SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
In South Africa, as in any society, people’s health is a major factor in both personal and social development. But in South Africa, unlike many other societies, people have a constitutional right both to access health services and to be treated in a way that should improve their health. For example, the rights to dignity, authonomy and equality should all inform and have an impact on the right to health. But despite this, South Africa is a very unhealth society and many indicators of health are getting worse. The HIV epidemic, violence against women, and homelessness all have a negative impact on health.
A week after Cabinet adopted the Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, Management and Treatment for South Africa (“the Operational Plan”) in November 2003, MM – an inmate at Westville Correctional Centre and the seventh applicant in the case of EN v Government of Republic of South Africa (No 1) – was diagnosed withoesophageal candidiasis, an AIDS-defining illness.
On Wednesday, 4th April 2007 the Constitutional Court handed down judgment on the case of NM & Others v Charlene Smith, Patricia De Lille, and New Africa Books. The case concerned the publication of the applicants’ full names and HIV status in the biography of Patricia De Lille, authored by Charlene Smith and published by New Africa Books, without their consent.
The ALP welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the Draft Regulations Relating to the Obtainance (sic) of information and Processes of Determination and Publication of Reference Lists (“draft regulations”).
The ALP accepts that there is a need to address inequity in access to private health care services as well as the need to contain and regulate costs in the private sector. For this reason regular and accurate information about health financing, service prices and business practice in the private sector is essential in determining both health policy as well as a fair and reasonable price for services and products. However, if the draft regulations are to give effect to the objective of obtaining such information then we believe that it should be significantly strengthened.
The ALP welcomes the opportunity to make a submission on the draft Medical Schemes Amendment Bill (“the draft Bill”) in so far as it deals with risk equalisation. We do so against the following background: