Million Signatures on the Internet to demand “Health for all now”

Hyderabad (India), Savar (Bangladesh), Managua (Nicaragua), 5th January 2003:


The Million Signature Campaign:

A march on the Internet demanding HEALTH FOR ALL NOW!

“In the next 24 hours, over 30,000 children will die from preventable diseases on our planet earth. Today, while the world is writing a collective obituary of the future generation, we know why they are dying; we know who are responsible for these deaths. We know how these deaths can be stopped… Join ‘The Million Signature Campaign’, – a march demanding health for all.”

These are not just statistics, but precious lives that the World Health Organisation promised to save 25 years ago. In 1978, World Health Organisation, the apex UN body dealing with health, promised Health for all by 2000 through a historic moment, the Alma Ata declaration.

“Since the Alma Ata declaration in 1978, responses were promising. However, the spirit of Alma Ata and the idea of Health For All has been under attack by anti-health, anti-poor policies, reemerging and new diseases, new challenges and above all by efforts to put private profit over public health. In the current international health crisis, it is more essential to reaffirm and implement the principles and strategies of Alma Ata”, the home page for this-web based campaign.

The Million Signature campaign was officially launched today simultaneously from Bangladesh, Nicaragua and India. Thousands of people participating in the Asian Social Forum at Hyderabad, India, are expected to extend their solidarity on the opening day of this web campaign. People’s Health Movement is at Asian Social Forum to extend the solidarity of the global health movement.

25 years since the Alma Ata declaration, health for all by 2000 is not a reality. This signature campaign, initiated by the People’s Health Movement and the International People’s Health Council, is being endorsed by ordinary people from various walks of life and organisations, institutions, people’s associations and others working for a just world.

Ms. Parven Akhter, a 22- years old health worker from Souther, a village located in the Faridpur district of Bangladesh is the first signatory. “Let us work together, make other people aware of their health rights and ensure basic health care for all. I hope everybody will join this campaign”, said Ms. Akter.

Some of the first signatories include ordinary health workers, former UN officials and architects of the Alma Ata declaration, medical professionals, journalists, writers, policy-makers, academics, Nobel Prize and Right Livelihood award (alternate Nobel prize) winners, ministers and former heads of nations, politicians, celebrities, leading organisations, students and mass movements.

“The campaign is conceptualised and designed to catch the attention of the WHO, UNICEF, other UN bodies, social and political organisations, policy-makers, governments and others. It is one more step towards making health for all a reality,” said Dr. Qasem Choudhury, the outgoing facilitator for the People’s Health movement
(PHM) secretariat. PHM was launched in Dec 2000 through the People’s Health Assembly, a historic summit in Bangaldesh that had participation of over 1500 representatives from nearly 100 countries. The goal of the People’s Health Movement is to re-establish health and equitable development as top priorities in local, national and international policy-making, with comprehensive primary health care as the strategy to achieve these priorities.

PHM aims to draw on and support people’s movements in their struggles to build long-term and sustainable solutions to health problems. One of the outcomes of the PHA 2000 is the People’s Charter for Health, the largest consensus document on health.

“Last 25 years have seen several experiments in the health sector. Some of them met with success in the initial stages. Of late, corporate and private interests have defeated public health. The negative impacts of unregulated globalisation and privatisation are neutralising the achievements we had in making health for all a reality,” said Ms.Maria Hamlin Zuniga, Co-ordinator of the International People’s Health Council (IPHC). IPHC, a constituent of the PHM, is a worldwide coalition of people’s health initiatives and progressive groups and movements committed to working for the health and rights of disadvantaged people. “Primary Health care works where there is a political commitment,” she said.

“People’s Health Movement will observe 2003 as the year of Alma Ata. A series of activities are being planned to remind and revive the key principles of Alma Ata,” said Dr. Ravi Narayan, the new facilitator for the PHM secretariat.

“The struggle for justice and health for all needs to be fought at different levels. We are aware of the digital divide. Concerted efforts will be put to take this campaign and spread the struggle for health for all also to people who are below the digital line. Using media apart from the Internet will be one of the methods to popularize this Internet based campaign,” said Dr. Unnikrishnan PV of IPHC, facilitator for this web-based campaign.

Dr. Qasem Choudhury, Outgoing facilitator: PHM secretariat
Maria Hamlin Zuniga, Co-ordinator: IPHC
Dr. Ravi Narayan, Facilitator: PHM Secretariat.

For further media queries, please call:

India : Dr. Unnikrishnan PV (Mobile: +91 (0) 98450 91319 /

Thailand: Satya Sivaraman (E-mail:

UK: Andrew Chetley (E-mail:

During Asian Social Forum : +91 (0) 98450 91319 / +91 (0) 98491 55692

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