Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, January 2017

MMI Network News, January 2017

Editorial: Economic determination of health policies and governance

Dear reader,

For once, this editorial is mostly done as “copy and paste”: Representatives of civil society organizations will meet in Geneva, on 20 January, for an open brainstorming meeting ahead of the 140th session of the WHO Executive Board as part of a series of civil society events. The organizers will provide only a rough structure (theme, initial references, facilitators), as they do not want to replicate the “experts” – “public” modus of providing initial input and inviting for replies. Moving immediately into a debating mode, all participants are expected to be experts and committed to engage in a dialogue.

The topic for this debate will be “Let’s talk: Economic determination of health policies and governance”. The following initial references are quoted from the concept note (still considered being “work in progress”):

  • We all know about the domination of ‘big money’ in setting the global health agenda for which there are numerous examples and references. Just to mention a few: Rich countries’ security interest led to better crisis management (Ebola) instead of creating strong health systems; with FENSA, WHO accommodates corporate lobbyists in WHO governance processes; the vertical ‘partnership’ and ‘multi-stakeholder’ mode of dealing with global health issues has become mainstream. – How to defend multilateralism and how to promote the voices and interests of people?
  • The “marketing” approach on positioning WHO (and other organizations) within a global health governance system. According to most of the WHO DG candidates, the organization must become more efficient, must provide ‘value for money’ and clearly position itself and its programs in a strategic niche. But what WHO do we want? And how much money (debate on increasing assessed contributions) and what leadership (election of new DG) are needed for this WHO we want? And who should pay for it?
  • A remarkable re-emergence of the macroeconomic discourse in global health policies: The “investment case” for health (examples: UHC, health workforce) has become absolutely dominating in political fora and leading publications. This ‘selling argument’ is tempting, as it shows some good results. So how to deal with this discourse and its ambivalence? How to defend the case for health as a human right or as a shared responsibility (global good) – among ourselves and publicly?
  • “An overall “management” approach to health policies and planning: Everything is now about monitoring and accountability and there are enthusiastic debates on data requirements and outcome indicators which replace a sound political dialogue on what is the problem (including diverging interest of key actors), what change is exactly needed and how to achieve it. What are the implications of the transition from human rights accountability to mutual accountability and multistakeholderism? – Take UHC or AMR as examples. ‘New Public Management’ was introduced by Thatcher as a tool for privatization, deregulation and depoliticization, and this is what we experience today. How to cope with the privatization of policy making?
  • ...and finally: Economic power and economic determination of civil society processes and voices: who sits at our tables and in the big global fora? How to overcome the imbalance in deliberation and representation?”

I am very much looking forward to this dialogue. The MMI Network co-hosts the brainstorming meeting as a member of the planning team for the civil society events ahead of the WHO EB Session and as secretariat of the Geneva Global Health Hub, the main organizer of this meeting. The discussion on the economic determination of health policies and governance is also relevant for our Network, so I hope that some of the MMI members and partners can make it to Geneva. It would be nice to see you there!

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

P.S. for Network members: If you want to attend the WHO EB Session as a member of the MMI delegation, please register before 14 January at the MMI secretariat.


MMI Network: Events, news, papers and resources

Network news: Wemos/MMI Network
Access to health: a shared responsibility

"On 14-15 December 2016 a High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Employment and Economic Growth: From Recommendations to Action took place in Geneva. Linda Mans, global health advocate at Wemos, was present as coordinator of the working group on Human Resources for Health of Medicus Mundi International." (Source: Wemos)


Network news: Community Working Group on Health
Congratulations to CWGH – winner of the Africa NGO Leadership Award

“The Community Working Group on Health, Zimbabwe’s leading health advocacy group, was conferred with this year’s glamorous Africa NGO Leadership Award for its outstanding achievements in the health sector at the 6th Edition of the Africa Leadership Award held at Le Meridian Hotel in Mauritius. The award, which is given to those that make a difference to the lives of others, was received by CWGH Executive Director, Mr Itai Rusike. The CWGH, which was established in 1998, was recognised for leading and giving visibility to community processes in health in Zimbabwe.” (Source: CWGH website). – Congratulations to our Zimbabwean Network member!


Network paper: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Ageing Societies and Health

A themed issue of the Bulletin of Medicus Mundi Switzerland - with contributions in English, German and French.


