The People’s Charter for Health is a statement of the shared vision, goals, principles and calls for action that unite all the members of the PHM coalition. It is most widely endorsed consensus document on health since the Alma Ata Declaration
The People’s Health Charter was formulated and endorsed by the participants of the First People’s Health Assembly held at Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2000.
In 1978, at the Alma-Ata Conference, ministers from 134 countries in association with WHO and UNICEF called for ‘Health for All by the Year 2000’ and selected Primary Health Care as the best tool to achieve it.
Unfortunately, that dream never came true. The health status of Third World populations has not improved. In many cases it has deteriorated further. Currently, we are facing a global health crisis, characterised by growing inequalities within and between countries. New threats to health are continually emerging. This is compounded by negative forces of globalisation which prevent the equitable distribution of resources necessary for people’s health, particularly the poor.
Within the health sector, failure to implement the principles of primary health, care as set out in the Alma-Ata declaration, has significantly aggravated the global health crisis. Governments and the international community are fully responsible for this failure.
It is now essential to build a concerted international effort to put the goal of Health for All in its rightful place on the development agenda. Genuine, people-centred initiatives must be strengthened to increase pressure on decision makers, governments and the private sector to ensure that the vision of Alma-Ata becomes a reality.
Several international organisations and civil society movements, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and women’s groups decided to work together towards this objective. This group, together with others committed to the principles of primary health care and people’s perspectives organised the People’s Health Assembly, which took place form 4-8 December 2000 in Bangladesh, at Savar, on the campus of Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK – People’s Health Centre).
1453 participants from 92 countries came to Assembly which was the culmination of 18 months of preparatory action around the globe. The preparatory process elicited unprecedented enthusiasm and participation of a broad cross section of people who have been involved in thousands of village meetings, district level workshops and national gatherings.
At the Assembly, they reviewed their problems and difficulties, shared their experiences and plans, and formulated and endorsed the People’s Charter for Health. The Charter is now the common tool of a worldwide citizen’s movement committed to making the Alma-Ata dream a reality. We encourage and invite everyone who shares our concerns and aims to join us by endorsing the Charter.