Health equity in economic and trade policies

Research, Information and Training in Global Health Diplomacy in East, Central and Southern Africa

The 50th Eastern, Central and Southern African Health Community (ECSA-HC) Health Minister’s Conference held in Kampala Uganda adopted a resolution urging the ECSA-HC Member States to strengthen their capacity in GHD.
To implement this, the ECSA HC has developed an initiative to support strategic leadership in Global Health Diplomacy in East, Central and Southern Africa through a consortium of institutions under the overall co-ordination of ECSA Health Community:
1. Policy Dialogue, Leadership Support & Coordination be led by ECSA HC
2. Capacity building led by Kenya, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, University of Nairobi
3. Strategic Information and Research led by EQUINET through TARSC, SEATINI
The regional consortium is interacting with the Global Health Diplomacy Network, to support the exchange of capacities, information and research; and to support linkages, such as for south-south co-operation.

EQUINET has in 2011 produced various publications in the consortium available on this website. In March 2011 a course convened by University of Nairobi and Government of Kenya with consortium partners brought together senior officers from the health and related sectors in the East, Central and Southern Africa-Health Community region (ECSA-HC). The course shared information on Global Health Diplomacy, issues and challenges for GHD for the region and discussed institutional capacities and needs, information resources and sources at regional and country level support for Global Health Diplomacy. The facilitation at the course enabled participants to share and enhance their negotiation GDH negotiation skills. The course was developed in close cooperation between the School of Public Health-University of Nairobi, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation Kenya, ECSA-Health Community Secretariat, the Regional Network for Equity in Health in East and Southern Africa (EQUINET), and the Global Health Programme with support from Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva.


SEATINI with TARSC under the umbrella of the EQUINET have carried out skills building, research and information exchange on the effects of trade agreements on health. In 2007, this work focused on key trade and health issues, including Intellectual Property Rights protection in the TRIPS agreement and access to medicines, and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) being negotiated with the European Union. ESA governments are urged to protect obligations to health in the EPAs through ensuring inclusion of key clauses, ie:
* Explicit inclusion of a commitment to interpret and implement any clauses in a manner supportive of ESA countries’ right to protect public health.
* Protection of TRIPS flexibilities (with no TRIPS plus clauses) and capacity support for implementation of TRIPS flexibilities.
* Exclusion of any commitments to liberalise health services as well as inclusion of a requirement for health impact assessments in any health related sector where there may be impacts on health, prior to commitments being made;
* Explicit provision for information, investments and capacity support to governments and social partners to manage, regulate and implement full flexibilities in relation to the health aspects of trade and to provide for losses to public revenue from trade measures.

EQUINET has through the Southern and East African Trade and Investment Negotiation Institute (SEATINI) initiated a programme of work to analyse trade agreements relevant to public health (particularly GATS, TRIPS and agreements relating to food security) and raised policy dialogue on these at state, parliamentary, SADC and civil society forums. This work was used to pilot a capacity building programme and training materials on trade and investment and health systems for countries in southern and East Africa, involving also the Centre for Health Policy (South Africa) and with support from Training and Research Support Centre. The training was followed by a programme of national assessments of trade and investment policies for their impact on commercialisation of health systems to identify areas for policy, research and negotiation.

EQUINET has through SEATINI also supported parliamentary awareness and policy analysis, and civil society engagement on trade and health. In 2005 we have in dialogue with SADC and other regional institutions supported planning for a feasibility study production and procurement of essential drugs; and carried out background literature review and contextual analysis for follow up field work on promoting gender equity in agriculture and smallholder food production as a basis for improved nutrition.

EQUINET through SEATINI and TARSC have in 2007 implemented work to analyse and engage on the health impacts of the EU Economic Partnership Agreements with East and Southern Africa, supporting country level advocacy. As a follow up to this work, in 2008, SEATINI and EQUINET are holding a workshop bringing together civil society, parliamentarians, human rights commissions, trade and health ministries officials to review and deliberate on protection of health and access to health care services in the ongoing EPA negotiations, and particularly in the services negotiations. The meeting aims to:

On other areas of the site you can also view information on training , meetings and grants related to this area of EQUINET's work.

You can also search publications produced by EQUINET and our annotated bibliography for documents related to this theme.