Global Community Should Recommit To Values Of Alma-Ata Declaration

Project Syndicate: ‘Health for All’ Forty Years On
Kabir Sheikh, chair of Health Systems Global and policy adviser at the Alliance for Health Policy & Systems Research

“…The Declaration of Alma-Ata’s lasting legacy is the consensus that health can be improved only with a combination of good science, sound economics, and action against social injustices. … The international community should mark the declaration’s anniversary by recommitting to the values it upholds. … Three of Alma-Ata’s messages merit special attention. First, to improve health, leaders need to do more than build clinics and train physicians; they must also protect the environment, ensure access to clean water and sanitation, promote gender equality, create jobs, and strengthen infrastructure. … Second, more needs to be done to promote interdisciplinary health sciences that address both the practical and ethical questions posed by Alma-Ata. … Finally, just as the declaration prescribed, international health organizations and donors are beginning to reorient their strategies to empower leaders at the local and national levels. … In all of these areas, the Declaration of Alma-Ata will no doubt be a source of continued inspiration” (10/2).