Latest Equinet Updates

Bring your experiences and ideas to the EQUINET conference in 2022!
Watch out for the announcement and call for submissions in April 2022

EQUINET is holding a regional conference in 2022. We are living in a time of widening inequity, globally and in our region, but also of intensifying levers of change. The conference is for you! The EQUINET steering committee is inviting voices from all levels, disciplines, sectors and institutions that contribute to health equity in the region to share, discuss, network and reflect on experiences, ideas and actions, and to consolidate proposals for advancing equity in health and wellbeing in our region. The conference will be online, with thematic conference days held intermittently between July and November 2022. We will include a range of forms of evidence, including studies, stories, artistic and visual evidence, on our challenges and actions to reclaim the resources for health, our states, and our public services, and collective agency and solidarity in health. Leading up to the final day, we will explore how we organise as a network of equity actors from in the region. The full announcement with information on the conference, the registration and the call for submissions will be shared in April. To receive further information by email please subscribe at https://www.equinetafrica.org/content/subscribe.html

EQ Diss 124: Health sector financing and COVID-19: East and Southern Africa trends and a Zambia case study
Chitah B: UNZA, EQUINET Discussion paper 124, EQUINET, Harare, 2022

EQUINET commissioned this study from the author at University of Zambia to explore trends in equity-related healthcare expenditures in East and southern Africa (ESA) countries prior to the pandemic (2000–2019), and, through a deeper case study of expenditures in Zambia, how financing changed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/21. The regional analysis reviewed selected indicators available from the WHO Global Health Expenditure database for 2000–2019 of the: extent to which governments prioritise health in domestic budget spending; level of financial protection; level of government pro-poor spending on primary health care; and the share of public versus private financing in total health expenditure. The financing trends for 2000–2019 in ESA countries raise issues around health system preparedness for the pandemic, while the Zambia case study demonstrates the consequent impact of the responses to COVID-19 on health system financing.

EQUINET Information sheet 7 on COVID-19: Turning vaccines to vaccination in the region
TARSC, EQUINET: Harare, 2022

EQUINET information sheets on COVID-19 summarise information from and provide links to official, scientific and other resources on east and southern Africa (ESA) covering selected themes related to equity in the pandemic. They complement and do not substitute information from public health authorities. Brief 7 summarises pandemic developments in the region to December 2021, with a focus on equity in vaccination coverage. It covers: 1: Recent trends in COVID-19 in ESA countries; 2: Vaccine supply to the ESA region; 3: Storage and distribution of vaccines in the region; 4: Vaccine uptake and vaccination coverage; and 5: Addressing equity - from vaccines to vaccinated populations.

Report of the East and Southern Africa Regional People’s Health University
EQUINET, PHM: 2021

The first East and Southern Africa Regional People’s Health University (ESA RPHU) jointly convened by the People’s Health Movement (PHM) and Regional Network for Equity in Health in East and Southern Africa (EQUINET) was held virtually between 29 July and 12 November 2021 with the theme ‘Past, present and future struggles for Health equity’. The course aimed to build and share evidence, experience, analysis, and knowledge on the drivers of health equity to support efforts and activism within countries, and regional co-operation and joint engagement, from local to global level, on shared priorities. The course further aimed to share evidence, practical experiences, insights and learning from action, including on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. To widen uptake in the region, background readings and presentations from sessions are available on the ESA RPHU Resources page.

Information sheet 6 on COVID-19: Long COVID in East and Southern Africa
EQUINET, TARSC and the Post COVID Treatment Network - Africa: Harare, 2021

This sixth EQUINET/TARSC information sheet on the COVID-19 pandemic in east and southern African (ESA) countries has been produced in co-operation with the Post COVID Treatment Network - Africa. In a prolonged pandemic, capacities and understanding have grown around various dimensions of the management of COVID-19. There is now growing evidence of people who continue experience symptoms more than 12 weeks after their initial infection, or ‘long COVID’. This information sheet summarises information on long COVID, and its distribution in the ESA region, responses to it and the equity issues it raises.

Videos and readings on health equity on the East and Southern Africa Regional Peoples Health University (ESA RPHU) resources page
EQUINET and PHM, 2021

The 10 week EQUINET and PHM ESA RPHU ended in mid-November. There are a number of interesting resources and reading materials on the RPHU website and videos of many of the presentations, that we welcome you to read, view and share more widely and use on your own activities. These materials, made available under fair use for your non-commercial educational purposes, cover topics from the course including on: Political economy and reclaiming resources for health; Ideas of health and wellbeing, SDH and reclaiming comprehensive public health; Health systems and Comprehensive primary health care (PHC); Power, values, rights, law and reclaiming collective agency; Commodification, privatization in health and reclaiming the state; Equity in health technology; Social participation and organising activism for health; and Building a movement for health equity.

