Health equity in economic and trade policies

Analysis of evidence and advocacy on health standards for protection of health in the extractive sector in East and Southern Africa

Through TARSC and with support from Medico International, EQUINET has implemented work between 2015 and 2018 on the standards and laws applying in the mining sector in the region.
  • We have  engaged on the findings with SADC CNGO (non state SADC actors); SATUCC (trade unions); SADC, ECSA HC and governments in selected countries in the region with publications and briefs that can be found on this website.
  • The work done indicates sufficient basis in national laws to develop regional standards. EQUINET is thus working with the NEPAD secretariat to advabce dialogue on regional standards that adopt good practice from within the region.
  • At the same time we have with trade unions in Zimbabwe and Botswana developed community based health impact assessments on the health conditions on mines; we have developed health literacy materials on mining and health and are working with trade unions and civil society to build awareness and advocacy on health standards in mining.  
  • See reports and briefs on this site.

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 between 2010 and 2018 produced publications in the consortium available on this website, and participated with ECSA Health Community  in regional workshops with senior officials and meetings with diplomats in the  Africa group of diplomats in Geneva to provide input for African  diplomacy, particularly for the World Health Assembly. . Links have been forged to learn from the experiences of Thailand and a pilot is being implemented in 2019 with ECSA and the Zambian Ministry of Health of the Thai mentoring approach. GHD meetings have also noted the need for strengthened co-ordination between the regional economic communities on health diplomacy. 

EQUINET has also implemented research in various areas of GHD, including on performance based financing, the code on health worker migration and on south -south co-operation on local medicine production. See reports on this site


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.