Professor Fran Baum and Dr Tamara Mackean, Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, attended the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok held between the 29th January and 3rd February. The theme of the conference was “Addressing the health of vulnerable populations for an inclusive society”. PMAC has been described as “Davos of Global Health” and many of the key players in global health from the WHO, World Bank, Rockefeller Foundation and USAID are present at the conference.
Tamara presented a paper on ‘Social Exclusion and Vulnerability’. Fran made three presentations on ‘Health inequities, health promotion and socially exclusionary processes’, ‘the Political economy of social exclusion’ and ‘People-centred health care: Australian Aboriginal Controlled Health Services’. They both added a critical edge to the conference theme by arguing that social exclusion is primarily about the societal processes that operate to exclude people. Tamara illustrated this by reference to the extent of racism in Australian society and Fran pointed to the experience of asylum seekers in off-shore detention.
Fran is a member of the Global Steering Council of the People’s Health Movement and attended the Steering Council meetings on the 29th-31st January prior to the PMAC conference and planned the PHM’s strategic directions for the next year. These will be a campaign opposing the commercialisation of health, a focus on the structural determinants of food supply and a continued campaign to oppose the impacts of extractive industry mining in so many communities.
Photo legend: Dr. Tamara Mackean and Professor Fran Baum at the PMAC conference with Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Director General of WHO and Prime Minister of Norway.