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|Global Health Watch: An Alternative Health Report|
Too often the state of ill-health in poor countries is framed as a problem of geography, bad luck or poor government, rather than an outcome of political and economic choices, says a report by the People's Health Movement, Medact and the Global Equity Gauge Alliance.
Civil society organizations and scientists from around the world are calling for ‘a new development paradigm’ to address the toxic combination of climate change, growing poverty and inequality and poor health.
The new report, Global Health Watch 2, says that unfair social and economic policies combined with bad politics are to blame for the poor state of the health of millions of people in the world. The report makes stinging criticisms of key global actors, including the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the Gates Foundation. The report calls on governments to stop the Bank from meddling in health politics.
Global Health Watch 2 provides examples of civil society mobilization across the world for more equitable health care and more health promotion, although more is needed to bring about significant improvements in health.
The report reveals widespread unease about the immense but unaccountable power and influence of the Gates Foundation. It says that although the Gates Foundation has injected vast sums of money into global health, it operates in an undemocratic way and reinforces a medical-technical approach.
Among other issues it highlights is the pressure exerted on the World Health Organization by powerful and vested interests that would prefer WHO’s activities and programme to have a more biomedical and less political focus.
Global Health Watch 2 will be launched in London on 16th October, followed by launches in around 20 other countries.
The first edition of Global Health Watch, published in 2005, was hailed for its ground-breaking analysis and mobilising call to action.
Marion Birch, director of the London-based charity, Medact:
Amit Sengupta of the People’s Health Movement in India:
Martin Drewry, director of the charity Health Unlimited:
Reports on the state of the world’s health appear daily in the world’s media. UN agencies, NGOs and academic institutions produce vast amounts of data, statistics and analysis. However, what is lacking is a critical and integrated assessment of both the state of global health and the policies and actions taken to reduce global health inequalities and unacceptable levels of ill-health.
Still too often the state of ill-health in many poor countries is framed as a problem of disease, geography, bad luck or poor government. Rarely is it properly framed as a symptom and outcome of political and economic choices, or the current form of globalisation which has created a deep chasm between a minority of ‘winners’ and a majority of ‘losers’, whilst simultaneously placing the world at the brink of environmental crisis.
Recent years, however, have seen a rise in interest in ‘global health’, prompted by the creation of the Millennium Development Goals. Development assistance for health has increased, the number of new global health initiatives has multiplied and the Gates Foundation has massively increased the amount of private financing for global health.
But in spite of these developments, why is so little improvement being made? The People’s Health Movement, Medact and the Global Equity Gauge
This resulted in Global Health Watch 2005–2006, an alternative world health report that highlighted the root causes of poor health and revealed the gap between humanitarian rhetoric and reality. It comprised 22 chapters covering a broad array of subjects on global health and development policy, produced from the contributions of more than 120 individuals and the support of approximately 70 organisations across the world.
GHW 1 was released in July 2005 at the second People’s Health Assembly held in Cuenca, Ecuador. More than twenty-two official ‘launches’ of the
A shorter summary and campaigning document Global Health Action 2005–2006 was also produced and disseminated, and translated and printed in Spanish, French and Arabic. The Watch also stimulated the production of a Latin American Health Watch and a UK Health Watch.
Two advocacy documents (on WHO and health systems) were developed and distributed at various forums and conferences. The release of Global Health Watch 2 coincides with the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration of Alma Ata. To mark this anniversary, the WHO has released the 2008 World Health Report on the revitalisation of PHC.
This year also sees the release of the report of the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. We believe GHW 2 is important reading to accompany the official world health report.
However, as with GHW 1, this report has limitations. Many key issues relevant to health have not been covered. With space constraints, a limited
Nonetheless, this book covers a range of issues and provides an alternative perspective that is vital to help the world move beyond the currently
We hope that the Watch provides some small contribution to ensuring that politicians, governments, donor agencies, banks and multilateral institutions are kept honest and held accountable.
|Climate Change & Environment|
|Global Financial Crisis|
|Global Conflicts & Militarization|
|IMF, World Bank & Trade|
|Poverty & Inequality|
|Aid, Debt & Development|
|The UN, People & Politics|
|Food Security & Agriculture|
|Health, Education & Shelter|
|Land, Energy & Water|
|Economic Sharing & Alternatives|