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HEALTH FOR ALL

"…the attainment of health by people in any one country directly concerns and benefits every other country."—Article IX, Declaration of Alma-Ata, 1978

Primary Health Care conference attendees on the front steps of conference site
International Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, 1978
Courtesy WHO
Audio Tour Audio Tour Stop #2 Transcript

At a meeting at Alma-Ata (now Almaty, Kazakhstan) in 1978, government ministers from 134 countries met with global health organizations and agencies to discuss the relationship between inequality and illness. More than half of the earth's people did not have access to affordable, local health services and many were without the basic needs for survival. Without medical care, clean water, safe shelter, and nutritious food, preventable illnesses threatened the lives of many.

In response, delegates at the International Conference on Primary Health Care laid out their vision to improve daily life and bring health care to all people. Although the transformation called for at this historic meeting remains incomplete, stories of success from around the world offer examples we can follow.

Primary Health Care conference attendees at the Palace of Lenin
WHO Conference at Alma Ata, USSR, 1978
Courtesy WHO

Excerpts from the Declaration of Alma-Ata, 1978

I The Conference strongly reaffirms that health, which is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is a fundamental human right…

III …The promotion and protection of the health of the people is essential to sustained economic and social development and contributes to a better quality of life and to world peace.

VI Primary health care is essential health care…made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford…

IX All countries should cooperate in a spirit of partnership and service to ensure primary health care for all people since the attainment of health by people in any one country directly concerns and benefits every other country.