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[afro-nets] Right to Health Petition
- From: Claudio Schuftan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 12:12:33 +0700
Right to Health petition spearheaded by Paul Hunt and Mary Rob-
On the morning of Friday 9th December, we will be launching an
important call for action regarding the human right to health.
The call for action has been endorsed by over 30 former heads of
states and governments from all corners of the world -- we en-
close a copy. This London launch will be hosted by the British
The right to the highest attainable standard of health is not a
"right to be healthy," nor does it mean governments must put in
place expensive health services beyond available public re-
sources. But it does require governments to:
. Promote access to clean water, health care, adequate nutrition
and sanitation without discrimination
. Invest in strong health systems
. Make sure that health care decisions are made accountably and
with public participation
. Support low-income countries in their efforts to bring decent
health to their peoples.
We refuse to accept a state of affairs in which life expectancy
in rich countries approaches 80 years, while in some of the
poorest it is below 40. It is also unacceptable that in some
countries, 100 of every 1,000 children die before their fifth
birthday, while in high-income nations, the mortality rate is
less than 10 deaths per 1,000.
We will not stand by when every day, 30,000 children die of pre-
ventable illness, and every minute, five more women join the 20
million already living with HIV/AIDS, and one more woman dies
while giving birth.
We find it intolerable that more than 1 billion people - one
person in five - lack access to safe water and that only 10 per-
cent of all health research and development spending is directed
at the health problems of 90 percent of the world's population.
We call for systemic changes to build strong health systems:
. Funding of health systems must be increased through predict-
able, sustained and long-term investments, nationally and glob-
. User fees for primary health care must be abolished, financial
barriers to access eliminated, and systems to ensure financial
. Countries, rich and poor, must confront urgently the crisis of
human resources: increase training, ensure that mid-level cadres
of health workers are expanded and empowered, provide adequate
and fair compensation for all health workers, and take measures
to stem the exodus of scarce health workers from the public sec-
. Countries must adopt and implement laws, regulations and poli-
cies to strengthen health systems, improve women's health, and
establish tolerance and respect for women's decisions in all
matters pertaining to their health and well being.
. HIV programs and policies must be oriented to the strengthen-
ing of health systems and to the uncompromising protection of
the health and rights of women and girls.
We call for these priorities to be reflected in poverty reduc-
tion and development strategies:
. Political leaders must recognize the critical importance of
women's health and empowerment, and of health systems to achiev-
ing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
. Countries must endorse the ICPD (International Conference on
Population and Development) target of universal access to repro-
ductive health by 2015 as an additional target to MDG 5.
These commitments are not optional. All people have a right to
We urge governments, as well as international organizations,
civil society groups, private companies, communities and indi-
viduals, to fulfill their responsibilities in ensuring the re-
alization of the fundamental human right to health for all
These action points were developed by participants of "Inno-
vations in Supporting Local Health Systems for Global Women's
Health," a high-level meeting held in Wye River, Maryland (June
2005), and are featured in the "Wye River Call to Action for
Global Women's Health," signed by over 100 leaders from over 30