A Renewed Commitment to Health for All in the 21st Century

27 Sep 2004
health for all

Washington, D.C., September 27, 2004 (OPS)—Twenty-five years after the emergence of the slogan Health for All, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today is holding a special commemoration to renew the commitment to primary health care, a tool essential to achieve equity in health.

The celebration is part of the annual meeting of PAHO's Directing Council, which brings together the ministers of health of all the countries of the Americas. It will take place Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 2:30 p.m., in a Special Session that will feature a video presentation and remarks on the future of "Health for All."

This slogan was created in 1978 during the International Conference on Primary Health Care, in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. At Alma-Ata, 134 countries and 67 international organizations granted recognition to the concept of primary health care (PHC) as a strategy to reach the goal of Health for All in 2000.

As indicated in the Declaration signed at the conclusion of the conference, primary health care is "essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination."

PAHO is considering a new Regional Declaration, similar in spirit to Alma-Ata, which would propose the development and implementation of public policies and strategies at both the regional and national levels to continue to improve the health of the peoples of the Americas.

Within the framework of this celebration, the countries of the Americas will hold meetings, forums, congresses and other activities of political and technical nature to publicize the effectiveness of PHC and the objective of Health for All.

The activities will be supported by a campaign of public information that will distribute materials such as posters, bulletins and public service announcements so that different communities understand the message of Health for All.