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.
The Rural Health Advocacy Project, Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa, SECTION27 and Wits Centre for Rural Health support SAMA’s rejection of the final OSD offer to public sector doctors. By accepting the Government’s OSD offer, collective labour in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council will be contributing to a major setback in Government’s strides to achieve health for all. By offering only marginal increases to medical officers in particular, rural communities are likely to see a further exodus of rural doctors to urban areas, the private sector, and overseas.
Rural patients are disadvantaged in many ways: poverty levels are higher, access to basic services and education is poor, travel to health facilities is costly, facilities are understaffed and waiting times are out of control; now they can expect even fewer doctors to attend to their needs.
On Monday 31 May Business Day reported that because of the deepening financial crisis facing health services in the provinces the Minister of Health is discussing a “bail-out” of provincial departments of health by the Treasury. Treasury intervention is now vital to prevent the collapse of health services. But equally important is the resolution of the crisis facing financial management systems that led to the massive debt in the first place.
The Budget and Expenditure Monitoring Forum (BEMF) held its third meeting on 21 May 2010. It brought together over 30 people from 10 organisations. The aim was to understand what civil society can do to ensure that the budgeting process –at the national and provincial levels– results in the appropriate allocation and use of financial resources to address health needs.
SECTION27 has developed a fact sheet on health budgeting and HIV for the members of the Budget and Expenditure Monitoring Forum. This fact sheet explains how the national and provincial governments develop budgets, equitable share and conditional grants.
It is important for civil society to demand that government spend money appropriately, efficiently and in ways that prioritise providing services that will save people’s lives. To do so, we must understand how the budgeting process works and how we can participate in it. It is with this in mind that this fact sheet was developed. We hope it will help people understand the budgeting process.
At 4pm on 7 May 2010, leaders from various civil society,public and private sector organisations in South Africa and internationally, gathered for the launch of a new human rights organisation – SECTION27. Head of Legal and Litigation at SECTION27 Adilla Hassim, delivered a speech and COSATU Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi delivered the keynote address.