Network paper: Wemos
Health should be affordable for all

“‘Act with Ambition!’ was the slogan for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day 2016. The aim of UHC is nothing short of ambitious: guaranteeing access to essential – and affordable – health services for all. It is one of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Agenda2030, which nearly every country worldwide has agreed to a year ago. Wemos, too, believes UHC is something that should be attained. “ UHC Day article by Barbara Fienieg & Corinne Hinlopen, Wemos


Network paper: Cordaid
Health for all, but not for me

"We never met, yet we fight for the same cause. We shake hands in this blog post and speak with one voice. Against global inequality, exemplified by the gap between both of us, and in favor of universal health coverage.” UHC Day blog by Remco van der Veen, Cordaid


Network paper: Doctors with Africa CUAMM
Beira: Researchers on a neonatology visit

"A delegation of Italian and Norwegian research workers recently visited Beira Central Hospital and sites where Doctors with Africa CUAMM is working." (CUAMM news)


Network paper: Federation of Medicus Mundi Spain
Health in development cooperation and human action. Report 2016

The "Health in development cooperation and human action report" made by Medicus Mundi Spain and Médicos del Mundo was published for the first time in 2002. The 2016 report (language: Spanish) can be found on the website of Medicus Mundi Spain.


Network project:
HealthNet in Colombia

"On November 1st HealthNet TPO, in a consortium with ICCO en Mensen met een Missie, started a new project in Colombia. In this project we go to areas that have been heavily affected by the Colombian conflict. We use different models of intervention for this, including and encompassing the entire community in the intervention. Together with networks of people we will identify and work on the problems that they face and look for proper solutions.” (Source: HealthNet News)  

Network reporting: Health Poverty Action
Annual Review 2015-16

"To us health is very much an issue of social justice and not a narrow medical one. We feel deeply privileged to work alongside such talented and committed staff, partners and people in communities around the world, and hope you enjoy reading about all we have achieved together in the past year." - The Annual Review 2015-16 of Health Poverty Action is available in English.


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...”



Health systems and health cooperation: MMI updates

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

UHC2030 meeting: working together to strengthen health systems. Geneva, 12-13 December
The MMI Network was represented by Barbara Fienieg, Mandana Kooijmans, Itai Rusike and Thomas Schwarz and several colleagues from MM Switzerland

WHO UHC data portal: Measure progress towards universal health coverage

Strategizing national health in the 21st century: a WHO handbook

SDG Indicator 3.8.2 (UHC: Financial protection) refinement agreed

Assessing fiscal space for health expansion in low- and middle-income countries: a review of the evidence. WHO Working paper

Universal Health Coverage Day 2016

Petition: Officially recognize 12 December as UHC Day

Addressing the Global Health Crisis: Universal Health Protection Policies. ILO study

Universal Health Coverage: an affordable goal for all. Margaret Chan and Gro Harlem Brundtland

Expanding universal health coverage from the ground up

The link between the Ebola outbreak and health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone: a systematic review

Everyday Politics and the Leadership of Health Policy Implementation. Lucy Gilson

UHC Day in the North: sequencing the battle of hearts & minds. Kristof Decoster

Universal Health Coverage—looking to the future. Lancet editorial

Special Section: Universal Health Coverage and Human Rights. HHR Journal

Ideas and policy implementation: The resistance against free health care in Africa.

We should spend at least three-quarters of our time on domestic resource mobilisation if we are serious about Universal Health Coverage and primary health care. S. Wright et al.

Patient-Centered Care and People-Centered Health Systems in SS Africa: Why So Little of Something So Badly Needed?

Network contacts and resources:


Human resources for health
Migration of health professionals

Five-Year Action Plan on Health Employment and Economic Growth, 2017-21. Version for consultation(ILO OECD WHO)

Call for Commitments to Action and Consultation on the ILO OECD WHO Five-Year Action Plan on Health Employment and Economic Growth (Deadline 17 February)

UN Secretary-General's Message on the Report of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (ComHEEG)

“The Ebola outbreak and the crisis in Syria have all too vividly illustrated the importance of protecting, supporting and investing in the health and social workforce.  I encourage all stakeholders to review the report and its recommendations and agree on a way forward to ensure all countries can take bold action to build a sustainable global health workforce and align public and private investments to do so.  Health workers save lives and they are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and targets to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, everywhere.”

