Starting today the Charité University Medical Centre Berlin under the
patronage of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy and in collaboration with the
self-proclaimed "M8" medical faculties of the world, is holding the World
Health Summit (WHS). http://www.worldhealthsummit.org/
A broad coalition of German civil society organisations has criticised the
summit for its ignorance of the real challenges in global health, for its
proximity to industry and for not involving civil society into the planning
of the event. Therefore we have put together an alternative meeting titled
"Public Eye on Berlin" for tomorrow Friday October 16. While the participants
of the WHS will discuss space medicine and have a live-stream to the Moon (no
kidding!) we will have a live connection to a community health centre in
Bangalore. For those of you who read German please find the details of the
alternative meeting here:
The civil society coalition also issued a public statement criticizing the
WHS as it is which you find below. Instead of charging € 1000 as the WHS does
we charge nothing and hereby invite you all to join us!
See you there!
Global Health Advocay
+49 30 453069 33
Tluppe at oxfam.de
. Public Eye on Berlin
Statement concerning the „World Health Summit" in Berlin
Under the patronage of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy the Charité will
host the "World Health Summit" (WHS) in Berlin from 15 th until 18 th of
October 2009. The organizers are even planning to institutionalize this event
and want physicians, scientists, politicians, and representatives of the
private health care management industry to meet annually in such a forum.
Health care management shall be connected closer to the world market.
Following the model of the G8 – the group of leading industrialized countries
– the establishment of a M8 is planned, an alliance of worldwide leading
medical research institutions.
However, the program of the summit is not designed to discuss questions
concerning public health services but rather by considerations to what extend
research and private health care management are able to contribute to the
improvement of individual care. Therewith the public good "health" is in
danger to be turned into a commercialized product which would be guided only
by technical and economic criteria.
This health summit is not qualified to address worldwide health issues. Due
to it's organizational focus and content the summit will more likely
contribute to the problems it claims to solve.
The majority of the world population is not able to benefit from the
remarkable medical progress of the last decades. Still millions of people are
dying from diseases which could be easily cured. To often the human right to
health turns out to exist only on paper. 2 billion people do not have access
to clean water; 1 billion people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition;
a third of the world population cannot afford essential medication.
At the same time concerns are growing about new global epidemics or the
health implications of climate change, which will have most effect on those
that least contributed to it's emergence.
Poor people are most likely to suffer from well known diseases of poverty
like Tuberculosis, Malaria, and HIV/AIDS, which are on the rise again.
A World Health Summit, which would be qualified to bear this name, should
– emphasise the pursuit of social justice and democratic
participation as basic requirements for health;
– guarantee the right to access to health services for all –
irrespective of people's capacities to pay for it;
– promote health research that is in line with the health needs of
– grant everyone the highest possible standard of care, including
people living in poverty areas or undocumented migrants
– encourage participation of people and communities at the
development of solutions whose health situation is actually the focus;
– turn it's attention to those who got into social and financial
difficulties due to the disease of themselves, their partners, children or
– support health as a public good by promoting solidarity-based
– strengthen the existing and legitimized structures of the World
Health Organization instead of creating a new body;
– correct the current way of privatisation of health
"Medicine is a social science" declared Rudolf Virchow, Charité´s famous son,
almost 150 years ago. But the upcoming summit deeply disregards the
principles of such a social science.
The desire to act is very much understandable in the face of the current
global health problems. Nevertheless, the participants of the WHS shall not
succumb to the erroneous belief assuming that health could be prescribed
top-down and be realised in a purely technical manner.
Social changes, the improvement of the situation of health, and functioning
social services which are equally accessible to all demand democratic
Sustainable improvements can only be achieved by granting the basic
principles of social justice and democratic participation.
Having said this we will keep watching the „World Health Summit": Based on
cooperation between health activists and initiatives from all over the world
which has been growing for many years.
* Action for Global Health Deutschland
* action medeor
* Aktionsbündnis gegen AIDS
* attac AG Soziale Sicherung
* Büro für medizinische Flüchtlingshilfe Berlin
* Büro für medizinische Flüchtlingshilfe Hamburg
* BUKO Pharmakampagne
* Deutsches Institut für Ärztliche Mission (Difäm)
* Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW)
* Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (EED)
* Globalisation and Health Initiative (GandHI)
* IPPNW Deutschland – Internationale Ärzte für die Verhütung des
Atomkrieges, Ärzte in sozialer Verantwortung
* medico international
* MEZIS – Mein Essen zahl ich selbst / Initiative unbestechlicher
Ärztinnen und Ärzte
* Missionsärztliches Institut Würzburg, Katholische Fachstelle für
* OXFAM Deutschland
* Refugio Villingen-Schwenningen
* Verein demokratischer Ärztinnen und Ärzte (VDÄÄ)
* Verein demokratischer Pharmazeutinnen und Pharmazeuten (VDPP)
* Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (ver.di) – Bundesvorstand,
* World Vision Deutschland
* Annelie Buntenbach, Mitglied des Geschäftsführenden Bundesvorstands
des Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbundes (DGB)
* Hans-Jürgen Urban, Geschäftsführendes Vorstandsmitglied der
Industriegewerkschaft Metall (IGM)
* Kordula Schulz-Asche, Mitglied des Hessischen Landtags,
Landesvorsitzende Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in Hessen
* Angela Dorn, Mitglied des Hessischen Landtags, Landesvorsitzende der
Grünen Jugend Hessen (GJH)