Poverty & Health 2018

The World Health Organization at the crossroads

 
At stakes are the World Health Organisations independence, her legitimacy and her ability to continue to be the leading institution on Global Health as enshrined in her constitution from 1948. medico-Debates at the congress Poverty & Health, 21 march 2018

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The World Health Organization (WHO) stands at the crossroads in her 70 years of existence.  At stakes are her independence, her legitimacy and her ability to continue to be the leading institution on Global Health as enshrined in her constitution from 1948.

The WHO’s financial dependence from big donors – rich member states as well as corporate linked Philanthropic Foundations as the Bill&Melinda Gates foundation – 80% of the budget is currently project earmarked – gives these external actors tremendous influence on the direction and action of WHO. With the decision of the WHO in 2017 to grant “special relations” to the Gates Foundation, this influence is even more increased. In addition, WHO’s dependence is strengthening the influence of Big Pharma and through this a techno-medical View on Global Health.

Lately, during the Ebola crisis, the deficits and risks of a weakened WHO became very visible.

The World Bank, numerous Global Public Private Partnerships for Health like GAVI or international meetings like the self-declared „World Health Summit (every September in Berlin) are relegating WHO to a the second place when answers on Global Health Questions are sought.

However, WHO has repeatedly managed to keep her mandate as the central Institution for global Health Rights: Exactly 40 years ago, the member states of WHO committed themselves in the „Alma Ata Declaration“ to Health as a Human Right and a Question of Equity, Equality and Participation. 2008 WHO released the Report of her Commission on Social Determinants for Health which states unanimously: »Social Injustice kills on a Grand Scale«.

These internal ambivalences of a WHO in the stranglehold poses questions that we want to discuss with our speakers during the three events:

Did WHO itself create the conflict of interests by opening the doors to Pharma and Philanthrocapitalists and forgot to claim higher assessed (unrestricted) contributions from the member states? How can the role of WHO as the central Institution for Global Health Rights and Policies be resurrected? And is this indeed necessary and needed?

This series of workshops organized by medico international is part of the Conference Poverty & Health, an annual event that has become the biggest Public Health event in Germany over the years. Medico contributes to this conference with workshops on global health issues for now almost 15 years.

This medico workshop is part of the Conference Poverty & Health, an annual event that has become the biggest Public Health event in Germany over the years. Medico contributes to this conference with workshops on global health issues for now almost 15 years.


Programme

9.00-10.30 am

Key Note Lecture
WHOse international Health Agenda? Historical Perspectives and Political Challenges

Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Professor of Critical Development Studies and Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, Toronto

Moderation: Jens von Bargen, medico international, Frankfurt

11.00-12.30 am

Panel
The Crisis of supranational structures is a crisis of democracy

Undermining multilateralism and undue influence in WHO
Daniel Lopez-Acuna, Adjunct Professor at the Andalusian School of Public Health, Geneva Global Health Hub, Granada

Global Chaos – helpless UN
Andreas Zumach, author and correspondent, Geneva and Berlin

Democracy from below. The international Health Movement and its inspiration through Alma Ata
Anuj Kapilashrami, Associate Director Global Public Health Unit University of Edinburgh & People’s Health Movement, Edinburgh

Moderation: Andreas Wulf, Global Health coordinator, medico international, Frankfurt

1.45-3.15 pm

Roundtable
Towards the next 70 years! Which kind of WHO is needed?

How should an Institutional Reform Agenda of the WHO look like?
Michèle Boccoz, Assistant Director General for External Relations, World Health Organisation, Geneva (tbc)

How to resurrect the spirit of Alma Ata?
Andreas Wulf, Medical Project coordinator, medico international, Frankfurt

Historical Trajectories and Democratic Possibilities for the Future.
Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Professor of Critical Development Studies and Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, Toronto

Moderation: Anne Jung, Communication department medico international, Frankfurt

Venue

The congress will be held at the Technical University Berlin (TU Berlin)
Main Building, Straße des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin
Room number: H0110

Registration

All conference sessions with simultaneous translation in English and German.

Speakers

Dr. Anne-Emanuelle Birn (BA, Harvard University; ScD, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) is Professor of Critical Development Studies and Global Health at the University of Toronto. Her research explores the history and political economy of international/global health, particularly in Latin America. Her books include: Marriage of Convenience: Rockefeller International Health and Revolutionary Mexico and Oxford University Press’s Textbook of Global Health (4th edition, 2017). She is a member of the Independent Panel on Global Governance for Health.

Dr. Daniel Lopez-Acuña is an Adjunct Professor at the Andalusian School of Public Health in Granada since 2015. He studied medicine at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Then he specialized in Public Health and Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore. He worked for the WHO from 1986 to 2014, where he held multiple senior responsibilities. He was Advisor to the Director General from 2011 to 2014. His last position in WHO was Director of the Department of Country Cooperation and Collaboration with the United Nations System.

Andreas Zumach is author and correspondent accredited at the United Nations in Geneva. He is working for print, audiovisual and online media. He studied economics and journalism at the University of Cologne. The main focus of his work is on the UNO, refugee policy and international conflicts. In 2009 he received the Göttinger Friedenspreis (peace award) for his reporting on peace and security issues.

Dr. Anuj Kapilashrami is an academic activist, lecturing in Global Health Policy and Associate Director of Global Development Academy at the University of Edinburgh. She has an interdisciplinary background in sociology and public health and works on the political economy of health with interest in equity and social justice. She is a longstanding member of the People’s Health movement (PHM) and convenes PHM Scotland. She has previously worked with health and women’s movement in India and as a former Program Coordinator of the Sama-resource group for gender and health in Delhi.  

Dr. Andreas Wulf is a medic and has been working at medico international as project coordinator for global health since 1998. He works especially with the Egyptian partners of medico. His thematic focuses are Global Health politics (especially WHO), healthcare networks such as the People’s Health Movement and Health Action International. He is member of the board of the “Verein Demokratischer Ärztinnen und Ärzte” (association of democratic doctors).  

Anne Jung is a political scientist. Since 1998 she has been working as Health Adviser in the Public Relations Department of medico international, a socio-medical development and human rights organization. Her subjects are global health and the political determinants of health, including international trade relations and trade agreements. Since 2018 she is Head of the Public Relations Departement at medico.

Jens von Bargen is development economist, at medico international he is responsible for sustainable investments as well as for the management of the foundation medico international.  


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