G2H2 Task Group “40 Years of Alma-Ata” (2017-2018)
Background, field of work
Health campaigners worldwide achieved a major breakthrough in 1978, at the UN Alma-Ata Conference on Primary Health Care. This conference statement signalled a new approach to health care, often described as the ‘primary health care approach’ or the ‘Alma-Ata principles’ – deeply rooted in the social and structural determinants of health, and emphasising the importance of accountability to the people. The following are excerpts from the Alma-Ata Declaration:
- The Conference strongly reaffirms that health, which is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is a fundamental human right and that the attainment of the highest possible level of health is a most important world-wide social goal whose realization requires the action of many other social and economic sectors in addition to the health sector.
- The existing gross inequality in the health status of the people, particularly between developed and developing countries as well as within countries, is politically, socially, and economically unacceptable and is, therefore, of common concern to all countries.
- The people have a right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care.
- Primary health care is essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound, and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination.
The AA40 task group hosted by G2H2 planned and implemented a civil society workshop in Geneva in 2018 to commemorate the 40 year jubilee of the Alma-Ata Declaration. The event and the related communication were expeted to:
- critically analyse the state of implementation of the main Alma-Ata Declaration principles (in particular: addressing determinants of health; global solidarity for health equity; accountability to the people, access to comprehensive health care services for all through a system structured around the principles of Comprehensive Primary Health Care);
- renew and promote a broad commitment to the values and the agenda of change expressed by the Declaration (universal access to health)
Outcome of the process
- Documentation: AA40 civil society workshop on 18 May 2018
- Workshop statement “40 Years of Alma-Ata: Translating ‘Health for All’ into the Present and Future”
- Participation in the Technical Briefing “Primary health care is key to achieving universal health coverage and health for all (lead up to 40th Anniversary of Alma Ata and 2019 General Assembly High-level meeting on UHC)” at the 71st World Health Assembly. The task group was represented at this official WHA side event by Gisela Schneider, Difäm.
- Input fed into the preparatory process for the AA40 Jubilee event in Astana, October 2018
AA40 task group
A group of members of G2H2 and other Geneva based and international civil society organizations (AA40 task group) undertook all the steps required for the planning of the event, in particular by reaching out to World Health Organization to see how to align the civil society event with the jubilee events planned by WHO during the 71st World Health Assembly in May 2018 and in Astana, in October 2018.
- Amit Sengupta, People’s Health Movement
- Andreas Wulf, Geneva Global Health Hub / medico international / MMI Network (co-host)
- Ann Lindsay, World Federation of Mental Health (co-lead)
- Manoj Kurian, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, World Council of Churches
- Mareike Haase, Bread for the World
- Mwai Makoka, World Council of Churches (co-host)
- Olaf Hirschmann, Difäm
- Thomas Schwarz, MMI Network (co-lead, AA40 secretariat)
- Thomas Schwarz