Diss 123: Equity in the public and private health sector responses to COVID-19 in east and southern Africa
Chanda-Kapata P: EQUINET, Harare, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the already stretched health systems in East and Southern Africa (ESA) countries, and was affected by previous levels of public leadership and engagement with the private sector. The response involved a range of collaborations between the public and private sectors. Country plans were public sector-led, in co-operation with international development partners, with partnerships between the public and private sectors in the response both in and beyond the health sector. This desk review commissioned by EQUINET presents evidence from online materials and EQUINET steering committee key informants on features of the public and private sector health system roles in the response to COVID-19. The work differentiates the private for-profit sector from the private not-for-profit sector. The review explores the equity implications of these responses, and suggests implications for (re)investing in strengthened public health system preparedness and functioning and private sector co-ordination in ESA countries.

Diss paper 122: Youth mental health in the context of COVID-19 in East and Southern Africa: A desk review
Muhia J; Nanji N: IWG, TARSC, EQUINET: Harare, 2021

This desk review reports available published information relating to youth mental health in east and southern Africa (ESA). It was implemented within and informs collaborative work on youth mental health in the region in EQUINET between Training and Research Support Centre (TARSC), the International Working Group for Health Systems Strengthening (IWGHSS) and the pra4equity and PAROnline network, specifically Country Minders for Peoples Development (CMPD), Malawi, and the Centre for Youth Driven Development Initiative (CFYDDI), Uganda. The desk review explored patterns and determinants of youth mental health in the region; how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and responses to it have affected this; where youth seek and obtain support for mental health needs and the perceived challenges and gaps. It presents recommendations for improving the responses to mental health challenges. The COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing measures led to difficulties, with online learning and loss of work and rising costs intensifying some factors and increasing mental stress, as well as suicidal ideas and substance and alcohol abuse among youth. Youth mental health is a pertinent issue for the ESA region, more so due to the impact of the pandemic, but is not well recognised by formal services and policy. The review evidence points to a need, intensified by COVID-19, to co-create with young people strategies for preventing and responding to youth mental illness and its drivers and consequences.

Video clips from the East and Southern Africa Regional Peoples Health University, Theme: Past, present and future struggles for Health equity
EQUINET and PHM: Clips from weeks 2 and 3, August 2021

The first East and Southern Africa Regional People’s Health University (ESA RPHU) jointly convened by PHM and EQUINET is being held virtually between July 29 and November 12 2021 with 10 weeks of interactive sessions to build and share evidence, experience, analysis and knowledge on health equity to support regional co-operation and joint engagement, from local to global level, on shared priorities. The course programme is at https://www.equinetafrica.org/rphu/rphu-programme with different issues affecting health equity in the region and learning from COVID-19. Open access online dissemination of plenary presentations and resources is available on the RPHU resources page. It currently includes video clips of a panel discussion moderated by Dr Rene Loewenson TARSC/EQUINET with Dr Firoze Manji, Daraja Press and Professor Patrick Bond, University of Western Cape, explored the Political Economy of Health in East and Southern Africa; David van Wyk from Benchmarks Foundation on a case study of health equity in mining in South Africa; Mariam Mayet, Executive Director of the African Centre for Biodiversity on global and corporate activities in industrial agriculture and gene technologies in relation to malaria; Thusang Butale BFTU and Danny Gotto I4Dev on experiences of extractive activities in Botswana and Uganda; Masuma Mamdani, EQUINET on social determinants of health; Shakira Choonora on an Intersectional lens to health inequities; Sue Godt on Emerging commercial determinants of health and the reality in the region and Peter Binyaruka, Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), Tanzania presentation on co-financing to address social determinants of health equity. The Resources page is being updated with new content as the course progresses.

Call for applicants: East and Southern Africa Regional Peoples Health University, Online 29 July to 12 November 2021
EQUINET and PHM: Closing date 25 June 2021

The first East and Southern Africa Regional People’s Health University (ESA RPHU) jointly convened by PHM and EQUINET is being held virtually between 29 July and 12 November with the theme ‘Past, present and future struggles for Health equity’. The course aims to build and share evidence, experience, analysis and knowledge on the drivers of health equity to support efforts and activism within countries, as new and existing members of PHM and EQUINET, and in regional co-operation and joint engagement, from local to global level, on shared priorities. The course aims to link key areas of evidence and knowledge to practical experiences and action to share insights and build learning from action. We invite applicants based / working in the east and southern Africa region in state, non-state, community-based institutions involved in health-related work, from health and other sectors and disciplines that have an impact on health equity. See the website link for further details on the course, features for applicant eligibility, and for the online application form. Applicant forms must be received by 25 June 2021. Applicants will be informed by 12 July.

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