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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

5th People’s Health Assembly Begins in Mar del Plata

A panel at the assembly -- image via PHA website

By Global News Service

Over 600 activists from around the world have converged in Mar del Plata, Argentina, to launch the 5th People’s Health Assembly (PHA 5). Under the motto “Making ‘Health for All’ our path to ‘Buen Vivir,’” the activists have renewed their commitment to health justice, particularly during times of crisis.

This commitment comes at a critical time, marked by the policies of the Milei government in Argentina against public services, and the ongoing genocidal Israeli war on Gaza.

“When the local chapter of the People’s Health Movement (PHM) began preparations for hosting the PHA, Argentina was a different country,” said Carmen Baez, sub-regional coordinator of PHM’s Southern Cone region. In just its first three months of governance, Javier Milei has severely impacted Argentina’s public services, including through mass layoffs.

The new government’s actions against the people include the deterioration of relationships with other Latin American countries with left-leaning governments like Bolivia, Colombia, and Brazil, in an attempt to align more closely with the West. Yet, as journalist and historian Vijay Prashad reminded the Assembly during a discussion on the impact of imperialism and colonialism on health, Argentina’s legacy of social movements sets it apart from the Western allies Milei seeks to join.

Argentina boasts of progressive medical education programs, such as the School of Medicine at the University of Mar del Plata. Adrián Alasino, head of the medical school, emphasized the importance of preserving such spaces amidst threats from the national government to defund and discontinue them.


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