Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, 24 November 2015

MMI Network News, 24 November 2015

Thinking about the SDGs – to be followed by the doing! (editorial)

Dear reader,

At a meeting at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, experts from think tanks and academic institutes from all over the world gathered to discuss their role in global health. And on how they can contribute to policy change, in particular to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In her opening speech, Margaret Chan reminded us of the transformative nature of the SDGs and how – because of this transformative nature – they will inevitably cross paths with “the international systems that govern finance, business relations, foreign investment and trade”. Many policies and guidelines that govern our world these days, are made in regional meetings, pinned down in trade and investment treaties, that completely bypass our democratic systems. Especially the area of trade and investment has been mentioned several times in these two days, as both an under researched area and one that has a potentially huge impact on health. Importantly – but not exclusively – because of changes pursued in relation to intellectual property rights, which may well close the doors to affordable medicines.

Researching and spreading the word on the impact of trade and investment treaties is one of the challenges we’ve put on the shoulders of the academic world.

And there’s more. One important lesson that we’ve learned from the MDGs, is that what gets championed is what gets implemented. MDG 8 was the least championed one. The SDGs are much broader in scope, with 17 goals and 169 targets, and thereby cover a much completer picture of the challenges before us. At the same time this constitutes a risk, especially for the goals that are harder to reach and those that are politically more sensitive. Professor Fukuda-Parr pointed out the risks of selectivity and, among others, gave us another important challenge: we need champions for equity and for addressing the social and political determinants of health.

Yet more to come, after all there were a lot of people at the meeting! One of the questions asked, was how think tanks and academic institutions can influence policies. Quickly followed by the question: should they? Especially in a context of weak institutions, too much influence by experts may well undermine democratic processes. Our quest for social justice and equity cannot be put in the hands of experts. To quote Professor Frances Omaswa: “we need a global movement for social justice”. Then what is the role of the experts? Not so much to convince policy makers but to create, recreate and translate knowledge – to policy makers, to the media and to the wider public! To think long-term, take on the difficult issues, and relate the complexity of problems to peoples’ day-to-day reality without simplifying them. “Simplexity” is a new term I learned.

To conclude with: some challenges are right ahead of us and not only concern think tanks and academics: the indicators by which progress on the SDGs will be measured are being finalized in the near future. If what gets measured is what gets done, the future for SDG implementation looks bleak, taken from a blog on the topic by TWN’s director Roberto Bissio. The process is quite far developed but not yet finalized, so civil society attention is badly needed. The fact that the SDGs are accompanied by means of implementation is applauded by many, but also questioned: are these the right measures? What policies and means of implementation do we need for more justice and health for all? What indicators are fit to follow progress? Let’s put our heads together – civil society groups, NGOs, think tanks – you name it, to get some answers!

Mariska Meurs, Wemos

Mariska Meurs represented the MMI Network at the “think tanks meeting”



MMI Network: Events, news, papers and resources

Network event: Cordaid and HealthNet TPO
Sexual and Reproductive Health in fragile environments: Turning challenges into opportunities
Amsterdam, 10 December 2015

A symposium about challenges and innovative approaches that have improved the sexual and reproductive health of people in fragile environments will be held at KIT Amsterdam. Lessons learned and good practices shall be shared. This symposium is organised together with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Share-Net International, HealthNet TPO, Cordaid and International Medical Corps.

Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Drug resistance: From mechanism to management
Basel, 10-11 December 2015

"Drug resistance is emerging globally as a major public health and economic problem. It is both urgent and highly complex, affecting key aspects of human and animal health as well as agriculture and the environment in many interconnected ways. Whether they target pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, parasites or their vectors, few drugs exist today, for which resistance has not already been documented. Join health professionals, researchers and students in a two-day multidisciplinary symposium bringing together national and international experts from a variety of fields to examine and discuss the central aspects of drug resistance, ranging from the molecular and evolutionary mechanisms of resistance to the clinical, epidemiological and economic implications." Symposium of the Swiss TPH, a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland.

