Latest Equinet Updates

Expanding promising practice for sustained urban and peri-urban wellbeing in east and southern Africa
EQUINET, TARSC: Regional Workshop Report, Nairobi, Kenya, March 2023

Delegates at the EQUINET Regional Meeting on urban health in east and southern Africa noted that rising urbanization, including around extractives, with increasing commercial and climate impacts calls for us to move from single issue interventions to comprehensive, integrated, area-based approaches for urban health; and to shift from project- to process-thinking, designing for sustainability from the onset. Promising practices are taking place locally, but need to be scaled up. Scale-up is enabled when practices link social and economic benefit; when they mobilise public and institutional resources, including collective savings and innovation funds, and facilitate local technology development. Inequity in the burdens of climate change makes these multi-actor, holistic approaches even more critical, for our eyes to shift from effects to root causes, from a focus on technocrats to communities, and from reactive emergency responses to climate to sustained, integrated long term approaches. The meeting report outlines the experiences and proposals for action raised by delegates from diverse ESA countries, levels, institutions, disciplines, skills to improve urban health in ESA countries.

Desire Moyo, Moyoxide, Novembe, 2022

This video of a poem by Desire Moyo presented on the last day of the EQUINET conference captured some of the aspirations and ideas covered in the three days of the conference and in the resolutions for action. Halala!

EQUINET Conference 2022: Videos of Day 1-4 Conference sessions
EQUINET, November 2022

EQUINET conferences have provided an opportunity for different communities and areas of focus to interact, and have given guidance to our work, organisation and networking on health equity in East and Southern Africa. In 2022 EQUINET held a regional conference. Challenging a neoliberal mantra that there are no alternatives to policies that create social deficits and injustice, and sharing the ideas and creativity of our region, the 2022 conference shared and discussed experiences, evidence, analysis, successes and struggles from local to regional level and engagement globally to advance health and wellbeing in East and Southern Africa. Through the exchanges, delegates framed propositions to advance health equity and social justice in our region. The EQUINET Conference was held online in three and a half days, each day a month apart, with each of the three full days covering one of the EQUINET strategic directions - Reclaiming the resources for Health, Reclaiming the state, and Reclaiming collective agency and solidarity in health - with a final half-day - Organising regionally for health equity - on how EQUINET organises and what it does to take the strategic directions forward. You can now watch the videos of the presentations on each of the 4 conference days, from opening speeches from diverse leaders in and beyond the region, EQUINET, regional and international presenters, musicians and artists, reports of discussions and finally a closing speech from WHO AFRO.

EQUINET: the road travelled over 25 years
TARSC, EQUINET Steering committee

This video pechakucha of photographic images tells the story of EQUINET's journey from its formation in 1998 to the current date. It shows the many places, people, areas and forms of work EQUINET has been involved in.

Learning from initiatives on equitable urban health and wellbeing in east and southern Africa
Loewenson R; Mhlanga G; Gotto D; et al: EQUINET discussion paper 127, September 2022

Work was implemented in 2022 in EQUINET to gather evidence on promising practice aimed at addressing urban health equity and wellbeing in east and southern Africa (ESA to contribute to learning within the ESA region and to share and exchange with other regions. This report presents the work carried out in the ESA region through a desk review of online documents and case studies from selected cities, of areas of promising practice. It shares insights and learning from the findings on practices that promote urban wellbeing and health equity. Collectively, the initiatives have yielded a range of outcomes and changes. In terms of processes for equity-oriented change in urban wellbeing, the report outlines a mix of interventions and tools that promote both participatory and recognitional equity as pivotal to change. Many of the insights generated relate to the design of initiatives and the efforts made to stimulate cross sectoral, multi-stakeholder inputs as a response to the multi-dimensional nature of the drivers of inequality and deprivation. The report notes, however, that initiatives need to connect beyond the local level if they are to have more impact on the structural dimensions of equity, and points to national level inputs that appear to be important to sustain and support such local level practice.

