Struggle for health! Health for all!
Katrien, Jennifer and Egmont, we are present as intal at the International People Health University of the Peoples Health Movement! Of course!
The International People's Health University (or IPHU) is not taking place for the first time. Since 2005 health activists from all over the world have been coming together to learn, share and teach about the right to health and the very diverse aspects of health and health activism. This time, the IPHU takes place in Thessaloniki, Greece, as a symbolic statement and a sign of solidarity with the Greek people, suffering from the yoke of heavy austerity measures imposed on them since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008.
The IPHU is organised by the People's Health Movement (PHM). As we learned the first day of this one week course here in lovely Thessaloniki, PHM is a lot more than just another NGO. Is is a network, a movement of health activists all around the world. According to the Charter of PHM, health is not a technical issue. It is not a matter of pills, syringes or hospitals, but essentially is it a social, economic and political issue. It is about working or housing conditions, about the environment, about the economic system we live in and the political decisions that shape this system. It is about power relations between the rich and the powerful on the one hand and the poor and voiceless on the other hand. Not only PHM wants to analyse this broader and global picture, but as dr. Amit Sengupta from India told us, it also wants to make a difference. It wants to work and improve housing or working conditions, give a voice to the voiceless and shift power balances in our society. So that ultimately we can live in a more just and healthy world. This sounds a bit vague and idealistic? We hope that in the coming days, we can tell you it's not! It is about health as a human right. That is where it all starts.
Of course, we are not alone. Between 50 and 60 young people, from over all Europe (Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium and last but not least, a big delegation from Greece) but even some delegations from Nepal, Palestine, Pakistan or Uganda are present here for one week of learning and sharing experiences.
The program looks promising! Courses on political economy, the crisis in Greece, migration, health system reform, but also posters and workshops in small groups, field trips to solidarity clinics, to a resistance movement against gold mining in Haldiki and to the Viome factury, were workers fired the management and took over control...
We are more than ready for it! Hope you keep up reading!
Oh yeah: here's the link to the official blog on the website of PHM. Feel free to check it out!
And here are some pictures!