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They Shall See Because Of Us

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AROGYAMATHA UDUMALA HOPITAL
Yeswanthapuram village,
Jangaon 506 167
Warangal,AP India.
 
Report of the cataract operations for the year Jan-DECEMBER2007
 
Arogyamatha Udumala Hospital is a unit of Catechist sisters of St.Ann, which manages charitable institutions. The hospital was established in 1984 to extend medical care to the people in and around Jangaon. The hospital is 50 bedded and it is fully equipped.
 
Dr.Sr.Innamma,MBBS,DGO. and her staff have been offering their service earnestly, focusing on and catering mostly for Obstetric and gynecological cases. During last few years we came to sense another need. It is of people who suffer from eye complaints. After much praying and thinking and with the intention of serving the rural poor who suffer from diminished vision we started eye clinic named Nelson-Curnyn in our Arogyamatha Udumala Hospital two years ago,to be exact on 14 July 2005. We have now necessary equipment for eye examination and fully equipped operation theatre for cataract operation.
 
We would like to present to report of 500 beneficiaries who underwent cataract operation at Arogyamatha Udumala Hospital .
 
Motivation of the patient  
 
We are conducting cataract-screening camps twice in a week on Monday and Saturday with the assistance of  ophthalmic assistant in the following villages of Jangaon Lingalganpur and  Raghunathpally Mandals.
 
Vanaparthy         Pembarhy           Shameerpet
Kadavendi          Dharmakancha   Vadlakonda
Kanchanpally     Devarappala       Lingalganpur
Yellamla            Yeswanthapur     Weavers Colony
Reddipuram       Chariyal              Hanumanthpur
Narimetta          Raghunathpally   Chithur
Macupahad       Nidigonda            Gundlagadda
Patelgudem       Ganugupadu        East Nidigonda
Chitakodur        Chowdaram         Kallem
Nagaram            Navabupet
 
Patients are brought to the hospital after screening for cataract.
They are provided transport facility.
 
Preparation for surgery
Physical examination, lab investigations are done for all patients. If they are fit for cataract surgery we conduct eye examination-Kerotometry, Tonometry, refraction. A-scans to asses the size of the lense . We prepare them for surgery . .The doctors of regional eye hospital  from Warangal come regularly twice a week to conduct cataract operations.Every Sunday and Tuesday they operate ten patients on an average and conduct pre-operative check-up to all the  patients. So far we have had 2010 cataract operations done from the time we started tye eye clinic on July 14,2005.
 
            Cataract list for the year Jan-Oct 2007
 
                            Male-   167
                            Female-301
                            Total-    468
 
Postoperative patients are taken care in hospital. They stay with us on Sunday and they are discharged on Monday. We give them   postoperative medicines free of cost. On discharge we counsel them regarding the precautions to be taken. During postoperative period they come to hospital for check-up at weekly interval.After six weeks we provide them spectacles.
 
Impact of the programme- The senior citizens that are blind, lonely, helpless and living in darkness before surgery are experiencing the fullness of joy after the cataract operation and their faces are radiant with the happiness and gratitude, when they regain their vision back. They join both their hands and pray for their benefactors and they bless you with their simple and humble hearts. They were sad before cataract operations now they are filled with joy. They were in darkness and now they were filled with light and hope.
 
Dear Donors, Dr Deepak, Dr.Shouri, Dr Gregory Nelson,Dr Arnold Curnyn,Dr.Kimberlee, Dr.Bernadet Nazareth,Dr Ranga Nayak,Dr.Allen,Dr.Rajgopal, I appreciate your dedication and hard work towards the less privileged people in the society. You fill their lives with hope and happiness and you give them courage to live with dignity. I thank you sincerely for your generous interest in helping our cataract patients. It is because of you we could run this project successfully. Our hearts are filled with gratitude and love. Further I would like to convey my gratitude on behalf of our patients, some of whom are aged and illiterate and most of them are women. It is really joyful to look at their bright faces after regaining their good eyesight. I wonder how many would have had the joy of seeing again without the free treatment available at our center.
 
Future of the programme –The clinic staff and I have a dream to make our eye clinic one of the best eye care centers for the very poor and needy people. I am sure with Gods blessings, manifested certainly in your kind cooperation and that of people like you, we achieve this goal. We the staff and patients express our gratitude for your generosity and kindness.
 
Thanking you,
Yours sincerely  
 
Dr. Sr.Innamma. 

