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AFRO-NETS> Place People Before Profits and Power (2)

  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> Place People Before Profits and Power (2)
  • From: "Andrew N. Kuznetsov" <irc@nets.kz>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 02:28:52 -0500 (EST)

Place People Before Profits and Power (2)

Dear Afro-Netters!
Recently (Sat, 23 Nov 2002) Claudio Schuftan wrote the following:

>"We believe that access to essential services, such as health, energy
>and water, are basic human rights and should not be subject to priva-
>tisation and profit, thus falling outside public control. The priva-
>tisation of such services and needs only serves to widen the gap be-
>tween the rich and the poor, to increase the gender gap and to impact
>unfairly on women and girls who are the first to lose education and
>health services when user fees are introduced. Privatisation ignores
>the question of people's ownership and control of resources, while
>benefiting big capital.
>We call on the EU and SADC Governments to:
>- stop using privatisation as a pre-requisite for granting develop-
> ment assistance and access to trade, especially as applied to the
> conditionalities imposed through the activities of the IFI's and the
> WTO;
>- ensure that any implementation of Public-Private Partnerships
> (PPPs) remains under public control and ownership, and ensures access
> to affordable services by the people;
>- stop using development funds to promote private sector delivery of
> services;
>- commit to pursuing, with the full involvement of civil society,
> comprehensive economic and social impact assessments prior to the im-
> plementation of any privatisation initiative;
>- explore alternative strategies to upgrade public services, includ-
> ing gender budgeting, while keeping them under public control that is
> accountable and transparent;
>- scrap failed cost-recovery policies on basic services and implement
> cross-subsidisation and budget subsidies;
>- recognise that privileged elites, companies and countries are driv-
> ing and benefiting from privatisation."

I, as well as many of my colleagues in Kazakhstan, certainly part his
point of view and I hope that the EU and SADC Governments will listen
to his references. In conditions of paid medical services one of the
fundamental laws stipulated by clause 3 of the Declaration on human
rights, the right on life is broken. We in Kazakhstan have bitter ex-
perience in this respect, when there was "optimization" of public
health services (under aegis of WHO) which meant actually disorder of
the state system of health protection, a privatization of socially
significant establishments and deprivation of deprived layers of the
population of a free-of-charge and qualitative medical care.

As the physician who had an opportunity to work at both systems of
the organization of public health services, I declare: the socialist
system of protection of public health provided the most complete ac-
cess of citizens to a qualitative medical care, including last
achievements of a science while the borrowed system offered today is
reduced to a simple postulate "there is no money - there is no life".

I any more do not speak about complete absence of a preventive orien-
tation in this system. In this connection physicians of Kazakhstan
have serious claims to a management of WHO which practically imposes
(using financial pressure upon the government) under a kind of ad-
vanced achievements the references frequently presenting yesterday
(including our own), containing enough dangerous references (for ex-
ample, the program of treatment of children's acute respiratory in-
fections in domestic conditions). Many programs as the control of tu-
berculosis (DOTS-therapy) have shown already the incompetence, having
destroyed thus the existing effective and approved systems. Principal
cause of the present problem that WHO is focused first of all on
opinion of the American scientists that is based on a myth that the
American system of public health services is the most advanced in the
world as recent discussion with participation of doctors Arun Chock-
alingam and Franclin White on PROCOR has shown. While in my opinion,
for the country occupying 3rd place on a level of economic develop-
ment (and some believe that the first one) to occupy 26th place on a
level of a children's mortality, having outstripped many less devel-
oped countries, is a shame.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew N. Kuznetsov, PhD
Independent Research Ecological, Medical & Biological Center
Almaty, Kazakhstan

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