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Bangladesh: Fourth People's Health Assembly attributes global health crisis to neoliberal policies and corporate takeover

Author: P. Ambedkar, Peoples Dispatch, Published on: 21 November 2018

“PHA4: Neoliberal Policies and corporate takeover are the cause of the world health crisis”, 18 November 2018

Peoples’ representatives from across the globe have gathered in Savar, Bangladesh for the fourth People’s Health Assembly. They are discussing and debating on how to make this world a place which provides for the health of the people and that of the planet.

Representatives from country after country shared their experiences of how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank recommended prescriptions of austerity and structural adjustment policies that in fact worsened the health of the people. The beneficiaries have been the multinational corporations and the elite.

According to ‘Tracking Universal Health Coverage: 2017 Global Monitoring Report’, jointly brought out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank, by 2010, nearly 808 million people across the world had incurred “catastrophic spending on health” i.e. out of pocket expenses exceeding more than 10% of income…The health crisis in almost every country, including developed ones, is a consequence of economic policy being shaped by transnational corporations…

The manner in which treaties and Free Trade Agreements are signed are against the interests of the people. Profits are given primacy over the health and welfare of the people. Even if countries win cases  against MNCs, the companies/investors don’t pay the costs one-third of the times...

 [W]ith the peoples’ resistance, the governments could be and were forced to disclose secret deals so that human rights and health impact assessments could be carried out. National referendums are being held in some countries to block anti-people treaties and FTAs. And the real work is to build alternative policies that ensures ‘Health for All Now!’

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