Global Health Policy and GovernanceA strategic field of action for the MMI Network

With “global health”, we herewith refer to the health of populations in a global context. Focusing on problems that transcend national borders or have a global political and economic origin or impact, global health and its governance are about worldwide health improvement, reduction of disparities and protection against global threats that disregard national borders. A first “MMI Global Health Governance team” was established in 2011. Since then, the engagement of MMI in global health policy and governance has become one of our main strategic fields of work, with the following overall objectives (Strategy 2021-2025):

MMI will continue to create, convene, and sustain relevant CSO spaces for exchange and policy advancement

The MMI Network and its secretariat have developed a sound reputation as a dedicated networker and convener for civil society engaged in international health. In addition to convening own workshops and thematic meetings, we have taken a leading role in setting up some civil society platforms that reach out far beyond the Network’s formal membership, in particular:

These civil society spaces and communities are to be sustained and further developed; with MMI maintaining its strong engagement and aligning its own advocacy in the fields covered by them. A particular challenge that we will take up in the next years is to bridge between having such spaces for interaction and cooperation within civil society on one hand, and using them in an agile manner for reaching out to the relevant policy makers at a national and international level

MMI will continue to speak out and amplify civil society voices at the global policy level

The MMI Network is well positioned to drive civil society advocacy on Health for All and Health in All. MMI is well connected with a variety of members and partners working at a local/national and international level, and engaged in service delivery, in advocacy for the right to health and for democratic global health governance, and in health policy and systems research.

Over the past years, the MMI Network has successfully engaged in debates on global health policy and governance and has become a valuable, respected and well known voice of civil society, in particular at the WHO, and in cooperation with other civil society actors. The Covid-19 pandemic has reconfirmed the need (and opportunity) to link the global policy level with challenges and realities at national and grassroots realities, in order to promote change at both levels. MMI has actively contributed to doing so.

This allows the Network to further tap into global health policy processes, in strategic partnerships with members and other civil society organizations, social movements and networks, and amplifying civil society voices, based on evidence from the diverse contexts and realities represented in the Network to advocate for and to contribute towards inclusive, just, gender-sensitive and sustainable health policies and democratic global health governance.

Global Health Policy and Governance: Projects

“The World Health Organization (WHO) is the paramount health authority at the global level and needs to be strengthened and reformed and properly funded to play this role. WHO Watch seeks to generate support for a reformed WHO restored to its proper place in global health governance. WHO Watch aims to support wider knowledge of, and participation in, the various engagements across the broader field of global health governance. We are aiming to change the balance of power framing global decisions which impact on health. WHO Watch is the first phase of broader ambition, the Democratising of Global Health Governance.”

Since its beginning, the MMI Network actively participates in this project coordinated by the People’s Health Movement and hosts the team of WHO Watch at the WHO governing body meetings in its delegation. MMI Statements submitted to the World Health Assembly and the WHO Executive Board result as a collaborative effort of the WHO Watch team and the MMI GHG team and are therfore co-signed by MMI and the People’s Health Movement.

The Geneva Global Health Hub (G2H2) is a membership-based association created in Geneva in 2016 to provide a space and enable civil society to meet, share knowledge and create initiatives to advocate for more democratic global health governance.

  • “We follow and enable civil society discussions on Geneva global health processes through an interactive website and social media
  • We facilitate online and face-to-face networking and strategizing between member organizations
  • We disseminate information to members on health-related institutions in Geneva on the basis of mapping, networking and meeting attendance
  • We assist members to organize Geneva-based meetings with office space and infrastructure
  • We are exploring ways to assist resource-constrained organizations to raise funds for travel costs for meeting attendance”

The MMI Network is proud of having initiated the G2H2 project by proposing it to a group of civil society organizations in 2015. Since the launch of G2H2, MMI has played in a leading role in its implementation. The G2H2 secretariat is hosted by the MMI Network at its Geneva office.

In a side event to the 71th World Health Assembly, on 20 May 2018, representatives from a diverse group of civil society organizations, academic institutions, and health workers’ professional associations and unions agreed to establish the civil society “Health Workers for All Coalition”.

The MMI Network, one of its initiators and founders, invites its members and other civil society actors to join the new civil society coalition initially hosted by MMI Network member Wemos.

“The Health Workers for All Coalition (HW4AllCoalition) advocates access to health workers for all in order to fulfil the right to health and to reach Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. We reignite advocacy on health workforce issues at the global, regional and local level.”

The Health Workers for All Coalition represents global, regional and local diverse groups of civil society organizations, academic institutions, and health workers’ professional associations and unions. The coalition advocates access to health workers for all in order to fulfil the right to health and to reach Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.

