Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

MMI Network News, 19 September 2017

MMI Network News, 19 September 2017

Editorial: From Berlin to Antwerp

Dear reader,

When the MMI working group on Effective Health Cooperation (MMI EHC) presented, one year ago, its discussion paper on “Health Cooperation: Its relevance, legitimacy and effectiveness as a contribution to achieving universal access to health” at a workshop in Berlin, it was clear to us that this was just the beginning of a journey, and not the end of it. And we invited the MMI Network members and partners to join us in this journey.

Since then, the joint reflection within the MMI Network on “Health cooperation beyond aid” has led us from Berlin to Geneva where we organized, in May 2017, a well-attended side-event to the World Health Assembly. And now we are looking forward to continuing the conversation about the future of health cooperation in Antwerp, in October, where the MMI Network will host an organized session of the 10th European Congress of Tropical Medicine and International Health (ECTMIH 2017). As a highlight, our session will feature the winner of our essay contest “Health cooperation beyond aid: Pathways for change”.

"Achieving health justice requires radical change. Change in polices that create poor heath, change in the global distribution of power and resources, and change within the health justice movement itself. At our organization, there are a number of things we are proud of. We don’t create parallel systems. We work closely with local authorities, district health committees and national governments to build effective health systems that are appropriate and accessible to those who need them. We look to challenge power imbalances from local to global levels. And we tackle the root causes of poverty without pretending that aid and charity are solutions. There are a number of other areas to which we are committed, but require ongoing struggle and reflection..."

Are you interested to learn more about these areas of "ongoing struggle and reflection"? Join us at “our” ECTMIH session on Tuesday afternoon, 17 October, and listen to the lecture by the winner of our essay contest!

The MMI discussion paper published last year also inspired our Belgian colleagues to organize an ECTMIH pre-event on “Health cooperation beyond aid? Engaging Belgian actors on global health with regards to the relevance, legitimacy and effectiveness of our work in an SDG era”. This event co-organized by Be-cause health and the MMI Network will take place on Monday afternoon, 16 October.

On Monday morning, at a meeting open to our members, the MMI Board will continue and deepen another key conversation that has kept us busy over the last months: How can MMI strengthen its financial foundations and overcome its underfunding? Our members are invited to contribute to this conversation – and to help us sustaining our Network.

Finally, on Monday and throughout the ECTMIH week, there will be plenty of time and opportunities for networking and having a good time together. Details can be found below. So see you in Antwerp!

Thomas Schwarz, Executive Secretary
Medicus Mundi International Network


Illustration: ECTMIH 2017 website


MMI at ECTMIH 2017: Events and processes

10th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health
(ECTMIH 2017) Antwerp, 16-20 October 2017

“ECTMIH brings together scientists and experts from Europe and from all over the world, including many delegates from low and middle income countries. This biennial event is patronised by FESTMIH, the Federation of European Societies of Tropical Medicine and International Health.

In 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. Building on the successes of previous meetings, it will consolidate ECTMIH's standing as Europe's leading conference and networking event in its field.

The splendid venue of the newly opened Elisabeth congress centre features historical buildings, state of the art technology and the fabulous Antwerp Zoo as break-out garden. Situated at the doorstep of the iconic Central Station, it gives direct access to the rich cultural, historical and gastronomic heritage of Antwerp."

MMI is pleased to note that the ECTMIH organizers followed our proposal to dedicate a full track of the scientific programme to international health cooperation and its policies, instruments and practice (Track 6). Other ECTMIH tracks that might be particularly interesting for Network members include Health systems and public health (Track 5) and Global health (Track 7).


Monday, 16 October 2017, 13-16 hrs
Health cooperation beyond aid? Engaging Belgian actors on global health with regards to the relevance, legitimacy and effectiveness of our work in an SDG era. ECTMIH pre-event

"A changing nature of health cooperation and the increasing prominence of global health in international politics affects how we (could) define international health cooperation. The sustainable development (SDG) agenda requires in itself a transformative change of working to attain the health goals.  In addition, governments and policy-makers take a paradigm shift from international to global health, and seem to put (health) cooperation beyond aid.

This event will bring together researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and influencers to exchange insights on how they are adapting their work to a changing environment, and reflect on how changes in their approach is influenced by shifts in (health) development cooperation. Two panels will reflect on the following:

Part I: Relevance, legitimacy and effectiveness of (health) development cooperation in an SDG era? Heterogeneous approach to health cooperation. Panel introduced by Thomas Schwarz, MMI and moderated by Tim Roosen, Be-cause healh/ITM.

Part II : Linking health cooperation to a broader foreign policy - a transformative approach to health? Panel introduced by Lies Steurs, Ghent University, and moderated by Remco van der Pas, ITM."

  • Venue: Institute for Tropical Medicine, Antwerp
  • Meeting co-organised by Be-cause health and MMI
  • Preliminary programme of this ECTMIH pre-event: Download PDF
  • Registration is obligatory, also for MMI members. Please use the online form.


Monday, 16 October 2017
Complementary MMI Network events

The Board and secretariat of the MMI Network invite all members who participate in ECTMIH and in the events co-organized by our Network to also join us, on Monday, for an open MMI Board meeting (10-12 hrs), an informal lunch gathering with representatives of Be-cause health and the ITM Antwerp (12-13 hrs) and a Network dinner in a restaurant in town, after the opening plenary and reception of ECTMIH 2017.

The MMI Board meeting on Monday morning will focus on a dialogue within the Board and with interested Network members about the financial foundations and perspectives of MMI and how members can contribute to sustaining the Network.

  • To register, please fill in our form available online and send it back to the MMI secretariat by 1 October. Thank you! 
  • Details will be communicated in early October to the registered participants
  • Enquiries: MMI secretariat, Thomas Schwarz

Tuesday 17 October 2017, 15.30-17 hrs
Health cooperation beyond aid. ECTMIH session organized by MMI, with lecture of the winner of the MMI essay contest

We are happy that our application for an organized session on "Health cooperation beyond aid" jointly submitted by MMI and Be-cause health was accepted by the scientific committee of ECTMIH 2017. The session will take place on Tuesday afternoon (ECTMIH session 6OS6):

"Funding for international development aid is under pressure. Post-fact & post-truth policy framing overshadow evidence-based policy making. Humanitarian, development and security objectives have become blurred. Current global health challenges are of a transnational, universal, nature and not only a matter anymore of bridging the gap between developed and developing countries. This requires a re-assessment of how international health actors transform themselves to engage in a strategic way with a new global health agenda.

Speakers from a variety of organisations will provide an initial input to this question. One of the speakers will be the winner of an essay contest organised by MMI. This will be followed by a lively debate with the audience.”

  • Preliminary ECTMIH programme: See the congress website
  • To attend this session, ECTMIH registration (at least a day pass) is requested. There are no special conditions for MMI Network members, so please register directly at the indicated website.


Meet the MMI Network and some of its members at ECTMIH 2017

Throughout the ECTMIH week, representatives of MMI Network and some of its member organizations can be "visited" in a shared marketplace booth: i+solutions, Medicus Mundi Switzerland, Memisa  and Wemos have reacted to our secretariat’s call sent out in summer  will be happy to have a chat with you.


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