Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

Health-y answers to comple#ity: Are we able to move beyond the control panel? MMI Network meeting and conference

Health-y answers to comple#ity: Are we able to move beyond the control panel? MMI Network meeting and conference

Brussels, 27-29 November 2013, Medicus Mundi International Network meeting hosted by Memisa celebrating its 25 years jubilee and linked to the annual seminar of Be-cause Health.


Wednesday, 27 November: MMI Network events

Wednesday, 27 November: MMI Network events

On 27 November, the Medicus Mundi International Network held its Extraordinary Assembly (focus: work plans and budget 2014), a Board meeting (focus: results of the strategy review) and two related workshops (review of MMI Network Policy; results of Nicole Moran's work on a research toolbox for NGOs). Informal talks with our local host Memisa (celebrating, on 29 November, its 25th Anniversary!) and a dinner for Network members and invited guests completed the day.

Meeting documentation (internal section - if you are not yet a registered user of the MMI ePlatform, please ask the secretariat for the access code)


Thursday, 28 November: Seminar "Health-y answers to comple#ity"

Thursday, 28 November: Seminar "Health-y answers to comple#ity"

The seminar organized by the Belgian network Be-cause health took place at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. If its working title was confusing, this might even be intentional: the conference was all about providing health care in a complex environment and how to deal with this complexity.

Providing health care is taking place in a complex environment. Health systems are open systems, constantly changing and interacting with the surrounding context. Characteristics and specific dynamics of complexity are increasingly in the centre of attention in the world of development aid – and in the health care sector in particular – and international agencies recognize this reality. The rising attention to social determinants of health, sector-wide approaches and global networks, just to mention a few, underpin this.

However, in practice, there is often an enormous gap between theory and practice. In a complex environment a classic bureaucratic management style with linear planning and M&E tools is no longer adapted. The underlying rationale of requiring value for money, that emphasises quick results, may be popular but is not adapted to the behaviour of complex systems.

But complexity does not need to be paralyzing. Complex systems such as health systems require a form of leadership that is adaptive and based on learning This may be leadership at the personal, organizational or societal level. Inspiration and leading by example, interconnectivity and networking, bottom-up approaches, learning organization approaches, incremental change and holistic thinking gradually become mainstream concepts. The danger is that they become buzz words or container concepts without much content. It is time to give these concepts more content, to render them practical and to develop meaningful applications.

The seminar

The seminar aimed at sharing experiences and ideas to better understand and cope with complex environments, particularly in the field of health.

The seminar brought together over 300 stakeholders from all over the world, including field level actors, public health specialists, policy makers, program managers, directors, scholars, NGO representatives, health activists, community actors and selected representatives from the private sector.

The seminar tackled complexity and leadership from a practical angle focusing on learning. People from the field told the story of their successes, frustrations and/or failures in dealing with complex situations in different contexts. The objective was, through the story’s examples, to reflect on complexity and its implications on leadership and management decisions.

Documentation: See Be-cause health conference website:


Friday, 29 November: Memisa Jubilee event

Friday, 29 November: Memisa Jubilee event

MMI Network members were invited to a very nice jubilee event of our Belgian Network member.  


Thanks to our hosts in Brussels

We appreciated very much the great preparatory work and the hospitality by our local hosts, MMI Network member Memisa and Be-cause Health, the Belgian platform of international health! Thank you!

Memisa promotes quality basic health care. The main purpose is to provide essential, quality and appropriate care, particularly for the most disadvantaged people, without distinction of race, religion or political persuasion. This is achieved through sustainable development programmes, small-scale initiatives and emergency aid in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Memisa joined the MMI Network in 2011.

Be-cause Health, the Belgian platform of international health, was founded in 2004. This informal and pluralistic platform brings together over 40 organisations and 200 individuals that are related to the Belgian cooperation in health: NGOs, academic institutions, BTC, DGD, organisations from the African diaspora, consultancy firms and individuals. Through seminars, workshops and technical working groups on various topics the rich experience of the Belgian cooperation in the field of international health care is shared and valorised.



Short URL of this page:

Document Actions