European Social Forum

Another Health Care System is possible

The "Health and Neoliberalism" seminar, held in November 7th, in Florence, within the initiatives of the European Social Forum, has resulted in the following document which we submit to all the European Social Movements.

Health is a fundamental and universal right which belongs to everyone and must be free of any economic charge.

Neoliberalism has determined - with differences in the various nations, but following a unique trend - the progressive denial of this right in accordance with the IMF politics and GATS agreements.

Such denial is an integrant part of the process which is trying to dismantle the welfare state and to destroy the National Health Systems This is clearly demonstrated by the dismantling of all the conditions which promote health (equitable salaries, housing rights, pensions� and so on) and by the destruction of the independent scientific research working for the public good. Clear examples of this process are the imposition of budget restrictions for the public structures and the increasing role of the private health sector.

For health care users this essentially means a radical lowering in the quality of the assistance, and for health workers an increase in the load of work, with a total denial of the dignity of the workers themselves.

Reacting to this state of things necessarily implies:

  • to defend public health systems, which must be universal and free for everybody, including the migrants, and to answer to users� needs and desires;
  • to reaffirm these basic principles: health prevention and promotion, the respect of human dignity in health care and the guarantee of the treatment at the rehabilitation stage;
  • to watch over the disease treatment in order to avoid the logic of profit and the control of the pharmaceutical corporations;
  • to reduce the exposure of common people and workers to pollution (to the classic one, as in the case of amianthus, and to the new one due, for example, to the electromagnetic installations);
  • to fight against monopolistic patents on human genome which generate only excessive profits for pharmaceutical corporations and prelude to a hyper-technological medicine for few rich people, aimed at the production and the diffusion of genomic-based drugs and of diagnostic kits which could be used to discriminate and select the users on genetic basis.

We don't want to play a role of mere resistance; we want to amplify and extend the national struggles of health workers and health-defense Associations and to propose the creation of a European network as an opportunity of analysis, discussion, confrontation of ideas and experiences, aimed at supporting the projects of international solidarity as those now active in Palestine.

We are planning a new kind of national health system, not dominated by the interests of industry and market, and aware that health is possible only through a more general social and political struggle.

The next European appointment aimed at building up a real alternative is on February 15th 2003, in Paris.

Associazione Italiana Esposti Amianto
ATTAC Germania
ATTAC Italia Commissione Ambiente e Salute
COBAS Sanita Italia
Collectif Travail Saut? Mondialisation G?neve
Coordinamento Salute Grecia
CUB/RdB Italia
FADSP (Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa de la Sanidad Publico) Spagna
Forum per la difesa della salute - Lombardia
IAC (Intersindacal Alternativa de Catalunya)
Medicina Democratica - Movimento di lotta per la salute
La Comisión de Salud-Antiglobalización de Madrid