1st International Forum for the Defense of Health

TO ALL PARTICIPANTS OF THE 2nd WORLD SOCIAL FORUM

Conclusions of the 1st International forum for the Defense of the Health of People

HEALTH AS AN ESSENTIAL HUMAN NEED, A RIGHT OF CITIZENSHIP AND
A PUBLIC GOOD

HEALTH FOR ALL IS POSSIBLE AND NECESSARY ...


Organizers:
Latin American Association of Social Medicine � ALAMES
Brazilian Center for Studies on Health - CEBES
Porto Alegre City Government � PMPA / Municipal Health Secretary � SMS
Rio Grande do Sul State Government / State Health Secretary

The participants of the 1st International Forum for the Defense of the Health of People, accomplished in Porto Alegre � Brazil, on January 29th and 30th, call on all the people of the world, all women and men who feel responsibilities, challenges and the imperative to build fair and equitative societies as theirs... to gather around these words to make them publicized and transformed on sustained actions...

We understand that this 2nd World Social Forum starts a new step on the fight for the universalization of social rights, and particularly the right to health, as an expression of the right of life, since in our understanding health is the expression of conditions and quality of life, not only the occasional access to health services.


We want to denounce to the world the devastating effects of the macroeconomic adjustment policies and the militarization of international relationships over the possibility and quality of people´s life, as well as to affirm that these effects are not neoliberal economic policies exceptional accidents, but the real essence of a logic that aims the maximization of profits, the destruction of States´s social welfare measures and the very identity of the national states, dividing the world through a huge social apartheid where regions, countries and continents are relegated to the condition of spectators of the immense accumulation of international capital. It results in a very unmerciful side of the so called economic or capital globalization: the deep inequity established as a perpetuating logic for the social injustice, making every day richer the riches and desperately poorer the poor people, making weak the infants´s and seniors´s lives and giving to poverty a feminine profile. As a result of these inequities, the poor of the world look at the rich countries as from the other side of the shopping malls windows, searching for the paradise, which is denied to them by the same world economic order renown as a socially segregating and ecologically unsustainable model, by means of economic migrations.


We understand that the Argentinean tragedy is the direct consequence of the sustained and faithful application of neoliberal principles, which ignore interests and needs of the citizens, a awaited and lots of times denounced product of a logic that cares for capital�s health but not for the people's health.
We would like to alert all of you that the world-widening of the capital is not an abstraction, since it defines life quality possibilities, as well as it is not made by abstract beings like the World Bank and IMF, since these organisms reflect all the directives of the big capitalistic conglomerates that dominate the world nowadays, supported by their political managing of governments of many rich and poor countries, which dominant classes are committed to the health of their and other one's capital instead of to the health and welfare of their own people. So, we affirm that the fight place against the bad dominant world order finds its expression in every town, region and continent by means of a possible and necessary fight that call on every woman and man to defend their dignity and the dignity of future generations towards a fair, equitative and solidarian world.


We understand that we are frequently trapped within a social fascism where those options, which are offered to us, are so bad and poor that all we have is resistance fights only, for fear that the future may be even worse. Laws are often disrespected and violated by their own formal guardians, generating rights�s vulgarization and the loss of meaning of formal freedoms. Only politicization of the debate and its essencialization can give us political power and creativity to create another world with the defense of social rights and the unvulgarization of life.


Health as a complete expression of economical and social determinations about health conditions is a fight field for the full respect of social, economical and cultural people's rights. For us, health is an essential human right, a primary right of citizenship and a public good. It also is a duty of the State, which is desired to be the undertaker of public interest, defending those interests in the market arena, avoiding the purchasing of health. So, we defend the State come back to its citizen and life's defense functions through the assurance of dignity on politics as a public and democratic place. We revindicate that all states defend social welfare and health systems where universalization, integrality and equity are the founding characteristics inserted and respected within their constitutional and legal texts, as well as in the organization and financing of health systems and services.


We demand from politics and economy to have their ethical principles to defend human beings dignity recovered and to pronounce the world widening of solidarity and life defense with all economical effort directed towards people�s needs satisfaction, which includes the right to life in the first place.
It is a scandal that economical adjustments and efficiency searches for the health sector never demand prices and pharmaceutical costs control, since medicines industry are directly linked to the wild accumulation in health sector, imposing exorbitant prices within the Third World and blocking those initiatives for development of national pharmaceutical industries. We demand exclusive patent rights are broken, giving rise to a wider perspective of social and economical development for medication and health equipment.


We want to manifest our extreme suspicion about all speeches of international financing agencies, governments and political parties from rich and poor countries that speak about poverty and the need to fight it without mentioning the need to change economical development model which is generating unemployment, destruction of social rights warranties and making the inequity abyss deeper.
We challenge these organisms, governments and corporations to accept a public and democratic debate of a development with a human face.


By no means we deny the need for reforming health systems and states so that they can be closer to the integral and equitative human development ideals. What we do not accept is the imposition of one only logic focused on the interests of international capital market.


