Health is a way of living with full autonomy, solidarity and joy. (10th Congress of Physicians and Biologists of Catalan Language, Perpignan, 1976)
That sentence appears in the third page of the Innovation Plan for Primary health care and Community Health recently published by the Department of Health of the Catalan Government), The quote appears in its third page, after the title and the index and highlighted in bold characters, at least in the version you can download from the internet.
Some local readers may remember what the 10th Congress of Physicians and Biologists of Catalan Language held in Perpignan in 1976 meant. Most have probably never heard of than event, 33 years old now, and may be unaware of the context (just as the General Franco regime was ending) under which seminal series of works were presented. We may talk more about what it meant in forthcoming notes.
e-Criterium also adopted that definition of what health is. The second session of the quoted Perpignan congress was chaired by Jordi GOL-GURINA and tried to advance from the then accepted 1946 WHO definition of health: “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease”. GOL, as Jordi Font and other speakers at the recent (November 2008) memorial session held in Girona during the recent 18th Congress reminded us, insisted in the active characteristic of health: “a way of living” and not merely “a state of wellbeing” and also in the personal and political essence of any health related work: personal because health is linked to an active process of personal growth and maturity as human beings and political as we are convinced of the implications of anybody’s actions over the remaining of the community and specifically as we believe in the capacity to influence how our communities organise themselves as healthy, i.e. promoting freedom, autonomy, solidarity and joy.
We felt happy those words were used in the new Report. For us a definition is only a framework, a common ground, from which actions can be designed and implemented. Otherwise these are only empty words.
E-Criterium is putting that definition at work. How? Explaining how we interpret it and acting on it. How? E-Criterium is a web site where all opinions will have a place to collectively appreciate if our health care system and specifically our primary health care system, that is an essential part of it, works accordingly to what for us that definition implies .. from realism and from desire.
That will be our collective contribution to the implementation of the Innovation Plan.
Olga Fernández Quiroga and Oriol Ramis i Juan