Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, March 2010

MMI Network News, March 2010

Editorial: Once upon a time in Savar...

“I am here to show solidarity with fellow activists. There is a need to create a critical mass of people for changing the deteriorating health, social and gender situation.”

Mira Shiva, All-India Drug Action Network
People's Health Assembly, Savar, December 2000

Dear reader,

Have you ever heard about a "People's Health Assembly"? If not, I invite you to read more about it on the website of the People's Health Movement: "The First People's Health Assembly was organized in Savar, Bangladesh, in December 2000 to discuss the Health for All challenge. The 5 day meeting led to sharing of experiences from across the globe. The assembly in a single voice condemned the international institutions, multinational corporations and governments which are willingly pursuing anti-people policies. The multi-national corporations who push for policies which put profits before people and the proponents of liberalisation who recommend that governments should cut expenditure on social sector like health and education came in for scathing criticism. In all 1453 participants from 75 countries came together to create and endorse a consensus document called the People's Charter for Health. The charter reflects the vision, goals, principles and calls for action that unite all the members of the PHM coalition. It is most widely endorsed consensus document on health since the Alma Ata Declaration." (

Today, it still makes sense to read the People's Charter for Health, or the Cuenca Declaration (Second People’s Health Assembly, 2005), but the People's Health Movement has not developed into the expected strong global voice of civil society since then. One reason is that the whole anti-globalization movement opposing the doctrine of neoliberalism has lost momentum and militancy. Secondly, global health has become everybody's business, and the Millennium Development Goals have become everybody's song (nothing bad about this).

But more important, the idea that a gathering of "a critical mass of people" can be the starting point of a bottom-up global people's health movement turned out to be an illusion. Civil society structures also follow the market rules of the globalized world. Well established organizations, mainly "Northern" NGOs, are not interested to invest in something such as a "movement". They have rather used the renewed call for a fairer global health system to strengthen their own profile and their related advocacy programs and campaigns (nothing bad about this).

In addition, the new global focus on health as a key element of development and justice has provided a starting point for a whole range of new, smart "civil society" networks that have started to develop "global" platforms and to claim leadership. And finally, as a rather unique new kind of "public private partnership", NGOs create consortia in order to submit funding proposals for advocacy and sensitization campaigns to the European Union, to philanthropic foundations or to their national government. If they are successful (and there are quite some examples), new structures and new jobs are created, a process with its own rules and institutional  dynamics.

Nothing bad about this anyhow, as long as it is all for better global health. So what is it then that makes me feel a bit bad, looking back over the last ten years...? 

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


Network news and resources added to the MMI electronic platform

MMI Network Campaign: Wemos
Call for Ethical Clinical Trials in Developing Countries: Update

Wemos | ”The Call for Ethical Clinical Trials in Developing Countries has been formulated out of concern about the shift in many clinical drug trials away from the richer nations and towards developing countries, and the associated ethical violations. It represents a call to action for policy makers, regulators and pharmaceutical companies to protect vulnerable trial subjects and it has been signed by leading figures in the field of medicine and ethics, and other concerned parties. The call was drafted by a worldwide coalition of health and human rights organizations and experts led by the Wemos Foundation.

One year after the launch of the campaign, in February 2009, the number of supporters of the ‘Call for Ethical Clinical Trials in Developing Countries’ is nearly 170, including leading figures in the field of medicines and ethics. They lend enormous weight to the campaign and motivate politicians, policymakers and pharmaceutical companies to pay attention to ethics.”

Sign the call:

MMI Network paper: Medicus Mundi Spain
Health in development cooperation and human action. Report 2009

FAMME | The annual report "La salud en la cooperación al desarrollo y la acción humanitaria" on health and development cooperation is published by Medicus Mundi Spain together with MdM Spain and Prosalus. The report 2009 is focusing on Spanish development cooperation but drawing a broad picture of international health development and health development policy For the time being, there is no executive summary in English available.

Download PDF:

MMI Network News 
MMI joins Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA)

We are delighted to learn that our membership application to the Global Health Workforce Alliance has been accepted. As a member of the Alliance, the Medicus Mundi International Network and its members now have an opportunity to interact with other like-minded entities and people, have access to a community of resources and practice, use the Alliance as a platform to share our work, and have a voice in shaping the activities of the Alliance and issues related to the health workforce crisis.

GHWA website:
GHWA members list: 

MMI Network News
MMI's official relations with the WHO confirmed

“The WHO Executive Board recently reviewed the report of our collaboration for the period 2007-2009 at its 126th session. I am pleased to inform you that the Board decided to maintain Medicus Mundi International in official relations with the World Health Organization. In making its decision, the Board noted with appreciation your organization’s report, the description of the successful collaboration between WHO and your organization, and commended MMI for its continuing support of the work of WHO. I would like to add my thanks for your organization’s continuing interest in working with WHO. I hope that our activities will continue to be fruitful in the future in support of global health efforts.” (Alex Ross, Director Partnerships and UN Reform).

World Health Organization:
WHO civil society initiative:


MMI Network Events: What’s up

MMI Network Event: Cordaid
Responsible governance for improved human
resources for health: making the right choices
Amsterdam, 15-16 March 2010

KIT Amsterdam | ”The aim of the conference is to develop an understanding of how attention to wider governance issues in the development and implementation of HRH policies and strategies can lead to better performance of health systems. The conference will provide a forum for policy–makers, researchers, civil society organizations and other experts on human resources for health to exchange their views, present their research and experiences, and discuss ways to translate these into effective strategies for mitigating the HRH crisis.” (Cordaid is a co-organizer of this conference )  

MMI Network Event: MM Switzerland
The future of the global AIDS response
Bern, 14 April 2010 | The global economic crisis that has induced cutbacks in the spending of Government and international donors also threatens efforts for an effective response to HIV and AIDS. In addition, a backlash against disease-specific initiatives can be observed in the international arena. On the other hand, HIV and AIDS with a present high of 33.4 million people living with HIV remains a serious global problem, reaching out beyond the health sector – and a united concerted effort is needed more than ever.” (Annual conference of, the Swiss platform for HIV/AIDS and international cooperation organized by Medicus Mundi Switzerland. International guests are welcome)    

MMI Network Event: Graduate Institute (MM Switzerland)
Executive Course on Global Health Diplomacy
Geneva, 21-25 June 2010 | “Diplomacy is undergoing profound changes in the 21st century – and global health is one of the areas where this is most apparent. As health moves beyond the purely technical to become an ever more critical element in foreign policy, security policy and trade agreements, new skills are needed to negotiate global regimes, international agreements and treaties, and to maintain relations with a wide range of actors. The summer course will focus on health diplomacy as it relates to health issues that transcend national boundaries and are global in nature, discuss challenges and how they are being addressed by different groups and at different levels of governance.” (The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies is a member of Medicus Mundi Switzerland. Deadline for applications: 2 April 2010)


International Health Policy: MMI Updates on Twitter

MMI Secretariat | Since we started to use the real-time short messaging service "Twitter", we published there already some 250 bits and pieces of news on international health policy. Each update is 140 characters or less - these are the rules of the game. Just enough for a headline, eventually an author, a date, the source – and a shortened link to the website where you find the full information. Have a look at some of our “tweets” published during the last month:

  • Thinking of introducing social health insurance? Ten questions. WHO Technical brief for policy-makers 
  • Overseas aid shortfall is nothing short of a scandal. Rich countries have no excuse for broken promises. Oxfam International 
  • Time for fair trade in research data. Dividend will be better policies and healthier people. Pisani et al. in: The Lancet
  • Drivers of inequality in (health) MDG progress: A statistical analysis. David Stuckler et al. in: PLoS Medicine 
  • Communicable diseases in the South-East Asia. Bulletin of the World Health Organization special theme, March 2010
  • Exceptional epidemics: AIDS still deserves a global response. A. Whiteside and J. Smith in: Globalization and Health
  • Punishing success? Early signs of a retreat from commitment to HIV/AIDS care and treatment. A MSF report
  • Shades of dignity: exploring the demands of equality in applying human rights frameworks to health. A.E. Yamin in: HHR
  • New Challenges, new Beginnings: Next Steps in European Development Cooperation. European Think-Tanks Group (pdf) 
  • Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally. WHO fact file 
  • Agencies push for inclusion of non-communicable diseases in global health agenda. Ryan Dicovitsky, MediaGlobal
  • Global health is public health. Key tenets of a global public health strategy. Linda P. Fried et al. in: The Lancet
  • Effectiveness evaluations of large-scale global health programmes: a top priority for global health (Lancet editorial)
  • Fixing Health Systems. The TEHIP story. By Don de Savigny et al, 2nd edition, 2008. Online book 
  • Fair Society, Healthy Lives. The Marmot Review (UK focus, but highly relevant conceptual framework) 
  • Connecting Ideas and Knowledge Sharing on Equity and Health. Resources related to WHO/PAHO symposium, 24 February 2010 
  • New technology strengthens Africa's health workforce. A WHO podcast 
  • Access to healthcare and socio-cultural determinants. A Blog managed by Médecins du Monde. 
  • Implementation of the US Global Health Initiative: Consultation Document (pdf) 
  • Systematic review of evidence on integration of targeted health interventions into health systems. Atun et al. in: heapol 
  • Will escalating spending on HIV treatment displace funding for treatment of other diseases? Fleischer et al. in: SAMJ 
  • Budget support as an effective contribution to the Millennium Development Goals. Field reports and interviews (SECO) 
  • Do health sector-wide approaches achieve results? Denise Vaillancourt, WB IEG Working Paper (pdf) 
  • Conference: First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR), 16-19 November, Montreux, Switzerland 
  • Social determinants of health: the solid facts. Richard Wilkinson and Michael Marmot.
  • Research and development coordination and financing. Report of the WHO expert working group, January 2010 (PDF) 
  • Global E-Health Policy: A Work In Progress
Follow the MMI updates on Twitter:





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