Poverty not only excludes people from the benefits of health-care systems but also restricts them from participating in decisions that affect their health. The resulting health inequalities are well documented, and the search for greater equity attracts many concerned players and initiatives. Fundamental to the success of these efforts, however, is the need for people to be able to negotiate their own inclusion into health systems and demand adequate health care. This calls for a restatement of the centrality of people in public health and its practice. New forms of communication and cooperation are required at all levels of society, nationally, and internationally, to ensure equitable exchange of views and knowledge to formulate appropriate action to redress inequalities and improve people's health and wellbeing.