Sub-zero temperatures didn’t faze hundreds of demonstrators on Parliament Hill this February. At a Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) rally, endorsed by Inter Pares, they demanded the federal government strengthen a public approach to healthcare rather than further entrench privatization.
“We want to stop public healthcare dollars from going to private, for-profit clinics,” said Pauline Worsfold, chairperson of the CHC, an Inter Pares counterpart. “Private health care will not decrease wait times in the public system ... wait times would actually increase. This will also worsen the inequities in our system.”
As people in Canada witness a healthcare system in crisis from coast to coast to coast, while also feeling the rising cost of living, we need solutions rooted in the values of the Canada Health Act, such as universality and accessibility.
In 2022, the CHC organized on multiple fronts – rallies, social media, dozens of meetings with members of Parliament and more – to ensure policy makers heard this message loud and clear. They even facilitated hundreds of letters from constituents to 80 parliamentarians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Privatization, they argued, depletes the public system of already scarce workers and diverts much needed resources.
Poverty and health – and by extension our healthcare system – are inextricably linked. Healthcare should serve everyone, not just those with means. That’s why we also support activists around the world who organize for healthcare systems premised on need and not ability to pay.
In the Philippines, Inter Pares supports Likhaan Center for Women’s Health, established to model the quality and cost-effective public services that governments should provide, and founded on building feminist relationships with local communities. In 2022, alongside running 10 free clinics, Likhaan advocated with nearly 50 decision makers for publicly funded sexual and reproductive health services for women.
Inter Pares is inspired by our allies and counterparts, who advocate for, organize and build healthcare systems based on justice and equality.