The initiative: Zafrullah Chowdhury formulated the idea of an international meeting following the December 2016 decision of the High Court of Delhi to set aside the March 2016 decision of the Indian Central Government banning 344 irrational fixed dose combinations (FDC).
Zafrullah noted that, since the 1985 Nairobi Conference on the Rational Use of Drugs, for every two steps we have advanced we have gone one step backward. A progressive agenda for people-centred, rational and affordable health care continues to be undermined by powerful vested interests.
The latest example is U.S. president elect Donald Trump’s nominee (Tom Price) for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Price has consistently opposed policies aimed at improving the care of vulnerable people. See also Trump’s pick for the Environmental Protection Agency (Scott Pruitt)!
Zafrullah suggests that it is time for us to gather again globally to confront the forces and ideology that oppose Health for All.
The aim: To bring together like-minded groups such as Health Action International Asia Pacific (HAIAP) and the People’s Health Movement (PHA) to reflect on the vision of the late Dr Halfdan Mahler (1923-2016), share the achievements and setbacks of various countries Essential Drugs and Health for all campaigns and reinforce our commitment to the cause.
Dates: There is agreement that postponing the meeting to 10-25 Nov, 2017 will allow more time for planning, obtain greater participation and find funds. The exact dates are currently being finalised.
Venue: PHA Bhaban (where the first People’s Health Assembly was held in December 2000). It has conference facilities and can accommodate 250 persons in a combination of single and double rooms and 8 bedded dormitories. Gono Bishwabidyalay (the People’s University) is a 10-minute walk away and has additional facilities and space.
Funding: People attending will be responsible for funding their travel to and from Dhaka. However, Zafrullah has kindly confirmed that Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) will extend full hospitality including airport pick up and drop, modest accommodation, all meals and AV facilities.
International Steering Committee: Zafrullah suggested this should include representation of activists, health workers, researchers/academics and policy planners belonging to different networks, agencies and academic institutions. Shila Kaur and Ken Harvey have been tasked to start this process along with Zafrullah. Additional members of the steering committee are currently being finalised.by