Tuesday 12 June 2012

MC and Global Health—3

World Health Assembly—Health Governance
WHO World Health Assembly, United Nations Geneva
How does global health governance work?
How can it apply to good governance
in mission/aid and member care? 
Last month we were at the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA), the large annual event organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). One of the many highlights was the side-event on 23 May on Democratising Global Health Governance. Attended by nearly 100 people, this event primarily brought NGOs together to discuss the major structural and managerial reform process being undertaken by WHO. Many issues were raised by the panel of six speakers—three from NGOs, two from national health ministries (Kenya and Germany) and one from the WHO Secretariat. Some of the concerns raised by the NGO reps included not being informed about the overall philosophy that were guiding the reforms; the possibility of business, industry, and other special interests inappropriately influencing WHO priorities, primarily through their financial contributions (only 20% of the budget comes from member states); and the need for an increasing role for civil society in giving input, supporting, and monitoring  the work of the WHO Secretariat and member states (countries).
One of the main groups organizing this side-event was a new coalition of organizations called Democratising Global Health (DGH). For more information about this organization, click here. To review some of the affirmations and concerns about WHO governance by one of the organizations that is part of DGH, Peoples Health Movement (PHM), click here. See also PHMs 2009 The Peoples Charter for Health. For even more information, see the Global Health Watch site including their alternative global health reports.
The presentations and exchanges by these high-level representatives were amicable and engaging, There is just so much to learn as we cross sectors for mutual learning and resources and as we try to understand how our work fits into the bigger issues of our globalizing world. Two crucial take aways for me from this WHA event in relation to good governance for mission/aid and member care are:
1)      who in the mission/aid community, or external to it, functions as  the equivalent of the DHG,  with the skills and conviction along with a  recognized platform for giving input, supporting, and monitoring the Evangelical mission/aid community, including the Evangelical member care community, for accountability and effectiveness in relationship to its values, practices, and priorities?
2)      what happens to movements, umbrella organizations, and networks when their leaders and members become out of touch with dissenting opinions and concerns—internal and external—and a thinly veiled authoritarian structure and inordinate sense of importance slowly takes the place of a more open, consensual, democratic ethos, ultimately with leaders becoming a law unto themselves, serving for over-extended periods with impunity and sadly supporting such aberrant practices by manipulative spiritual rationales and self-vindicating assertions of acting virtuously?
Note: The above organizations are in many ways very pro WHO and are committed to see its core values and crucial role in global health realized. The same is true for us regarding the mission/aid and member care community—we too are very pro in our commitment to its health, core values, and crucial roles. .
Reflection and Discussion
**Describe a few applications for MC based on the items/commentary above.

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