On 25 October 2011 the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, tabled the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) at a sitting of the National Assembly. The MTBPS broadly outlines Government’s proposed spending plans for the next three years. It also provides an opportunity for Government to make adjustments to this year’s budget to cater for changes in expenditure and provide for unanticipated expenses.
In August 2011 the Auditor General released a report on its performance audit of the infrastructure delivery process in provincial departments of Health and Education. The audit was conducted…
The recently published “i-Base and TAG 2011 Pipeline Report makes clear, medically, the prospect for people with HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and tuberculosis (TB) to live long and healthy lives – and in the cases of HCV and TB, to be cured rapidly with safe, effective, oral combination therapy – have never been better.
We are a range of organisations who campaign for the right to health, and/or who provide health care services to poor people who depend on the public health sector. We fully support the efforts of the government to improve health care services. We also support unions and their members who are at the front line of health care provision, and who justifiably try and draw attention to the difficult conditions in which most health care workers operate.
With the vitally important UN High Level meeting on AIDS only one week away, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) has issued an important resolution setting out the country’s position in the negotiations for a renewed commitment to HIV and TB.
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.
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.
After stalling for some time, negotiations for an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) on the one hand and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Mozambique and Angola on the other have recently restarted. According to an article published in Business Day on 10 February 2011, Xavier Carim – Deputy Director-General for international trade at the Department of Trade and Industry – is reported to have indicated that the EPA “should strike a balance between the levels of market access, regional harmonisation of rules, customs co-operation and safety, enforcement of intellectual property laws, competition, investment and procurement.”
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.
On 16 and 17 September 2010, over 60 members of civil society organisations and trade unions met to discuss their work and their efforts – independently and through the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) – to strengthen the national response to HIV and to achieve the goals of the National Strategic Plan (NSP). The aim of the meeting was to define a new agenda going forward for civil society activism both within and independent of SANAC and to focus on our human right to health.
India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) recently published a discussion paper on compulsory licensing and made a call for interested parties to make submissions. On 7 October 2010, SECTION27 made a submission.