+ Access to medicines

Groundbreaking Ugandan case that challenges the state's failure to protect maternal health

On the 27th of May 2011 the Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), a Ugandan NGO, and the families of two mothers who died in government hospitals in 2009 in Uganda approached the Ugandan Constitutional Court alleging the women’s deaths were caused as a direct result of Uganda’s failing healthcare system. The Constitutional Court will begin its hearing of this landmark case this Thursday on July 7th 2011.

It is critical that you speak up for these women. Raise your voices in support of the right to health in Uganda, distribute this widely. Please send messages of support to CEHURD.
E-mail info@cehurd.org or phone +256 414 532283

Civil society organisations call for renewed commitment going into the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

On 8–10 June, 2011, key stakeholders from all over the world will gather in New York to review progress of the global response to HIV/AIDS and to plan the way forward. This forum has the potential to reinvigorate the commitment to HIV/AIDS nationally and internationally.

In light of this, on 20 May, SECTION27, TAC, Médecins Sans Frontières, the World AIDS Campaign and the AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa sent a letter to the Director General for Health calling on the South African government to take the lead in setting ambitious and measurable targets, and encouraging similar commitments from other UN member states.

Submission on the draft National Health Amendment Bill, 2011

SECTION27 made a submission to the Department of Health on 22 April 2011 on the draft National Health Amendment Bill, 2011 (“the draft Bill”). In so doing, it recognised the publication of the draft Bill as the first legislative step towards the establishment of a single, accountable and structurally and operationally independent Office of Health Standards Compliance (“Office”) with jurisdiction over the private sector and the public sector at all spheres of government. Importantly, however, SECTION27’s submission came to the conclusion that the proposed Office, as contemplated by the draft Bill, does not have an adequate level of structural and operational autonomy. SECTION27 is of the view that the proposed mandate of the Office cannot be discharged effectively unless it has an adequate level of structural and operational autonomy.

TAC and SECTION27 urge Parliament not to ratify WTO decision on Paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health

Cabinet recently resolved to ask Parliament to take the necessary steps to enable South Africa to ratify a decision taken by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on intellectual property and access to medicines. At its meeting held on 16 March 2011, Cabinet decided to request Parliament to –

– ratify the WTO decision on the implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health; and
– deposit “an instrument of ratification … with the WTO.”

As organisations that are committed to ensuring universal access to essential medicines, as an integral part of the constitutional right to have access to health care services, TAC and SECTION27 call on Parliament not to ratify the decision. In this press statement we explain why we make this call.