PHM Calls Upon the 62nd Assembly to Act Decisively

The People’s Health Movement (PHM) is a world wide movement of people’s organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and wide range of civil society networks and social movements. The PHM was launched as a result of the People’s Health Assembly that was convened in December 2000 in Bangladesh.

We are aware that the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) has drafted resolutions on Primary Health Care (PHC) and Social Determinants of Health (SDH) in preparation for submission to the World Health Assembly.

The PHM is very keen to initiate a dialogue with the representatives of the member states to ensure that the expected resolutions will:

  • adopt health as a fundamental human right and an outcome of an interaction between political, economic, environmental  and social determinants.
  • renew the commitment of governments, the WHO and the international community to achieving health for all as articulated in the Alma Ata Declaration, 1978.
  • build on the positive initiatives that have recently emerged, especially, the World Health Report 2008 (WHR-08) and the report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH);

To respond to these principles, we strongly believe that the draft resolution on PHC should:
request the member states to:

  • examine their health policies to ensure they are based on the principles of the fundamental right to health and the social conditions that create health,  
  • renew their commitment and responsibility to achieving the highest attainable level of health for their populations,
  • create effective channels through which people can participate in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the system of health care provision,
  • ensure that their current health care systems are modified  to better respond to people’s needs and the modified system has a clear process of continuously assessing people’s health needs in a participatory manner.
  • ensure that their health care systems are adequately and publicly financed,
  • ensure universal and equal access (free at the point of use) to the whole range of preventive, curative, rehabilitative and promotive health services,
  • ensure proper investments in health-related research and industry within the public domain.
  • adopt public policies that are able to ensure sufficient and well-trained health care personnel and build the training of health care personnel on the principles of the right to health,

request the WHO Director General to:

  • renew the commitment of the WHO to “Health for ALL Now” and all actions and measures articulated in the Alma Ata Declaration,
  • take the necessary measures to re-focus the organization on its constitution and to ensure that it “acts as the directing and co-ordinating authority on international health work1”,
  • provide the political support and the technical assistance that are needed to implement PHC as articulated in the Alma Ata Declaration.
  • provide the member states with the necessary technical assistance to design a public health system based on values of universal access, comprehensive and integrated interventions and equity,
  • encourage and assist the member states to adopt health systems research as a tool to upgrade their health systems continuously,
  • ensure health systems  co-ordinate action on the SDH with other sectors
  • promote and enable dialogue among the different national and global stakeholders on the right to health
  • create and institutionalize channels for civil society and social movements at both national and global levels to participate in the health policy development and the health decision-making process.
  • organize an international conference on PHC and SDH to discuss and reinforce the importance of these two movements and integrate their key aspects and to commit to a declaration in which the fundamental right to health is central.

request the international community to:

  • ensure unconditional financial assistance to those countries developing comprehensive and integrated health systems on the basis of equity and universal access,
  • Support the WHO as a UN organization to implement its constitutional mandate through providing adequate resources.

We believe that the draft resolution on SDH should:

request the member states to:

  • adopt the recommendations in the report of the Commission on SDH, and ensure adequate resource allocations to implement its recommendations


direct the WHO Director General to:

  • adopt the recommendations in the report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health and ensure adequate budget is allocated to assist its implementation,
  • extend the activity of  the Commission on Social Determinants of Health as an independent coordinating body to monitor the implementation of the report recommendations, including the development of indicators to measure  achievements on the country level,
  • form an intergovernmental working group on SDH in which civil society and social movements are represented
  • assist member states to implement the recommendations of the report of the Commission,
  • take all necessary measures to ensure that addressing the SDH and equity is a cross cutting theme in all units of the WHO.
  • provide the member states with the technical assistance needed to implement intersectoral action to address the SDH.
  • encourage and assist the developing country member states to use the flexibilities inherent in multi-lateral trade agreements (including the AoA, TRIPs, and GATS) in order to make these agreements supportive of the health of the populations in these countries .
  • adopt evaluation of the impact of different international agreements on people’s health as one of the key actions of the WHO in informing global decision making.


request the international community to:

  • put health equity and addressing health disparities at the top of the international agenda – as an achievable international goal within a generation- and ensure adequate resources to achieve it,
  • support the WHO as a UN organization to implement its constitutional mandate through providing adequate resources.
  • review the available evidence which points to the failure of the currently dominant economic order to address the equity gap and promote health, and take all possible measures to facilitate the emergence of a new health and equity promoting new economic order.

People's Health Movement

 

[1] Article 2a of the WHO constitution.

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