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PHA5: Health for All in a “post-pandemic” world

Challenges and strategies for health movements: The People's Health Assembly (PHA) is a global gathering of health activists and organizations committed to advancing health as a fundamental human right. The first PHA was held in the year 2000 in Savar, Bangladesh. Subsequently, PHAs were held in Cape Town, South Africa (2013), Cuenca, Ecuador, (2005) and Savar, Bangladesh (2018). Over the years, the Assemblies were attended by around 1500-2000 people from 70 countries.

PHA5 aims to build solidarity and resistance against the interconnected factors that undermine the right to health. The Assembly provides an opportunity to build capacity for action, critical analysis, and research for social mobilizations and progressive campaigns. It encourages collective action and solidarity by working alongside other rights-affirming social movements and regional circles of PHM. PHA 5 offers an occasion to understand the political economy of health, amplify voices, and build global solidarity.

The Assembly will be held in Cali, Colombia, from 4-8 December 2023. 

About Cali:

Cali, also known as Santiago de Cali, is a city located in the southwestern region of Colombia. With more than 2.5 million inhabitants, it is the third largest economy and the third most populated city in Colombia. Founded in 1536, it is one of the oldest cities in the Americas.
Known as the "salsa capital of the world," Cali has a vibrant and lively culture, with a rich history of social movements. The ancestral knowledge of indigenous people has been the bedrock of movements in Cali and beyond. The city has been home to various grassroots organizations, and protests, particularly during the 20th century. These movements have been a significant force in shaping the city's culture and history, fighting for issues such as workers' rights, land reform, and gender equality. Cali's strong culture of social movements has led to a politically engaged population, with a passion for activism and advocacy. Today, Cali remains a city with a proud history of resistance and social justice movements, making it a hub for political and social activism in Colombia.

The broad themes of the Assembly are the following: 

Towards transformation of health systems 

PHM believes in a holistic approach to healthcare that recognizes social and commercial determinants of health and promotes community-based healthcare services. At PHA5, we seek to address the unequal distribution of healthcare resources by supporting public and community-led healthcare systems that prioritize the needs of the marginalized. 

Gender health justice

Gender and intersectional justice are imperative to achieving the goal of health for all. The recent pandemic has further visualized gendered discrimination and its impact on people’s health and lives. Women, girls and gender non-conforming/gender diverse persons experienced deepened inequities in access to COVID-19 health information, care, therapeutic products and services. PHA5 aims to frame more emphatically our understanding, analysis, actions, and struggles with regard to the crisis of the political economy of health through the lens of gender and its intersections with race, caste, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, occupation, geography, etc.

Ecosystem health: food, energy, climate 

Climate change is a public health crisis. PHA5 will offer a space to learn about the immediate effects of extractivist exploitation on communities and share experiences of struggle against it. We will focus on the inter-relation between the climate crisis and changes in agriculture and fishing, with a specific focus on the experience of groups that are paving the way for climate justice. We will also discuss alternative food systems based on agroecology, social justice and food sovereignty, emphasizing the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods.

Resisting forced migration and war

This axis recognizes the interconnected factors leading to forced migration and displacement, such as war, authoritarianism, economic insecurity, and climate change. It advocates for building international solidarity with migrant and refugee communities, expanding health services for them, and resisting discriminatory and punitive practices.

Promoting ancestral and popular knowledge

The right to health is not only the right to medical attention and health is not the same as medicine. Health refers to good living, tasty living, and other expressions of the people. It is about strengthening capacities of people and communities to demand their rights related to health, care for nature and the environment and focus on overall well-being. The ancestral knowledge needs to be recognized and strengthened to overcome the hegemonic conception of health based on disease that leads to fragmentation, homogenization and expropriation of bodies and territories, which is functional to pharmaceutical corporations and the prevailing global economic order. 

People’s Health Tribunal (PHT):

At PHA5, PHM will also launch an ambitious project called the People’s Health Tribunal (PHT). The transnational corporations have immense power over local, national and international policies, and they need to be held accountable for their work and violations of human rights. The PHT of PHM aims to expose  the role that giant corporations play in creating ill-health by erecting barriers to decent health care. They foster policies and practices which destroy our shared wellbeing, ecological harmony, and the social and material rights of current and future generations. The PHT will document and analyze cases of violations against the right to health. It will build the capacity of health activists worldwide to hold TNCs accountable in their local contexts. More information on the PHT can be found here.

Join the 5th People’s Health Assembly!

Join us in the fight for health justice! We need your support to make our vision of Health for All a reality. 

  1. Get involved with PHM: Join your local PHM circle. Attend meetings, participate in campaigns, and help us spread the word about health justice. Contact us at ADD EMAIL ADDRESS to be in touch with your regional or country representative 
  2. Organize pre-PHA meetings at local level: Write to your elected representatives, hold protests and rallies, and use social media to raise awareness about the health inequalities in your community and around the world.
  3. Register do attend the PHA 5: The registration form will be available on PHM website in the coming days. Keep checking this page for latest updates:

Together, we can build a more caring world where Health for All is reality. Join us in the struggle for health justice!

Are you a potential donor?

We believe that the objectives of PHA5 are critical for advancing health and human rights worldwide. To make this assembly a success, we are seeking support from individuals and organizations who share our vision. If you or your organization are interested in supporting this important event, please contact us to discuss how you can help. 

Contact: [email protected]

For updated information regarding registration and other developments, refer to the link here: