The Commons Framework

What is the overall need/opportunity in society that we are called to meet?

While advances in technologies and medical science allowed life expectancy to exceed 80 years in 26 countries, in another 17 countries it is below 55 years. Even in the industrialized world, with higher living standards access to good health varies greatly by region and socio-economic factors.

The International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma Ata (1978) declared the ”participation of people as a group or individually in planning and implementing their health care” (Wikipedia) as a human right and duty, yet it is widely disregarded everywhere. Many state and market solutions to healthcare have been proven largely inadequate and inefficient. They operate according to an outdated scientific, philosophical and economic model, one that supported the development of industrialization, division of labour and specialisation but became a hindrance to grow healthy thriving communities and fulfilled, and whole human beings.

That’s the context, to which a broad range of people-centred initiatives for a healthier, community-powered health system are responding in the UK and internationally. However, they are mostly disjointed and fragmented, lacking a unifying socio-economic-cultural framework necessary to reach critical impact. That defines the need and opportunity, which the Health Commons Hub is addressing by having its work be guided by the Commons, as such a framework.

The Commons is “the social and political space where things get done and where people have a sense of belonging and have an element of control over their lives, providing sustenance, security and independence… Commons are organized around resources that are collectively owned or shared between or among populations. These resources are said to be held in common and can include everything from natural resources to domains of the cultural sphere…” (Wikipedia)

What we have in common is our members’ knowledge and experience of producing various health-focused resources, such as community health champion networks, self-care library, community medicinal herb garden/physic gardens, health innovation network, community currency, facilitation skills, governance models, social media and group process tools. The Health Commons Hub is stewarding and making them available to all who can benefit from them.