DementiaSA has taken a major step in recognising the important role the People’s Health Movement (PHM) in Cape Town plays in achieving health care for all people in every country.

On behalf of DementiaSA, the Executive Director, Karen Meyer-Borochowitz, has signed a statement by PHM which appeals to national governments to review public health systems in various ways to ensure they meet the needs of the population.

Karen joins well over 155 organisations from 45 countries who are signatories, plus more than 265 individuals from 40 countries.

The statement refers to the Astana Declaration on Health Care held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, on October 25 last year, when representatives of UN member countries met to reconfirm their commitment to world health.

Karen points out there is a reference to NCDs (non-communicable diseases)  and the WHO (World Health Organisation) has declared dementia an NCD, yet in South Africa dementia is not recognised as an NCD.

The Astana Declaration regards primary health care (PHC) as a cornerstone of universal health coverage (UHC) , whereas the PHM believes PHC is broader.

The Declaration recognises that it is “ethically, politically, socially and economically unacceptable that inequity in health and disparities in health outcomes persist.”

However, the PHM says “nowhere are the fundamental economic and political causes responsible for this as well as for widening inequalities worldwide explicitly stated.”

The PHM statement continues: “Attaining the highest possible standard of health is a fundamental right of every human being, as stated in the Constitution of the World Health Organisation .

“In 1978, world leaders made the historical commitment to achieve health for all through Primary Health Care in the Declaration of Alma-Ata.

“We express the need for urgent action by all international agencies and governments, all health and development workers, and the world community to protect and promote the health of all the people of the world.”

Included in the PHM statement are the following:

  1. Attainment of the highest possible level of health is a most important worldwide social goal whose realisation is the responsibility of governments and requires the action of many other social and economic sectors in addition to the health sector. People’s health depends on working and living conditions that promote flourishing lives and a healthy and protected environment.
  2. Equitable economic and social development will require rejection of the currently dominant neo-liberal paradigm and establishment of a sustainable and equitable economic order globally and nationally. Among other interventions, regulation of financial flows and of tax havens and evasions are urgently needed.
  3. Effective and accountable global governance for health is required to realise PHC. The statement says this should include means of effective taxation to ensure that all individuals and corporations pay their fair share of taxes to enable the funding of services beneficial to health.