Healthy Changes: a shared political agenda for the struggle for health

Historically, health care systems in the world are the result of people's struggles to impose their health as a right. At the same time, in many countries health care systems have played a central role in the social contract between people and the state, and are useful indicators of power relations and wealth redistribution in society. Nowadays, in most countries, the rights conquered in the past are attacked and dismantled by neoliberal policies. The commercialisation and privatisation of health and health care are driven by powerful forces all over the world, transforming a conquered right in yet another source for the extraction of profit. In this context, our resistance faces huge and new challenges, and requires both a defensive approach and a proactive creation of alternatives.

The workshop will focus on the struggles that are taking place in the world to transform health systems, so that they continue/begin to truly work "for the people's health". This transformation addresses at least three dimensions:

  1. A democratisation of health systems, through (greater) people's participation.
    Who decides over health needs and priorities, budget allocations, health systems structure, organisation and functioning, the selection and training of health professionals and their working conditions, etc.? In many health systems, including public ones, participation and democracy are not prominent features. From the macro level of systems organisation, to the micro one of the relationship between people and health professionals, the issues of democracy and participation are keys to move towards systems that are truly people-centred.

  2. Health systems that can address the social dimensions of disease.
    People's health is, to a great extent, a function of social organisation and the context in which people live, yet our health systems only deal with the individual manifestation of disease, thus contributing to conceal its social roots. How can we place the social dimension of health at the heart of our struggle, and use it to bridge with different struggles?

  3. Health systems that are sustainable and the rational use of collective resources.
    Health systems are (also) economic systems, and while market forces see them as a source for profit, public policies are increasingly surrendering to the argument that "there is not enough money" for them to be sustainable. Refusing these discourses, we pose the question of what should be the priorities for the use of collective resources in health, and how our struggle can contribute to it.

Who: 15-20 experts from around the world (health activists, scholars, members of trade unions, NGOs, health care organisations, political groups, etc.)
When: Tuesday, 25 October (11 am-6 pm) - Wednesday, 26 October (9 am-4 pm)
Where: Platform Health & Solidarity, 53 Chaussée de Haecht, 1210 Brussels, Belgium
Language: English, French, Spanish

Contact: Federico Tomasone, federico.tomasone(at)rosalux(dot)eu

In cooperation with:

European Network against Health Commercialisation
People's Health Movement Europe
Belgian Platform Health & Solidarity