GHF2008 – LS02 – Global Health Watch 2: An Alternative World Health Report

 Session Outline

 Wednesday, May 28 2008, 12:30-13:45, Room 3
David Sanders, Director, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, South Africa 

Session Document

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Session Report

Contributors: Irene Amodei (ICVolunteers)

Global Health Watch (GHW), a collaborative report, aims to list all the health-related burning issues that official organizations cannot put on their agenda. It gives people a voice that cannot wait to be heard. Speakers of the present session presented the GHW.

The Global Health Watch is issued by People's Health Movement, the largest global civil society network of health activists supportive of the WHO policy of 'Health for All'; the Global Equity Gauge Alliance (GEGA) and MedAct, a global health charity, tackling issues at the centre of international policy debates. The second edition of the GHW, to be officially launched in September 2008, was presented by Mr. David Sanders, Director of the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, and member of the Global Steering Council of People's Health Movement. Many players have been involved in this new edition of the GHW, including more than 125 authors and a variety of civil society organizations, NGOs, academic centres and health networks.

"GHW was conceived because there has been a terribly neglect of health systems and determinants of health in policy debates. We wanted to give space to people's voices and ideas", stated Mr. Sanders. "Governance institutions are not sufficiently accountable, and we want to make global issues more understandable and accessible." Policy-makers, health workers, NGO workers are the ideal audience for the GHW. So are all the institutions that shape health policy and need to be lobbied (senior technocrats, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, among others).

In the second edition GHW, "there will be less critique and more prescription", commented Mr. Sanders. The reports will paint a picture of what an alternative paradigm of a health system looks like. It will address themes such as mental health, access to healthcare for migrants, carbon trading and climate change, urbanization, oil extraction and health in the Niger Delta, humanitarian aid, and education. A special focus is given to global health governance actors and transnational corporations. The GHW "makes explicit a political understanding of health, it tries to put forward the right to health and challenges the neo-liberal orthodoxy in health and development", pointed out Mr. Sanders. "It also champions the principle of watching and public accountability", he added.

The GHW proposes also a Nine Point Health Systems agenda, which highlights the importance of:

  • A comprehensive Health Human Resource Plan;
  • Adequate, sustainable and reliable public financing;
  • Sector-wide coordination and planning;
  • Unhindered access to essential health care;
  • Effective health sector management;
  • Vertical and horizontal alignment;
  • Public accountability and community involvement;
  • The District Health System;
  • A private sector harnessed to serve the public good.

Mr. Sanders encouraged people to get involved in the launch of the second edition of the WHR by writing reviews for magazines and newspapers, initiating national and regional health watches, translating key massages into local languages, distributing hard copies and CDs in order to improve the dissemination of the report at a grassroots level.

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