Network campaign: HW4All
Sign the European Call to Action!
Deadline: 5 December 2015

A health worker for everyone, everywhere! Sign the Call to Action “Towards strong health workforces and sustainable health systems around the world” for European decision-makers. Signatures collected until 5 December 2015 will be handed over to the European Commission in the event “Exploring the migration-development nexus. Global health aspects of the implementation of the WHO Code Of Practice” in Brussels on 9 December. (MMI and several Network members are partners of the European Project “Health workers for all and all for health workers”)

Call to Action:

Event in Brussels, 9 December: 

Network paper: medico international
Solidarity begins beyond aid

“The implementation of economic and social human rights, including legally binding aid in the event of hardship, has many advantages over mere charitable aid and donation activities, which in the long run are dependent on the goodwill of the individual. Such activities often only alleviate the symptoms of hardship and run the risk of ignoring the political nature of their causes, at the same time even indirectly exonerating the instigators. A contemporary of the French Revolution, the pedagogue and social reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi said: ‘Charity is the drowning of rights in the manure pit of compassion.’ It is these rights, or more precisely economic and social human rights, which we need to re-establish or defend against the neoliberal orientation of politics.”
Network paper: Health Poverty Action
Drug Policy and the SDGs

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched in September 2015, made up of 17 Goals and 169 Targets that set out a plan of action that will shape the mainstream development agenda for the next 15 years. There has already been much debate about how these Goals will be achieved, but the significant issue of drug policy reform has so far been ignored. Health Poverty Action, with the support of the International Drug Policy Consortium, have created a briefing paper which aims to address this gap, to support discussions and demonstrate how global drug control policies are a cross-cutting development issue that impact upon a number of the SDGs." (Health Poverty Action, November 2015)

Network conference report: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
A challenge for Switzerland: Achieving health for all in a changing world

Basel, 28 October 2015. "The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have changed the frame of reference for development policy worldwide. By applying a new strategy for international cooperation, Switzerland seeks to live up to SDG expectations. Will Switzerland be able to meet its responsibilities in a changing environment? What can it contribute to maximising health across all stages of life? This year’s Medicus Mundi Switzerland analysed existing challenges and debate comprehensive approaches to strengthening health for all in this new phase.

MMI Network members: Please send us your eventual contributions for the MMI website (events, news, papers, resources) and the next issue of the newsletter!


MMI Network: Who works where?

MMI Network – who works where: HealthNet TPO
Women in War

"Millions of women are victim of violence in conflict areas. Rape is often used as a weapon to disrupt communities. Because of this, women lose their honour, their right to property and are outcast by their families. However women play a vital part in rebuilding communities and their resilience is a huge inspiration to cope with the current situation. That’s why HealthNet specifically focuses on improving the situation of women in conflict areas. When starting projects we take into account the differences between regions, cultures and the specific needs.”


MMI Network – who works where: Cordaid
Cordaid receives nearly 30 million to continue work on SRHR

Cordaid, leading a consortium of specialized agencies, has won a tender bid from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to further develop and expand our sexual reproductive health program. The Ministry has allocated an amount of nearly 30 million to the Jeune S3 consortium for five years, starting from 1 January 2016.


MMI Network – who works where: Wemos
Partnership for affordable medicines and health workers in East Africa

On November 12 2015, Amref Health Africa, the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), Health Action International (HAI), Wemos and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed an agreement of participation in The Health Systems Advocacy Alliance for Africa (HSA4A). The aim of the partnership is to strengthen the capacity of local organizations to advocate and influence the sexual and reproductive health and rights in East Africa, in specific of marginalized groups such as women and children.


MMI Network – who works where: DWA Cuamm
Diabetes and Hypertension: Better diagnosis among TB patients in Luanda

“People with diabetes have a risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) 3 to 5 times higher than that of the general population. Moreover, diabetes can worsen the clinical course of TB and TB can worsen glycaemic control in people with diabetes. For these reasons, Doctors with Africa CUAMM is implementing a two year pilot project, financed by the World Diabetes Foundation, to improve diabetes and hypertension detection and treatment among TB patients  in the Luanda Province.”

MMI Network – who works where: Emergenza Sorrisi
Emergenza Sorrisi: Missions

The section "missioni" (in Italian only) of the website of this MMI Network member  provides an overview of upcoming and past surgical missions of Emergenza Sorrisi to assist children affected by cleft lip and palate (CLP), facial deformities, burns, war trauma, neoplasia, orthopaedic and eye disorders.


MMI Network – who works where: i+ solutions
i+solutions: Our global impact

i+solutions is active in more than 60 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and South America. Please click on a bullet in the interactive map on the website of this MMI Network member to see more about its involvement in the following categories: Suppliers; partners: projects, Pooled Procurement Mechanism, Supply Chain Management System.


MMI Network – who works where: EPN
EPN members

"EPN counts 92 Anglophone and Francophone members (and still growing!) from over 30 countries, who are categorized as full members or associate members. Full members are organizations that are directly owned or part of a church or church-related organization involved in health. Associate members are individuals, organizations, agencies or associations at national or international level subscribing to similar values."


MMI Network members: Let us know what projects and programmes you want to feature in the “who works where” section of the MMI newsletter and website!