 

John J. DeGioia: Commencement Speech 2008

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Remarks by John J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University 
Bangalore, India
March 4, 2008

Thank you for that kind introduction. And thank you all for the extraordinary welcome you have given me on my first visit to India. I can certainly understand why local legend says that the founding of Bangalore—when an old woman gave food to a lost and hungry king—is based on an act of hospitality.

I am especially grateful to Fr. Thomas Kalam for his kind invitation to join you today…and it is a privilege to be here with John Galbraith and Archbishop Moras. Georgetown was honored to host all three of these distinguished individuals in January for a strategic planning workshop with leaders from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India—including Cardinal Toppo—and various Catholic partners from across India.

I have no doubt that the discussions we held will eventually lead to innovative projects that will help promote access to quality health care throughout India. We at Georgetown are enthusiastic about the progress made at the workshop, and we look forward to continuing—and deepening—the collaboration we have begun with St. John’s.

Finally, it is a pleasure to be here to help recognize and celebrate the achievements of this year’s graduates of St. John’s Medical College. The commitment to the welfare of others that is inherent in the philosophy and practice of this Medical School reminds me of the remarkable Indian leader—Asoka the Great.

As most of you are aware, more than 2,000 years ago, Asoka—the first ruler of virtually the entire Indian peninsula…whose symbol appears in the center of the Indian flag—was also the very first ruler in world history to preach a radical notion of government: One based on the idea of social compassion and service to humanity. As Asoka noted in one of his most famous Edicts, “I wish that all men should be happy, always.”

With the aim of promoting the welfare of his subjects, Asoka established universities…built numerous hospitals…and was acclaimed for traveling through the rural areas of his Empire to address the needs of his people and alleviate their sufferings.

Undeniably, the spirit of Asoka the Great—of compassion and service—certainly lives on in this Medical School and its graduates—at least 25% of whom permanently serve in rural areas after receiving their degrees. Yours is perhaps the only medical school in the world that can boast such a statistic. That is one of the reasons that I am so honored to be with you today.

I am also honored to be here because St. John’s is an outstanding example of the difference—and the contribution—that the Catholic Church has made in healthcare in India.

From the very beginning of the Church’s presence here, service to the sick—both physically and spiritually—was an integral part of its mission and vision. St. Francis Xavier, on of the first Jesuit missionary to come to India, made caring for the sick a priority. In 1550, another Jesuit—Fr. Henry Henriques—established the very first Catholic hospital in Punnaikayal. More recently, we’ve had the extraordinary example of caring for the “poorest of the poor” set by Blessed Theresa of Calcutta.

Today, although Catholics only comprise between 2-3 percent of the Indian population, the Catholic Church provides approximately 25 percent of your nation’s health care. As you may be aware, the church operates more than 750 hospitals and over 2,500 health centers—with the vast majority located in rural and inaccessible areas where the need is greatest. This is certainly testament to the belief of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India—noted in its most recent statement on health care policy, Sharing the Fullness of Life—that the real meaning of Christian life is “To be at the service of the last, the least, and the lost.”

Finally, I am honored to be here because St. John’s and Georgetown share a common mission. I know that St. John’s is dedicated to “value-based training of doctors for the underprivileged”…and that you strive to ensure that your graduates take the ideal of “service and sacrifice” into the homes of their patients and into their communities.”

As the oldest Catholic and Jesuit University in the United States, we at Georgetown also embrace value-based education and challenge every member of our community to answer the call of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, to engage in the world—to serve the world—in order to make it a better place.

In essence, both of our schools strive to be institutions, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of Brazil last year, that promote a “society founded on justice and peace.”

But how do we—as individuals and institutions—work toward such a society? I believe that the answer—which has special relevance for all of you about to embark on your medical careers—is to be found in the original mission of the Jesuits in India—individuals like St. Francis Xavier and Fr. Henriques.

For these early Jesuits, their most important mission was to first care for the soul of everyone they encountered. The idea of an immortal soul—the spiritual essence…animating force…and divine spark that exists in all of us—resonates through most of the world’s religions—including Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. And true care of the “soul” encompasses caring for the whole person—or in Latin, cura personalis. This ideal remains one of the Jesuit’s—and Jesuit institutions—most important values.

Unfortunately, in our increasingly interconnected world, the forces of globalization—which have produced unprecedented opportunities and possibilities—are also causing us to lose site of the idea of cura personalis—of the need to care for the soul of everyone we encounter.