…and the MMI working group on HRH

The MMI working group on Human Resources for Health (MMI HRH) was set up in 2006 and initially focused its work on the promotion of best practices among NGOs in the field of HRH (education, employment, retention), with a first task of “developing and  implementing strategies to keep competent and motivated staff available for non-governmental health care facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa” (MMI HRH work plan 2007).

In 2009 MMI HRH shifted its attention and work to influencing global policies and governance in the field of health workforce, with a particular focus on the promotion and implementation of the “WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel” adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2010. From 2013 to 2015, the MMI HRH working group was aligned with the MMI engagement in the European project “Health workers for all and all for health workers” HW4All.

In 2017-18, as a result of a civil society session on “How can civil society spur action on ensuring health workers for all?” convened by MMI HRH together with ACHEST, MSF and Wemos at the 4th Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, MMI HRH promoted and supported the plan to bring civil society advocacy on key health workforce issues to a next level by launching a broader civil society coalition on HRH beyond the MMI Network membership

After the successful launch of the “Health Workers for All Coalition”, MMI HRH will continue to exist in a more informal way, as a team of MMI Network members particularly engaged in health workforce issues convened by the Secretariat when required.

The MMI HRH team will coordinate the engagement of the MMI Network in the new Coalition and in global HRH policy fora, in particular at the World Health Organization and its governing body meetings, processes/consultations and hosted partnerships such as the Global Health Workforce Network and the International Platform on Health Worker Mobility.

The work of the MMI HRH team and the related initiatives and positions of the MMI Network are overseen by the Board.

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MMI Network: Endorsing civil society positions

The MMI Network supports civil society networks and platforms as well as joint advocacy campaigns related to key topics and issues of our work. Co-signing a campaign or a joint advocacy statement as “Medicus Mundi international Network” requires consultation of the Board by the Network member or institutions who promotes it. Co-signing a campaign or a joint advocacy statement as “Medicus Mundi international Network” does not mean that this reflects the position of all Network members. Positions supported by MMI in the last years include the following (list not exhaustive):

2019

2018

  • Consultation statement of the civil society workshop “40 Years of Alma-Ata: Translating ‘Health for All’ into the Present and Future”, Geneva, Ecumenical Centre, 18 May 2018
    http://g2h2.org/posts/aa40/

2017

2016

  • Civil Society Statement on the World Health Organization’s proposed Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA). 69th World Health Assembly, May 2016
    http://www.babymilkaction.org
  • Urgent call from 260 organisations to UN Statistical Division to “revoke weak and harmful indicator 3.8.2 to measure Universal Health Coverage (UHC)”
  • Open letter to the members of the 138th Executive Board of the World Health Organization: “Civil Society has no confidence in the stalled Framework for Engagement with Non State Actors process”

2015

  • World Health Assembly, 23 May 2015: Joint civil society statement: Defend the World Health Organization from corporate takeover
    http://www.medicusmundi.org

2014

  • A health worker for everyone, everywhere! Call to Action for European decision-makers, towards strong health workforces and sustainable health systems around the world
    https://interact.healthworkers4all.eu

2013

  • No Progress towards Universal Health without Health Workers. Civil Society commitment statement at 3rd Global Forum on Human Resources for Health
    www.healthworkers4all.eu

2012

  • World Bank must advance universal health coverage. Civil society letter to World Bank president
    www.oxfam.orgtext of letter
  • People’s Charter for health – the “constitution” of the People’s Health Movement
    www.phmovement.org

2011

  • Protecting the Right to Health through action on the Social Determinants of Health
    A Declaration by Public Interest Civil Society Organisations and Social Movements
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (MMI representatives as part of the editing team)
    www.medicusmundi.org
  • Noncommunicable Diseases: Statement of concern on lack of clarity on role of industry in UN High Level Meeting, signed by over 100 NGOs including the MMI Network and delivered to the President of the UN General Assembly on 22 June 2011
    info.babymilkaction.org/node/458
  • Delhi Statement: Time to untie the knots – The WHO reform and the need for democratizing global health. The Medicus Mundi International Network participated in the Delhi consultation and endorsed the so-called “Delhi Statement” on the WHO reform and the need for democratizing global health.
    MMI ePlatform

2010

  • NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening
    The purpose of the Code is to offer guidance on how international NGOs can work in host countries in a way that respects and supports the primacy of the government’s responsibility for organizing health system delivery. The Code has become a key reference for the MMI Network
    http://ngocodeofconduct.org/

MMI statements at the World Health Organization’s Governing Body meetings (World Health Assembly and Executive Board) can be found in the People’s Health Movement’s “WHO Tracker“. Over the last years, such MMI statements on various topics have been made as joint statements of MMI and the People’s Health Movement, at times including other civil society partners.