March against health crisis
ABOUT 500 delegates who have been attending the People's Health Assembly in Cape Town marched on Parliament demanding a solution to the global health crisis.
The marchers called on the government to accept a memorandum on behalf of other governments.
The week-long assembly held at the University of Western Cape included academics, community health workers and representatives of more than 90 countries.
It is hosted by the People's Health Movement, an international networking group that looks at addressing failing public health systems, increasing health burdens on poor nations and the general state of declining public health systems.
Convener and public health practitioner David Sanders said yesterday discussions and inputs by delegates had culminated in a call for action and the march to demand solutions to the global health crisis.
"We call on the South African parliament to accept our memorandum on behalf of other governments and countries," Sanders said.
He said underpinning the health crisis was the failure by governments to address the social, political and environmental determinants of health.
He also blamed inadequate and unequal incomes, a lack of access to education, water, sanitation and housing as the chief causes of the global health crisis.
"Also, our call to action incorporates a denouncement of the present inequitable global system that punishes the poor and bails out rich banks.
"We denounce a system that pushes the globe deep into the throes of a climate crisis.
"We denounce a system that makes health and health care purchasable commodities, affordable to only those who can pay," he said.
There was also no agreement on whether to boycott or support Israel products in protest against the conflict in the Middle East.
United Kingdom health activist and academic Dave McKoy said: "We can only empower communities by giving them education about the issues that affect them."
McKoy also praised the country's National Health Insurance scheme and said he hoped it would benefit many poor people.