Chance to Engage with France?

Chance to learn from FranceThere was an excellent series of articles, France: nation and world, published in The Lancet last year. The series looks at different aspects of the realization of the right to health for its citizens, and the role of France in the realm of global health. As the two founders of the IMAXI Cooperative, neither French by birth, are only alive today due to the excellence of the public health services of France, this Lancet series of papers rang a bell very close to home.

However, over the last 15 years we have witnessed the lack of participation of our comrades from Francophone communities in various global health governance bodies, including UN agencies and programmes. We have also rarely heard from the French government about how its excellent model of public health could be applied to other countries outside its ‘sphere of influence’ in its ex-colonies. Although IMAXI is a French registered NGO, our attempts to connect with the French delegates to discuss its role in global health have not been fruitful.

With the recent election of President Macron, and the anticipated success of his En Marche movement to win a majority in the French parliament next weekend, there is now a possibility that health activists can better engage with the new government in innovative and effective ways to advance our shared values, including realizing the right to health for everyone, everywhere.

Over the next few weeks, we will be re-posting some of the articles from the series in The Lancet. We hope they serve to both inform and to inspire others to join with us in a new ‘working’ group to explore ways in which we can turn this new political reality in France into more health justice for everyone. Contact us for more information.

We begin with the introduction to the series that provides both background and hope.

France: a philosophy for health
by Richard Horton and Audrey Ceschia

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All Aboard Needs Your Opinion

All Aboard Needs Your OpinionSometimes, an opinion can make a difference. This is one of those times.

The human right and principle of participation states that people, particularly those clearly affected (yet usually excluded), must be involved in institutional decisions that have an impact on them, including in the design, development, implementation and monitoring of the programmes that are needed.

When the right to participation is applied to health, with hundreds of millions of people whose lives may depend on these decisions and policies, their views and ‘voices’ must be through a system of representation that is equitable and responsive to their needs.

In global health governance, it appears that those most at risk of being ‘left behind’, are also being left out — excluded from participating in decisions about them. So late last year, the IMAXI Cooperative began a new and needed initiative — All Aboard!

‘All Aboard’ is a two step research and development project that will first assess the state of affected community participation in decision-making bodies within key institutions in global health, including the United Nations (WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women) and two major foundations, the Global Fund and Gates. The second step is to apply this knowledge to the programmatic advance of meaningful participation and accountable representation. First the scientific research, then the evidence-based development.

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