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Course announcement: The Struggle for Health - Savar November 2018

En francais ici

The International People’s Health University (IPHU) of the People’s Health Movement (PHM) - jointly with PHM-Bangladesh, Gonoshasthaya Kendra, Third World Network, and SAMA Resource Group for Women and Health with Naripokkho - announce "THE STRUGGLE FOR HEALTH" a short training course for young health activists from 6 to 13 November in Savar (just outside Dhaka), Bangladesh.

This course is held in the lead up to the 4th People’s Health Assembly (more here) which will also be held at Gonoshasthaya Kendra from 15-19 November. It is expected that participants in the IPHU course will also be participating in PHA4.

Applications now closed.

Follow the program of this IPHU at the Course Resources Page.

On this page:


See the Draft Program Framework here. The course to be held in Savar will commence as a single course, then split into two parallel streams of specialist study, dealing with medicines policy, and gender and health respectively, and then come together again for the final day. This plan is a notional framework. It is currently under development. Watch this space!

The common curriculum will include:

  • the struggle for health and organized health activism: challenges, strategy and practice, achievements and new directions;
  • social determinants of health: poverty, oppression and hierarchy; alienation and exclusion; racism, sexism and materialism;
  • comprehensive primary health care: achievements, challenges, lessons and new directions; health system strengthening; the politics of health policy; and
  • the political economy of health: imperialism and globalisation, the international financial institutions and the UN system; local issues and global pressures.

The curriculum for the access to medicines stream will focus on creating the conditions for the full deployment of the flexibilities provided for in the TRIPS Agreement (compulsory licensing, parallel importation, patentability criteria, the LDC waiver and the constraints and opportunities associated with existing national laws). In support of this focus topics will include:

  • TRIPS plus provisions,
  • the structure of the pharmaceutical industry,
  • the regulation of the global production chain, and
  • reform of research and development financing.

The curriculum for the gender and health stream will include:

  • patriarchy and intersectionality: analysis of gender, caste, class, race, sexuality, and disability;
  • reproductive and sexual health and rights;
  • medicalisation of bodies: reproductive and advanced bio-technologies;
  • rising fundamentalisms impacting health (resistance to abortion and sexuality education; honour killings, violence (gender, caste, communal, ethnicity);
  • Health for All: role of the women’s movements - challenges and strategies.


IPHU short courses are designed to enable younger health activists to make new connections, share experiences and study together. They aim at strengthening the People’s Health Movement and the wider movement for health equity globally.

The course is planned for young health activists and practitioners working on the issues of health, access to medicines, gender and human rights and particularly including those involved or wishing to be involved in the People’s Health Movement (PHM). Many applicants will have a university degree or equivalent but not necessarily.

Priority, with respect to enrolment, will be given to:

  • Younger people motivated to get involved in PHM (and who have endorsed the People’s Charter for Health);
  • Primary health care and public health practitioners;
  • People with a track record as health activists within the PHM, in particular, people who have been actively involved in organizations which are part of the PHM.

A total of 60 participants is expected. As well as including participants interested in one or other of the two streams, the enrolment policy aims to achieve:

  • geographical mix,
  • gender balance,
  • diversity of involvements: community based organizations, health care agencies, NGOs, universities, government officials, etc; and
  • diversity of skills, records of activism, interests, experience, and educational backgrounds.


The course will be conducted in English French, Spanish and Bangla. Simultaneous translation from and into these languages will be provided.

Fees and charges

Registration, which includes registration for PHA4, is mandatory. Registration for the IPHU covers the cost of training materials, lunch and coffee breaks during the training days and accommodation at GK during the IPHU and PHA4.

  • USD50 (or equivalent) for low and lower middle income countries
  • USD100 (or equivalent) for upper middle and high income countries

Tuition costs are supported by the PHM for all participants. There is no charge.

Subsidized accommodation at Gonoshasthaya Kendra (basic, shared facilities including bed, breakfast and dinner) will be reserved from the evening of Monday 5 November through to the morning of 19th November (ie the conclusion of PHA4), subject to confirmation.


PHM is committed to reducing the financial barriers to attending IPHU. A limited number of travel scholarships will be available for qualified applicants. Priority will be given to qualified applicants from Bangladesh (as the host country), and from South Asia / South East Asia. Scholarships will be offered in the expectation that recipients are staying for PHA4 after the IPHU course.

Travel scholarships for qualified Bangladeshi participants from outside Dhaka is subject to a fixed rate, estimated based on the average cost of travel by bus or train.

In case of travel scholarships for international participants requiring air travel, flight tickets will be booked by the PHM Global Secretariat upon a written confirmation by the participant of the itinerary provided. Most flight tickets will be non-refundable; accordingly, participants will be asked to pay back the cost of their tickets if they do not show up. This policy is only to ensure that we are using our limited resources efficiently.

IPHU scholarships do not cover visa fees, airport tax & travel insurance (if applicable), personal living expenses, per diems, or local transportation in the home country. Applicants should seek support from sponsors in their own countries in the first instance.

The IPHU approach to learning

  • Start with the struggle for health
  • Teach and learn in partnership
  • Knowledge is imbued with purpose
  • New ideas must be used
  • Activism is an ethical commitment
  • Learn new ways of being (as well as new facts and theories)
  • Refresh, enquire, research
  • Nurture leadership: judgment which inspires confidence; integrity which creates trust and the courage to take risks
  • Learn to listen to learn; learn to teach; teach to learn
  • Steer our own learning; grow the skills and habits of life long learning
  • Build our community of activists
  • Stay with the struggle for health

The course will involve: pre-reading and exercises; lectures, small group discussions, debates, workshops and follow up study. Resource materials will take the form of soft copy readings and lecture notes and websites.


Faculty members will be a mix of activist academics and health activists of rich experience, from within the region and beyond.