Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, November 2016

MMI Network News, November 2016

Editorial: Travelling with two business cards

Dear reader,

Two years ago, in a questionnaire sent to Network members within the process of developing a new Network Strategy 2016-20, the MMI Board framed the plan of launching a “Geneva hub” as follows: “The MMI Network explores and eventually promotes the establishment of a permanent hub for civil society health advocates at the WHO and, if feasibility is given, contributes to its implementation”. This proposal found good acceptance by the responding MMI members. It was then further discussed in a workshop at the MMI Assembly in November 2014 and reconfirmed by the Board at its meeting in January 2015.

On 26 January 2015, the idea of a “Geneva hub” was shared by MMI with potential partners at a civil society meeting before the WHO EB session in Geneva and found great interest among the participating organizations. Since then, MMI has been one of many organizations involved in the planning and implementation of the project. In a side-event to the World Health Assembly in May 2016, the “Geneva Global Health Hub” (G2H2) was formally launched as an association according to Swiss law, MMI being one its founding members. 

Since then, the project has made some good initial progress and some new members have joined. With its website and Twitter account, the hub is now also visible, and with printed business cards and a promotional flyer we are able to approach further potential member organizations and invite them to join in.

We will not explain here the details of the project; you can read all of it on the “project documentation” pages of the G2H2 website. Let us just highlight a few things:

  • The G2H2 project is a perfect expression of the aim of our Network to “provide autonomous, sustainable and stimulating spaces for the analysis and debate of global health and promote platforms for joint civil society advocacy, with a focus on the World Health Organization.” (Network Strategy 2016-20)
  • It is with great enthusiasm (and a lot of work) that MMI hosts the G2H2 secretariat at our recently opened office in Geneva and that the two of us – Mariska Meurs as G2H2 President and Thomas Schwarz as G2H2 Executive Secretary – represent the MMI Network in key institutions of the new association. And it is a nice achievement and great sign of support that, with Cordaid, Enfants du Monde, medico international, and Wemos, already some Network members (and members’ members) have joined the project.
  • It is quite a challenge for the two of us – including a bit of “learning by doing” – to distinguish between what the Medicus Mundi International Network will continue to do ourselves as networker, convener and voice of civil society “in Geneva” and what we can hand over to the new project. And it is right now the moment to sort this out, together with our colleagues in the MMI Board and G2H2 Steering Committee: in both organizations, we are planning the next year – and we are undertaking efforts to attract new members in order to sustain the organizations and to achieve the “clout” needed for implementing our ambitious plans.
  • For the G2H2 membership, we have already done a promotional effort in a previous bullet point. For the MMI Network and its engagement (and working groups) in the field of global health governance and beyond, let us herewith do the same: there are (at least) six good reasons for joining our Network. We invite you to engage in our work , to support our activities and to become a member and co-owner of “Medicus Mundi International – Network Health for All”!

Mariska Meurs, Wemos
Thomas Schwarz, MMI Secretariat


MMI Network: Events, news, papers and resources

Network promotion
Six good reasons for joining the MMI Network 

“Medicus Mundi International – Network Health for All (MMI) is a network of organizations working in the field of international health cooperation and global health. The Network promotes access to health and health care as a fundamental human right and supports the efforts undertaken in this respect by its members. There are some good reasons to join in...”


Network event: Cordaid
Promising strategies for building resilience of health systems in fragile settings
Vancouver, 17 November 2016

“The Royal Tropical Institute and Cordaid present an interactive session at the fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Vancouver, 16-18 November 2016. The session will give participants insight into how fragility influences health systems and what can be done to strengthen systems to better absorb future shocks. Evidence will be shared on how results-based financing and community-based participation strategies can contribute to resilient health systems. Participants will interact via a fragility game.”


Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
How to Best Apply a Human Rights-based Approach to Sexual and Reproductive Health
Berne, 22 November 2016 / 25 January 2017

“In recent years we have seen a renewed global commitment to a human rights-based approach to development and, particularly to the universal realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). There is a compelling level of evidence that the human rights-based approach has contributed to health gains of women and children. This workshop aims at closing these gaps by providing our network members with tools and better understanding of how best to apply a human rights-based approach to their projects and programs. The workshop shall be participatory allowing MMS members presenting their projects. In doing so we can learn from each other’s experiences."


Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Building on Success - Malaria Control and Elimination
Basel, 8-9 December 2016

“The Swiss TPH Winter Symposium 2016 invites medical and health sector specialists to review and discuss history, successes and future of Malaria control and elimination. Topics will include: Malaria Control History, Successes and the Way Forward; Vector Control; Antimalarial Drug Discovery; Extending the Use of Antimalarials; Malaria Vaccines; Surveillance and Health Systems; Country Issues, Technical Support and Capacity Building" (The Swiss TPH is a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland)


Network news: DWA Cuamm
Aspen Award 2016: Ebola Research

"The prestigious Aspen Award 2016 was conferred on to the Fondazione Bruno Kessler in Trento for a study on the Ebola virus. Researcher Stefano Merler said, ‘The one that was awarded is the first of four publications we did on Ebola. In two papers published in BMC Medicine, with an expanded team that included researchers from Doctors with Africa CUAMM, we analyzed in detail the spread of Ebola in the Pujehun District in Sierra Leone and Guinea. In another work, which will be released soon in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, we propose use strategies for the Ebola vaccine in order to maximize the chances of containment for future outbreaks.’”



Network news: HealthNet TPO
Transformation of HealthNet

“HealthNet has embarked on a transformational journey for accelerated growth to be able to improve the delivery of her mission by providing services to a large group of beneficiaries. In the past year this process has led to a number of changes. We would like to take this opportunity to share these important changes with you.”


Network paper: Health Poverty Action
Improving our image: how photos reflect our values

"The use of images has often been problematic and controversial in the development sector. Photos of starving children and helpless victims have been used to generate pity in order to raise funds- a practice commonly dubbed as ‘poverty porn’. This practice of victimising people is unacceptable to us at Health Poverty Action, and has never fit with our values. However, in taking a critical look at our images, we want to ask ourselves if we have gone far enough in portraying people with dignity, respect and honesty.”


Network paper: Cordaid
3 key insights for success of Results Based Financing (RBF)

“It’s been argued that results-based financing is showing a new way of doing health care, to 'reward health service providers — often with money — for positive results.' Two responses to this would be that, first, RBF approaches have been around for over 15 years, and therefore aren’t new. Second, we’d like to see more emphasis given to the fact that RBF is a qualitative approach, contributing to health systems strengthening in a major way. So is RBF an approach that just focuses on paying for performance? Here are three insights that help complete the picture."


Network reporting
Annual Report 2015 of DWA Cuamm

"Don Luigi left everyone a piece of his history and memories. Now, it’s our duty to preserve his 'special legacy' made of relations, affection, commitment and love for Africa, so that Doctors with Africa CUAMM can continue its work to help the poor as don Luigi always wanted and did personally until the end. So in the end, the dots will be connected every time we work believing in our mission, even when it leads us to a less safe or beaten path." Don Dante Carraro, CUAMM’s Director.


Network conference documentation: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Working in fragile contexts and building up resilient health systems
Basel, 2 November 2016

“To end preventable child and maternal deaths, create an AIDS-free generation, and protect communities against infectious diseases such as Ebola, we need effective, functional health systems that can deliver essential health services to those in need. International health organisations are more and more obliged to work in fragile contexts where the environment is marked by instability, the public structures are weak or quick to collapse and the rule of law is lacking.” (Documentation of the annual symposium of Medicus Mundi Switzerland)



Health systems and health cooperation: MMI updates

Health systems strengthening
Universal health coverage
Health services, health financing
Health policy and systems research

Resilient and responsive health systems for a changing world.
Fourth global symposium on health systems research.
Vancouver, Canada, 14-18 November 2016 - #HSR2016

“Like the societies of which they are a part, health systems face constant new challenges. They must maintain a focus on health improvement even as they absorb unexpected shocks, respond to emerging needs and take advantage  of new opportunities. At HSR2016 we will push the boundaries of health systems research in addressing  the challenges of our changing world.”

Pre-conference key reading material. By Health Policy and Planning Journal

Accelerating progress towards universal health coverage in Asia and Pacific
Ten policy recommendations for achieving UHC (Chatham House, UNICEF)

Open letter on the SDGs: a robust measure for universal health coverage is essential
(see also below, SDGs)

Universal Health Coverage Day 2016: Starter Kit

Resilience should not be the primary objective of a health system. Angela Y. Chang

Resilient health systems and social resilience. IDS

People-centeredness of a resilient health system – an illustration and few questions for the forthcoming HSR symposium 2016. Upasona Ghosh

Health laws and health systems. New WHO website

How can countries increase tax revenue to fund universal health coverage? RESYST 2016

Privilege and inclusivity in shaping Global Health agendas. Kabir Sheikh et al.

