Joint efforts in support of the right to health and universal public health systems in the territories during World Health Day

On World Health Day, 7 April 2020, a call for raising awareness among the public, associations and institutions on the importance of a health protection plan and the National Health Service, clearly exposed by the structural and governance issues that Covid-19 has raised.

The call comes to us from the Italian network of the People's Health Movement and from the Dico32 Campaign. The Italian mobilization does not act in isolation, but in the scenario of a European mobilization with the unequivocal title: “Our health is not for sale”.

The six points of the network: The joint action of European civil society in the field of public health is structured around a platform based on six main points:

- A universal health service based on health as a fundamental human right and not as a land of profit. Never before has it become clear that only by ensuring universal access to health services can the health of the community be protected, and contagion slowed down.

- The logic of the market is bad for health: while the national health systems were dismantled and broken into pieces in Europe due to spending cuts and reduced investments, the private healthcare industry and the so-called "white economy" of health insurance have flourished. These certainly do not protect against pandemics, but force citizens to pay out of pocket. Never before has the strategic centrality of a public health service to respond to health problems become more evident than today. A health service which is able to do prevention, guarantee essential services and operate in a coordinated way on the territory. The logic of profit is not good for health!

- No to spending and staff cuts in the health field. The decisions on the reduction of the so-called health ‘costs’, but which actually represent investments, have generated the inadequacy of health structures in managing the Covid-19 epidemic, both for the lack of adequate beds and equipment, and strong under-staffing of health personnel. The Covid-19 emergency is also demonstrating that an effective health system must be national, both in terms of governance and technical regulations. Any form of regionalism in healthcare has proven to be chaotic and inefficient. Therefore, we need to work on health devolution and stop legislation aimed at introducing new forms of differentiated autonomy.

- An integrated system of treatment and proximity in which health is promoted with preventive interventions that reduce the need for treatment to a minimum. In order to respond to the health needs of individuals, there is a need for a network of action on the ground, a community of action capable of putting resources into circulation, in which the various services and multiple professions are integrated and in dialogue.

- Participation as a key tool to promote the centrality of people and communities and to generate policies of social transformation that produce health and well-being. The pandemic puts at risk above all the health of those living in disadvantaged conditions (elderly, disabled, poor, migrants, marginalized). It is therefore essential to build a social fabric of cooperation, mutual aid and participation in order to prevent the spread of the disease and for adequate health and social management after the pandemic.

- A public policy for health promotion with the consideration of social justice, equity, non-discrimination, and taking into account the environmental sustainability. The SARS-CoV2 pandemic shows that every person is at risk and can pose risk to others. But it also shows that we are not all exposed in the same way, i.e. we do not have the same possibilities to protect ourselves from the virus. The same social distancing risks being a public health measure that not everyone can afford. Moreover, the Covid-19 crisis has made it clear that human health is at one with environmental health, the well-being of the planet. Protecting the earth is a fundamental condition for taking care of our health, and therefore our life.

The White Sheet initiative:

This is why "lockdown initiatives" will be organised throughout Europe on April 7, on the occasion of the European day against the commercialisation of health. We are called upon to take collective action. How? By participating in the White Sheet Initiative. We spread our message for health as a common good, displaying it on our doorstep or in the entrance of condominiums. Unable to go outside?  Then let's hang a sheet on balconies, to relaunch solidarity and say that our health is not for sale, that we want public health, that health is a right and not a commodity to be put on sale for profit or speculation.

- What does Covid19 teach us? We display our messages on a white banner or on a billboard to be placed in a visible place (balcony, atrium of the building, front door...);

- Let's take a picture, with our health messages;

- Let's share our sheets and social messages with the hashtag #health4all and #healthforall and on the interactive map

To know more about the initiative and network, more contacts and information below:

Europe

- People's Health Movement Europe - https://phmovement.org/ - ana@phmovement.org, chiara@phmovement.org – Tel. +39 328 7554698

- European network against privatisation and commercialisation of health and social protection - http://europe-health-network.net/ - Tel. +32499 42 44 48 - europeanhealthnetwork@gmail.com

EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN DOCUMENTS

- 16 March 2020 Investing in health for all “spread solidarity, not the virus”

- 23 March 2020 Medicines for the people, not for the profit!

- 30 March 2020 Investing in health, today and tomorrow

- 03 April 2020 Commercialization is seriously harming our health

- 05 April 2020 On April 7, 2020, World Health Day, spread European solidarity for a universal public health policy! (Co-signed by 160 organizations)

PEOPLE'S HEALTH MOVEMENT DOCUMENTS

Page collecting the positions of the movement on the Covid-19 pandemic in the various countries: https://phmovement.org/coronavirus-statements-and-responses-from-phm/

This post has been taken and translated into English from an extract of la Repubblica’s article “Health, the knots of a world that is badly globalized, unequal and with an unprepared accumulation of capital” (“Salute, sono al pettine i nodi di un mondo malamente globalizzato, disuguale e con l'accumulo scriteriato di capitali”), on 3 April 2020 and written by Nicoletta Dentico.

For more information, please contact Nicoletta Dentico at: ndentico@sidint.org.