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Activists urge unity and solidarity in the struggle for women's health and lives

The discussions at the 5th People's Health Assembly (PHA 5) in Mar del Plata, Argentina, have highlighted the profound role of women in the fight for health, peace, and gender justice. Zeina Mohanna, representing Amel International, underscored the extraordinary burdens women bear due to the war in Palestine and southern Lebanon. Their resilience not only contributes to resistance and love but also embodies the broader struggle for a peaceful and just world, Mohanna said.

The Assembly highlighted the connection between the fight for peace and the pursuit of equitable health systems that address gender injustices. Health workers and activists like Camila Giugliani brought attention to the significance of reproductive health services and the battle against obstetric violence in Brazil, emphasizing the importance of these efforts beyond Latin America.

Sarojini Nadimpally, coordinator of the People's Health Movement (PHM) Health for All campaign, reminded the Assembly that women's health extends far beyond the confines of medical services to encompass fundamental human rights, including the right to life under dignified conditions. This perspective challenges patriarchal structures that affect health and highlights the intersectionality of these issues.

The growing epidemic of femicides, as highlighted by activists Debora Tajer and Marta Montero, signals a public health crisis stemming from systemic failures to protect women. This alarming trend underscores the urgent need for comprehensive action to safeguard women's health and lives. Remembering over 4,000 girls killed by femicide in Argentina, including Montero's daughter Lucía Pérez Montero, the activists urged the Assembly to persist in its fight for justice and against violence. 

Despite the dangers posed by right-wing governments and their supporters, the Assembly's message was one of hope and resilience. The collective chant endorsed by the Assembly, "Latin America will be all feminist," echoes a belief in the transformative power of unity and feminism.

The emphasis on unity and solidarity as essential components of the struggle for gender justice was a key takeaway from the PHA 5. The Assembly not only recognized the critical role women play across various movements but also called for further empowerment through knowledge and tools to strengthen their positions in these movements. The discussions at the Assembly serve as a reminder of the enduring strength and importance of women in the fight for health, peace, and gender justice, advocating for a world where such ideals can be fully realized.