Democratising Global Health

Democratising Global HealthLast month we posted a blog, Chance to Engage with France, to introduce a series of excellent articles, France: nation and world,  that were published in The Lancet in May 2016. Aside from appreciating the series and its relevance now,  we wrote of our personal connection with France and of our involvement with global health as a French registered NGO. Now, we continue to repost a few of these articles with a title that caught our keen attention: Democratising the global health agenda: why we need France.
Its author, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, is one of the very few at the ‘top’ of global health institutions that fully understands the needs of those at the ‘bottom’, and acts accordingly.

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Democratising the global health agenda: why we need France
By Michel Sidibé

Against a backdrop of crisis—climate change, violent extremism, and the greatest inequalities ever endured by society—the world has committed to Agenda 2030 and its 17 visionary Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Together, they implicitly recognise that health is an essential global good, of which all people must share equitably. Let us seize the momentum generated by the SDGs to set our new global health agenda—with France leading.

The SDGs, interconnected and transformative, represent much of what France has achieved in global health for a long time—inclusive partnerships, working across sectors, addressing inequalities, and empowering communities. Achievement of the health-related targets of the SDGs requires leaders with the skills and credibility to deploy so-called soft power to reach agreements on priorities and strategies. In short, it needs France’s strong focus on solidarity, shared responsibility, and multisectoral cooperation.

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Misunderstanding Poverty

Misunderstanding PovertyPOVERTY REDUCTION AS A GOAL SOUNDS LOVELY, BUT THIS FAIRY TALE VISION OF DEVELOPMENT AND OF HUMAN RIGHTS BETRAYS A SERIOUS MISUNDERSTANDING OF POVERTY.” (Jason Hickel)

Food for a misunderstood thought
Human Rights Reader 417

-An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics. (Plutarch, ancient Greek biographer, 46–120 CE)
-Be reminded that poverty, as such, is now classified as a human rights violation. (Francine Mestrum, CETIM)
Poverty is part of the system, not an event! (Seth Godin)
-What if the problem of poverty is that it is profitable to other people…? (Matthew Desmond)

When people rendered poor know their rights and can act on this knowledge, long-term change becomes more likely (A. Campolina)

There are people so poor that they only have money… (Albino Gomez)

  1. Poverty does not just exist out there, as if it were a natural phenomenon; rather, it is actively produced through the processes of marginalization, dispossession, and exploitation that allow for the accumulation of wealth elsewhere. In other words, there is an intimate relationship between wealth and impoverishment: As is, the flipside of development is the deprivation suffered by a sizeable chunk of the marginalized majority. Development models that fail to challenge the structure of wealth accumulation will only continue to reproduce the problem they seek to address.2. The ‘one percenters’ are going to have to feel the pinch –there is no way around it. The approach to reducing poverty and hunger as key human rights (HR) violations requires much more than just a bit of foreign aid here and there. It will require challenging particular political and economic interests. Indeed, this seems to be precisely why the world’s governments and international institutions are so eager to promote the ‘good-news’ of poverty-already-having-been-reduced. If they were to use more accurate measures of poverty and hunger, it would become clear that, to really eradicate these problems, we need to change the rules of the global economy, to make it fairer for the world’s majority. (J. Hickel)

    3. So, let us be clear: As much as those who have been rendered poor are made invisible –they are not forgotten or left aside; they are just not seen. (Michel Harrington) This is why the SDGs’ ‘Leave No One Behind’ motto is one more empty slogan. Hiding poverty leads to perpetuating it. A dignified life comes from having work. Therefore, to stop investing in people in the name of greater profits elsewhere is a disaster for society.(i) (Albino Gomez)

(i): Keep in mind: Like many other civilizations before, ours surely has a date in which it will collapse. (Arturo Perez Revert) The question is how distant that date is. So, “If you happen to see the future, tell him not to come”. (Juan Lose Castelli)

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