We need only look at the facts. Globalization has produced staggering differences in wealth and well being. Three billion people live on two U.S. dollars a day…one billion on less than a dollar a day. Sixty percent of the world’s population exists on only six percent of the world’s income. Entire communities are being exploited, marginalized, and neglected. Here in India, a 2003 study by the National Council for Applied Economic Research reveals that the poorest 20% of the population—most often those in rural and inaccessible areas—has more than double the mortality rate of the richest 20%. Too many of the world’s people are not sharing equally—or at all—in the benefits of globalization. Their needs are neglected…their souls ignored.

If we want to help change this situation, then I believe we must do three things. These are things that, I believe, are in the spirit of Asoka…things that will advance the care of the souls…and things that are inherent in the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis. As individuals and institutions, we must:

• Attend to all of an individual’s needs—spiritual, physical, and emotional;
• Respect their unique circumstances, knowledge, and concerns;
• And recognize the innate worth and dignity of every person.

This afternoon, I’d like to briefly discuss each of these ideas with you.

Attending to all of an individual’s needs
As educational institutions—guided by the heritage and tradition of the Catholic Church—both Georgetown and St. John’s must continually strive to meet the various needs of all the members of our communities.

…And for those of you graduating today, there may be no more important mission…

We know that among the defining features of medicine today is the continuing march of technology…of increased specialization…of broadening diagnostic and therapeutic avenues. At one time, a doctor had little more to offer a patient than quinine…kindness…and compassion. You will have at your disposal an ever increasing variety of new skills, devices, practices, protocols, and prescriptions for both treatment and prevention. But, unfortunately, today’s medical advances can also dehumanize patients—as we come to view our bodies as instruments to be diagnosed and debugged. The care of the whole person—of all of her or his needs—is too often forgotten.

As the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India also noted it its most recent health policy document, we cannot simply view “the human body as a machine…disease as a consequence of the breakdown of the machine…and the doctor’s task to repair the machine.” You must always remember that it’s not a machine or an illness—but a patient—that has come to you…and that you are treating a life with physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Medicine isn’t just about curing—but caring. I know you understand this. But as you struggle, each day, with an unending array of professional and personal demands, it becomes all too easy to forget to truly listen to your patients…to forget to see a patient as a whole person…to forget to care for the soul.

Always remember that even with the remarkable strides that India has made in health and health care since independence, your country—especially its poor and underserved—certainly needs both your healing…and your humanity.

Respecting an individual’s unique circumstances, knowledge, and concerns
As you care for your patients’ needs, you must also remember to take into account their individual—and unique—circumstances, knowledge, and concerns. This is also true for institutions as we work to help those in our local community and the global community…as we strive to reduce the negative forces of globalization...and as we endeavor care for the whole person. Allow me to explain.

James C. Scott, in his insightful book, Seeing Like a State, examines why large-scale schemes to improve the human condition in the twentieth century have so often failed. He demonstrates that plans cannot succeed unless they take into account local customs, concerns, knowledge, and know-how—or the knowledge that derives from the practical experience that the Classical Greeks termed “metis.”

Additionally, even if a development project takes these things into account, its actual success depends on the response and cooperation of those it is designed to aid. That means that the plan must also respect local values, desires, and tastes. If they do not, then the plans and projects with even the best intentions may not yield results.

Recognize the innate worth and dignity of every person
As we work to respect the concerns and circumstances of all individuals, we must do one more thing—we must recognize the innate worth and dignity of every person. Such recognition can only begin with understanding. That’s why, as individuals, institutions and communities—we must work to build bridges of understanding to those people and groups who may not share our faith, or culture, or socio-economic background.

As doctors, you will certainly need to build bridges of understanding to your patients. You cannot truly care for a person if you cannot recognize her or his innate dignity—and humanity.

But educational institutions also have a particularly important role in this process—because building bridges of understanding is one of the things that the academy does best. After all, a university or a medical school provides a unique home for multiple traditions, cultures, disciplines, methodologies, and modes of inquiry—what I call “communities of interpretation.”

What distinguishes different communities of interpretation is the “horizon of significance,” the background of social practices, goods, morals, laws, customs, and institutions that provide meaning for individual members of that community.

Nowhere is the engagement between conflicting and competing communities of interpretation…between different horizons of significance…so constant and so part of daily life as in the academy. Providing the context where horizons of significance can be fused—where bridges can be built between communities of interpretation—is one of our continuing challenges…one of our greatest opportunities for accomplishment...and one of the areas where we can aid understanding—and through—it the recognition of the innate dignity of every individual. And I have no doubt that the growing partnership between Georgetown and St. John’s will certainly help us to build bridges of understanding and to fuse horizons of significance.

