In these challenging, extraordinary times of Covid-19, it is time to review the current instruments that guide international health cooperation and global health policies. What “transformative” quality is needed to allow actors engaged in these fields to make a difference, to shape a better future, to take up lessons all of us have learnt with a lot of pain, over the last months?

In a series of policy dialogues that is scheduled after this year’s World Health Assembly and in the week of the annual assembly of the Medicus Mundi International Network (MMI), we will feature, together with invited co-hosts and partners, four policy fields in which MMI is particularly engaged, to explore and promote transformative policies.

Members and partners of the MMI Network, civil society colleagues and all engaged in international health cooperation and global health policies and governance are welcome to join us and to contribute to these dialogues. All sessions can be attended individually.


Programme


Monday, 14 June 2021, 14-16 hrs CEST
Business? As usual? Looking into the political economy
of digital health and international cooperation

Tuesday, 15 June 2021, 14-16 hrs CEST
Promote civic space at the WHO and other UN bodies and agencies
…and defend democratic multilateralism

Wednesday, 16 June 2021, 14.30-16.30 hrs CEST
Health systems torn between health security and universal access priorities
– implications for international cooperation?

Thursday, 17 June 2021, 14-16 hrs CEST
Health and climate justice: Transformative cooperation and healthcare practice

Session outlines and co-organizers: below
Language: English, no interpretation available
All sessions can be attended individually
Register now: Zoom registration page


Session outlines



Monday, 14 June 2021, 14-16 hrs CEST
Business? As usual? Looking into the political economy
of digital health and international cooperation

The impact of digital technologies on healthcare and health can be beneficial, if both needs and risks are properly managed and if technologies are fully integrated in strong, people centred, rights-based and people owned healthcare systems. There are strong and convincing calls for addressing gaps in digital infrastructure as part of ensuring equitable access to healthcare. However, there are many pitfalls of digitalisation of healthcare such as further fragmentation of health systems and data extractivism (data colonialism), the  privatization of public services, the misuse of digital technologies by a surveillance state and the substitution of strong primary care based services on the ground, replacing trained health workers by digital tools.

With the Covid-19 pandemic further pushing towards digitalization of health care, civil society organizations have been proposing “an alternative digitalization of public health, beyond state control and corporate power”.

In all the debates on how to best use the power of digital technologies for the benefit of the people there is little attention on the role of international cooperation and global initiatives in a field that is indeed shaped by strong political and economic forces. As a participant in a recent workshop on health cooperation has put it: “To what extent are we honest and radical in our assessment of the political economy of digital health? We are not outside the system. We all take part in an industry.”

This session of the MMI policy dialogues 2021 shall allow actors representing different realities and positions to assess the role of international cooperation and global initiatives in the field of digital health technologies from a civil society, primary health care, public health and decoloniality perspective.

Programme details
Speakers/panelists/moderator
  • Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change
  • Derrick Muneere, World Health Organization
  • Godelieve van Heteren, senior international consultant
  • Junho Jung, People’s Health Movement
  • Lucy Fagan, Young Experts: Tech 4 Health, Transform Health Coalition
  • Martin Leschhorn, Medicus Mundi Switzerland
  • Meg Davis, Global Health Centre, The Graduate Institute
  • Nanjira Sambuli, Transform Health Coalition
  • Nerima Were, KELIN
  • Tabitha Ha, STOPAIDS
  • Thomas Schwarz, MMI Network
Session co-organizers
THANKS to all who joined us!
  • The documentation of all sessions will be available after the end of the series of policy dialogues.
  • Contact: office@medicusmundi.org


Tuesday, 15 June 2021, 14-16 hrs CEST
Promote civic space at the WHO and other UN bodies and agencies
…and defend democratic multilateralism

All UN bodies and agencies including the World Health Organization have a role and responsibility in supporting civil society participation, protecting civil society actors from threats and attacks, and promoting an enabling environment for their work at national and international level, according to an important new Guidance Note recently issued under the UN Secretary General’s Call to Action for Human Rights.

Different parts of the UN have developed different approaches to civil society engagement, given that the right to participate, enshrined in international human rights law, also applies to international organisations. Involving communities in identifying  needs and the most suitable responses is not only the right thing to do, it will also make efforts more effective and build trust, an indispensable ingredient for successfully combating a pandemic.

While this reality is widely acknowledged, the institutional practices of UN entities’ engagement with communities and civil society is not always consistent with the right to participate.

Looking back at the realities of civic space at the 74th World Health Assembly and related conversations with the WHO Director-General, this session of the MMI policy dialogues 2021 will be an opportunity to compare the practice of the WHO in the promotion of civil society participation with other UN bodies and agencies and with civil society expectations. Doing so, we want to overcome a merely “technical” approach, linking procedural debates with unresolved underlying issues of democratic governance and power both within the UN system and in civil society.

