Bulletin #10: Overcoming barriers to health justice

This fortnight

For the past year and a half, health workers in the Global South and the Global North have shouldered most of the burden of the pandemic response. They have done so in workplaces that were previously decimated by budget cuts and austerity measures, which reduced the number of staff in healthcare systems. In September, nurses in Croatia decided to protest such actions by the government, while health workers in Guinea-Bissau went on strike.

At the same time, health workers in Myanmar continued to oppose the military government: you can find more on their struggle in our In case you missed it section.

While front-line workers fight for fair working conditions and safe staffing, inequities in access to Covid-19 medical products persist in different communities. Refugees, migrants, and other displaced people have been excluded from most national vaccination programs. In combination with poor living conditions, this puts them at a significantly higher risk of contracting severe forms of Covid-19.

Vaccination rates in poor countries continue to lag behind those of high-income countries, and as news about possible Covid-19 treatments begins to appear, there is a growing concern that vaccine inequity will soon spread to drugs. We bring a report from a recent webinar on the importance of the TRIPS waiver proposal in the context of ensuring fair access to Covid-19 therapeutics and diagnostics.

Some lower and middle-income countries, however, have managed to strengthen their vaccination campaigns - and right to health groups had a role in this. In Tunisia, the Association for the Defense of the Right to Health has pushed for greater inclusion of primary health care in vaccine delivery, as this would help reduce regional differences that have appeared.

One month after the introduction of the Texas abortion ban, people all over the United States have come together for a weekend of protests, showing their support for reproductive justice. For a video interview, People’s Health Dispatch met with Leigh Haynes, activist of People's Health Movement North America, to hear more about the impact the ban might have on women in Texas.

In Data speaks, we compare the deaths caused by Covid-19 and the 1918 influenza in India, the UK, and the US. It is worrisome that in the US, the death count of the current pandemic has recently surpassed that of 1918.

Nurses left behind by Croatian government

Nurses in Croatia have taken to the streets, protesting worsening working conditions and lack of recognition of their work by the ministry of health

Humans without rights: Refugees and access to COVID-19 vaccines

Although the 1951 Refugee Convention grants refugees equal health rights as host populations, this has not translated into practice when it comes to Covid-19 vaccines

What is happening with Covid-19 vaccination in Tunisia?

A crisis of political governance has complicated the pandemic response in Tunisia. Health activists are demanding that the country’s primary health care network be utilized properly for ensuring greater vaccine coverage

Equitable access to Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics is key to ending the pandemic

One year has passed since the TRIPS waiver proposal was first tabled at the World Trade Organization, and rich countries persevere in opposing it. This has affected the availability of vaccines and is having an effect on access to diagnostics and therapeutics too

Guinea-Bissau health workers demand to be valued

Health workers in different regions of Guinea-Bissau went on strike at the end of September to fight for improvements to the health system

Video: What does Texas abortion ban mean for reproductive rights in the US?

In the new edition of Peoples Health Dispatch, listen to Leigh Kamore Haynes and Ana Vračar from the People’s Health Movement discuss these developments and their implications

Data speaks

In case you missed it

How the NHS Uses Precarity as a Weapon Against Worker Organising
Despite staff shortages, workers on different contracts in the NHS are being pitted against each other for shifts – a tactic designed to prevent them from organising effectively to improve conditions.
COVID-19 vaccine beneficiaries were assigned unique health IDs without their consent
The Caravan spoke to people who were issued UHIDs without their consent while going through verification for their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Myanmar healthcare workers determined to strike on!
Public Services International is a Global Union Federation of more than 700 trade unions representing 30 million workers in 154 countries. We bring their voices to the UN, ILO, WHO and other regional and global organisations. We defend trade union and workers’ rights and fight for universal access t…
What I Learned as a Health Care Reporter in Afghanistan
The small but dedicated medical community remaining in the country offer the tiniest hope in a future that otherwise appears bleak.
U.S. Sanctions Blamed as Venezuela Laments Frozen Order for Medicine
One of Portugal’s largest banks is holding up a $12.7 million order to fund shipment of medical supplies and vaccines to Venezuela.
Chilean Chamber of Deputies approves bill to decriminalize abortion : Peoples Dispatch
With 75 votes in favor, 68 votes against and 2 abstentions, the lower house of the parliament endorsed the bill that decriminalizes voluntary termination of pregnancy in Chile within the first fourteen weeks of gestation
WHO rocked by Ebola sex abuse scandal in Congo
The WHO knew of the allegations during the Ebola response in May 2019. So why did it take more than a year to launch an independent investigation?