European action day against the commodification of health

Every year, different networks of trade unions, citizens’ groups, NGOs and social movements organize a series of actions in several European cities for World Health Day (Saturday 7 April 2018).

A rallying cry will be heard in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Lille, Nice, Brussels, Milan, Naples, Bologna and other cities across Europe, as in the rest of the world (see the map of actions here and more info on the facebook event).

In the week beginning 7 April the "European Network against the commercialization and privatization of health and social protection" launches a European year-long campaign for non-commercial health for all, in view of the European elections in May 2019.

Europe is imposing a policy of austerity on its Member States causing disinvestments in health and social protection. As a consequence, commodification is increasingly entering the health sector, creating inequalities in access to quality care. This is why the European network demands reinvestments in quality healthcare, that is accessible to the whole population, free from commercial operators.

We want to send a strong message to the European institutions and to Member States, highlighting: 

  1. the negative consequences of prolonged austerity on the quality and accessibility of health care;
  2. domestic, fiscal and trade policies that promote the growth of private insurances and commercial services in the health sector, that further reinforce health inequalities.
  3. Patent policy and secret agreements between ember States and the pharmaceutical industry that drive up medecine prices.
    We consider that these policies should immediately be ended because of their very negative consequences for the health of the population.

Sarah Melsens, coordinator of the European network against the commercialisation of health, says: 

"All over Europe, millions of people are experiencing a decrease in access to health care, a decrease in the quality of care, the closure and privatisation of health services, the deterioration of working conditions for health workers, an increase in the price of medicines... while commercial operators active in the health sector are constantly increasing their profit margins. These policies have and will have catastrophic effects on people’s health!"

Several events in March were in the spirit of April 7:

  • On 8 March in Spain, more than 5.3 million women went on strike to demand equal social and economic rights, including access to quality health care.
  • On 22 March in France, 500,000 public service workers went on strike, including health workers (from hospitals, retirement homes, home-based care, etc.), and walked the streets of several cities.
  • During the month of March in Belgium, the TAM TAM campaign denounced neo-liberal policies that have a negative impact on access to health care and increase the profit margins of the pharmaceutical industry via top secret agreements.

ACTIONS

More than 40 actions are planned in Europe and in the world, expressing growing concern and convergence of social movements against the commodification of health. Everywhere, we are calling on citizens to show their support by hanging a white sheet in a visible place with a message in support of #health4all.

CONTACTS

Contact in Brussels
Sarah Melsens, European Network against Health commercialisation
sarah.melsens@gezondheid-solidariteit.be; +32 499 42 44 48
Contact in France
Jean Vignes, SUD Santé Sociaux
jvignes@sudsantesociaux.org; +33 6 58 58 96 06
Contact in Italy
Chiara Bodini, People’s Health Movement Europe
chiara@phmovement.org; +39 328 7554698
Contact in Spain
Carmen Esbri, MEDSAP - Marea Blanca
cesbri1953@gmail.com; +34 60 900 42 64

The following networkorganizations are supporting the mobilization :

Europe : European network against the commercialisation and privatisation of health and social protection - http://europe-health-network.net/, European federation of Public service Unions (EPSU), People’s Health Movement Europe, Alter Summit
Belgium: Plate-forme d’action Santé et Solidarité - http://www.sante-solidarite.be/
France: Notre santé en danger 
Italy: Campagna Dico32! Salute per tutte e tutti! - http://setteaprile.altervista.org/
Spain: MEDSAP – Marea Blanca: https://mesaendefensasanidadpublica.wordpress.com/
Marea Blanca Catalana :http://www.mareablanca.cat/
Coordinadora Mareas Blancas Estatales: http://mareablancaestatal@gmail.com
Coordinador de Plataformas para la Sanidad Publica de Madrid: coordiplataformas@gmail.com


Original source: European Health Network

Image credit: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung