The Alma-Ata Declaration and the Future of Global Health
October 25-26, 2019
Over the last century, access to health care has become a key—though contested—norm of modern democratic society. The “Health For All” declaration of the 1978 International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan was a high-water moment in a century of expansion by social welfare states. Forty years later its outcome is still uncertain. This conference will focus on efforts to guarantee access to health care as a universal right of citizenship and common humanity.
In recent years many states and international organizations have endorsed a new international consensus goal of universal health coverage (UHC), focusing on the challenge of financing health services that was seen as the main stumbling block of the Alma-Ata Declaration. Others, however, argue that “coverage” is inadequate as a universalist commitment, and that “UHC” should instead be the motto of a global commitment to universal health care.
“Reconceptualizing Health For All” will attempt to situate the current drive for UHC in historical commitments to the human right to health, illuminating its historical, legal, ethical, and bio-social context. It is being sponsored by the Initiative on Healing and Humanity at the Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery, which serves as a "pathway to praxis" between historical, anthropological, sociological and legal analysis and delivery-minded action.