Global health policy, health cooperation, health systems: 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 two months. As usual, it’s a bit much, so take it or leave it.

Universal health coverage
Health systems strengthening
Health services, health financing

Measuring progress towards UHC: Proposed index with application to 24 developing countries

Raising revenues for health in support of UHC: strategic issues for policy makers. WHO Health Financing Policy Brief

Reforms for improving the efficiency of  health systems: lessons from 10 country cases. WHO synthesis report

Going Universal : How 24 Developing Countries are Implementing Universal Health Coverage from the Bottom Up. World Bank report

Rethinking health care commercialization: evidence from Malaysia. Vitalis Chukwudi Nwagbara, Rajah Rasiah

Achieving UHC in Africa: Is there a role for formal for-profit providers? J Doherty

Health at a Glance 2015: most recent comparable data on the performance of health systems (OECD countries) 

Draft Bangkok statement on UHC and priority setting  (towards “selective UHC”?)

Lesotho's controversial public–private hospital partnership project. Paul C Webster 

Universal Health Coverage and Human Rights: Call for papers for special issue of HHR Journal, December 2016

Economists' declaration on universal health coverage (267 signatories) 


Health policy and systems research

4th Global Symposium on Health System Research, Vancouver, 14-18 November 2015: Call for Abstracts

Research for health: A strategy for the African WHO Region 2016-25. Paper for WHO AFRO meeting

National health research systems in WHO African Region: current status and way forward  


Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals

Public consultation towards development of WHO Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2016-2020, 14-30 November 2015

Implications of dual practice for UHC. McPake et al. in: WHO Bulletin online first

Forgotten workers: Global ILO data reveal a shortfall of 13.6 millon long-term care workers  

Human resources for primary health care in sub-Saharan Africa: progress or stagnation? Willcox et al.

WHO Global Code of Practice on International Recruitment of Health Personnel: Report on second round of national reporting

Ireland should pay to replace health workers it recruits from poorer countries. Mary Robinson quoted in Irish Times

“Why should I have come here?” Migration reasons and experiences of SSA health workers in Austria. Jirovsky et al.

Health professional mobility in the EU: Exploring the equity and efficiency of free movement. Irene A Glinos


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

UNSG announces establishment of high-level panel on health technology innovation and access

Making medicines accessible: Alternatives to the flawed patent system.  Fran Quigley

Guidelines on Patentability and Access to Medicines. German Velasquez, South Centre

WHO proposes to join Global Fund's IP enforcement initiative. K M Gopakumar

Poorest countries still begging for access to medicines while rich countries reap super-profits. Riaz Tayob

Essential medicines are still essential. Comment by Andy L Gray et al.

On the Fast-Track to end AIDS. World Aids Day 2015

How to eliminate tuberculosis TB. Lancet series 

First World Antibiotic Awareness Week (16-22 November) 

Strategies for achieving global collective action on antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobials: access and sustainable effectiveness . Lancet series

WHO multicountry survey: Widespread public misunderstanding about antibiotic resistance


Ebola and health systems
Ebola and the state of global health governance
Ebola and aid / health cooperation

Ten essential reforms before next pandemic. Report of Harvard-LSHTM Independent Panel on Global Response to Ebola

Overview: Ebola panels and commissions
WHO Interim

Ebola's footprint on health system strengthening 

The Ebola response in West Africa: exposing the politics and culture of international aid. ODI

Ebola, health systems, and the human face of capacity. ODI   

Can the Global Public Health System Learn From Its Ebola Mistakes? L Garrett


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

Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015. Estimates

UN Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health 2016-2030 

Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference 2015

Improving preterm birth outcomes: WHO launches new guidance  

Achieving SDG targets for maternal, newborn and stillbirth: Does the world know what it takes?

Multisectoral action on determinants of reproductive, maternal, newborn & child health post2015. Rasanathan et al.

Onward to 2030: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the context of the SDGs. Alanna J. Galati

A Lancet Commission on sexual and reproductive health and rights

Gender equality - the neglected SDG for health. Richard Horton "offline"

Gender, health and the Sustainable Development Goals. Veronica Magar


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

Noncommunicable Diseases Progress Monitor 2015

Sharjah Declaration on NCDs: "Civil Society United Towards 2030".

Action, advocacy and accountability in global NCD effort beyond 2015

Is cancer care a neglected area in global health? Hellen Gelband

The Lancet announce new Commission on Obesity 

WHO FENSA decision is critical to the fight against obesity and non-communicable diseases. Rebecca Perl

The role of trade & investment liberalization in the sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages market

Availability and affordability of cardiovascular disease medicines in high-, middle- and low-income countries

The State of Food and Agriculture 2015

People's Nutrition is not a business! Right to Food and Nutrition Watch


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

Inequality—what to do and why. Michael Marmot

Social determination of the health-disease process: a new insertion to the lexicon. Juan Carlos Eslava et al.