Conclusion
I truly believe, that as individuals and institutions, if we strive to
• Attend to all of an individual’s needs—spiritual, physical, and emotional;
• Respect their unique circumstances, knowledge and concerns;
• And recognize the innate worth and dignity of every person;

We can help reduce the negative forces of globalization…we can help advance and promote the ideals of “cura personalis”—and caring for the soul…and we can help honor the spirit of Asoka the Great—a spirit of compassion and service.

I’m reminded that the tangible legacy of Asoka the Great—the stone pillars he erected during his reign—still mark the Indian landscape. To all of today’s graduates, I have no doubt that if you always embrace the values of St. John’s Medical School…if you work to treat the whole person…and if you strive to care for her or his soul…then your legacy will be just as lasting and enduring.

I congratulate you on all that you have accomplished…I anticipate the difference and contribution you will make in your communities and the global community…and I trust that, in your hands, the profession of medicine will be forever noble.

Thank you.

 

PHA2 One year later: An interview with Dr. Ravi Narayan

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Matthew Anderson | Social Medicine - 175 - Volume 1, No. 3, December 2006
An international, open-access, peer-reviewed academic forum for the development and promotion of Social Medicine.

Editor’s Note: From July 17 to July 24, 2005 nearly 1,500 health activists from 80 countries came together at the People's Health Assembly II (PHA2) in Cuenca, Ecuador. PHA2 was organized by the People’s Health Movement, a movement dedicated to advancing the aim of Health for All.
 
Delegates at PHA2 united around several important demands: to dump the current patent regime, to obtain "Health for All, NOW" and to create a campaign to heal the planet. PHA2 also saw the launching of Global Health Watch, an alternative world health report.

What has happened to these initiatives in the past year? To answer this question, Social Medicine interviewed Dr. Ravi Narayan, the outgoing Coordinator of the People’s Health Movement Global Secretariat. Dr. Narayan was a Professor of Community Medicine in Bangalore, India and an Overseas Lecturer for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine until 1983, when he moved beyond his faculty appointment to support grass roots community health action in India along with a group of colleagues. He has a long history of involvement in community health. In the 1970’s he worked with rural health cooperatives and tea plantation communities in Southern India developing strategies of pre Alma Ata primary health care. He was one of the coinitiators of the Community Health Cell (CHC) in Bangalore, an organization which works in community health action with NGO’s, civil society, people’s organizations, academics, researchers and the Indian government at both state and national levels. CHC evolved into the Society for Community Health Awareness, Research and Action (SOCHARA) in 1990. Dr.Narayan played a key role with many others in the organization of the People’s Health Assembly (PHA) and Movement, (PHM). He is currently Scholar-in-Residence at Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Uppsala, Sweden. During this scholarship year he is writing about the experience of a public health professional who metamorphosed into a public health activist over three decades working with CHC, then PHM in India and then PHM globally.


Q: Dr. Narayan, you were the global coordinator of the PHM Global Secretariat from January 2003 until very recently. Can you share with some of the background to the second People’s Health Assembly?

Ravi Narayan: The first People’s Health Assembly in 2000 saw the birth of the Peoples Health Movement. By that time it was obvious that the goal of “Health for All” enunciated in the Alma Ata Declaration would not be achieved. 1453 people from 75 countries gathered in Gonoshasthya Kendra, Savar, Bangaladesh in December 2000 to discuss this failure and to strategize on how to keep the Alma Ata goal alive. We held 5 days of plenary meetings and over a hundred parallel workshops to explore all the issues relevant to people’s health. A Peoples Charter for Health evolved from these discussions. The charter, now translated into over 50 languages, became the basis of a new global movement. Five years later the assembly at Cuenca was the first real assembly of PHM. It was a time for reflecting on what has been achieved and on the challenges ahead. This was the significance of the assembly for us.


Q. What do you see as the important features of News & Events People’s Health Assembly II (PHA2) one year later: this second assembly and what initiatives grew out of PHA2?

