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.
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.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), SECTION27 and Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) South Africa voice support for their partners across the world opposing provisions in a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) that threaten the sustainable supply of affordable medicines to millions of people in the developing world.
SECTION27 and the TAC welcome the proposed increases in health expenditure outlined in the budget tabled by Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan on 23 February 2011. In particular, we welcome the Minister’s commitment to significant investment in strengthening the public health sector.
However, we are concerned that the additional R11 billion available for 2011/12 will not necessarily translate into improvements in the delivery of health care services in the absence of a reasonable plan to address endemic and systemic problems with budgeting and expenditure within health departments at all spheres of government.
We support implementation of a programme of HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) for Teens … but proper planning and protection of human rights of learners is essential.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), The Yezingane Network (YN) , Equal Education and SECTION27 welcome the Department of Health’s plans to extend HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign to children 12 years and older.