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.
A case coming before the Constitutional Court holds serious consequences for public health and the fight against TB in South Africa. South Africa has one of the highest incidence rates of TB in the world. TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa and has been for many years. HIV co-infection and the increasing prevalence of drug resistant TB add to the urgency of addressing the TB epidemic. Doing so should be a top priority of the state.
On the 27th July 2012, TAC/Section27/CALS met with Gauteng Health MEC Mr Hope Papo, HOD Dr Nomonde Xundu and heads of departments.
On the agenda for discussion was a formal response to TAC’s memorandum that was delivered at the Provincial Department of Health (PDOH) on the 12th June 2012.
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.
SECTION27 welcomes the release of the report on the investigation into the tragic deaths of six infants on 18 May 2010 at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital (“the Hospital”) in Johannesburg. The report raises serious concerns about the extent to which the Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development (“the Department”) adheres to norms and standards related to human resources, and the consequent overcrowding in public health facilities in the province.
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.