Ravi Narayan: The number of registered delegates at PHM2 was 1450, about the same number as the first PHA. However, there was a significant difference in the composition of the delegates. PHA2 included far more young people, more indigenous people and a much larger number of women delegates. And the assembly started off with special cultural and religious gatherings expressing our solidarity with the struggles of indigenous peoples. The plenary sessions dealt with a range of issues varying from militarization to women health, from trade to HIV-AIDS, from disasters to primary health care. Parallel to these were many smaller workshops on a host of other issues. There were assemblies for children and youth. Numerous cultural programs brought together varied forms of protests and art from all over the world. A large section of the exhibition area was devoted to live demonstrations of a range of local and indigenous healing traditions. This was very popular.

I see the most significant advances of PHA2 as:
a) The “Cuenca Declaration” which was, both, a reiteration of the relevance of the People’s Charter for Health and its contextualization to today’s realities,
b) the International Peoples Health University, associated with PHM which ran its first session to train the next generation of health activists just before the assembly,
c) the launch of a Global Right to Health Campaign,
d) the launch of the first Global Health Watch – An alternative world health report,
e) the Million Signature Campaign calling for Health for All NOW,
f) the turnabout of WHO from ignoring the First People’s Health Assembly to active engagement with Second People’s Health Assembly.


Q: Where do these initiatives stand today?

Ravi Narayan: The campaigns launched at PHA2, as well as some PHM campaigns launched prior to PHA2, have been important in mobilizing groups and people at a country level. The challenge for movements such as PHM is to ensure that each campaign develops roots at the country level. Campaigns need to address local social, economic, political and cultural needs. In addition they must adapt to the diversity of each country. We have to balance global visibility with grassroots work. This is challenging and it takes time, patience and creativity.

The Million Signature Campaign has been a good campaign, especially in the Alma Ata Anniversary year. It focused attention on a global slogan that had been distorted and forgotten. However, because of the multilingual nature of the effort, we ran into technical problems that we are sorting out. We will take action as soon as the goal is reached.

The “Save the UNICEF” campaign was designed to block the appointment of Ann Venneman as UNICEF Executive Director. We were concerned not only about her past record in dealing with children’s issues, but also about a process that gave the United States the power to name UNICEF’s director. Unfortunately, she got in spite of the efforts of many concerned campaigning groups like PHM. Sometimes, we will not succeed because the forces we are dealing with are complex and not so easy to counter. However, we continue to watch her actions in UNICEF. One important outcome of any campaign is making people aware of issues and getting them to think about the deeper determinants. That’s really the most important gain of all these campaigns. It’s not simply a question of winning or loosing but rather of establishing the right of people to be heard and to be engaged in international health decision and processes. More recently we have sent an article to the Lancet about PHM’s vision of a new inspirational leadership for WHO and we have sent a set of questions to all the WHO-DG candidates to provoke them to state their goals and visions. The road to Health for All is a long and bumpy one!


Q: There was a very little coverage of PHA2 in international press. As far as we are aware the only medical journals that wrote about it were the British Medical Journal and PLoS (Public Library of Science). I wonder if this impression is correct and what thoughts you have about this problem?

Ravi Narayan: I am not sure I agree. I think that we did have more press and medical coverage than before and a very active media group at PHA2 made an all-out effort to seek and gain such coverage. But the media wants sensationalism and hype and though we did creatively adapt to some of these trends, “Health for All” is not a high priority for everyone. “Health for those who can pay” is glamorous, supported by industrial and commercial interest! People dying of preventable illness is just not news any longer and most people want to write about ‘new technologies’ and ‘medical bullets’, rather than social determinants. But we have to keep trying and improving our efforts. Since Cuenca, we have started to give PHM communications more importance. We have more younger people and a new website editor helping to give PHM communications a higher profile.


Q: How has the Global Governance of PHM evolved since the Cuenca Assembly?

Ravi Narayan: The Cuenca Assembly was our first assembly after the movement was created. One of the important tasks for the global steering group, consisting of regional and network representatives, was to take stock and identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to PHM both at the level of country level mobilization and global action. All aspects of the PHM organizational framework and experience were subjected to a participatory, collective review. What evolved was a new structure which was more representative, more responsive and more diverse and symbolic of the PHM’s challenges. This new structure includes a People’s Assembly, a steering council and a smaller, more compact coordination commission (CoCo) which supports the new secretariat and the new global coordinator on a more proactive and collective basis.


