Contribution to MMI Annual Report 2014

2014 started off as ‘just’ another year for Wemos, MMI and other civil society organizations attempting to get human resources for health into the limelight as an essential part of sustainable health systems, advocating for more policy coherence and a health-in-all-policies perspective and defending the regulatory, policy-making and norm-setting role of the WHO.

In our ongoing advocacy for a strong WHO, we continued to keep our eyes on the Framework for Engagement with non-State Actors. Together with other CSOs, we were able to create a critical mass and several WHO Member States are calling for the framework to include stronger language on conflicts of interest, to protect public health interest from undue influence. Wemos, South Centre, IBFAN and Society for International Development (SID) together organised a seminar for member state representatives in October 2014, to have a discussion on conflicts of interest in multilateral negotiations on health, nutrition and trade. This meeting has been instrumental for discussing critical issues with Member State representatives, sharing information and suggesting improvements for the policy document.

Our call for policy coherence and protecting health in trade and investment agreements aroused a lot of interest, as we had more participants than we could seat at last year’s side event during the WHA, organised by Wemos, NGO Forum for Health and MMI. Towards the end of 2014, the wider public started gaining interest in the impact of trade on health, nutrition, social services well-being in general and as of recent, a growing number of policy makers is turning against the widely criticized investor-to-state-dispute settlements (ISDS) that enable private corporations to sue governments over policy measures taken in the public interest, including public health.

With the project «Health workers for all and all for health workers» Wemos and CSOs from eight European countries call upon politicians and policymakers to implement the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (WHO Code). In this second year of the 3-year project we published an overview of crosscutting trends regarding the implementation of the WHO Code in the European region (HW4All synthesis report). As collaborating partner we provided input to the EU Joint Action on Health Workforce Planning and Forecasting making recommendations about the ‘applicability of the WHO Code in the EU-context’.

Our final call to action launched at 5 June 2014 has received endorsements from more than 80 European and global organisations. The Global Health Watch 4 includes a chapter on the global health workforce crisis in which we demonstrate how the WHO Code can provide an anchor for a coherent health workforce policy.

In the second semester of 2014 the Ebola-epidemic kicked in hard, and made it very clear that this was not ‘just another year for global health advocacy. It is tragic though, that still the world needs crises to realise the need for change. Reminding the international community why it is so important to have a skilled health workforce in place to provide essential and universal health services. Reminding them also that we have a universal responsibility to address future outbreaks, given that we live in an increasingly interdependent world. This requires a prioritisation of policy coherence for development, including the sustainable management of health workforce migration at a global level and a strong World Health Organisation that has both the mandate and the means to formulate policies, regulate and set norms in the interest of public health.

More information:

Contribution by Wemos to the Annual Report 2014 of the MMI Network