|© WHO/Chris Black|
|Young delegates at the preparatory meeting to the international conference marking the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Alma-Ata Declaration on primary health care.|
By Ravi Karkara and John Budd
ALMATY, Kazakhstan, 16 October 2008 – Young people from Brazil, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malta, the Philippines, Tanzania and the United States of America gathered in Almaty to take part in this week's international conference celebrating the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Alma-Ata Declaration on primary health care.
During the four-day preparatory meeting before the conference, the 10 young delegates shared their ideas and experiences in the field of primary health care and agreed on a set of key health issues that affect young people along with recommendations to be presented during the deliberations of the International Conference.
They also exchanged ideas with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan.
Partners in health, partners in change
In a closing statement on behalf of all the young delegates, US delegate Roopa Dhatt told the conference: “We are responsible. We will use the Alma-Ata Declaration and the outcomes from this conference to mobilize other children and young people on promoting health. The recommendations formulated in this conference will be shared with our groups and networks to empower ourselves, to further our work and collective action to promote primary health care. We are partners in health – here and now. We are partners in change.”
The conference was told that the young people exchanged ideas to challenge each other and prepared collective recommendations, voicing young people’s perspectives on primary health care.
The closing statement noted that marginalized young people, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and sexually and economically exploited children and young people, as well as those living with HIV, must be recognized and included in primary health care while upholding the highest level of human rights.
|© WHO/Chris Black|
|US youth delegate Roopa Dhatt reads the closing statement on behalf of all the young people at the preparatory meeting to the international conference in Almaty.|
The young delegates noted that children’s and young people’s health is affected by climate change, violence, conflict, financial instability and food crises. Young people’s mental health is also crucial for achieving primary health, they noted. Key recommendations included:
At the two-day conference here, young people spoke on two panel sessions and participated in the plenary discussions and in informal contact with delegates from over 60 countries. They shared their own experiences and the work of their organizations and networks in promoting primary health care at the local and national levels.
World Health Organization website: ‘World Health Report 2008’
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