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PHM 2022 Annual Report

Dedicated to the people and communities around the world who struggle for Health For All, PHM launches its 2022 Annual Report

The People’s Health Movement (PHM) publishes an annual report on the activities of its country circles, regions, global programmes, thematic circles and network members. The annual report 2022 refers to the PHM’s main activities in the context of the continuingly difficult Covid-19 pandemic period. It shows the commitment to Health for All and the Right to Health by a movement that learned to adapt its performance to the new sanitary situation resulting from convergent socio-economic, environmental, war and conflict crises, especially affecting the working classes and gendered and racialised people across the world particularly in the Global South. The annual report 2022 includes the campaigns on Health for All and Health Rights at the region, country and global levels, the work of global programmes and thematic circles and the persistence of PHM in the context of the convergent crises in which PHM activists develop their struggles for health.

Download the PHM 2022 Annual Report

In 2022, a diversity of campaigns related to the social determinants of health and to the achievement of the right to health flourished all over the world, especially in the Global South. One of the most outstanding was the campaign on the transformation and decolonisation of health systems, involving PHM country circles from different regions and other partner organisations. The struggle against the privatisation and commercialisation of public services and for the transformation of health systems after the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic became the most important challenge to PHM’s goal to achieve universal and equitable access to comprehensive health care services. 

This struggle included a new emphasis on decolonising international health policies, technology production and distribution and health knowledge and practices, all from a perspective of sanitary sovereignty. At the base of the decolonisation of health is the intention to shift power narratives and the restoration of indigenous knowledges to reflect, engage in dialogue and push toward the movement’s goals. The strengthening of Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) through intersectoral action and community participation was at the centre of the discussion and mobilisation as modes to transform health systems   by tackling the social determinants of health, promoting multi- and interculturality and  fighting against the privatisation and commercialisation of  Primary Health Care (PHC) policies, programmes and services.

Beside the struggle to strengthen and decolonise health systems, the PHM developed other important campaigns. Many activities were organised on topics such as confronting old and new forms of colonialism in ‘development’, addressing the geopolitical and economic drivers of pandemics in the Global South and the local production of essential health technologies for equity and self-determination.  Struggles related to equitable access to health technologies, treatments, diagnosis and vaccines for people in the Global South in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and the necessary transformation of global trade and health regulations remained a focus. Food sovereignty, the defence of native seeds and the promotion of agroecology against the use of pesticides was highlighted in many regions and countries. The struggles against extractive economic activities and climate change and for the health of territories and the earth were paramount.  The quest for gender justice and health through campaigns on International Women´s Day, the International Day of Action on Women´s Health and International Safe Abortion Day and addressing the exacerbation of  gendered inequities during the Covid-19 pandemic  was  of central importance at the region and country levels. The defence and the strengthening of ancestral knowledge and practices was at the centre of the PHM’s activities in many regions, especially Latin America and Africa. New emphases on supporting the struggles of health workers for their rights, the improvement of their conditions of employment, working conditions and social protection, together with an acknowledgment of community workforce rights grew from the pandemic. The PHM continued to be committed to the rejection of war and conflict and the defence of human rights globally, particularly in the context of the ongoing war against Ukraine, the occupation of Palestine, the war in Tigray and other violent conflicts and authoritarian governments, all of which affect health workers and communities. Examples of activities that illustrate these commitments are the launch of the online gallery ‘Health Workers Under Attack’ and webinars entitled ‘Repression of Women Health Workers in Conflict Regions’ and ‘Healthcare in war-torn Tigray: Targeted or Collaterally Attacked?’  

A new impetus on watching World Health Organization (WHO) meetings emerged with the return of the face-to-face Watchers training process and detailed commentaries covering all items on the agenda of the WHO’s Executive Board (EB150) and the World Health Assembly (WHA75), despite the increasing limitations for civil society participation at these forums. This obliged the PHM to discuss and put into practice new strategies to strengthen progressive governments and health activist participation by working from below at the region and country levels. Several expressions of solidarity with people suffering the impact of convergent sanitary, economic, climate, war and humanitarian crises were developed in different regions and countries. Similarly, after three years of work, the sixth edition of Global Health Watch (GHW6), the PHM’s flagship report, was published and disseminated in more than 14 countries, along with the popularisation of its content through seven podcasts.

The growth of the movement has been the result of the implementation of concrete actions or campaigns at the local, country, regional and global levels. The struggles for health have been developed within a process of strengthening the PHM’s organisation through the reactivation and creation of several PHM country circles, a significant scaling up of the work the circles have been doing, the adhesion of new health activists, the improvement of regional and global programme coordination, the expansion, coordination and representativeness of thematic circles, the creation of new regional thematic circles, the establishment of new platforms and alliances, the development of health activists’ capacities, the creation, improvement and re-launching of the PHM’s communication capacities on several health issues, the improvement of multilingual communication inside and outside the PHM and the building of other health activists’ capacities through the International People’s Health University (IPHU) courses. 

In the year 2022, the PHM Steering Council made two crucial decisions that will guide and shape the PHM horizon: first, the Fifth People's Health Assembly (PHA5) is to be hosted by the city of Cali, in Colombia, in December 2023; second, the People's Health Tribunal (PHT) will be launched at the assembly. Under the label ‘Health for All in a ‘post-pandemic’ world: Challenges and Strategies for Health Movements’, the PHA5 will articulate a common political assessment and strategies to ground the movement’s work in the aftermath of Covid-19. The aim is to strengthen the movement towards health equity, gender and social justice, solidarity and buen vivir (collective well-being), based on diverse experiences over the past five years. The goal is to shape strategies and build solidarity by promoting transparency, accountability, inclusion and participation, particularly of marginalised communities and from Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC)/the Global South.
The People's Health Tribunal will serve to expose the role that giant corporations play in creating ill-health, erecting barriers to decent health care and fostering policies and practices which destroy our shared well-being, ecological harmony and the social and material rights of current and future generations (buen vivir).  The ideas, norms, systems and structures that privilege corporate power over the well-being of people and planet will be contested by a programme of documentation, analysis and action to realise, secure and guarantee people’s right to health against the depredations of transnational corporations and the governments and international agencies that protect them. 

These developments are the result of the commitment of PHM members who are passionate about the PHM’s beliefs, values and aspirations and a relentless practice in the struggles for health and the right to health. This annual report for 2022 is the effort of many PHM activists, region coordinators, global programme representatives and global secretariat members. Thanks to them for their hard work and commitment.

Download the PHM 2022 Annual Report