The right of the people to health and the rights of health workers

Concern No. 12. Theme: “Struggle for Health within the Framework of the People’s Struggle to Build a New World Against Imperialism”

The crisis of the world capitalist system is continuously worsening. The US is experiencing a grave economic and financial crisis which is seriously affecting the world economy. Other imperialist countries are following suit. Underdeveloped countries have been in constant socio-economic crisis since their economies were plundered by the world capitalist system. This current global crisis, which is extremely grave and deep-going, is expected to cause more economic and social ruin in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

 

Deteriorating living conditions are detrimental to people’s health. Rising food prices, due to monopoly control of TNCs on its production and market increases the deprivation of millions of people of the most basic nutrition, thus sowing disease and death. Unemployment and worsening labor conditions impoverish the workers and peasants all over the world making it impossible for them to ensure their families a healthy life.

Imperialist globalization through agreements such as Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) promote the commercialization of basic services and divest the people of the much needed social services including health care. Medicines are discovered for diseases, but millions have died because of lack of affordable, accessible, necessary & essential drugs.

Through privatization health become business for profit and no longer service for the people, depriving the people of much needed health services. Governments in developed and underdeveloped countries reduced their budget for health. Diverting much-needed financial resources away from health and other basic needs have caused deterioration of people’s health situation worldwide. Cases of malnutrition increased, resurgence of infectious diseases were noted in underdeveloped countries.

Due to economic and political crises, hundreds and thousands of health workers from India, Philippines, Tanzania, Indonesia, and other underdeveloped countries are forced to migrate to developed countries leaving behind understaffed hospitals and health facilities. Many have become victims of illegal recruitment and exploitative working conditions. In many cases, the qualifications of professionals trained in country’s such as these are not recognized by imperialist states, but nonetheless, their skills are taken advantage of in related sectors for much lower wages and class status.

During these times of crises, only a few are amassing humongous wealth as they accumulate the fruits of labor of the working class. Multinational companies that are still expanding their monopoly power are increasingly dominating the markets. The competition between the centers of capitalism is sharpening. Also contradictions between the rich and the poor as well as those between the industrialized and the underdeveloped countries are increasing. For those in power, war is the only solution to continue the exploitation and oppression.

The United States is trying to enforce global hegemony, through its “War on Terror” at a terrifying cost on the people health. US imperialist and their allies waste precious resources in their so-called “War on Terror”, military intervention and occupation at the expense of health and other basic social services. U.S. aggression of Iraq, Afghanistan and proxy war in Palestine has massacred millions of civilians and destroyed office buildings, schools, marketplaces and social infrastructure, including hospitals, water and power systems that are vital to public health.

Under the auspices of US imperialism, other imperialist powers and puppet regimes in the world continue to use the slogan of anti-terrorism in order to suppress the people who fight for national liberation and democracy. They engage in wars of aggression, destroy groups and organizations, and persecute leaders that take anti-imperialist position. The imperialist power uses a whole range of economic, political and military strategies to dominate the world).

The peoples of the world are not taking this sitting down. They are courageously resisting and waging struggles to defend their rights. Some countries have stood up against imperialist domination asserting their sovereignty. In other countries social movements are uniting the basic masses with the middle classes, including health professionals, to fight for freedom and democracy.

The struggle for health as a basic human right requires the struggle for social change, the struggle for food, shelter, education, land, employment, equality, and just peace. The full protection of health workers can only be attained if fundamental social change is achieved.

We, members of the health sector must go beyond fulfilling our humanitarian tasks. Together with the peoples of the world, we must unite further against US as the No. 1 exploiter and terrorist in the world. Solidarity should be strengthened to carry forward the struggle against imperialism and local reaction in order to realize national liberation, democracy and justice.

With this, we hereby agree on the following resolutions:

  1. Fight for health as a basic human right. Struggle for affordable and accessible quality health care for all! Health is not a commodity for trade. Junk TRIPS & GATS! WTO out of health!

  2. Make governments accountable whenever they abandon their responsibility for peoples’ health. Governments must focus their budget on social services & social programs.

    • Prioritize health in the budget. No to re-channeling of government budgets for debt service and militarization.
    • Fight privatization of health care.
    • Stop corruption!
  3. Promote the rights & welfare of all health workers.

    • Stop mass lay-off and contractualization of health workers.
    • Just wages, benefits, safe working conditions and security of tenure for all health workers.
    • Recognition of imperialist states of the credentials of foreign-trained professionals.
  4. Resist imperialist wars.End wars of aggression that contribute or aggravate ill health and economic displacement.
    • End wars of aggression that contribute or aggravate ill health and economic displacement
    • Stop food, economic and medical blockades and sanctions that cause widespread malnutrition and illnesses.
    • Oppose the destruction of infrastructures that are vital to health.
  5. Struggle for safe, affordable, necessary & essential medicines for the people. Put an end to drug monopoly.

  6. Oppose unjust & exploitative bilateral & multi-lateral trade agreements (i.e. TRIPS, AoA, GATS, JPEPA, NAFTA). Expose and resist commodification of health workers.

  7. Encourage international cooperation among members of the health sector, health organizations and individuals against imperialist aggression.

  8. Actively participate in people’s mass struggle for freedom and justice

PLANS

  1. Launch/intensify international campaign on the following:
    • Safe, affordable, necessary & essential medicines for the people.
    • WTO out of Health!” No to Wars of Aggression! Fight for People’s Health!
    • “Health Now!” Health workers call for peace and justice.
    • Campaign against exploitative economic trade agreements.
  2. Campaign against the commodification of health workers. Support migrant health workers who are exploited and oppressed.

  3. Support peoples initiative at the grassroots level.

  4. Oppose trade of kidneys and other human body parts that exploit the poor (India, Philippines).

  5. Conduct information & education campaign for deeper understanding & unified stand against imperialist impositions.

  6. Promote international cooperation among members of the health sector. Identify & establish contacts among progressive groups & organizations.

  7. Launch International campaign on the following concerns:

    • Migrant Health Workers – August 2009
    • International Conference – “Struggle for Safe, Affordable, Necessary & Essential Medicines” (November 2009)
  8. Conduct activities to demand governments to desist from implementing anti-people/neoliberal policies.

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