The People’s Health Movement (PHM) is a global network formed in 2000 which comprises grassroots health activists, other civil society organizations, issue-based networks, academics, researchers and activists from low, middle and high-income countries. Its activity is conducted locally through country circles and globally through a range of campaigns. Underpinning all its activities is a commitment to ‘Health For All’, as it was interpreted in the 1978 World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef ) Alma-Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care (PHC)1. This Declaration presented a comprehensive vision for PHC in that it related health services to the broader organization of society, calling for a new international economic order that would benefit developing nations, empowering democratic participation in health, and calling for action on social and environmental contexts that increased disease risks. Health services were to be multi-disciplinary, attuned to local need, and emphasize disease prevention and health promotion. Reducing the inequities between groups within nations and between nations was seen as vital and recognized in the call of ‘Health for All’ by the year 2000. Resistance to this visionary view of health was rapid and the call for selective PHC followed very soon after2. In the subsequent decades to 2000 neo-liberalism become the dominant driving force behind public policy3 and structural adjustment of Low-to-Middle-Income Country (LMIC) economies was strongly promoted by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF)4. These developments led to increasing disquiet among health activists and it became evident that ‘Health for All’ would not be achieved by 2000 and that economic inequities were actually increasing5. Moreover, it had become apparent that the World Health Organization had retreated from the strong support for PHC it had under the leadership of Dr. Halfdan Mahler and, driven by a continuing decline in assessed financial contributions by Member States, had recently indicated its intention to pursue Public-Private Partnerships6 in funding its operations. Against this background and as a counterweight to disturbing trends in WHO and successive World Health Assemblies the first People’s Health Assembly (PHA 1) was planned.
- People’s Health Movement (PHM)
- Health activism
- Inequalities in health
- Health for All