The World Health Organization’s broad definition of health embraces physical, mental and social well-being. Expressed in its 1946 constitution alongside concepts of community participation and national sovereignty, it reflected an understanding of a world emerging from centuries of colonialist oppression and the public health industry’s shameful facilitation of fascism. Health policy would be people-centered, closely tied to human rights and self-determination.
The COVID-19 response has demonstrated how these ideals have been undone. Decades of increasing funding within public-private partnerships have corroded the basis of global public health. The COVID-19 response, intended for a virus that overwhelmingly targeted the elderly, ignored norms of epidemic management and human rights to institute a regime of suppression, censorship, and coercion reminiscent of the power systems and governance that were previously condemned.
Without pausing to examine the costs, the public health industry is developing international instruments and processes that will entrench these destructive practices in international law. Public health, presented as a series of health emergencies, is being used once again to facilitate a fascist approach to societal management.
The beneficiaries will be the corporations and investors whom the COVID-19 response served well. Human rights and individual freedom, as under previous fascist regimes, will lose. The public health industry must urgently awaken to the changing world in which it works, if it is to adopt a role in saving public health rather than contributing to its degradation.Suggest a correction