18 October 2019 The 2019 edition of the Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH) Global Symposium, held from 15-18 October in New Delhi, was focused on ‘Citizenship, Governance and Accountability in Health.’ The aim of the Symposium was to analyze and share experiences on strengthening the linkage between communities and the health system in order to provide quality and accountable care. Over the four days of the conference, practitioners and researchers came together to discuss five major themes – community level health; sexual and reproductive health and rights; privatization of health care; alliance between community and health-care workers; and marginalized communities. The Independent Accountability Panel (IAP) co-hosted an inter-thematic panel entitled ‘Accountability for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Human Rights (SRHR): Challenging the status quo’ jointly with WHO’s Human Reproduction Programme. Professor Gita Sen, speaking at the panel as well as the Closing Plenary, emphasized the gap between ambitious SRHR frameworks and the constrained socio-political realities within which these frameworks are implemented, as well as the impact of fiscal tightening on gender equality and SRHR programming. “If you don’t talk about it, no one talks about sexuality and reproduction except in the context of population control. A primary health care agenda that actually pays attention to SRHR is necessary,” she said.
At the close of the Symposium, participants came together to frame a joint Call to Action to improve accountability in healthcare and call for a shift in power away from private sector institutions, the educated urban classes, corporate health insurance companies (to name some key power holders), into the hands of ordinary people. This would lend a stronger voice to the disempowered and help mend the gaps in procedural accountability. Related links Learn more about the COPASAH Global Symposium https://www.copasahglobalsymposium2019.net/ Read a report from COPASAH prepared by Shree Baphna here Follow us on Twitter for real-time updates about events and publications https://twitter.com/iapewec