and the second round of national reporting on Code implementation, and to give further guidance. In a joint statement by MMI, the European Project Health Workers for All and the People’s Health Movement we recommended Member States consider rescheduling the commitment to report on the relevance and effectiveness of the Code to next year’s World Health Assembly. This would allow more time available for a proper process, including full consideration of the information gathered through the second round of national reporting due in 2015 and would align more closely the processes of Code review and the development of a global HRH strategy planned for the current year. Our statement might have pushed the balance of Member States wanting to stick to the timetable and others that were in favour of extending the process to the outcome that extension will be considered during the upcoming World Health Assembly in May this year.

So yes, this WHO Executive Board meeting might be considered a dull exercise, but lobbying and advocacy is like playing chess - move by move with “health for all” as major objective (instead of “checkmate”). However, when it comes to playing games, I prefer riding my mountain bike in a lot of mud. Similar sticky, but with more adrenaline and a lot of fresh air.

Linda Mans, Wemos
Senior Global Health Advocate
Project coordinator Health Workers for All

.............
Selected MMI statements at the recent WHO EB session :

 

MMI Network: News, events and resources

.............
Network news: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Position Paper on Universal Health Coverage

"With the Millennium Development goals coming to an end by 2015, a debate is going on about what could be a coherent global framework for the upcoming decade. Concerning health, various concepts have been discussed: Wellbeing; reduction of avoidable mortality/morbidity, universal health coverage (UHC) and others. Amongst these, UHC has emerged as the most promising." To discuss and clarify the terminology and meaning of UHC, the Swiss Red Cross and SolidarMed, two members of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland, held a joint workshop in 2013, the position paper being a result of it.

> www.medicusmundi.ch/de/schwerkpunkte/globale-gesundheit/position-paper-on-universal-health-coverage


.............
Network news: action medeor
EURMED initiative for medical donations

"The EURMED initiative was founded in 2014 by action medeor, Banco Farmaceutico and International Health Partners. It aims to ensure the efficient and effective use of donated medicines and medical supplies. EURMED serves the European healthcare industry by matching product donations to the needs of vulnerable communities around the world.”

> www.eurmed.eu/

 

.............
Network event: ACHAP
The role of faith based health services in contributing to universal health coverage in Africa
Nairobi, 22-28 February 2015

The Africa Christian Health Association’s Platform ACHAP in collaboration with the Christian Health Association of Kenya and with support from various health development partners will be hosting the 7th ACHAP biennial conference in Nairobi, Kenya. For any enquiries kindly contact the ACHAP secretariat.

> www.africachap.org/x5/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=39&Itemid=70

.............
Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
HIV/AIDS and vulnerable groups – no one left behind
Berne, 7 May 2015

This year’s annual aidsfocus conference will focus on vulnerable groups such as sex workers, injecting drug users; migrants or prisoners. In most countries, these groups tend to have a higher prevalence of HIV infection than that of the general population. At the same time, the resources devoted to HIV prevention, treatment and care for these populations are not proportional to the HIV prevalence - a serious mismanagement of resources and a failure to respect fundamental human rights. If we want to achieve the ambitious goal to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 we cannot leave anyone behind....

> www.aidsfocus.ch/en/agenda/aidsfocus.ch-conference-2015


.............
Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
The best science for global health challenges
Basel, September 6-10, 2015

The next European Congress on Tropical Medicine and international Health (ECMTIH) will be organized by the Swiss TPH, a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland, on behalf of the Federation of European Societies for Tropical Medicine and International Health (FESTMIH) and the Swiss Society for Tropical Medicine and Parasitology. As the conference topic "The best science for global health challenges" is highly relevant for organizations working in the field of international health cooperation and global health, Medicus Mundi International and Medicus Mundi Switzerland participate as NGO partners in the Scientific Committee (responsible for the organization of a session on "New approaches for research to policy and action" and in the Local Organizing Committee.

www.ectmihbasel2015.ch/

 

International Health Policy: MMI Updates

.............
Universal health coverage
Health systems strengthening
Health services, health financing

 

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

www.bit.ly/mmi-uhc

See also below: Health beyond 2015
Twitter: #UHC

 

.............
Health policy and systems research

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

 

.............
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

 

.............
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: Ebola voices
www.medicusmundi.org/en/topics/diseases/ebola

 

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

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

 

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

NEW: MMI thematic guide
www.medicusmundi.org/en/topics/diseases/NCDs

 

.............
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

 

.............
Global health governance and policy
Political and economic determinants of health

MMI thematic guides:

www.bit.ly/ghgovernance

www.bit.ly/mmi-ngoguide

See also: Ebola, WHO reform, development
Twitter: #globalhealth #healthgovernance

 

.............
World Health Organization
WHO reform and financing

MMI thematic guide
www.bit.ly/whoreformguide

See also: Ebola, global health governance and policy

 

.............
Health beyond 2015
MDGs and SDGs

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

Twitter: #post2015 #SDGs

 

.............
Development, aid and international institutions

MMI thematic guides:

www.bit.ly/ghgovernance

www.bit.ly/mmi-ngoguide

 

Follow the MMI Updates on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/mmi_updates

Document Actions