Health systems research is critical to tackle the global burden of disease. Adnan Hyder  

Network contacts and resources:


International (health) cooperation

Development effectiveness for the SDGs era: five reasons why we need a new agenda. R Greenhill ODI

After Brexit and Trump, the development sector must finally heed domestic issues. Jonathan Glennie

What countries need to consider in health financing transition. Jenny Lei Ravelo

Countries Transitioning From Donor Health Aid: We Need A Common Research Agenda And Mechanisms For Action. Robert Hecht and Sara Bennett 

Radical thinking reveals the secrets of making change happen. Duncan Green

Tired of 'getting granular?' it's time to get sub-atomic! We look at the worst #globaldev jargon

Network contacts and resources:



Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals

WHO launches "Global Health Workforce Network" as follower of GHWA

“The Network will operate within WHO as a global mechanism for stakeholder consultation, dialogue and coordination on comprehensive and coherent health workforce policies in support of the implementation of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health and the recommendations the Commission.”

High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Employment & Economic Growth, Geneva, 14-15 December 2016.

Conference of Asia Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health (AAAH), October 2016
Global HRH Strategies 2030: from strategy to implementation” Documentation

Draft WHO National Health Workforce Accounts handbook

Policy briefs for the UN High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth

Health workforce requirements for UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals. WHO Human Resources for Health Observer

Watch this: High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. Odile Frank for G2H2

Midwives' voices, midwives' realities report 2016

WHO and partners call for better working conditions for midwives

An analysis of the global pharmacy workforce capacity

Triple Impact – how developing nursing will improve health, promote gender equality and support economic growth (APPG)

Community health worker in hard-to-reach areas of Myanmar: filling primary health care service gaps. HRH_Journal

Giving new momentum to strategies for retaining health workers. Yoswa Dambisya, Equinet Policy Brief

Impact of WHO global code of practice on international recruitment of health personnel’s on 4 high-income countries

Changing migration patterns are hurting the countries that care for America’s sick and elderly. Justine Calma

"The global pendulum swing towards community health workers in low- and middle-income countries." HRH_Journal

Research on community-based health workers is needed to achieve SDGs. Dermot Maher & Giorgio Cometto, WHO Bulletin

The case for frontline health workers in addressing NCDs globally. IntraHealth analysis paper

Prioritizing community health worker data for informed decision-making. Policy analysis paper by FHWC

Network contacts and resources:


Global health governance and policy: MMI updates

Global health governance and policy
Political, social and economic determinants of health
Equity and human right to health

The commercial determinants of health. Ilona Kickbusch, Luke Allen, Christian Franz

“We define the commercial determinants of health as “strategies and approaches used by the private sector to promote products and choices that are detrimental to health”. This single concept unites a number of others: at the micro level, these include consumer and health behaviour, individualisation, and choice; at the macro level, the global risk society, the global consumer society, and the political economy of globalisation.”

Political origins of health inequities: trade & investment agreements. McNeill, Grover et al.

Domestic Policies for Trade to Uphold the Right to Health. Daniele Dionisio

The Struggle for a UN Treaty. Towards global regulation on human rights and business!

False dichotomies in global health: the need for integrative thinking. Julio Frenk and Octavio Gómez-Dantés  …

Network contacts and resources:


World Health Organization
Financing Dialogue, 31 October 2016

WHO References and resources

WHO Financing Dialogue Website

WHO Programme Budget Portal

WHO DG Margaret Chan: Opening remarks

Secretariat proposal: Increasing the assessed contribution

Statements of WHO member states and concluding remarks by WHO DG Margaret Chan: watch the recording of the webstream (afternoon session)

Analysis and comments

“Germany will pay more for WHO. Other MS need to follow
& finally trust the organization” (‏@MathiasBonk)

“The WHO financing meeting is coming to an end in Geneva.
Only a few donors supported increasing the budget.
Now what? Can't save the world with pennies.” (‏@Laurie_Garrett)

“Between now and Executive Board in January it needs strong advocacy for
10% increased assessed contributions to WHO” ‏(@IlonaKickbusch)

Can the next WHO Director General start on a stronger financial basis? Mariska Meurs for G2H2

Chan Issues Clarion Call For Increased WHO Funding 

Proposal by WHO to increase country contributions receives mixed reactions. IPWatch

