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Published in: 04/16/2015

Civil Society defends universal, free and equal access to Health on the 7th Summit of the Americas

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Summit of the Americas

From April 8 to 10, Panama hosted the 7th edition of the Summit of the Americas, whose central issue was: Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas”. The event promotes the meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Americas to debate shared policy issues, affirm common values and outline strategies for national and regional actions in order to address present and future common challenges among countries in the region. 

While the general discussions of the Summit were carried out, forums and parallel activities with different aims also took place. On the Civil Society and Social Actor Forum, members of the Health Working Group from 16 countries presented a document with recommendations from the Hemispheric Forum of Civil Society Organizations.  Among the axes highlighted, positions were presented regarding healthcare as a human inalienable right and the responsibility of the State to guarantee universal, free and equal access to health services. 

The document also pointed out that there are people in the region that still need basic healthcare, and addressed the transparent management of resources, the access to drinking water, integral maternal and child protection and sexual reproductive health. At the end of the considerations, the group requested governments to present a report in the next Summit of the Americas about the advancements on the health issue and the recommendations made in Panama for education and culture.

See below the Health recommendations put forward to the Heads of the participant States:

1. The Civil Society DENOUNCES that there is a high percentage of the population in States in the region that still are in need of basic healthcare. We CLAIM for respect to health as an inalienable human right and the State’s responsibility to guarantee universal, free and equal access to health care, with no sort of discrimination and stigmatization, based on preventive and community medicine and on safe treatment to guarantee quality in health with respect to interculturality and the protection of vulnerable groups.

2. We DEMAND from States a transparent management of financial resources destined to health and the accountability to the society about its planning, use, management and results. The latter shall be delivered through the implementation of monitoring and evaluation systems that enable the measurement of the accomplishment of basic indicators and its advancements.

3. STRENGHTENING international, multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation in emergency situations, disasters, epidemic outbreaks and for the integral care to all people, by fostering the organized participation of the civil society.

4. GUARANTEE of universal access to drinking water and the protection of water resources by the State.

5. PRIORITIZING integral protection of maternal and child health and nutrition, with strategies for education, promotion, prevention and attention.

6. GUARANTEE of access to sexual and reproductive health focused on the rights of all people.

7. We RECOMMEND that States apply the necessary measures to avoid the smuggling of medicine, which puts citizens’ lives at risk.