Bulletin #17: Health workers want a fair post-pandemic world

This fortnight  

While the number of omicron-related cases continues to increase, health workers are taking action for better working conditions. Their strikes and protests are a result of years of unresolved issues, which, in the middle of the pandemic, became even more pressing.

In Barbados, nurses are calling for better staffing in health institutions. Security guards at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London took industrial action to demand a level of rights equal to their in-house National Health System peers. In Australia, trade unions took action to demand free testing to be included in the national pandemic response.

Accessibility to Covid-19 products and technologies remains as pressing an issue as months ago. Big corporations continue to do everything in their power to stop mechanisms that would curb their profit, and make vaccines, tests, and drugs more accessible.

The same corporations enjoy an unusual amount of power in international fora like the UN and the WHO, where a framework of multi-stakeholderism has prevailed over the original multilateral approach. In a new report by the People’s Working Group on Multistakeholderism, a group of progressive organizations looks into how the corporate capture of multilateralism is impacting human rights.

A particularly precarious situation is found in conflict-ridden countries, where an approach based on aid and humanitarian response forced by rich countries is undermining the possibility of building stronger local health systems.

In a new video interview, Dr Satyajit Rath looks into the Corbevax vaccine, its potential for enabling more people to get vaccinated, and the current Covid-19 situation in India.

Data Speaks compares inequities in income, wealth, and contributions to carbon emissions, as two reports on inequality by the World Inequality Lab and Oxfam remind us of the growing gap between the world’s richest and poorest.

Health crises in fragile states need urgent attention

While the world remains focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, a pandemic of conflict continues to undermine the health of billions of people around the globe

Corporate takeover of multilateralism deals more blows to right to health

The People’s Working Group on Multistakeholderism published new report on corporate takeover of multilateral institutions, reducing people’s chances of safeguarding essential human rights

Nurses in Barbados want to fight brain drain and understaffing

The island has been forced to rely on foreign recruitment for nursing jobs, as eroding working conditions drive many abroad to richer countries

Short reads

Outsourced hospital guards campaign for pay equality at London hospital

Outsourced security guards at the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London have been demanding rights, pay and other benefits on par with the in-house National Health Service (NHS) workers

Australian trade unions demand free COVID testing for all as cases surge

Australia has added around a million new cases in the past two weeks, making it one of the biggest Omicron-driven surges in the world. Meanwhile, the Scott Morrison government is relaxing quarantine norms for close contact workers, a step that has been roundly criticized by unions

Video: Are COVID-19 cases plateauing in major Indian cities?

Immunologist Dr. Satyajit Rath and NewsClick’s Prabir Purkayastha review the COVID-19 situation in India, and also talk about the possibilities of the Corbevax vaccine

Data speaks

In case you missed it

17-21 January 2022: Beyond the agenda of the WHO Executive Board. Series of civil society workshops and public briefings and debates hosted by G2H2,
Eastern Cape community health workers protest about job cuts
Union wants national government to “prevent a catastrophic health crisis in the Eastern Cape”
Inequality kills | Oxfam International
Make WHO-recommended new COVID-19 drugs accessible, affordable, demands MSF : Peoples Dispatch
US pharma giant Eli Lilly has the patent for Baricitinib, which will affect its availability and accessibility. MSF has called on governments to take immediate steps to ensure that patent monopolies do not stand in the way of access to this drug
Home care workers in Spain call for better wages and end of subcontracting : Peoples Dispatch
The committee of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) in Andalusia has demanded recognition and adequate pay for home care workers and an end to privatization and subcontracting of services
Cuba shows an alternative to Big Pharma hegemony through global solidarity : Peoples Dispatch
Cuba puts people before profits – showing the world an alternative to monopoly profits. It promotes a public health system, state-funded research and shows global solidarity through tech transfer and vaccine delivery to developing countries
Our Health, Their Profit? - RLS Geneva
Case studies on union busting by healthcare corporations and trade union resistance The outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic has dramatically placed the issue of health right in the very centre of our attention. The vulnerability of our own health, as well as the health of people in at-risk g…