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Fourth World Eye Blog

Global Health Promotion

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The world is in the midst of a multiplicity of crisis, above all a `crisis of ideas.` We need a paradigmatic shift, an overall economic change, Dr. Sara Cook, Director, UN Research Institute for Social Development strongly emphasized in today`s opening keynote address at the 20th triennial World Conference of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE).

There are more than 1000 delegates from around the world sharing ideas and discussing important issues about health and life quality for the next four days in Geneva, 'the capital of health.' Contrary to the dominant neoliberal market model and its focus on economic growth voices that call for an alternative development agenda can be heared. A model that integrates social factors and is based on concepts such as equity and environmental sustainability.

Paul Hunt (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health 2002-2008) in his keynote address analyses the pressing questions in global health from the legal perspective. Mr Hunt reminds the audience that the right to health in many countries still is the best kept secret even though it is legally binding as part of international law. One of the core obligations of governments is to achieve the highest attainable standard of health for all people. However there are `deep pockets of poverty in seas of plenty.` These are the disadvantaged individuals or e.g. indigenous groups in all regions of the world. Issues of neglected diseases mainly affecting these neglected people, Mr Hunt stresses, demand an integrative health system that involves the communities and focuses on a vertical approach. The human right to health has to be used as a tool to hold governments and other (inter)national actors as well as the private sector accountable. It is not an ethical imperative it is about human rights concerning all of us committed to social justice.

One Comment

  1. Traditional medicine of indigenous peoples faces some of the same obstacles as what is sometimes described as alternative healing or holistic treatments. Here in the United States, people on public health insurance plans can access emergency surgeries costing tens of thousands of dollars, yet are denied access to preventive medicine costing mere hundreds. Even when advanced physicians open to these methods of maintaining health prescribe these treatments, patients are left to their own devices to pay for them. As you say, something is clearly wrong.

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