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The warm heart of Africa

Valeria Huisman

Looking down from the plane, I see a vast green landscape. A house here and there, and beautiful mountains in the background. It is my first glance of “the warm heart of Africa” as Malawi is affectionately called. I feel excited. In the days ahead I will visit health facilities and talk to nurses, midwives and other health workers, to hear about their experiences first hand. As Wemos’ communication manager I of course know of the challenges in the Malawian health system; the facts, numbers, and graphs, all leaning to the wrong side of the balance. But, being there, seeing, hearing, sensing the personal stories; it will make a big impact on me.

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The 2019 wins for the access to medicines movement

Tom Buis

2019 was an exciting year for those who work in the field of pharmaceutical policy. The topic of access to medicines is climbing higher on the political agenda. Not just in the Netherlands – where this topic has already been one of the political priorities for quite some time – but also in the EU and at the World Health Organization (WHO). With all this attention for pharmaceutical policies, the global access to medicines movement will have the opportunity to make 2020 a game-changing year.

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How do we license publicly funded medicines so that it will benefit the public?

Winne van Woerden

Cases of soaring drug prices are frequently reaching the news lately. The current system of medicine development does not achieve what it was intended for: to provide equitable access to affordable and effective medicines for the patients that need them. Publicly funded research institutions can be of major influence in changing this – but how? On November 5th, Wemos, Health Action International and Utrecht University organized the event ‘Licensing publicly generated knowledge: seeking a socially sustainable balance’ to have a meaningful discussion on the role of publicly funded research institutions in changing the current system of medicine development.

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ARE UHC KIDDING ME? 5 ALTERNATIVES TO EQUITABLY FUND HEALTH FOR ALL

Renée de Jong

While Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as initiated by the World Health Organization is a promising concept, I remain critical about the current ambitions in the declaration of the High-Level Meeting on UHC at the United Nations Headquarters in September. The vision is there, but what intrigues me, is what remains unsaid. In this era where global inequalities are bigger than ever[1], I believe it is time to do some thinking outside of the box on how we will fund our healthcare.

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Our key takeaways from the 72nd World Health Assembly

Winne van Woerden

Last month in Geneva, from 22-28 May, the 72th World Health Assembly (WHA) took place, an annually returning event where World Health Organization (WHO) delegates convene to discuss health-related issues. Several global health advocates travelled to Switzerland to represent Wemos at the WHA and present some of our work to other delegates. Two of them – Lisa Seidelmann and Amanda Banda – look back on their visit and their key takeaways.

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Wemos Dr Lisa Seidelmann GFF Spring Meetings 2019 Civil Society Policy Forum

After the replenishment: How is the Global Financing Facility addressing civil society’s concerns?

Myria Koutsoumpa & Lisa Seidelmann

Is the Global Financing Facility (GFF) addressing civil society’s critical concerns after the replenishment in November? Wemos sought an answer to this question at our fruitful session in April at the Civil Society Policy Forum, at the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C.

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Wilbert Bannenberg Wemos

19 March 1979 – the start of Wemos

Wilbert Bannenberg

In early March 1979, I – Wilbert Bannenberg, an intern doctor at the time – put a notice on the bulletin board of the Faculty of Medicine at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I was looking for other students with whom to discuss working as a doctor in low- and middle-income countries. On 19 March 1979, around 20 people gathered in my student room on the second floor of Van Woustraat 47.

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My week with Ann

Corinne  Hinlopen

‘Are you angry enough to make these maternal mortality rates drop to 70 by 2030?!’ Two piercing dark eyes are looking sternly over a pair of glasses at a group of students. They belong to Dr. Ann Phoya, President of the Association of Malawian Midwives (AMAMI). She is trying to instill a sense of urgency into a group of students at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. Her powerful call to action hits home, there is awed silence in the room.

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Health is a human right: who is accountable for its realization?

Myria Koutsoumpa

In the era of capitalism, the health of people and the planet is fundamentally challenged. International trade agreements and global economic policies have a great influence on national policies. They can even restrict countries in their ability to structurally improve and strengthen their health care systems. This makes health a shared responsibility at both national and global level, in which equity between and within countries should be a key element. To strengthen this perspective we need to reaffirm health as a human right and put it back in the limelight as such.

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Reflecting on Uganda’s fiscal space for health

Myria Koutsoumpa

This past summer, as an intern at Wemos and as part of my thesis for the Global Health master’s programme at Maastricht University, I took up the opportunity to interview Jane Nalunga, Country Director of SEATINI-Uganda, about the country’s economic and human resources for health  (HRH) situation. She has over 20 years of experience in policy research, analysis and advocacy on trade, tax and investment, and shares Wemos’ view of health as a public good.

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