Health cooperation and global governance:
Yin and Yang according to MMI

Dear Network members and partners,

The year 2016 has been a year of big changes in the big policies for developing our world, where the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) started their way towards an expected better, more equal and sustainable world. The SDGs will also strongly determine the global health agenda and the work in health cooperation for the next 15 years.

2016 has been also a special year for me personally. I took over the chair of the Medicus Mundi International Network in May, at our Assembly in Geneva. To be the visible head of an organization with more than 50 years of life means a great honour but also a deep responsibility. I will try to do my best to reach the level of my predecessors, especially the last president, Nick Lorenz, who left a mark in our lives not only due to his professional capacities but also to his human qualities.

During the mandate of Nick, our Network’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 was discussed and adopted, leaving us a clear path of what MMI has to do in the next years in order to remain a leader in advocacy for better global health governance and in the promotion of relevant, legitimate and effective health cooperation.

It is a remarkable coincidence that one of my first tasks as president of MMI was to proudly join the president of Medicus Mundi Spain in a plenary session of the World Health Assembly in May 2016. In this plenary Medicus Mundi Spain was awarded with the WHO Sasakawa Health Prize for its project entitled “The Transformation of Public Health Systems Based on the principles of Primary Health Care (PHC)”.

However, MMI will remember 2016 mainly as the year in which our Strategic Plan started its successfully implementation.

International health cooperation

In order to achieve our goal of “promoting knowledge sharing and mutual learning between actors in international health cooperation”, we set up an MMI working group on Effective Health Cooperation (MMI EHC). Since its launch event at the MMI Annual Assembly in Geneva, this new working group has found great interest among Network members. A discussion paper on “Health cooperation: its relevance, legitimacy and effectiveness as a contribution to achieving universal access to health” was presented by MMI EHC in September at a public workshop on “Health cooperation beyond aid” in Berlin. The paper and the workshop with its rich discussions have been first, encouraging steps in a longer reflection about the future of health cooperation in the coming years.

…and global health governance

In the area of global health governance, MMI Network participated, as in previous years, in the WHO Executive Board meeting and the World Health Assembly with an impressive list of civil society statements on key agenda items developed in cooperation with the “WHO Watch” team hosted in our delegation.

But the highlight of the year was certainly the launch of “our” project of a Geneva Global Health Hub (G2H2) in a civil society side event to the World Health Assembly. MMI Network has been deeply involved in the creation of this Hub, and the G2H2 Secretariat is hosted by MMI in an office we opened last autumn in Geneva. The goal of G2H2 is “to contribute to longer-term strategic thinking and coherent and sustained action by civil society entities involved in global health advocacy, taking account of country-level contributions and national variability”. G2H2 is trying to help civil society to contact with global health institutions based in Geneva and to re-equilibrate the imbalance of presence and inputs in global health debates between those defending the public interest and others promoting commercial interests.

There is still a lot to do. Civil society is expected to promote and contribute to better and more equitable and sustainable processes to reach the agreed global health goals. And this is a field where the MMI Network and its members have much more to say. Because the future won’t be built tomorrow. We need to build it now, together.

Carlos Mediano, President
Medicus Mundi International Network

MMI Network members: Short stories

In addition to the institutional report, we have again received great contributions by MMI Network members. Their “short stories” provide a good picture of realities and challenges in the field of international health cooperation. Thanks – and enjoy!

Download the Annual Report

Full version with members’ short stories (see below): PDF 17 MB