Call for applicants: Desk review of health-related food standards in east and southern Africa
Deadline for applications: September 15, 2022, 5pm Southern Africa time

EQUINET is calling for applicants for a desk review of domestic legal and statutory provisions in 16 ESA countries (Angola, Botswana, DRC, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia) taking note of key international and regional standards, and guidance. The review will use online information from international agency websites and African and ESA regional organisations, and online legal databases for the above 16 countries to identify the most recent laws and specific standards in force for: International and regional standards and guidance relevant to food risks, safety and standards relating to the principles, rights, duties and authorities included, the key areas of food safety, risk, standards covered; and provisions/guidance on functions, governance and financing. Domestic law in relation to food and health in relation to scope, objectives and mission; principles, rights and duties; key areas of food safety, risks and standards; key functions; mechanisms and administration; governance and financing. Applicants for the call are asked to outline their key experience, capacities and availability for the task, institutional and individual country location and contact information for follow up; their CV and the pdfs of at least two publications related to this field that they have authored. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application before or by September 21 2022. For further information on the grant and application see the website.

EQUINET Information sheet 8 on COVID-19: Experience of the pandemic from a youth lens
Training and Research Support Centre for EQUINET, July 2022

What does looking at the pandemic from a youth lens tell us about what we need to address now in our region? This brief focuses on this. 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. This brief covers: recent data on COVID-19 in ESA countries and in youth; youth health and wellbeing during the pandemic; services and responses to youth needs during the pandemic; youth led responses and initiatives and equity issues and actions exposed by the pandemic for young people.

Join the EQUINET conference on Reclaiming the State, Online, Next session 15 September
Register before 5 September

The 2022 EQUINET regional conference 'Catalysing change for health and social justice' is sharing and discussing experiences, evidence, analysis, successes and struggles from local to regional level and engagement globally to advance health and wellbeing in East and Southern Africa. Through the exchanges we are framing propositions to advance health equity and social justice in our region that will inform policy engagement and future work. The conference includes statements from key institutional representatives in the region and internationally, research papers, photojournalism, art and music and group discussions. The first day has been held, but you can still register for the second and third days on the conference website. The programme for the second day "Reclaiming the State 2" on September 15th is now available online covering issues relating to urban health, youth health, equitable health financing, promoting primary health care in pandemics and more.

Tax justice for universal public sector health systems in East and Southern Africa
Loewenson R; Mukumba C: Training and Research Support Centre, Tax Justice Network Africa, EQUINET Discussion paper 126, EQUINET, Harare, 2022

This paper outlines performance on key dimensions of public sector health financing: the size of the funding ‘gap’ in relation to basic health service needs; population entitlements; and state duties to health care; with brief discussion on the negative implications for equity of meeting this gap through out of pocket spending and privatisation of health services. With tax revenues the most progressive source of health financing for universal health coverage, it examines the level, sources and drivers of lost tax revenue in ESA countries, and relates the public sector health system funding gap to the sources of lost tax revenue. The paper points to how the current global tax framework and its unfair allocation of taxing rights benefits high income countries to the significant detriment of low- and middle-income countries. Despite promises of reforms by some larger high income countries, those that have been proposed fail to address this tax injustice. This evidence indicates that it is possible to meet the health financing gap for public sector health systems in the region through adequate funding from progressive taxation. With the public health and economic implications of COVID-19 having drawn socio-political attention to the need for investment in public sector health systems, the authors argue that there is an opportunity for a more ambitious alliance between the health and finance sectors to demonstrate the public health value of addressing these critical tax losses to increase public revenues for health.

Diss 125: Protecting equity in the face of privatisation of health services in east and southern Africa
Loewenson R: EQUINET Discussion paper 125, TARSC, EQUINET, Harare

Funding for public health services paid from general taxation, provided universally and free at the point of access, is considered the most effective way of redistributing resources from high to low income groups while contributing to improvements in health. Nonetheless, in recent decades the privatisation of health services has expanded, through the in privatisation of services and expansion of private sector services in parallel with the public system, or in various forms of commercialised market reforms within public sectors, and the growth of public-private partnerships. This paper outlines equity-related evidence on privatisation in the ESA region in terms of differential entitlements, assets, endowments, and capabilities; differentials in vulnerability; health outcomes; and in life course, long-term and wider system consequences. Drawing on this evidence, the paper suggests elements of the pathways for responding to the equity dimensions of privatisation of health services and reflections on which elements may have a broad impact on multiple dimensions of inequity. The presentation of areas for action on pathways for change is not intended to be prescriptive. It rather intends to stimulate and inform dialogue and advocacy, understanding that what may be relevant and feasible depends on the country context. Motivating actions to address the inequities inherent in privatisation implies countering a common narrative that limiting privatisation of services undermines development. In contrast it implies promoting the right to health care, as embedded in many constitutions of ESA countries, and the understanding that public sector health systems are central for universal health coverage.