Did you know, the ‘worm is turning’? Tired of government apathy and nervous about its eagerness to favour the demands of big business – often at the expense of the citizen-taxpayers’ interests – civil society is rising up to demand a fair go for health.
In July this year the People’s Health Movement (PHM), Medact and Global Equity Gauge (GEGA) published an alternative world health report entitled Global Health Watch (www.ghwatch.org). Conceived out of concerns about the influence of UN politics on WHO health reports and the consequent need for civil society to produce its own global health report, The Watch is about equal access to opportunities for health. It puts forward an ‘evidence-based assessment of the political economy of health and health care’ and challenges the international financial institutions, and the WHO, to create a fairer balance of wealth and health worldwide.
Although originating in the developing world in response to the desperate poverty of less fortunate sectors of society in Bangladesh, Latin America, India and similar socioeconomic contexts, the PHM is now active in over 100 countries including that doyen of capitalism, the USA.
Did you know that Australia has recently established PHM chapters in three states – New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia? Consistent with the global PHM, these chapters, which are known collectively as PHM-Oz, aim to firmly locate health and equitable development among the top priorities for local, national and international policy-making and see strong primary care systems as central to achieving this. As a result, PHM-Oz is working on a Community Health Links Project to link and raise awareness among Australian Community Health Centres (CHCs) of global health issues and their impact on Australia’s health. The project is also keen to link Australian CHCs to counterparts in the developing world.
Director, The Diabetes Unit
Australian Health Policy Institute
at The University of Sydney