At WHA68, WHO members refused to discuss 5% increase of assessed contributions. Civil society statement

Network contact and references:


World Health Organization
Election of a new Director General

The 6 candidates

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO Profile
Campaign website
Twitter account

Flavia Bustreo
WHO Profile
Twitter account

Philippe Douste-Blazy
WHO Profile
Campaign website
Twitter account

David Nabarro
WHO Profile
Campaign website
Twitter account

Sania Nishtar
WHO Profile
Campaign website
Twitter account

Miklós Szócska
WHO Profile
Campaign website
Twitter account

WHO: The election process

Documentation for the election process

Frequently asked questions

Election roadmap

News release: Election process for the new WHO Director-General

First hearings of DG candidates

WHO Candidates Forum, 1-2 November 2016

Chatham House Hearing, 3 November 2016: video clips:
Dialogue with audience
Lancet short cuts:  

Analysis and comments

“Who are you voting for? Ask your country delegates before the WHO EB!
#whoelection #healthgovernance #moretransparency” (@G2H2_Geneva)

"Hopefully next time WHO allows people/NGOs to ask questions,
using social media for southeners voices" (@MohgaKamalYanni)

How to choose the world’s top health diplomat. Kickbush et al.

WHO's Director-General candidates: visions and priorities. Lancet special report

Six candidates for WHO Director General lay out their views. Peter Kenny IPWatch

Secret vote on WHO bodes ill for future of global health. Laurie Garrett

WHO's new electoral format could be a model for other UN Agencies. Charles Clift

WHO DG Candidates Forum: Outside looking in. IMAXI

Who is likely forerunner in the WHO DG election? Results of a CFR survey  

Network contact and references:


World Health Organization
WHO Reform

WHO reform: Need for global mobilisation around democratisation of global health governance. David Legge

WHO FENSA: a blessing or curse? Mariska Meurs

Network contact and references:


Health in the UN Agenda 2030 
SDGs implementation and accountability

Fourth meeting of Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators
(IAEG-SDGs). Geneva, 15-18 November 2016

Rejection of SDG indicator 3.8.2 (Universal Health Coverage, financial protection) and alternative proposal:

“The newly proposed indicator for 3.8.2 contained in Annex IV of the 19 February 2016 Report of the IAEG is not a valid measure of financial protection. Granting people the right to use government health services free of charge (or at low cost) or covering them with health insurance are mechanisms that countries use to provide and extend financial protection to their populations. However, both “insurance” and “public health system” are very broad terms that mask a wide variety of specific mechanisms used to provide protection against the financial consequences of paying for health care at the point of use. But, the mere existence of affiliation to a health insurance scheme or entitlement to a public health system is not sufficient to ensure that household are indeed financially protected against the cost of healthcare.” (WHO)

Open letter on the SDGs: a robust measure for universal health coverage is essential

“Dear members of the Inter-Agency Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (IAEG-SDGs),We write as members of the health, academic, and, research community to urge you to agree on a refinement of SDG Indicator 3.8.2, which is on financial risk protection for universal health coverage (UHC), when you meet this week at the IAEG-SDGs meeting in Geneva.”

Transitioning from the MDGs to the SDGs. UNDP, World Bank

Countries move ahead on SDGs without UN framework in place. Amy Lieberman

Network contacts and resources:


Prevention and control of NCDs
Nutrition, Disabilities, Mental Health

WHO meeting on role of non-State actors in NCDs responses

“Last day at #beatNCDs: Debate on engaging the business sector - followed by
final session on forging consensus? Wonder why and how...” (@MMI_updates)

“Critical debate: what role should industry play in tackling problems
they cause: poor nutrition, obesity, inactivity.” ‏(@AsiaPacHeart)

“To #beatNCDs, Governments need to assess rationale, principles, benefits, and
risks of engagement with private sector, including CoI” (@UN Task Force)

Development of an approach for non-State actors to measure their contribution to the global NCD targets. WHO

WHO GCM/NCD Working Group on how to realize governments’ commitments to engage with the private sector for the prevention and control of NCDs (Working Group 3.1): Report and references

Engaging the private sector to strengthen NCD prevention and control. Luke Allen et al

Political economy challenges in nutrition. Yarlini Balarajan and Michael R. Reich

New WHO/Europe report calls for urgent action to protect children from digital marketing of food

Network contacts and resources:


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