AKEL on World Health Day
The provision of health services is a right and not a privilege for the select few
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 6th April 2021, Nicosia
On the occasion of World Health Day and with the slogan “Building a fairer and healthier world”, AKEL addresses a greeting of appreciation and gratitude to all those who are conscientiously and with a sense of responsibility serving the task of safeguarding our people’s health. Especially these days when Cyprus, like all humanity, is faced with a pandemic, we express our gratitude to all the Health workers and staff who with their self-sacrifice are defending the right to Health and stressing as never ever before the need for the provision of quality health care for all.
To ensure people’s Health there must be physical, mental well-being and social health which cannot exist without a Public Health system.
Health systems absorb not only physical and mental illness, but also social problems. To ensure the existence and provision of quality health care, the existence of a strong health system, as well as parallel prevention and social welfare policies, elements that presuppose and constitute a strong welfare state, are imperative.
The prevention of the illness and the welfare state are interrelated elements of physical, mental and social health, essential features for people and society. Social inequalities, as well as inequalities in the health system too, have no place in a welfare state and the restoration of one restores the other and contributes to people’s recovery and a healthy lifestyle.
The current health crisis, as well as the conditions of a socio-economic crisis and economic inequalities, have given the answer to the political question of whether or not we need bigger state intervention. The rich and the poor rushed to public hospitals to be treated for COVID-19 and this pandemic has proved that we need a stronger welfare state, especially in the field of health, public hospitals and operation of social services.
Safeguarding the right to health has never been so necessary. Health is a right and a social good which a state has an obligation to provide to its citizens. The need for strong public hospitals that will be the guardians of public health is now more than obvious.
World Health Day refers to the responsibility of the State to ensure the provision of quality health services in both primary health care and secondary and tertiary care for the same purposes.
The Left views health based on the fundamental principle that health as is a social and public good, which the state has an obligation to provide to its citizens. The way health is addressed, but also the level of the people’s relationship with it, demonstrates in the most decisive way the level of social justice, but also the very culture of any given society. For AKEL, the provision of health services is a right and not a privilege for the select few. In today’s social conditions, the preservation of gains and rights in health, and more specifically the protection of every person’s right to health, is more than necessary.
Today, having the current socio-economic situation in mind, the provision of quality health care to every citizen, regardless of their economic capability, is a top social necessity. For that reason, the substantial strengthening of the public health system without any further delay, regressions and far from serving any expediencies or attempts to serve powerful economic interests proves to be an indispensable precondition for the vigorous implementation not just of the National Health Scheme, but also for the protection of society as a whole in these times of crisis and beyond.
We note with concern the continuing deterioration of the public health sector and the fact that an unforgivably long delay has been observed in the entire process of its modernization. AKEL calls on the Ministry of Health to support the reorganization and modernization of public hospitals without any further delay, so that they constitute the main axis upon which the National Health Scheme will be developed.
We are extremely concerned about the serious problems that the state health services have shown, especially during the pandemic. Human life must not be measured by money. The continuous understaffing of state hospitals, the lack of infrastructures, the non-filling of vital positions for the operation of state hospitals, the non-modernization of working conditions and the lack of occupational safety, the shortages of necessary consumables and other problems, all damage and downgrade the quality of services provided and create a negative impression in society. Especially today, with the major current problems in society, health, employment and the economy, the problems noted in the provision of quality health care are accumulating.
For that reason, it is necessary to swiftly address the problems that arise in order to protect and upgrade the services provided. It is clear that the front line of treating health problems society as a whole is facing has been left to public hospitals. After all, this is their social role, to protect the whole of society and thus they must be given all the necessary tools and means to do so.
AKEL states that it will back those policies that will benefit the health of the ordinary citizen and society in general and it will oppose any policies that drive the health system backwards and turn it into a privilege instead of a right.
AKEL will continue to struggle for the further upgrading and strengthening of the health sector in Cyprus and for the solution of the problems it faces. Furthermore, AKEL will continue to support the public health system as the necessary backbone of the health services provided in our country.