In a moment of a great scientific development of humanity, the themes of ethics and equity are even more important to defend health as a public good. Specifically in relation to the human genome charting, it sounds essential to assure the right of humankind, since genetical inheritance is inherited by every human being, avoiding a purchasing that would increase inequities and would have devastating effects over people�s access to science progress.


Facing all these elements, we propose:

 

  • a strong and steady manifestation against neoliberal logic and its consequences over the right to life;
  • solidarity to the Argentinean people and to all countries where neoliberalism destroys social rights and the specific worry with the increasing war and its internationalization in Colombia;
  • a strong resistance against integration to Americas Free Commerce Zone � ALCA, understood as an additional attack against our economies and our sovereignty;
  • a search for the essence and politicization of the debate, with the collective building of a Political Agenda for Defense of Health as a Right, defining health as an Essential Human Need, as Public and Citizenship Policy, as a Public Good and Duty of the State. By Public Policy Agenda we mean the democratic and participative process of building of what our societies, in each town, region and continent, want and need, having in mind the concrete accomplishment of agreements that warrant under participation human dignity and an ethics beyond immediate financial interests. There is an urge for a world public debate about a development model towards equity. As part of this effort, we propose the agreement to the elaboration of an alternative report on equity on life and health conditions;
  • the reivindication for People�s Representation Councils beside organisms like MERCOSUL and the World and Pan-American Health Organizations, aiming to express directly our needs, without the frequently irresponsible mediation of our governments;
  • the inclusion in each country�s judicial legislation about the right to health, under universality, integrality and equity, with the assignation of enough resources to answer to social needs on life and health quality, mobilizing national and international capital to fight against those programs that focus on poverty without warranting universal rights, proposing universality with equity as a superior way of social justice;
  • for the same reason, we condemn and repel Colombia�s health care model, known as structured pluralism, which usage has been taking to increasing exclusion and inequities, and we affirm that no country should adopt such a model, which is contrary to the interests of people�s health;
  • we also alert against and condemn the attempts of Paraguayan government to reform, without any social participation, the Law n. 1032 and the Sanitary Code, besides trying to make private the Social Welfare Institute (IPS), making even weaker all the warranties of social rights in the country, applying the questioned principles of the Colombian system;
  • we support the attempts of constitutional reform in Uruguay to warrant the right to health of all Uruguayans and not only the indigent ones, like it is presently established by law;
  • we affirm the defense and warranty of the right to health in Brazil through the warranty of enough resources and the accomplishing of universality, equity and integrality as principles not warranted to all population by the Brazilian State yet;
  • we condemn all and every form of violation of the rights to health by public or private institutions, with special emphasis on the control of violations caused by the states and governments themselves, searching for the constitution of an International Observatory to observe and control these violations and to show them to the International Justice Court;
  • we reivindicate from governments to adopt one figure public goals for all health and quality of life indicators, reducing inequities related to not answered needs, reducing maternal and infants mortality rates, unemployment, lack of proper housing, etc to one figure only, in the same way it is done for economical or capital�s health goals...


We call on you to make a formal and fraternal international call to all workers, organizations and inhabitants so that in those countries where there are multinational pharmaceutical industries with subsidiaries in Argentina or not, to break all privilege or right to patents or property over medicines which are asked and needed to allow the survival of Argentinean population: medication is a public good, as Brazil and South Africa have shown and done in relation to drugs against AIDS;

We reivindicate that Health as a Right of Humanity to be one of the central themes on the 3rd World Social Forum in 2003;

That Health of the People be one of the central themes on the Rio + 10 Forum, which will happen in Africa in 2002;

That we formally protest against the violation of union manifestation rights in Uruguay and against civil rights violations of Paraguayan citizens who are members of the Patria Libre Movement and were victims of arbitrary imprisonment and persecuted by the police on behalf of the Paraguayan Government;

We call for a wide process of mobilization towards the accomplishing of the 2nd International Forum for the Defense of the Right to Health of People in Porto Alegre on January of 2003, before the 3rd World Social Forum;

And a wide and transectoral calling on the 1st World Health Forum, to be performed in the first semester of 2004 in Porto Alegre also;

That all individuals and governmental or non governmental organizations who and which agree with the principles and guidelines proposed on this document gather to the invitation for our meetings in 2003 and 2004, as well as in the proposed initiatives;

That we organize a continental protest against the transformation of health in a purchased good, with all workers from public services who work under the contribution regimens, stopping all the charging of their care for one day, while those where there is no charge that work wearing some sign to show to patients the aim of the demonstration for the right to health.

We propose and we invite you to act on our places of life as citizens of the world, fighting for a society oriented towards social justice and equity, where respect for human dignity goes beyond the wild accumulation of capital. We call on you to reflect about and to act, moved by hope and indignation.
Porto Alegre, January 30th, 2002.


For contacts and manifestation, please write to alames@movinet.com.uy or armandon@portoweb.com.br or joser@sms.prefpoa.com.br