The European Network Against Commercialization and Privatization of Health and Social Protection and the People’s Health Movement welcomed the convergence of 160 organisations across Europe under the motto “Let’s spread solidarity not the virus” on the occasion of the day of action against the commercialisation of health on 7 April.
Despite being confined to their homes, hundreds of people, individually and collectively, joined the action, demonstrating the people’s strong support for a public or non-profit health system that serves the population. Find the interactive map of the 7 April action by following the link here : bit.ly/Agir4Health
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decentralized actions of 7 April have also shown that health workers, patients, activists, and many others agree :
1. Immediate human and material resources to fight the pandemic and protect people’s health in the future : recruitment and training of health personnel, urgent staffing and stockpile management of materials are needed to deal with crisis situations.
2. Austerity policies and increasing marketisation, which have led to the systematic dismantling of public health systems in Europe and the lack of qualified staff in hospitals, retirement homes and the social sector, should be abandoned once and for all.
3. Medicines and protective equipment have to be developed and produced in the interest of public health, not to foster the profits of the industry. Effective and safe medications, protective equipment and vaccines for prevention and treatment of Covid 19, must be available for free to people no matter where they live, without out-of-pocket expenditures and paid for by national health systems at fair prices.
Once the pandemic is over, the struggle to achieve “Health for All” will continue. The idea of Health for All encompasses not only a vision of comprehensive health care equally accessible to everyone but also the idea of a world rooted in harmony, equity, and solidarity. This is why we reject the current economic model of the EU, which is based on austerity, not solidarity.
We demand a radical reorientation of public funds towards the basic rights of the population, such as employment, decent wages and housing, education, energy, food and water.
To achieve this, let us confine the financial markets. We must steer away from brutal fiscal policies such as those we experienced in the previous crisis. The 750 billion euros from the European Central Bank (ECB) should not be used to feed the financial markets but to finance the social and ecological needs of the people ; it should be focused on protecting and advancing the physical, mental and social well-being of all. Tax evasion must be combated and heavily punished.
Instead of systems faithful to market logic and uncontrolled competition, we need to drive a transition towards a socially and ecologically just and responsible world. The needs and organisation of care systems should be under the direct democratic control of citizen committees and coordinated at all levels of society.
Therefore, we urge the European states to adopt a more sustained strategy to negotiate the prices of medicines, medical devices and vaccines. If the pharmaceutical industry insists on setting unduly high prices, patent rights must be revoked. Similarly, production of medicines and medical devices and stockpiles must be under the control of the public authorities ; in the event of a break in manufacture or supply, patents must be revoked. Moreover, we demand the allocation of necessary funds for public and independent pharmacological research. It is important in the near future to set up a strategy to move towards a coordinated and socialized public European space of research and production of new drugs.
Finally, we need to support and ensure the success of the mobilisation of health and other essential workers that over the last months have been working tirelessly to protect our health and lives in the face of inadequate personal protection and, very often, inhumane working hours.
This is why the European Network, the People’s Health Movement, and all signatory organizations call for unitary responses on the local, national, and international level to build a “Day After” that will break with the liberal recipes of the past.
We propose to the social movement as a whole to set a date in September 2020 as the first international initiative for the expression of our demands.
LET US FIGHT TOGETHER FOR A STRONG UNIVERSAL PUBLICLY FUNDED HEALTH SYSTEM CAPABLE OF DEALING WITH HEALTH CRISES TODAY AND TOMORROW
At the initiative of / A l’initiative du / Op initiatief van / Por iniciativa de / Su iniziativa di
European Network against the Privatization and Commercialization of Health and Social Protection / Réseau européen contre la Privatisation et la Commercialisation de la Santé et de la Protection Sociale / Europees Netwerk tegen de privatisering en commercialisering van gezondheid en sociale bescherming / Red Europea contra la Privatización y Comercialización de la Salud y la Protección Social / Rete Europea contro la frivatizzazione e la commercializzazione della salute e della protezione sociale