Bulletin #8: Centuries-long struggles for universal access to care

This fortnight  

One hundred years ago, insulin was discovered. Scientists sold the patent for 1 USD, hoping that their discovery will ensure basic health care for millions of people around the world. Today, three pharmaceutical companies control the insulin market and are making use of patent privileges to keep the products out of reach of half of those in need. The WHO Watch team reports on recent action taken at the World Health Assembly.

More than a century before the discovery of insulin, self-liberated slaves in Haiti led an insurrection against the French, determined to build a society based on self-determination. When a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on 14 August this year, the situation was far from what they envisaged. An ongoing political and economic crisis continues to burden the people of Haiti, impacting their access to necessary health care. We bring an overview of the healthcare system and working conditions of health workers in Haiti.

In too many countries, women have worse access to Covid-19 vaccines compared to men, while shouldering the larger part of the care-giving burden, including as part of the health system. A recent campaign launched by Third World Network and Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era aims to use the feminists’ rich mobilizing experience to ensure fair access for everyone and support the TRIPS waiver proposal. People’s Health Dispatch brings more on the campaign.

Vaccines are not the only health-related need women have trouble accessing. This month, two very different examples of changes in access to reproductive care have come up in neighboring communities. While Mexico's Supreme Court ruled in favor of decriminalizing abortion, Texas has done exactly the opposite, jeopardizing access to care for thousands of women. The latter is in our In Case You Missed It section.

Two months after the arrest of Shatha Odeh, director of Health Work Committees, we speak to her daughter Shirin Abu Fannouneh about the most recent developments in her mother’s case and the Israeli Occupying Forces constant pressure on civil society in Palestine.

In our Data Speaks section, we look into global public investment on health.

Access to insulin: A tale of 100 years of disparity

A century after the discovery of insulin, quality-assured access remains hindered by high prices. The WHO resolution for transparency in pricing of insulin aims at dealing with Big Pharma market monopoly

Healthcare in Haiti suffers in the midst of a political and economic crisis

The healthcare system in Haiti has been underfunded and understaffed for years, and it is now facing a new set of challenges after the 14 August earthquake in the southwest of the country

Feminists for a People’s Vaccine: challenging barriers to equitable access

A newly launched campaign by the Third World Network and Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era highlights the questions of gender-based differences in access to Covid-19 vaccines, medicines, therapeutics and equipment

Mexico decriminalizes abortion in historic ruling

Mexico’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the laws that penalize women and pregnant persons for terminating their pregnancy are unconstitutional. With the historic decision, the country’s top court decriminalized abortions across national territory

Short reads

Lebanon’s crisis hits healthcare

As Lebanon’s social and political crisis persists, health care is becoming increasingly inaccessible for most people. Many medicines remain unavailable and public health facilities face a surge of patients while trying to cope with power reductions

Video: The cost of being a Palestinian: Shatha Odeh’s ordeal in prison

Shirin Abu Fannouneh, Shatha Odeh’s daughter, recounts her mother’s ordeal to Dr. Delen De la Paz from the People’s Health Movement

Data speaks

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