Category Archives: Health Activism

Social and Structural Determinants of Health in the Philippines |

A land occupation in norther Negros, Philippines, the flag of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) is flying

Social and Structural Determinants of Health in the Philippines |

Martha and Aiyanas, members of the Alliance for People’s Health and People’s Health Radio, recently spent 6 weeks in the Philippines working with grassroots people’s health organizations on the island of Negros.  In this episode, the first of two report backs, they reflect on the need to address structural issues (resources, land, power and control) in order to substantially improve people’s health.  On Negros, people’s organizations have begun to occupy land slated for the (inadequate, corrupt and stalled) comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP) with dramatic results.

The show includes an interview with leading human rights advocate Toto from Escalante City in Northern Negros and movement music.  You can read more about the international work of the Alliance for People’s Health international work at and more about Martha and Aiyanas’s trip at

Smile with Dignity Campaign Gains Momentum in Vancouver

The Smile with Dignity campaign maintains that Dental Care is a Human Right

On March 16 of this year People’s Health Radio did a recap show on the Smile with Dignity campaign, a grassroots effort by local organization the Alliance for People’s Health to include basic dental care under the BC Medical Services Plan. ( The campaign has 3 demands:

1. Include basic preventive and restorative care under the BC Medical Services Plan;

2. Access to dental care be determined by need and not ability to pay;

3. Structural issues undermining equality in dental care be addressed.

On this show we spoke with the organizers from the Alliance for People’s Health, health researcher Bruce Wallace and members of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users about how the current provision of dental care services in BC adversely impacts the health and well-being of families, older people and poor and working class people in this province.

Since our show in March the Smile with Dignity campaign has been steadily building momentum, continuing their social investigation and talking to people on the streets of Vancouver about their difficulties accessing appropriate, timely and affordable dental care. These stories are uploaded on a regular basis to the Smile with Dignity campaign blog:

Different media sources besides People’s Health Radio have been covering the campaign’s development. The Georgia Straight recently posted this article online:, and on August 3rd the CBC Early Edition interviewed Smile with Dignity organizer Azar Mehrabadi about the campaign: (go to 1:49:19).

We will continue to report on the progress of the Smile with Dignity campaign as they prepare to take their demands to the street and push our provincial government to expand MSP to include dental care for all.

Smile with Dignity Organizer Mel as the Justice Tooth

Poverty, Criminalization and Health – An Update

VANDU Public Awareness Campaign


In our show on May 26 we told the story of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users campaign against ticketing for vending, jaywalking and public urination in the Downtown Eastside. (


At that point 50 VANDU members had recently delivered a letter to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson calling on him to act on public health recommendations on these issues and stop criminalizing people with tickets. We followed up with a mass meeting where we put our demands to Councillor Kerry Jang and we gave him a month to get back to us.


Now, after 2 1/2 years of hard campaigning which included demonstrations, pickets, letter writing, disrupting council meetings, studies with the city, public outreach and education, etc, etc we’ve won some victories.


On Tuesday July 26 Vancouver City Council voted to implement a 6 block 30 km zone in our neighbourhood to improve pedestrian safety. This was one of the key recommendations of the VANDU pedestrian safety study “We’re All Pedestrians”:


Additionally the city has committed to extending hours (until midnight) at public toilets in the DTES. It’s not the 24 hour access that we were looking for, but its a start.


And the community initiated and controlled street market continues to go strong. The City says they are looking at creating a site where the market can run 7 days/ week. This will potentially create new challenges, because there is strong commitment from the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council to keep the grassroots and democratic character of the market, but it is an exciting possibility nonetheless.


The struggle with the Police and the City around tickets and criminalization continues, and we need more community controlled public health institutions and measures, but the victories are exciting, particularly because they are so clearly the outcome of a persistent, organized and principled grassroots campaign.

Health and Human Rights in the Philippines


What’s the state of health and human rights in the Philippines today?

We revisit the story of the Morong 43, a group of 43 community health workers detained by the Philippine Government from February to December of 2010.  What have been the impacts of the detainment and ongoing military harassment on the health workers, their families and communities?


Interview with Aiyanas Ormond – People’s Health Radio co-host and local organizer who is currently in the Philippines with his partner and children on a solidarity mission.  More information about their trip can be found at

Interview with Merry Mia-Clamor, one of the 43 health workers detained by the Philppine government.

and audio from a talk in Vancouver by Dr. Julie Caguiat, spokesperson of the Free the 43 Health Workers! Alliance.

Music by Victor Noriega, Aki Merced/Renato Reyes/Karl Ramirez, Amadou, James Caraang (Feat. Margie Banda and Sol Diana), Black Uhuru

Poverty, criminalization and health |

Poverty, criminalization and health |

We tell the story of the story of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users campaign against ticketing for vending, jaywalking and public urination in the Downtown Eastside. Positive community alternatives to criminalization and the struggle to see them implemented.

Globalization and Health |

Globalization and Health |

We look at the impact of globalization policies of trade liberalization, privatization and deregulation on people’s health, with a focus on the Philippines.  Interviews with SFU Professor John Calvert; Dr. Chandu Claver, Chairperson of BAYAN Canada; and Alliance for People’s Health organizer Martha Roberts.

People’s Health Radio contributors Martha Roberts and Aiyanas Ormond will soon be returning to work with community based health programs in the Philippines and learn from the vibrant movement for people’s health and social  justice there.  Follow our journey at:

Is Capitalism a Disease?


A re-broadcast of our very first show on PHR  – updated and remastered.

We talk to Richard Levins (John Rock Professor of Population Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health) , Dennis Raphael (Professor of Health Policy and Management at York University)and Martha Roberts (Midwife, Community Organizer with the Alliance for People’s Health) asking the question:  Is Capitalism a disease?  Are structural inequality, class exploitation, racism and sexism making us sick?

We take the conversation about health beyond health care and look at health from a holistic perspective.  What does it mean to be sick, and to be well?  What does a healthy life look like?

We’ll be adding more resources on this over the next few days… so check back in soon!

Martin Luther King's Campaign for Economic Human Rights

The great meat debate |

CLICK to listen in to the great meat/vegetarian debate |

Deals with the health implications of meat-eating and vegetarianism for individual health, the health of our community (looking at race, class and gendered implications) and the health of the planet.  Music by Duplex, Jerry Lee Lewis and Common.

This is a really big topic with lots of perspectives!  Some links with food (pun intended) for thought – we’ll probably add more over the next couple days:

The health impacts of fat oppression and the diet industry |

The health impacts of fat oppression and the diet industry |

Jen and Aiyanas talk about the health impacts of fat oppression and the diet industry with writer and blogger Lesley Kinzel ( and Vancouver Activist Kalamity (of Fat Panic!).

Music by the Gossip, the Coup, Queen Latifah, Old Man Luedecke, and Po’Girl.


Drug User Health |

Drug User Health |