Bulletin #23: Austerity lurking around the corner

This fortnight  

A general rollback of policies introduced to provide support and security for people during the pandemic is well underway. In South Africa, health workers employed during Covid-19 are predominately not seeing their contracts renewed. The austerity-based pandemic recovery that the government has in sight has already led to strikes and protests in several provinces.

A reform of the public health system in Greece threatens to open new doors for the private sector and leave behind patients and health workers. The government’s plan has encountered resistance by many, including health workers, who believe the health system should remain in public hands and concentrate on people’s needs.

Choices that governments are currently making in regards to public health systems should not be attributed to them alone. International finance institutions, notably the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, continue to favor investment in private healthcare over strengthening public systems. During the World Bank Group Civil Society Forum this month, some organizations called them out for the consequences this will lead to.

While Covid-19 seems to have fallen off the agenda of many policy makers, people around the world continue to suffer its consequences. A report by the Poor People’s Campaign illustrates the effects the pandemic has had on those living in the poorest counties in the United States. Meanwhile, the São Paulo State Public Defender's Office has issued a report on living conditions in the state’s prisons during the pandemic.

In Catalonia, health activists are building a wide coalition for universal public health care. We met with two members of the coalition to discuss their campaign around 7 April, World Health Day, and the aims the platform has set itself.

Data speaks brings an update on the persisting inequities in access to Covid-19 medical products, as rich countries continue to block the TRIPS waiver proposal.

Health workers in South Africa protest as post-pandemic austerity looms

Workers in health institutions in several provinces of South Africa have organized protests and industrial action as they face threats of job loss and reorganization of services

A “New NHS” or another way to degrade public health in Greece?

In Greece, a reform of the public health system that benefits the private sector has been met with resistance from health workers and progressive groups

COVID-19: the poor people’s pandemic

The Poor People’s Pandemic Report takes a hard look at the intersections between COVID-19, poverty and race in the United States

Civil society organizations criticize World Bank Group for privatization of healthcare

A coalition of organizations fighting for public healthcare services called out the World Bank Group for focusing on investments in private healthcare during the Civil Society Policy Forum

Overcrowding, shortage of doctors and lack of water: living through the pandemic in São Paulo’s prisons

A report released on April 1 by the Public Defender of São Paulo attests worsening of rights violations in prisons

Video: Building a Campaign for What Health Should Be

In a new issue of People's Health Dispatch, we met with Francesc Alvarez and Oriol Josa from the Catalan platform Salut, Drets, Accio (Health, Rights, Action)

Data speaks

In case you missed it

Patients or Customers? The Impact of Commercialised Healthcare on the Right to Health in Kenya during the COVID-19 Pandemic — GI-ESCR
Commercialisation of healthcare - that is the proliferation of market logic and mechanisms, including competition and performance incentives to gain private benefits - within the healthcare system is among the most prominent impediments to the progressive realisation of the right to health in Kenya.
Breaking the cycle of profits and patents in a pandemic
The COVID19 pandemic happened within already established structures of social inequity and patterns of political imbalance.
HEALTHCARE ABUSE OP-ED: Obstetric violence against women has become a normalised phenomenon in South Africa
For many, pregnancy is known to be an honoured, celebrated and hopeful time in a woman and family’s life. For example, African traditions, such as isicwayo/ingacayi have for centuries been practiced to engage communities to sanctify and protect women during this vulnerable life-changing time. Howeve…
Put “Our Planet, Our Health” Before Profit: Fund Universal Access to Health & Quality Public Services
World Health Day (WHD) has been commemorated on 7th April since 1950. The World Health Organization (WHO) utilizes the day to draw attention to public health issues with its chosen theme. In recent years, trade unions and activists have also utilized the day to campaign against the commodification…
Increase in Drug Prices Will Hit People Hard – Need for Re-orienting Drug Pricing and Production Policy | NewsClick
A 10.8% rise in the ceiling price of essential drugs will adversely affect the people. Activists demand a roll-back of increased prices and strengthening of the public sector pharma industry and a rational pricing policy.
Corona Pandemic - The Non-Waiver - medico international
Why the compromise proposal for the patent waiver on Covid vaccines is a problem for Africa. Interview with Dr. Lauren Paremoer from Cape Town.