The political economy of welfare schemes. Suvojit Chattopadhyay

Re-engaging the health community around peace. David McCoy

The political challenge of realizing the right to health. L Paremoer

Trade liberalization, social policies and health: an empirical case study. C. McNamara 

Health and social justice: not all good things grow on the same tree  


Global health governance and policy
Political and economic determinants of health

From conceptual pluralism to practical agreement on policy: global responsibility for global health. Prah Ruger et al.

The challenge of researching the norms, politics and power of global health. Gorik Ooms 

International Health Regulations 10 years on: Governing framework for global health security. Gostin et al.

How much financing for global health is channelled to global vs. country-specific functions? Schäferhoff et al.

The Future of Public Health. Thomas R. Frieden

The (real) future of Public Health. Philip Lederer

GHWA Board proposes establishment of multisectoral HRH network as successor of GHWA

Restructuring of Roll Back Malaria & closure of its secretariat at WHO (more global health governance "light" ahead?)

World Health Statistics 2015

Rethinking the global health system. Philip Angelides

  • MMI thematic guide:
  • See also: Ebola, WHO reform, development
  • Twitter: #globalhealth #healthgovernance


World Health Organization
WHO reform and financing

Conceptual & institutional gaps: How WHO can become a more effective cross-sectoral collaborator. Gopinathan et al.

Global health and the WHO: Revival or marginalization? Miles Kahler 

Health cannot be left in the hands of ministries of health alone." Interview with Margaret Chan

Partial agreement on WHO engagement policy with industry. KM Gopakumar

Engagement with non-State actors: WHO secretariat “scare mongering” on FENSA. KM Gopakumar

WHO decision is critical to the fight against obesity and non-communicable diseases. Rebecca Perl

NGOs criticise WHO’s FENSA "non paper"
WHO paper

WHO financing dialogue 2015

The WHO financing dialogue: global health leadership needs to be paid for. Mohga Kamal Yanni


Health and Climate change
Paris COP21 Summit

Protect health from climate change!
WHO statement
WHO call to action

Climate Change and Health campaign

UNEP global consultation on healthy environment & people        

Don’t wait for Paris summit to improve health. A chat with Christina Figueres

Health and Human Rights Journal: COP21 series


Health in the UN Agenda 2030
From MDGs to SDGs

Transforming our world: The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Sustainable Goals Indicators (work still in progress)

The Trouble with the Sustainable Development Goals. William Easterly

Fragmented development goals & targets: Why did Ebola fail to influence the SDGs? Shakira Choonara

SDG indicators: Counting the trees, hiding the forest. Roberto Bissio

SDG Indicators and Data: Who collects? Who reports? Who benefits? Ben Tritton

“To propose indicators that substantially rewrite key aspects of the SDGs consensus is unacceptable."

100+ organizations raise RED FLAGS regarding the indicators process for Agenda2030

The (UN)Sustainable Development Goals: Now Open for Business

"Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages". WHO welcomes SDGs 

From MDGs to SDGs: Lessons learned and future directions for implementing UHC. Yanzhong Huang

Still valid: "The post2015 agenda: What good is it for health equity?" Beyond2015 position paper (2012)

The SDGs and their implications for global health. Margaret Chan

Health and Human Rights Journal: SDGs series

UHC’s evolving location in post2015 development agenda: Key informant perspectives during SDGs negotiations

Health and Trade: what hope for SDG 3?

The next era for health - will it be any different? Simon Wright

The MDGs to SDGs trade off : What has been lost and gained for global equity?

Choosing indicators for the health-related SDG targets. CJL Murray

Good Health for little money: global goals (formarly known as sdgs) 

More is less? Health in the Sustainable Development Goals. Peter Hill

Politics and Universal Health Coverage — The Post-2015 Global Health Agenda


Development, aid and international institutions

Politics of results & evidence in International Development

What are people's priorities to reshape aid? WH Summit Global Consultation results

Development cooperation in health meant to be a good thing. But there’s a problem... IHP+ video 

How do developing country decision makers rate aid donors? Great new aid data

Is “integrated development” the future – or just a fad? Sara Gorman

Second Ministerial Forum of China-Africa Health Development adopts Cape Town Declaration on future cooperation

Bad aid: Should all NGOs close down? Guardian GDP

Big NGOs prepare to move south, but will it make a difference? Guardian GDP

Designing the change agenda: International NGOs must adapt to global changes


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