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Reflections on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration

, : Reflections on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration. International Journal of Health Services 33(4): 813-818

The Alma-Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care of 1978-based on the World Health Assembly's resolution of 1977 on Health for All by the Year 2000--was a watershed in the concepts and practices of public health as a scientific discipline; it was endorsed by every country in the world, rich and poor. According to the Declaration, health is a fundamental right, to be guaranteed by the state; people should be the prime movers in shaping their health services, using and enlarging upon the capacities developed in their societies; health services should operate as an integral whole, with promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative components; and any western medical technology used in non-western societies must conform to the cultural, social, economic, and epidemiological conditions of the individual countries. Since Alma-Ata, a syndicate of the rich countries and the ruling elites of the poor countries, aided by the WHO, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and other international institutions, has done much to overturn the Declaration's primary health care initiatives. The WHO's recent attempt to regain some credibility, its Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, ignored the primary health care principles of the Alma-Ata Declaration. A struggle for these principles will have to be part of the larger struggle, by like-minded individuals working in individual countries, for a just world order.


PMID: 14758860

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