New Book Assists Activists

PHM Book“This book is a source of inspiration for those who are engaged in the struggle for health!  The struggle for health and social justice has a long and proud history that has been driven by diverse social movements involving many individuals and organisations in different contexts. Today, the active role of organised civil society is more necessary than ever. While on average life expectancy and health status are improving globally, the rate of improvement is much slower than what is possible and the growing inequalities in health experienced between and within countries are both unnecessary and unacceptable.” – TWHA
————–

In the past year, I contributed to a book by the People’s Health Movement
(PHM) and Third World Health Aid (TWHA) by participating in the editorial group.

The book is called “Building a movement for health“, and is intended to be an aid in the struggle for health equity, which is the struggle for liberation from
hunger, poverty and unjust socio-economic structures.

*The book is not meant to be a guideline nor a toolkit, but more a source
of inspiration.* The stories illustrated speak about the building of a
people’s health movement – not just any kind of mobilisation for health. It
means that a focus is kept on people’s engagement and people in the
movement having control over the actions.

The book can be used by people who want to know more about the struggle for
health in the world and about the PHM, by activists who seek inspiration
and want to learn from other’s experience, by groups involved in
capacity-building, by students and scholars who research on civil society
engagement in health.

Please help me in letting more people know about this publication, that
can be downloaded for free at this link.

Read more…

End Ivory-Toweritis

Ivory-Toweritis“Ivory-Toweritis is a curable mental illness, but we urgently need to develop a rapid diagnostic test to end the suffering it causes.” – Dr. Fora Rites
—————————————

Is it disrespect or disinterest? Too high-up to exchange with folks from the ‘bottom’?  Too well-paid and too professional to collaborate with unpaid activists and their community based organisations?

Why is there such an enormous barrier between those who make global health policies and those who must live, or die, by their decisions?  Why is there such a gap between their stated goals on “inclusive engagement” and the de-facto exclusion of affected communities from the decision-making processes?

Over the years, we have tried to connect with many public health professionals that make decisions that impact on our health and that of our communities. The aim is always to begin a dialogue on how to turn their noble words, like ‘leaving no one behind’, into realities on the ground through collaboration and cooperation.

Sometimes, we have had responses to our e-mails and start an exchange which is of mutual interest. We’ve established some ongoing relationships and a few direct collaborations, which has shown that working together as real partners is possible even within the top-down world of public health governance.

However, too often we have not had any replies to our correspondence. Too often attempts to establish contact are like a long one-way street that goes nowhere — a dead end. Gentle reminders have proved to be a waste of gentleness. We are not alone in being disempowered and disheartened — many other community activists and NGOs are becoming jaded by public health experts that say “we need to hear the ‘voices’ of the community” yet make it impossible to actually do so in real terms. The hypocrisy of those at the ‘top’ is eating away at the good will of engaged folks at the ‘bottom’, which discourages the local public participation that should be central to efforts to improve health and well-being on the ground.

Read more…