Bulletin #74: People’s Health Assembly rallies for peace as a means to Health for All

This fortnight

More than 600 activists from 60 countries gathered in Mar del Plata, Argentina, from April 7 to 11 for the 5th People’s Health Assembly (PHA 5). Amidst armed conflicts posing threats to health rights, discussions at the assembly prominently featured the themes of peace sovereignty and demilitarization as crucial to achieving universal health care. This included strong advocacy for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

At the same time, the situation in Palestine worsened, particularly after the most recent attack on Al-Shifa Hospital by the Israeli armed forces. The World Health Organization and other bodies have expressed growing concern about the prospects of reconstructing health facilities in the area and the overall health of specific groups, especially women. Women in Gaza face numerous challenges, including famine, inadequate sanitation, and the near total collapse of women's health services.

Despite these challenges, international solidarity with Palestine's health sector remains steadfast. The health conditions in Palestine were a recurring theme at the assembly, touching on various aspects such as the status of health workers and the significance of land struggles in occupied territories.

The assembly also highlighted often overlooked or marginalized voices in global health discussions, including those concerning the Pandemic Treaty. There was a notable focus on respecting ancestral health knowledge, marking a significant step toward diversifying representation in health discourse.

Other critical issues addressed included the ongoing pandemic of gender-based violence and the need to reshape health systems to serve the people rather than corporate interests. In a powerful Call to Action at the event’s conclusion, activists outlined strategic directions for local and regional groups linked to the People’s Health Movement. The declaration reaffirmed the movement’s commitment to not only Health for All but also combating imperialism and the corporate takeover of health services.

In focus: Health in Palestine

Water crisis adds to women’s health burden amidst war on Gaza

The lack of water and Israeli obstructions to the delivery of essential sanitary materials are increasingly impacting women’s health in Gaza

Prospects fade for rebuilding Gaza’s health infrastructure, warns WHO

The UN health agency has warned that the attacks on healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip are severely complicating efforts to imagine the rebuilding of health capacities

Over 800 public health experts sign letter to demand ceasefire in Gaza

“The single most impactful public health intervention that could be implemented in Gaza today would be a cessation of hostilities,” write the health experts

In focus: 5th People's Health Assembly

Violence against women is a public health crisis, say health activists

During its 5th edition, activists congregated at the People’s Health Assembly in Mar del Plata discussed the initiatives of the feminist movement to expand access to health for all

5th People’s Health Assembly calls for the transformation of health systems

Activists at the 5th People’s Health Assembly called for the transformation of health systems, and to build strategies and unite struggles against privatization and corporate capture

Demilitarization and peace sovereignty are foundations for global health, People’s Health Assembly concludes

Health activists attending the People’s Health Assembly called for peace and demilitarization as a means to Health for All

Mar del Plata 2024 Call to Action

After months of mobilization in country circles and thematic groups, over 600 activists met in Mar del Plata, Argentina, at the 5th People's Health Assembly. This Call to Action includes the demands and commitments of the People’s Health Movement following the debates held during the PHA

Video: Closing march at the 5th People's Health Assembly

Silenced voices: intercultural perspectives in the prevention, preparation and response to pandemics

Indigenous peoples are not included in the current draft of WHO’s Pandemic Treaty, raising concern about their health and well-being in the case of new pandemics

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