Zindaba Yiwombe of the Malawi Health Equity Network is the winner of the award for the best EQUINET student grant proposal. Zindaba, who is studying journalism, presented a proposal to do a content analysis of debates on health in the Malawi National Assembly. The proposal by Zindaba aims to identify the extent to which debates in parliament take up health equity issues, the key areas debated and the trends in such debates. The work is relevant to EQUINET work with GEGA in the region on strengthening and supporting parliamentary oversight, legislative, representation and budget roles in promoting health equity. Malawi Health Equity Network has built close links with the Malawi Parliamentary committee on health in promoting health equity. The award was presented to Zindaba at the EQUINET June Conference.
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This paper is the third overview produced by the Southern African Regional Network for Equity in Health (EQUINET) steering committee since EQUINET’s launch after the Kasane meeting in 1997. The first paper in 1998 identified a concept of health equity that would guide EQUINET work, outlined the areas of policy commitment to this vision of equity in southern Africa, and the gaps in delivery on these commitments. The second paper in 2000 described the profile of poverty, inequality and ill health in southern Africa despite these commitments, and proposed policy measures that would better direct resources towards health needs, and the forms of health care most appropriate and accessible to those with greatest health needs, particularly through primary health care strategies. This paper highlighted the important role played by the social forces that drive policy choices, and proposed specific measures for organising and investing in opportunities for informed, authoritative participation of all social groups and particularly the poorest in their health systems, and for building health system responsiveness and accountability to social groups.
The Regional Network for Equity in Health in Southern Africa (EQUINET) and Health Systems Trust South Africa (HST) successfully held a review meeting on Equity in the Distribution of Personnel in Southern Africa. This meeting is part of the two-year research and advocacy programme of work in this area that aims to promote the equitable distribution of health personnel in southern Africa. Watch the site www.equinetafrica.org for a report of the meeting.