International Campaign : Fight for People’s Health

International Campaign


Fight for People’s Health

(Health NOW!)

1.       The title of the campaign is “NO War, NO WTO, Fight for People’s Health!” or “Health NOW!” for short.

2.       It is a joint campaign of the People’s Health Movement, the International People’s Health Council and the International League of People’s Struggle-Ad Hoc Health Commission. The campaign may be taken up and adapted, in a flexible way, by regional, national or local affiliates of these three networks. The title and slogans of the campaign may be adapted in other languages.

3.       As of now, the following organisations participate (aside from the three networks mentioned): intal/Medical Aid for the Third World, Artsen voor Vrede (Belgium), the Council for Health and Development (the Philippines), the Hesperian Foundation (USA), the Health Work Committees (Palestine) and the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (Palestine).

4.       The campaign is coordinated by a Coordinating Committee (CoCo). As of now, it is composed of Maria (IPHC, Nicaragua), Leni (CHD-IPHC Philippines), Unni (PHM ‘working circle on wars, disasters, conflicts and humanitarian action), Bert (intal, Belgium), Delen (PHM-Philippines), Wim (intal, Belgium), Hillel (IAC, US), Kamal (HWC, Palestine), Allam (UPMRC, Palestine) and others who may volunteer. Among the CoCo members an e-mail group (yahoo) will be set up. The day-to-day coordination and secretarial work will be provisionally taken up by intal, Belgium.

5.       The campaign was first presented and promoted in Mumbai, at the International Forum for the Defense of People’s Health, at the World Social Forum itself (during PHM seminars) and at the Mumbai Resistance 2004, on January 14-20, 2004.

6.       The basis for this campaign is an abridged version of the November 2003 Manila conference on Challenges in Health Work amidst Imperialist Globalization and War’s unity statement:

As health workers and health advocates, we are witness to the fact that unhampered economic globalization causes increasing poverty, while US-led wars of aggression maim and massacre millions of people and destroy social infrastructure and our planet Earth itself.

We therefore call on the peoples of the world to junk the World Trade Organization and regional trade agreements with a similar character. Key WTO agreements such as the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) promote the commercialization of health care and deprive the people of much needed basic health services.

We call on the peoples of the world to oppose US-led wars of aggression. Being launched in the guise of “wars on terrorism”, they are actually waged to strengthen the continued bid by the US for world hegemony.

The roots of poverty and ill health lie in the exploitative nature of the world capitalist system with its grossly inequitable distribution of wealth and resources. This global system is dependent on military power for continuing control, thus making the world more dangerous and filled with unspeakable suffering and death.

Let us work together towards a just and humane society that guarantees the people’s right to health. Let us add our strength to the broad people’s movement opposing imperialist globalization and US-led wars of aggression.

7.       The campaign will have a logo. The draft projects of logo that have been presented will be improved in the sense of making them somewhat more militant. The logo can be adapted and adjusted for local sub-campaigns.

8.       The campaign will have a website: The website will be designed in such a way that participating organizations will be able to post articles (open publishing). The website will be multi-lingual.

9.       The campaign will be launched on March 20, the first anniversary of the war on Iraq and an international day of action against war and occupation. On that day, the participating organizations make their presence felt in the anti-war mobilizations the world over. The same day, the website will be launched. Local press conferences may be held.

10.   The campaign sets up a Health & Occupation Watch (Health NOW) on the health effects of war, occupation, militarization, military intervention, etc. In a first phase (Jan.-March), the activities will be: inventarizing existing materials; putting them together on the website; monitoring web publications and selecting the most relevant items for our Watch. In a second phase (starting April), a Health NOW Action Alert by e-mail can be produced and circulated. As a third activity (July-December period), we propose Health NOW missions to monitor and report on war & health issues in an area of conflict (Palestine in July, Iraq in December?).

11.   The campaign will disseminate educational and campaign materials on the WTO impositions and effects on health, e.g. against the privatization of health services through the GATS and against the limitation of access to essential drugs and their prohibitive prices through TRIPS.

12.   The campaign launches the following internet petition, with the option to also use it in printed version:

We commit ourselves to fight for the realization of the following demands that we address to national and international authorities:

1.      Stop the occupation of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. The immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops. No support, in any way, to foreign military intervention and occupation.

2.      WTO out of health. Junk TRIPS and GATS. No to all trade agreements that harm the people’s health, including the Agreement on Agriculture and regional trade agreements.

3.      Health care, not warfare. Reduce budgets for the military and for weapons development and production. Increase public expenditure on social services, including health care.

Tentatively, this petition will run for about one year. Its results will be presented at the Second People’s Health Assembly, in July 2005. Intermediate results may be presented on the occasion of important mobilizations against war and occupation and against the WTO.

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