Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, July 2017

MMI Network News, July 2017

Editorial: Summertime in Europe

Dear reader,

It’s summertime in Europe:
No events in the calendar
No progress in group processes
No answers to “urgent” calls
Nor to reminders.

Not so bad anyhow. After the exhausting period in May with the World Health Assembly and our related advocacy and networking, with the Annual Assemblies of the Medicus Mundi International Network and the Geneva Global Health Hub hosted by MMI, the months of July and August provide us with a moment of calm which, if well used, does not only allow recovery, but also working on some foundations of the Network, in particular planning and financing processes neglected in times when the urgent dominates the important.

Feedback received in May at our Assembly and during the WHA shows that, yes, even if our “smallest big organization” struggles even with sustaining its minimal part-time secretariat structure, our output is remarkable, work is appreciated and our links with members and partners are strong. Thanks to all who contribute to this! 

Well, there is a lot of work ahead. Let us take a well-deserved breath, and then do it. Together.

Enjoy summer!

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


MMI Network: Annual report and members’ “short stories”

The Annual report of the MMI was already featured in the last issue of the MMI Network news. You will find it here, now completed with a collection of “short stories” by Network members. These contributions provide again a good picture of realities and challenges in the field of international health cooperation. Thanks to all who contributed!

Contribution by CWGH
20 Years of CWGH: Organizing People’s Power for Health in Zimbabwe

“The CWGH is now celebrating twenty years of work in strengthening the understanding of and capacities for community roles in health. This comes at a time when our health and health system has suffered fundamental challenges and declines. Yet the understanding that we need to rebuild our health system around people’s power has never been more relevant.”

Contribution by DWA Cuamm
Healthy adolescents - healthy societies

 “Taking care of adolescents is an investment in a healthy, sustainable future. Doctors with Africa CUAMM is working on this major issue that is essential to current international policies to give attention to this young and often vulnerable part of the population.”

Contribution by action medeor
Strengthening of Medicines Supply Chain in Tanzania and Malawi – setting up pharmaceutical wholesale

The medicines supply chain in developing countries is in the hands of central medical store, usually a governmental or semi-governmental institution, faith-based organizations and private companies. Adding to the complexity some medicines and medical supplies are often provided through “vertical programs” by international organizations like the Global Fund or GAVI. In spite of different providers, the health care facilities especially in the rural areas lack essential medicines.

Contribution by Medicus Mundi Switzerland
The MMS Strategy 2017-2019: Health for All in a solidary world

“In 2016 the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland (MMS) has worked on its new strategy – with some remarkable results. To be honest: I was very much convinced of the quality of our former strategy which was limited to end of 2016. At the beginning of our process to renew our network strategy 2017-2019, I therefore expected that we will end up with an only slightly updated strategy. Obviously I underestimated the dynamic of the process to discuss the strategy with our 50 Swiss member organisations, all of them working in the field of international health cooperation and global health. And I underestimated that the challenges these organisations are currently facing would influence the process so strongly.”

Contribution by Wemos
Human Resources for Health: From commitments to action?

“Human resources for health were high on the agenda in 2016 – for sure at global level. The 69th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health (HRH). The High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Employment and Economic Growth concluded the year “with bold commitments to action highlighting increased investments in the health workforce.” Our observations are that commitments are easily made but, like promises, not always kept.”

Contribution by Health Poverty Action
Ending the drug war to support health and rights for all

“Around the world, punitive drug control policies continue to restrict the health and rights of poor and marginalised populations. Since it began over 5 decades ago, the global ‘war on drugs’ has not only failed in its efforts to create a ‘drug free world’ but has undermined efforts to tackle poverty, improve access to health, and protect the rights of some of the most marginalised communities and fragile environments in the world. Health Poverty Action is challenging this harmful policy paradigm as part of its OSF funded drug policy reform project, by advocating for and raising awareness both within the sector and at the UN level of the need for development focused drug policies.”

Contribution by Redemptoris Missio
Rwanda: NCDs Alert

“For four months, I had the pleasure to be a part of the medical staff at Nemba District Hospital, in Rwanda’s Northern Province. The aim of my stay as a General Practitioner was working in the Service of Internal Medicine (IM) and fighting Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).”

Contribution by Medicus Mundi Italy
28 Months as project manager with the Brigada Móvel in Morrumbene, Mozambique

“Mozambique, one of the South Eastern-African Countries, actually ranks 181st among the 189 countries in the Human Development Index 2016. Since 2007 Medicus Mundi Italy (MMI) is working for the empowerment of the Mozambican National Health System in Morrumbene, a rural district populated by 150.000 inhabitants situated in the Inhambane Province in Southern Mozambique. MMI supports education courses and training-on-the-job of local health workers in the field of Maternal and Child Health (especially nutritional rehabilitation), Tuberculosis Control and HIV/AIDS management, and offers supervision of supported activities.”




MMI Network: Reports, News, Events, Updates

Members of the MMI Network:
Annual Reports 2016

Annual Reports 2016 of Network members are published on the organizations’ website. Have a look at them – and let us know when further reports are available. All members’ reports are also collected and featured on the MMI ePlatform.

  • Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública: available in Spanish
  • Health Poverty Action: available in English
  • i+solutions: available in English
  • medico international: available in German. Versions in English, Spanish and French are expected to follow soon.
  • Medicus Mundi Switzerland: available in German and French
  • Memisa: available in Dutch and French.
  • Wemos: available in Dutch and English.

Network paper: Wemos
Unethical clinical trials in Africa

The new publication is a summary of four country reports about clinical trials (Egypt, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya) that Wemos has published with partner organizations in the past. Clinical trials in Africa are not always conducted according to leading ethical guidelines. This puts clinical trial participants at risk of being physically harmed or having their rights violated. Wemos therefore urges the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to be more stringent when evaluating unethical clinical trials and to be more transparent about how it aims to guarantee that trials are ethical.



Network paper: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
Mental Health: A Forgotten Facet of Healthcare

"Globally close to 450 million people have mental health disorders; more than 75% of that number live in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, 85% of patients in developing countries with serious mental disorders receive no treatment at all. For the first time, world leaders are recognizing the promotion of mental health and wellbeing (SDG Goal 3.4) and the prevention and treatment of substance abuse (SDG Goal 3.5) as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unless governments tackle mental health, they will not meet the SDG 3 targets. Medicus Mundi Switzerland addresses the issue of mental health as part of its annual focus on non-communicable diseases." (MMS Bulletin #142 June 2017)


Network paper: Health Poverty Action
We won’t end poverty without tackling the structural issues that cause it

“It is understandable if people are losing faith in aid agencies and even in the idea of “development” itself. Because, broadly speaking, it hasn’t worked. We clearly haven’t solved the problem of poverty. Yet we’ve misled the public for years that poverty will end if only they’ll give us £2 a month. The main reason poverty thrives is that we haven’t addressed the interconnected, structural issues that create and maintain it: unjust trade deals, climate change, tax havens, the failed “war on drugs” and the lack of public services. Without tackling these issues (and those responsible for them) it is nigh on impossible to achieve social and economic justice.” (a piece was written by HPA Policy and Campaigns Officer, Matthew Bramall, for the Guardian.)


Network conference documentation: MMI EHC
Health Cooperation beyond aid

Geneva, 27 May 2017. International health cooperation in today’s world calls for a major renewal. We need less of the classical Official Development Aid (ODA) approach, and more of modern, second-generation, cooperation principles and practices among countries and civil society organizations which can catalyze national health efforts and resources. With a public side event to the Annual General Assembly of the MMI Network and to the World Health Assembly, the MMI working group on effective health cooperation (MMI EHC) deepened the conversation on the future of health development cooperation launched last year in a workshop in Berlin.


Network conference documentation: MMI and members
70th World Health Assembly and related events
- MMI participation and contributions

Geneva, May 2017. This year's World Health Assembly (WHA) was again a week full of intensive debates on key global health issues, both within the formal Committee meetings and in a never ending series of formal and informal side events. The MMI Network, its members and working groups and projects were engaged in the WHA in various way, as shown in an overview provided by our secretariat.



Network event: MMI EHC and members
10th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health
Antwerp, 16-20 October 2017

The Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) and the Belgian Platform for International Health (Be-Cause Health) will join hands with FESTMIH for the festive 10th edition of ECTMIH. The MMI Network and its working group on Effective Health Cooperation (MMI EHC) will be actively involved in the Congress. We are happy to see that our proposal to integrate a track on international health cooperation will be implemented and that our application for an organized session" on "Health cooperation beyond aid" was accepted. Stay tuned for further news!

Network event: Medicus Mundi Switzerland
No more business-as-usual. Changing Health Care and Politics to Tackle Non-Communicable Diseases
Basel, 2 November 2017

This year's MMS Symposium will address the challenges of tackling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by looking at the determinants of NCDs, the organisation of health care and the role of civil societies. A “business-as-usual” approach won’t suffice. NCDs kill 40 million people each year. NCDs are currently responsible for almost 70% of global deaths.

Network event: MMI HRH
Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health
Dublin, 13-17 November 2017

The Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health provides a key opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss and debate innovative approaches towards advancing the implementation of the Global Strategy Health Workforce 2030 and the UN High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth’s recommendations, and show a collective commitment to developing and making available the workforce required to deliver the SDGs. The MMI working group on Human Resources for Health (MMI HRH) will participate in the Forum with - if accepted - some formal inputs and also co-organize civil society activities around the Forum.

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


(no) MMI updates on health systems and health cooperation and global health governance and policy

We are currently reassessing how to continue providing MMI members and partners with the compilations of “MMI updates” known over the last years as a (very long) section of the monthly MMI news. Do you miss these updates in the current issue? If yes, let us know. Anyhow, you are welcome to follow the updates by MMI and its HRH working group on Twitter – and we recommend to you to have a look at the great weekly newsletter produced by our new Network member, the ITM IHP Network.

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