By Sarah Shannon, Executive Director, Hesperian Foundation
From Togo, Tanzania, Finland, Australia and beyond, 80 people from around the world participated in a launch of the Global Health Watch 2 in Bangkok on January 27 to celebrate the publication of this alternative world health report. The launch event was organized by People’s Health Movement as an event to kick off the Prince Mahidol Award Conference activities. I attended the conference as part of the People’s Health Movement delegation. Dr. Suwit Wibulpolprasert, Senior Advisor on Disease Control for the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand; David McCoy, Managing Editor of the Global Health Watch 2; David Sanders of the People’s Health Movement – South Africa; and Bridget Lloyd the Co-ordinator for the Global Health Watch 2 project spoke at the event.
As noted by Dr Wibulpolprasert, the Global Health Watch 2 covers a comprehensive range of topics and draws attention to the politics of global health and the policies and actions of key players. Presenters discussed the chapters on the United States foreign assistance program, the Gates Foundation, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Global Fund to Fight to AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The recognition of equity and social justice as values that must drive health policy in order to achieve Health for All is a central theme of the Global Health Watch 2. The speakers (even the World Bank!) all made that a touchstone of their presentations.
This ties in well with the Prince Mahidol Award Conference, which focuses heavily this year on the conclusions of World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. “Inequities are killing people on a grand scale,” concluded the commission, “(the) toxic combination of bad policies, economics, and politics is, in large measure, responsible for the fact that a majority of people in the world do not enjoy the good health that is biologically possible.” The Global Health Watch 2 puts these conclusions in a more accessible and actionable framework, for everyone from health activists to policy-makers.
Events to launch the Global Health Watch 2 in various US cities are being organized. To organize or participate in an event in your city, or to learn more about what is being planned, please contact Dorothy Tegeler <[email protected]>.