Announcement: Applications for South Asian IPHU, February 2020 NOW OPEN

International People’s Health University (IPHU) on Struggle towards Equity in Health

in memory of Dr Amit Sengupta[i]

Organised by PHM Global [ii] and Sama Resource Group for Women and Health[iii] with PHM Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal /17-23 February, 2020

The South Asian region is diverse in terms of its socio-cultural, ethnicity and religious contexts, as well as in terms of its economic and political circumstances.  However, these diversities are accompanied by many commonalities that underpin this region – large parts of the region face extreme poverty and hunger, gender inequality, experience conflicts, displacement, climate injustice, are overwhelmed by patriarchal, religious and other fundamentalisms that challenge existing democratic aspirations and institutions. Inequities are stark within countries in the region and continue to grow, stoked by policies that deny social, economic and political justice.  The countries in the region are moreover, witnessing an increasing withdrawal of the provision of services by the State with the simultaneous promotion of privatization and corporatisation.  The political economy of health intersects deeply with structural discriminations that impact autonomy, personhood, “citizenship” and human rights of the people in the region.

Any discourse on health and health care, therefore, necessitates a deeper understanding of the impact of these social, political and economic inequities and an analysis of their repercussions not only for physical but also mental health of the people.  Understanding of the latter continues to be largely within the bio-medical framework, ignoring its social, economic and political determinants.  Moreover, mental health care continues to receive low priority within public health systems and is fraught with several concerns, including low resources, inadequate skilled health workforce and unethical practices.  It is also incumbent to examine the current global and regional responses to the context to assess their implications. Transformative and just action are critical to enable all the people and particularly so for those at the margins of society to resist, to surpass these challenges and enjoy their rights to life and health.

An inter-sectional understanding and strategy is imperative in the South Asian region to renew the long struggles, the hard – won rights that stand threatened.

International People’s Health University on the Struggle towards Equity in Health

This IPHU[iv] is organised by the People’s Health Movement (PHM) Global [v] and Sama Resource Group for Women and Health with PHM Nepal. The IPHU seeks to build the capacities of young activists from South Asia to:

  • Strengthen knowledge and conceptual tools for equity analysis of the political, social and economic structures and dynamics (at the local, national and global levels), which frame the social and environmental determinants of health
  • Broaden understanding on the social determinants of health and their intersectionality
  • Enable understanding on inequities and mental health

The IPHU curriculum will include:

  • Conceptual clarity on Equity and Health
  • Social Determinants of Health and their intersectionality
  • Towards Equitable Health Systems
  • Challenges to equity in health on account of conflict, climate injustice, forced migration and imposed statelessness / denial of “citizenship”
  • Inequities and their implications for Mental Health
  • Towards enabling equitable access to Medicines
  • Impact of Trade on Health

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal (venue details to be provided later)

Date: 17- 24 February 2020 – 7-day residential course

The IPHU course will be conducted in English.


Who can apply?

Applications are invited from interested persons from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

The course invites participation from women, trans-persons, men, and any other non- normative gender expressing persons from civil society organizations, public health professionals and students (community based organizations; women’s organizations; health networks; representatives from disability, LGBTQI and other social movements; students; young researchers, young medical professionals, etc.)

Applicants should be below the age of 35. Considerations for selection of participants also include:

  • Persons motivated to work on issues of health equity
  • Persons who are involved with the PHM and other health rights organizations / or plan to become involved in such
  • People with a track record as civil society advocates for Health for All

A total of 35 participants are expected to be selected based on diversity of gender, geography, involvement, experience and skills.

Registration Fees

All international participants will be required to pay registration fees, on arrival for the IPHU course.

Registration for the IPHU covers the cost of training materials, food and shared accommodation during the IPHU

  • USD30 (or equivalent) for All participants


PHM is committed to reducing the financial barriers to attending IPHU. Hence, scholarships will be available to cover the travel and accommodation costs. Accommodation provided will be basic and in shared facilities Meals (breakfast, lunch, coffee-breaks and dinner) will be provided.

Please note that IPHU scholarships do not cover visa fee, airport tax & travel insurance (if applicable), personal living expenses, per diems, or local transportation in the home country.

If any applicant is able to cover his/her costs of participation (in whole or in part), please do let the organizers know as this will enable the organizers to support additional participants.


Faculty members will be a mix of academics and health activists of rich experience, from within the region and beyond.

Application process and timelines

Last date for applying for the Course: December 10, 2019

The organisers will inform the status of applications by 20 December


[i] Trained as a medical doctor, Amit dedicated his life to the struggle for universal access to health, and worked on issues related to public health, pharmaceuticals policy and intellectual property rights. He led several research projects in the area of public health and medicines policy, and was associated with several civil society platforms and networks, including the All India People’s Science Network. He was the Associate Global Coordinator of People’s Health Movement (PHM) and coordinated the editorial group of the Global Health Watch and the WHO Watch. He was the Co Convenor of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), the Indian Chapter of PHM. He wrote regularly for journals and newspapers across India and the world.
This IPHU, dedicated to Dr. Amit Sengupta, has been possible with the support of Open Society Foundation.
[iii] Sama Resource Group for Women and Health is a Delhi based organisation that works at the intersection of gender, health and rights. Sama is actively involved with the People’s Health Movement at the global level as well as in India. Sama was co-organizer of the IPHU in Savar, Bangladesh on Gender, Health and Justice in November 2018. For more about Sama, please visit <>