to Members and Friends 2017
As we had expected, 2016 was in many ways a watershed year, marked by transitions, both inside and outside the NGO F4H.
Inside the NGO F4H, our President of many years, Alan Leather, stepped down and agreed to continue serving for a while on the Steering Committee, to assist me and also to deal with our finances.
Outside the NGO F4H, among other things, the international development agenda for health has been given a new breadth and momentum. To “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” has become one of the 17 principal objectives of the multilateral agenda to 2030. The selected health goals that we sought to achieve between 2000 and 2015 – the Millennium Development Goals that focused on reducing infant, child and maternal mortality on the one hand, and controlling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria on the other – were successfully enveloped into a more extensive and comprehensive mandate to achieve health for all.
It is an agenda we will need to advocate for and defend in the current global climate.
Sustainable Development Goal 3 calls for universal health coverage, access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, increased health financing of the health workforce and vigilance in regard to health risks; furthermore, in an important complement to Goal 3, Goal 1 calls for social protection systems and measures for all that include universal access to essential health care.
Some things worked well this year, and some things continue to improve. On the positive side, our membership grew, and we are opening up the links between health and social protection. The NGO F4H became quickly immersed in the new health agenda. The NGO Forum for Health:
- participated in submissions to the joint High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth of ILO, OECD & WHO with one of our members, Public Services International, and commented on the Commission’s final report;
- contributed to the Global Cooperation Newsletter of the International Council for Social Welfare (ICSW), also one of our members, on universal health coverage, social protection and the health workforce;
- outlined a social protection agenda for Asian civil society, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, at the request of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), providing a draft of guidelines and strategic tips;
- participated in organizing and defining the scientific content of the 5th International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector held in Dublin, providing a keynote address: “A Metastructure of Violence: Roles of the Health Sector”; and
- contributed material to the ILO on the working conditions of health workers for a 2017 meeting on the health sector.