This Weeks Lancet: Civil Society Movements in Asia Major Opportunities


The linked article summarizes ethical and program issues of trust and civil society movements in Asia. Major points:

  •  Many donor and governmental organisations favour direct service-delivery to advocacy or reform, offering limited space for citizens’ action. As a result, civil society is often passive when advocating about major issues, such as health insurance for poor people, the high price and often dubious quality of drugs, or pandemic preparedness.
  • Across southeast Asia, local citizens engage in collective action for health, the basis of networks of trust that are often overlooked by state agencies and external observers.
  • Civil society in Thailand has contributed to major innovations in family-planning programmes, ensured universal access to antiretroviral drugs, and challenged international trade regimens to enable the licensing of domestically produced medicines.
  • Although authoritarian and illiberal democratic states attempt to restrict civil society, by a combination of legal and extra-legal means, citizens still organise ways of improving their health and environment.
  • These improvements are achieved in cooperation with the state and donors when possible, but separately andinformally when not.