On everyone’s lips…

June 16, 2008 at 1:34 pm Leave a comment

by Anna Marriott, Health & Education For All Policy Advisor, Oxfam GB

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At the recent World Health Assembly, there was one thing on everyone’s lips and that was International Health Partnership (IHPs).

Eh? What’s that then?

Put simply, last September this new IHP initiative was launched to speed things up in reaching the Millennium Development Goals – by scaling up and improving health services.

On Wednesday at the World Health Assembly we were at one of the big IHP events. Oxfam’s crew made sure they were in a good spot for question time. When it came to questions, I wasn’t ashamed to ask what really mattered, ensuring they were directed at the big names in development.

I also challenged ministers from poor countries – whether they were really committed to putting their money where their mouth is – to deliver healthcare for all. Not making the poorest pay.

On the last day of the World Health Assembly, IHP talk continued and delegates, Ministers, charity people and ordinary people from all over the world crammed into an exciting event to discuss whether IHP has been a good idea and what lessons can still be learnt.

The trouble with these high profile events is those actually affected by these ‘global’ decisions are often not in on the act. But the great news here was that there were over 80 representatives from developing countries who had the opportunity to have their say.

In fact it was actually agreed that from now on civil society will be represented more formally at these meetings so that they can have a say in the international decisions that affect their countries. Great news! People power does work.

What else went on?

Well there was a lot of positive talk from NGOs from the IHP countries (those who had already signed up) but also quite a number of people were a bit concerned. “Have we seen all this before?” “Why should we get involved?”

You can see their point really can’t you? Here we go again yet another initiative…..

But with the right questions and problems being thrashed out, could this be a great opportunity for the future, to really improve healthcare for all? Especially as the UK and Norway agreed to increase their financial contributions?

The last day at the World Health Assembly was really inspiring – by coming together like this, everyone could channel their energy into making sure donors and governments do what they should be doing – you can’t hide now!

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Entry filed under: Health and Education For All, World Health Assembly. Tags: , , , , .

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