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19 December There’s Always Tomorrow

December 19th, 2012

Dr Petra

All this month I’ve been talking about the brilliant work done by Hesperian Health Guides (and encouraging you to donate to them). But their activities don’t happen in a vacuum. Hesperian are part of the much wider People’s Health Movement.

What’s so important about Primary Care and The People’s Health Movement?
On the Hesperian website they explain “The People’s Health Movement (PHM) had its origins in 1978, at the Alma-Ata Conference,(where) health ministers from 134 countries, in association with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, pledged to achieve ‘Health for All by the Year 2000′ and dedicated themselves to implement Primary Health Care as the means to achieve it. Unfortunately, people’s health status has not improved and, in many cases, has deteriorated further. Two decades after Alma-Ata, we are still facing a global health crisis characterized by growing inequalities within and between countries. As people’s living standards decline, new threats to health are emerging and old threats are reasserting themselves. The forces of corporate-led globalization are preventing a more equitable distribution of resources, a necessary condition for the improvement of people’s health. Within the health sector, the failure to implement Primary Health Care has significantly aggravated the global and local health crises. Pressure must be exerted on decision-makers, governments and the private sector to make “Health for All” a priority through the development and support of people-centered initiatives and to oppose the corporate vision of “Health for All Who Can Pay….Alma-Ata called on the world to achieve basic health care for all the world’s population by the year 2000 and recommended comprehensive primary health care as the best means to this end. Unfortunately, after Dr. Mahler’s tenure, WHO pulled back on this recommendation, and with UNICEF, the International Monetary Fund and others, began to concentrate on top-down single-issue campaigns, such as bed nets, micro-nutrients and immunisations”.

So when you are giving to Hesperian you are contributing to a unique and important global venture, where communities are involved in creating, sharing and benefiting from accessible healthcare resources which seeks to empower while subverting the idea that only those who can afford it get care. This is by no means an easy task and in many places it proves exceptionally difficult to implement. However donations from people like you to Hesperian and other People’s Health Movement projects are one step towards greater equality in healthcare and improving people’s quality of life.

Your Advent treat today involves a singing reindeer and a bit of a cliffhanger – if you want to know what happens to poor old Rudolph you’ll have to watch the whole movie (it’s the 1964 TV Special ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’).

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