Proclamation for the Health of the People and the Planet.

The Proclamation for the Health of the People and the Planet  (Proclama por la Salud de los Pueblos y del Planeta), was the document signed by participants at the 4° Congreso Iberoamericano de Medicina Familiar y Comunitaria, or 4th WONCA Iberoamericana region CIMF in Uruguay in March 2015.

I am always impressed by the dedication and commitment of family doctors around the world to improving the lives of the communities they serve. As a participant of the WONCA CIMF region congress,  and someone whose heart lives in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres of the Americas, I am always inspired to see that in the Iberoamerican region this commitment expands to caring for all, both inside and outside of hospitals and clinics, it pays attention to communities, to social and political movements, and to the planet earth.

I was inspired and touched as this document was read in Montevideo, and dedicate the translation to all who attended the congress and all who work in Family and Community Medicine in Iberoamerica. So that their ideas are read by others, and all, North and South, East and West go marchando juntos por una mejor salud.

Participants of the 4th Ibero American Congress of Family and Community Medicine, meeting in Montevideo, from  March 18 to 21, 2015 under the theme “Quality and Equity in Health Care”, proclaim our unwavering willingness to contribute to the health of the people in Ibero America and the world with our work, knowledge, strength and enthusiasm, so that all people, whatever their creed, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, place of living, or sexual orientation, will access to the right to adequate  and high quality care.

Iberoamerica has lived a diversity of political and social processes marked by destruction, alienation and looting; from the times of colonization, to the pain-generating dictatorships and to what has been continued by the neoliberal paradigm.

The health of the people has been affected in a process where health becomes the property of the privileged few and a market good. We continue to pursue to advance health as a human right. We know that we are still far from being able to guarantee this right to society.

We recognize in the young people, who are the present, a constructive force, and their view a motor for necessary changes. We need to train mainly in primary care, with the view of family and community health that involves inter-sectorial social participation.

We call for an exchange of knowledge between academia and community, including the teaching-learning processes embedded in the life and the history of peoples.

We care for the health problems affecting our populations and those problems affecting health workers. If we take care of our patients, why not take care of ourselves?

We promote research in the primary care level and in the community as a strategy to improve the quality of health care and to advance proposals adapted to the reality and needs of the region.

We must redouble our efforts to ensure universal health coverage in our countries, coverage that goes beyond the technical aspects of health financing and incorporates the principles of equity, quality and solidarity.  We must redouble our efforts to ensure the responsibility of governments to establish the right.

We are deeply committed to a paradigm shift in health care toward person-centered care, recognizing health as a means for the full development of human beings, protecting it from unnecessary medical interventions that can respond to market interests, avoiding over-medicalization, opting to make only ethically acceptable and scientifically proven interventions.

We call for strengthening citizen participation in health as a right that promotes the action of social actors in decision-making and public health management to influence the social determinants of health, with equality and equity. Family and Community Medicine and Primary Health Care are a key tool for the development and maintenance of the health of the people.

We believe, and the evidence shows it, that only through systems and models of care based on primary health care that incorporate family and community medicine as a fundamental part, you can fast forward to this goal.

For this, we promote a ratio of at least 50% of specialists in Family and Community Medicine in health systems in Latin America, and see this value as an indicator for achieving universal coverage.

One cannot think about advances in the care of the person if we do not include caring for the environment at the same time, understanding the human in its complex interactions with his surroundings and the whole planet. That’s why we want to incorporate and make our concept of planetary health.  Planetary health is an attitude towards life and a philosophy for living. It puts emphasis on people, not on disease, in equity, not in the creation of unjust societies. It is therefore necessary to have an urgent transformation that requires that our values and practices should be based on the recognition of our interdependence and interconnection.

We need a new vision of democratic and cooperative action at all levels of society and a new planetary welfare principle for every person on this earth-a principle that affirms what we should conserve, maintain and do to generate resilience for the human planetary system. Our health depends on giving priority to the welfare of the whole.

Why is the earth sick? The earth is sickened by the overexploitation of our productivist and consumerist culture that yields disease. Let’s become conscious, intelligent and caring to Mother Earth and as we care for her, we will create health in the community and in ourselves.

Let’s create a healthier land, for us and the rest of the planet. This is something that all family physicians and the Ibero American community can contribute to, knowing that a better world is possible for everyone. Because if it is only good for some, it is not good for anyone.

Montevideo, March 21, 2015. 4th WONCA Iberoamerican Congress of Family and Community Medicine.