Programme details
Speakers/panelists
  • Birgit Kainz, Civic Space Unit, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Brid Brennan and Gonzalo Berrón, Transnational Institute
  • Magdalena Ackermann and Stefano Prato, Society for International Development
  • Meg Davis, Global Health Centre, The Graduate Institute
  • Nicoletta Dentico, Geneva Global Health Hub and Society for International Development
  • Ravi Ram, People’s Health Movement and Kampala Initiative
  • Renu Khanna, Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health
  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization
  • Thomas Schwarz, Medicus Mundi International – Network Health for All
Session co-organizers
THANKS to all who joined us!
  • The documentation of all sessions will be available after the end of the series of policy dialogues.
  • Contact: office@medicusmundi.org


Wednesday, 16 June 2021, 14.30-16.30 hrs CEST
Health systems torn between health security and universal access priorities
– implications for international cooperation?

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed  weaknesses  in the performance of essential public health  functions and deepened the cracks in primary health care and equitable and universal access to health. It has stretched health systems to their limits creating  many times a collapse in the delivery of population and personal health services. It has also shown that countries are not fit for pandemic preparedness and response. Health systems seem to be more developed towards case treatment  than to early warning systems and outbreak management. But the rapid shift of priorities towards Covid-19 responses had itself a negative impact on the regular activities of health systems, from ongoing childhood vaccination rates and access to clinics for safe mother and child care to delays in diagnostic procedures, surgical interventions and provision of primary health services and hospital based services. The chronic shortage of health staff and chronically underfunded health institutions has not allowed to absorb new tasks in healthcare at short notice.  In addition, the international mechanisms for a response to the pandemic have negatively affected the north-south cooperation and dialogue on mutual expectations.

What are the implications for setting priorities in international health cooperation in this new reality after the start of the pandemic? How to deal with this complexity beyond the slogans of “health security” and “universal health care”? What is in the best interest of healthcare for all?

In this session of the MMI policy dialogues 2021, public health experts, practitioners and activists from different regions of the world, and with a diverse institutional background, will share their experiences and expectations on the following set of questions: How has the pandemic hit your health system? Has it changed your perception of public health priorities? Has it shown neglected elements of the healthcare system? How has the pandemic changed interaction between civil society, national health authorities, and international partners?  What implications for international health cooperation and solidarity? Changing paradigms? transformative policies?

Programme details
Speakers/panelists
  • Aquina Thulare, Ministry of Health, National Health Insurance, South Africa
  • Arachu Castro, Tulane Public School Latin America, USA
  • Christina de Vries, Cordaid, The Netherlands
  • Daniel Lopez Acuna, Andalusian School of Public Health (EASP), Spain
  • Dieter Müller, medico international, Germany
  • Eliza Sthapit, Cordaid and ICCO, Nepal
  • Eubert Voshoma, Cordaid Liberia
  • Khuat Thi Hai Oanh, SCDI, Vietnam
  • Pia Vracko, National Institute of Public Health, Slovenia
  • Richard Gregory, UHC2030, Switzerland
  • Sulakshana Nandi, People’s Health Movement, India
  • Thomas Schwarz, MMI Network, Switzerland
Session co-organizers
THANKS to all who joined us!
  • The documentation of all sessions will be available after the end of the series of policy dialogues.
  • Contact: office@medicusmundi.org


Thursday, 17 June 2021, 14-16 hrs CEST
Health and climate justice: Transformative cooperation and healthcare practice

The Covid-19 pandemic and climate emergency represent converging  crises and share common drivers. It is imperative that these crises are addressed in a comprehensive manner, while acknowledging public health needs and historic injustices, including gender inequity. Those who contribute least to climate change suffer most from its consequences, and they are likely to have the worst health outcomes.

Future health systems must be developed to mitigate the consequences of climate change and be adaptive to health and environmental needs.  Primary health care, essential public health functions, a skilled health workforce having decent employment and  universal social health protection are all crucial in mitigating the impact of climate injustices.  Health systems provide an important role in contributing to the social foundations in societies. At the same time they should become more sustainable, less polluting and “wasteful”..

This session of the MMI policy dialogues 2021 will provide examples how international health organisations and health professionals can mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change.  Besides, it wants to provide a platform for debate and action on how health professionals and organisations can contribute to a transformative coalition that challenges the drivers and powers behind the current climate and health crises. What is the role and potential of a health and climate coalition in transforming society towards ecological and economic justice?

Programme details
Speakers
  • Ben Eder, Medact
  • Carlos Mediano, Federation of Medicus Mundi Spain
  • Jean Talens, Climate Change Network for Community-Based Initiatives
  • Kumanan Rasanathan, World Health Organization
  • Magalie Schotte, Be-cause health
  • Remco van de Pas, ITM Antwerp
  • Sophie Gepp, Women Leaders for Planetary Health
  • Tavo Molina, Instituto de Salud Incluyente, Guatemala
Session co-organizers
THANKS to all who joined us!
  • The documentation of all sessions will be available after the end of the series of policy dialogues.
  • Contact: office@medicusmundi.org

THANKS TO ALL WHO JOINED US

Come back next week for recordings and documentations.

CONTACT, ENQUIRIES

Thomas Schwarz
MMI Executive Secretary
schwarz@medicusmundi.org