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This successful meeting was attended by PSI affiliates from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the Russian Federation, as well as representatives of the ILO, WHO and the Tajik Independent Trade Union Federation.
Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, took an active part in the meeting and shared PSI’s strategies for the health sector and PSI’s draft Programme of Action (2017-2022). She addressed the many challenges facing health workers around the world, many of which are due to systemic issues related to financing, the role of the international financial institutions and multinationals.
“Together we can defend health workers and ensure that people come before profit, health is a human right and the provision of public health is essential to achieve that right for all. We must continue to challenge the lie that PPPs are the answer, since they often merely siphon off funds from the public sector into the pockets of private investors who do not invest in public facilities, while pushing the bill onto the population. We need public funding and universal access to health to ensure healthy decent lives and jobs.”, said Pavanelli.
PSI convened this meeting with affiliates in the health and social services sector to strengthen PSI’s health and social services strategy, to collect views and develop a consensus on the actions that affiliates and PSI will pursue jointly. The priority issues for PSI health affiliates in the region are decent wages and social protection for their members and all workers. Wages of health workers are very low and, in some countries, below the living wage (between 100 and 250$ on average).
The meeting also addressed issues related to violence at the workplace, which is a daily occurrence in the health sector, and labour migration of health workers and its impact on both health services and workers themselves. A major point of discussion was the unbridled promotion of PPPs, as well as the different forms of privatization in the sector and the growing role of multinationals in the region. A continued concern is the size of the informal economy, and the fact that organizing workers in the private sector remains very challenging. The financing of public health is a key issue, and of course tax justice plays an important role in that equation, as well as the fight against corruption.
Health insurance schemes are still being developed in the region and further reforms need to be monitored very carefully, to promote best practices instead of repeating the same mistakes that lead to reduced access to health and higher costs for the population. Occupational health and safety of health workers and the prevention of professional illnesses are a priority for PSI affiliates in the region, linked to the on-going reform of occupational standards.
Other key issues that were tabled for discussion included:
The meeting also provided necessary support to Tajik and regional trade unions for strengthening their capacity in policy dialogue processes on healthcare for all.
PSI and ILO will continue their cooperation in this region to support better health policies and workers’ rights, recognizing the urgent needs of affiliates.
Below you will find a list of presentations made at the meeting - a more detailed report will follow:
Documents in Russian: