Macroeconomics and Health (CMH)

WHO Asian Civil Society Conference on Macroeconomics and Health - April 2004

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Strengthening the call for equitable access to primary health care was the overarching goal of the first inter-regional civil society conference on Macroeconomics and Health, organized by the World Health Organization on 27 and 28 April in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The conference brought together some 60 representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with activities in WHO's South-East Asia and the Western Pacific regions. The governments of 12 countries engaged in carrying forward the recommendations of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH) were also represented in the conference, which examined how civil society organizations could contribute to improving the health of the poor in their respective countries within a macroeconomics framework.

While there is wide knowledge of the value of a primary health care movement, the technical interventions, the public health measures, the system requirements, and the cost for scaling up access, there has still not been real change for the world's poor. Towards addressing this situation, participants considered the findings of the CMH and the ongoing follow-up approaches in countries of the regions. It was noted that civil society has contributed greatly toward moving health and poverty reduction higher on the international agenda. It has also supported national efforts in expanding primary health care. In the unanimous consensus statement discussed at the closing session, participants committed themselves to participate in national Macroeconomics and Health processes and asked their governments to ensure full involvement of civil society and NGOs.

Working Group discussions centred around the potential contribution of NGOs in four areas: the policy debate and decision-making; increasing access to essential health services for the rural and urban poor; giving relief to households that experience catastrophic health costs; and analysis and strategic planning of Macroeconomics and Health issues through research.

Consensus document

Conference report

Background information

Conference papers

Event information