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Global health activists rally for justice at the 5th People’s Health Assembly in Argentina

Hundreds of health activists have converged for the 5th People's Health Assembly in Mar del Plata, Argentina, from April 7 to 11. This significant gathering occurs amidst profound political and economic crises affecting both local and global settings.

The inaugural session spotlighted the recent assaults on health rights, notably under the shadow of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip and the challenges posed by the local government, impacting health and education systems' efficacy.

Adrian Alasino, the head of the School of Medicine at Mar del Plata University, emphasized the critical role of public education in providing universal access to essential fields such as medicine. These programs, exemplified by Mar del Plata University, are crucial for nurturing future health experts who are not only proficient in their professions but are also deeply connected to the communities and territories they serve.

However, these invaluable programs are at risk due to cuts by Argentina's new government, threatening thousands of people’s health rights. Despite this political landscape, Argentina's history of resistance against dictatorship and state terrorism underscores its capacity to host the 5th People's Health Assembly effectively. This legacy of struggle was highlighted by contributions from the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo during the Assembly's opening.

Carmen Baez and Marcela Bobatto, key figures in the Assembly's organization, discussed the potential of such gatherings to inspire global activism, fostering international solidarity and cooperation.

This theme of unity was further explored in a dedicated session on health in Palestine, addressing the dire impacts of conflict on health infrastructure and the resilience of the Palestinian spirit of resistance, as voiced by Dr. Mustafa Barghouti: "They won't break us."

Representatives of the People’s Health Movement (PHM) Palestine, participating online due to travel restrictions, urged continued solidarity with Palestine. They called for an immediate ceasefire, denounced attacks on healthcare, and called for an end to the occupation, emphasizing the global community's role in supporting the Palestinian people's rights and holding Israel accountable for its actions.

"Many countries and the free people of the world are standing with the Palestinian people today in their tragedy, and are struggling alongside our people to stop the war and support their right to stop the occupation and hold it accountable for its crimes that are affecting all people with a living conscience; people who refuse to accept such crimes. We call on you today to stand with all these free voices consciences in the world," PHM Palestine stated.

In the face of adversity, the 5th People's Health Assembly stands as a testament to the power of collective action and solidarity, highlighting the urgent need for global cooperation in the pursuit of health justice and human dignity.