Health for All: Justice for All – FCGH Manifesto 2012

Towards Health JusticeHealth for All: Justice for All
A Global Campaign for a Framework Convention on Global Health
(The FCGH Manifesto 2012)

• Vast inequalities in health between richer and poorer countries and within countries result in nearly 20 million avoidable deaths every year— and have for the past two decades. This represents 1 in every 3 deaths in the world. This social injustice is an assault on our values and shared humanity.

• These deaths are not sterile statistics. They are human lives extinguished. They are the anguish of a woman who dies in childbirth and her family’s grief, the pain of the sick child who suffers before dying young, the daily risks of the worker with no protection in the workplace, the constant struggle of the family without a toilet, running water, or enough food. And for millions, the cost of a life-saving surgery or medication may be a lifetime of poverty and debt.

• We insist on Health for All and Justice for All. We affirm that everyone has the right to the highest standard of physical and mental health. Achieving this human right demands committed governments, a powerful civil society, universal social protection, solidarity among people all over the world, and resources that exist but are denied to the poor.

The world fails nearly 20 million people every year, and fails billions more people whose lives are shattered by want and deprivation. To address at least a part of this injustice, we are launching a global campaign grounded in the human right to health, where governments assure the conditions in which everyone can be healthy.

Recognizing the strength of existing international law, yet how hard it is to utilize by the people who most need to assert their rights, we are calling for a Framework Convention on Global Health to give true force to international law and extend its reach into the communities where we live, to create the conditions for health and wellbeing for everyone.

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WHO DG’s highest priority: a Global Treaty on the Right to Health

PriorityThe next WHO Director-General’s highest priority: a Global Treaty on the Human Right to Health

(From The Lancet, 13.10.2016)   The next WHO Director-General faces major challenges:1 operational responsibilities for epidemic response, universal health coverage (UHC), and the rise of non- communicable diseases. Given the vast gap between daunting health challenges and WHO funding, what should be the Director-General’s foremost priority? The answer lies in the organisation’s main constitutional pillar, the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of health. WHO’s next leader should bring human rights to the forefront, ensuring the universal right to health.

A Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH)2— supported by civil society and global leaders3—should become the centrepiece of this endeavour (panel). It would reform global governance for health to enhance accountability, transparency, and civil society participation and protect the right to health in trade, investment, climate change, and other international regimes, while catalysing governments to institutionalise the right to health at community through to national levels. It would usher in a new era of global health with justice—vast improvements in health outcomes, equitably distributed.4

National and global systems today suffer from pervasive structural deficiencies, making them incapable of achieving global health with justice. These structures enable inequities to persist, fail to ensure accountability, and permit health and non-health sectors to undermine the right to health.

Vast disparities in wealth and political power leave countries and marginalised populations with far worse health outcomes than in wealthier states and among well-off populations. Income inequality and global threats (eg, climate change, mass migrations) risk worsening disparities. Legal frameworks and social practices perpetuate marginalisation of women, immigrants, indigenous people, and ethnic and sexual minorities. Yet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) do not adequately prioritise marginalised populations. WHO’s new Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors5 fails to empower civil society to effectively participate in the organisation’s governance.

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A Framework Convention on Global Health: A Catalyst for Justice

Catalyst fo justiceA Framework Convention on Global Health: a catalyst for justice

by Michel Sidibé & Kent Buse

Growing inequalities in wealth, gender and disability, as well as in other areas, constitute a grave and unconscionable affront to our common humanity. A mere decade ago, people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were suffering the consequences of gross inequity. Treatment was becoming widespread in developed countries, but in the hardest hit, developing country communities, demands for treatment were met with derision and condescension. Africans, they told us, could barely tell time, let alone adhere to complex regimens. Today, more than 6 million Africans receive treatment for HIV infection and acquired immunodefficiency syndrome (AIDS) and global health leaders have begun to look forward to something formerly unimaginable: an AIDS-free generation.1

An unprecedented bottom-up social movement has made this possible.2  Arguing for the human right to health, advocates for patient rights and other advocacy groups campaigned for universal access to treatment, prevention, care and support for people living with HIV. The first high-level United Nations health summit, held in 2001, was devoted to AIDS,3 and successive high-level meetings on HIV/AIDS in 2006 and 2011 have produced political declarations – a form of soft law – setting out ambitious goals.4 Civil society continues to hold world leaders to account, and in 2012 186 countries have reported on progress towards attaining these goals. Such is the power of political mobilization.

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