Q. What can you tell us about the new global secretariat?

Ravi Narayan: The secretariat was hosted initially in Bangladesh for 2 years and then we hosted it in Bangalore (India) for the next three years. It was felt that the Secretariat should move to another region. Since the assembly was hosted by Latin America, we had all hoped and presumed that this region would host the secretariat after the assembly but this did not happen. The Latin Americans felt the need for more time to organize for such a global responsibility. A few months later, the Middle Eastern Region, which has had a strong primary health care network, agreed to take up the challenge. They did this very creatively by bringing together resource centers in public health from three countries: The Association for Health and Environmental Development (AHED, Cairo), the Palestine Medical Relief Society (PMRS, Palestine) and the Arab Resource Collective (ARC, Lebanon). Three Public Health Professionals/ activists Jihad Mashal (Palestine), Alaa Shukrallah (Egypt) and Ghassan Issa from (Lebanon) formed a global secretariat committee and unanimously selected Hani Serag – a younger and enthusiastic public health professional – to be the Global Coordinator of the PHM Secretariat on behalf of the region. This secretariat committee and the new coordinator will be supported by the PHM Interim Coordination Commission (CoCo) that will consist of incoming/outgoing coordinators, some representatives of the regions, some functional coordinators and the coordinators of the next Global Health Watch and the International Peoples Health University. By November 2006, we hope that this interim CoCo will evolve the new more responsive and representative structure mentioned earlier.


Q: Where is the PHM now and what can we expect in 2007?

Ravi Narayan: Meetings of the Secretariat were held in Frankfurt in February 2006, in Cairo in March 2006, and finally in Geneva in May 2006 when this transition was carried out formally. Much brain storming on the future of PHM occurred at these meetings. An interesting plan is evolving which will promote decentralization, regionalization, harness our diversity, build our country circles and capacities, widen our network linkages and develop our thematic strengths - all these through listening to the experiences and aspirations of our different communities. We plan to work closely with people at the grassroots, exchange experiences between countries and regions, act around particular issues through global and local campaigns and collectively strengthen global projects of the PHM such as the Global Health Watch II, the International Peoples Health University and campaigns like the Right to Health. We all look forward to the growth of this movement whose time has come!


Q: There seems to be a big gap between the impact of the PHM and its potential. A meeting every five years of even several thousand health activists is a very small activity in today’s world. And yet the ideals of “Health for All” and the building of robust health systems should have broad political appeal. What do you see as the larger political strategy for building a robust progressive health movement?

Ravi Narayan: I think it is difficult to talk about impacts and potentials of a young five year old movement. As clinicians we know that early childhood is risky developmental period. We are growing in some parts of the world and still nascent in others. However, we are surprised how well we are known and respected, sometimes, a little beyond our modest expectations.

The WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health acknowledges our role and presence just as the late Dr. Lee did in his message to the Second People’s Health Assembly, where he reiterated that “our objective is the same, and our methods complement each other…. By combining our strengths and uniting our efforts, we have achieved a great deal and we will achieve a great deal more together.”

Many international, regional and national events invite PHM to listen to their concerns. More and more public health training institutions are getting their students to reflect on the Charter.

The political strategy of PHM is gradually evolving. It includes the ‘politics of empowerment’ and the ‘politics of engagement.’ The challenge is to make this a ‘pincer’ strategy that will challenge the global health market and biomedically dominated health systems of the world to be more responsive to people’s health needs and the socio-economiccultural-political and ecological determinants of health.


Q: Do you have any other thoughts about the impact of PHA2?

Ravi Narayan: The Second Assembly was a great experience of hope and solidarity, a celebration of collectivity and a battery charger for health activists and health professionals from all over the world. As we gathered in Cuenca we shared experiences, learned from each other’s successes and failures, and understood the complexities and obstacles in achieving Health for All goals, at local, national, regional and international levels. The greatest advance was the renewal of this spirit to struggle and to counter the corporate-led globalization with a “globalization of health from below” that would be responsive to the needs of the poor, the marginalized and the dispossessed of communities in both the south and the north. The report of the Assembly, ‘Las voces de la tierra – De Savar a Cuenca’ was recently released in Spanish and will soon be released in English. It tries to capture the spirit and inspiration of PHA2.

PHM is not about numbers and membership. It is about giving people faith in their own capacity, creativity and autonomy. It is about making them feel less vulnerable, less dependent, less exploited and more in-charge of their own destinies in this new era of globalization from above. The success of the second Assembly was the mood of celebration, not despondency and the large presence of young people and indigenous people was a sign of hope and a confidence in the future.

“Health for All” is possible one day! But we must first build a globalization of solidarity from below!!

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