People’s Health Assembly
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Global campaign to be launched: Revive the vision of Alma Ata!

Geneva: 15th May, 2002: With the 25th anniversary of the Alma Ata declaration on Health for All approaching in 2003, the People’s Health Movement will launch a year long global campaign to revive its vision of a holistic approach to healthcare which addresses the social, economic and political determinants of health.

The campaign will be undertaken in over 92 countries around the world ‘ from where delegates came to attend the first ever People’s Health Assembly in Dhaka, Bangladesh two years ago. A focus of the campaign will be to promote the worldwide adoption of the People’s Charter for Health (PCH), forged at the Dhaka gathering and which constitutes the largest consensus document on health since the Alma Ata declaration of 1978.

A key part of the global campaign will be to get the World Health Organisation (WHO) to rediscover its own mandate for health, its own commitment to primary health care and Health for All. Though the WHO, along with UNICEF, were among the main facilitators of the Alma Ata conference 24 years ago they have since done little to realise the goals of Health for All and indeed repudiated their original commitment to the Alma Ata objectives and process.

The PHM’s campaign will also take the People’s Charter for Health to other civil society groups such as the environmental movement, trade unions, student unions and global justice movements for their endorsement. Since the PHM’s critique of global health policies goes beyond looking at the narrow confines of the health sector alone efforts will be made to build up a truly comprehensive movement that mobilises a wide range of social forces to radically transform the current perspective of health policy makers and institutions.

At the 55th session of the World Health Assembly the People’s Health Movement comes with five crucial messages for the WHO:

  • Work for the health of the poor, marginalized and indigent who are becoming the victims of neo-liberal economic policies
  • Tackle poverty, injustice, exploitation and conflicts that are becoming the key determinants of health
  • Bring real inter-sectorality into the discussions and initiatives for health instead of using `charity funds’ for marketing `magic bullets’ for diseases. Avoid vertical top-down approaches to tackling health problems
  • Be transparent and accountable in the interaction with the corporate sector- who is not mandated to work for people’s health but primarily for profits. Ensure WHO initiatives are free of corporate interest
  • Be more participatory in the approach on health issues by engaging in continuous dialogue with the grass roots and people’s health movements.

Dr. Qasem Choudhury Dr. Ravi Narayan
Co-ordinator, People’s Health Assembly Convenor, PHA- WHA circle

For details, call PHA media team : Mobile: +41 78 876 5437 (Dr. Unnikrishnan PV / Satya Sivaraman)

PHA Coordinating Group : Asian Community Health Action Network (ACHAN) * Consumers International Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (CI ROAP ) * Dag Hammarskjold Foundation (DHF) * Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) * Health Action International (HAI) * International People’s Health Council (IPHC) * Third World Network (TWN) * Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)

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