An important new article unravels how the WHO (World Health Organization) came by its circumcision policy: “little room was allowed for contradictory discussions, as if the decision had already been made before the Montreux consultation.”
Global Public Health, 2015
Hybrid forum or network? The social and political construction of an international ‘technical consultation’: Male circumcision and HIV prevention
Alain Giamia, Christophe Perreya, André Luiz de Oliveira Mendonçab and Kenneth Rochel de Camargob
The technical consultation in Montreux, organised by World Health Organization and UNAIDS in 2007, recommended male circumcision as a method for preventing HIV transmission. This consultation came out of a long process of releasing reports and holding international and regional conferences, a process steered by an informal network. This network’s relations with other parties is analysed along with its way of working and the exchanges during the technical consultation that led up to the formal adoption of a recommendation. Conducted in relation to the concepts of a ‘hybrid forum’ and ‘network’, this article shows that the decision was based on the formation and consolidation of a network of persons. They were active in all phases of this process, ranging from studies of the recommendation’s efficacy, feasibility and acceptability to its adoption and implementation. In this sense, this consultation cannot be described as the constitution of a ‘hybrid forum’, which is characterised by its openness to a debate as well as a plurality of issues formulated by the actors and of resources used by them. On the contrary, little room was allowed for contradictory discussions, as if the decision had already been made before the Montreux consultation.