UNGA Resolution: Global health and foreign policy: health employment and economic growth

High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Employment and Economic Growth: From Recommendations to Action. Geneva, Switzerland, 14-15 December 2016
The MMI HRH working group was represented by Linda Mans and Remco van de Pas

Document for the 140th session of WHO Executive Board EB140: HRH and implications of the ComHEEG report

The 4th Global Forum on Human Resources for Health will be held in Dublin, Ireland, 13-17 November 2017

Health workforce: A global supply chain approach. New data on the employment effects of health economies in 185 countries. Xenia Scheil-Adlung, ILO

WHO guidelines on policy and system support for community–based health worker programmes: Documentation of first meeting of Guideline Development Group

Addressing the Challenges of Health Professional Education: Opportunities to Accelerate Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage. Paper for WISH 2016

Thematic discussion on community health workers, Jan 16-Feb 24

Transforming Education through Student Retention and Recruitment. Julia Bluestone

HRH debate in The Lancet:

Simulating future supply of and requirements for human resources for health in high-income OECD countries. HRH journal

Transformational leadership, empowerment, and job satisfaction: the mediating role of employee empowerment. HRH journal

The global shortage of health workers—an opportunity to transform care. Ara Darzi and Tim Evans

Network contacts and resources:


International (health) cooperation

Making Development Co-operation More Effective. OECD 2016 Progress Report

Latest research on “development cooperation”: 787 online publications. EADI

The Future of Aid Effectiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Research Agenda

The Guardian view on international aid: less fury, more light

Universalising Effective Development Cooperation: The CSOs’ Asks for a stronger Global Partnership

Where next for development effectiveness? Recommendations to the GPEDC for Nairobi and beyond. ODI

Why do donors delegate to multilateral organisations? A synthesis of six country case studies. ODI

Doing Development Differently. Where has the DDD movement got to, two years on?

Network contacts and resources:



Global health governance and policy: MMI updates

Global health governance and policy
Health and Sustainable Development Goals
Social, political and economic determinants of health
Equity and human right to health

Global monitoring of action on the social determinants of health: a proposed framework and basket of core indicators. WHO .

WHO celebrates achievements in 2016, despite global health challenges.
Statement by the DG Margaret Chan:

Global Health in the Anthropocene: Moving Beyond Resilience and Capitalism. Remco van de Pas

“There has been much reflection on the need for a new understanding of global health and the urgency of a paradigm shift to address global health issues. A crucial question is whether this is still possible in current modes of global governance based on capitalist values. Four reflections are provided. (1) Ecological–centered values must become central in any future global health framework. (2) The objectives of ‘sustainability’ and ‘economic growth’ present a profound contradiction. (3) The resilience discourse maintains a gridlock in the functioning of the global health system. (4) The legitimacy of multi-stakeholder governance arrangements in global health requires urgent attention.”

Transforming Global Governance in the Post-2015 Era: Towards an Equitable and Sustainable World. Nora McKeon

Good health is born of a good society. Little wonder that we’re suffering. Will Hutton

Critical Global Health: Responding to Poverty, Inequality and Climate Change. David McCoy

Health is on G-20's agenda. Now what? Andrew Green

Progress in implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. WHO Secretariat report for EB140

Monitoring health determinants with an equity focus: a key role in addressing social determinants, universal health coverage, and advancing the 2030 sustainable development agenda

The contributions of human rights to universal health coverage. HHR Journal special section

Interpreting the International Right to Health in a Human Rights-Based Approach to Health. Paul Hunt

Political Science in Global Health. Special issue of Global Health Governance journal

Global constitutionalism applied to global health governance: legitimacy deficits & remedies. G Ooms, R Hammonds

From global health security to global health solidarity, security and sustainability. Antoine Flahault et al.

The relevance and importance of promoting health in national SDG responses, Margaret Chan, Keynote address at the 9th Global conference on health promotion

Shanghai Declaration on promoting health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Network contacts and resources:


World Health Organization
WHO reform and financing

Dr Halfdan T. Mahler, third WHO Director-General, champion for Primary Health Care and for a bold, political WHO, died at 93

WHO Executive Board, January 2017

WHO EB documents

Election of a new WHO Director-General

WHO will it be? The 6 WHO DG candidates answered 3 questions by UN Special

Learn about the WHO-DG Election and cast your own vote with us. Women in Global Health

Choosing the new WHO director general. Video interviews with five of the six candidates, by BMJ

Up close and personal with WHO DG candidates. Interviews by Women Deliver

Democratising the WHO – The case for sortition. Andrew Harmer

“Dear candidates for the position of the next WHO Director-General. There are still some challenging civil society questions waiting to be answered by you.” (Geneva Global Health Hub)

“We then asked civil society colleagues: What is missing in the candidates’ statements? What worries you? Where do you like them to be more concrete? More generally, what do you want to know from the future Director-General of the World Health Organization?”

Network contacts and resources:


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