Region: Latin America
Source: Background paper commissioned for the WHO conference on the Social Determinants of Health (http://www.who.int/sdhconference/resources/draft_background_paper24_brazil.pdf)
Author(s): Camila Giugliani, Denise Antunes do Nascimento, David Legge, Kátia Cesa, Neusa Vitória Marques, Vera Lúcia Machado de Oliveira
Summary: A community in the city of Porto Alegre whose health chances are constrained by their living circumstances. A seminar by the municipal Health Surveillance Department, entitled “The divinity of water”, inspired community members by linking the environmental and spiritual dimensions of water. Many initiatives originated to clean and improve the neighbourhood. One of the positive outcomes was the registration of the population: the people were formally recognized as citizens and full holders of the right to health care. Moreover, concrete results and improved life conditions promoted inclusiveness and encouraged people to participate in a process for change thus increasing solidarity. This story can be “scaled up” where practitioners are given the skills, confidence and freedom to engage with communities in a respectful way and where the values and principles reflected in this story are manifest at the practitioner, management and policy levels. The story has been documented and analysed as a project of the PHM in Brazil and was in some degree inspired by the short course “The struggle for health”, which was presented by the International People’s Health University (IPHU), a project of PHM globally, in Porto Alegre in September 2008. This link points to the role of civil society in confronting the structures of exclusion and marginalisation at the global and national levels as well as in local communities.
For more information on this experience, please write to Camila Giugliani at email@example.com.
Key practices: relationships, values; advocacy; participation, community action; alliances and cooperation; popular education
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