Latest Equinet Updates

Case study brief: Communities shaping health centre committee roles and policy in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa,
QUINET; Learning Network for Health and Human rights UCT; TARSC

Communities in the Eastern Cape have played a role in formulating and implementing the guidance on their roles and functioning. In the Nelson Mandela Bay Health District, for example, health in 2006, a team from the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Health invited health committee members, health service, local government, community and other local stakeholders to a meeting to contribute and to provide substance to the policy on health committees. This workshop served to frame the draft policy, which was later sent to all districts for discussion before further review and feedback by HCC representatives. The amendments made in this process were integrated into the final policy that was adopted in 2009 by the legislature in the province and published in 2010. This brief discusses this case study on the role of health centre committees as part of a series of case study briefs on the topic.

Case Study Brief: Health centre committee involvement in local government planning for health in Zambia

Neighbourhood Health Committees (NHCs) have been set up in all ten provinces in Zambia and district community health offices. Their role is being strengthened across the country, and there are many examples of efforts that have been made to promote their participation in planning, budgeting and health actions. This brief outlines these initiatives and the lessons from the work.

Case Study Brief: Health centre committees ensuring services respond to the needs of people living with HIV in Malawi

Malawi's 1994 Constitution obliges the state to provide adequate health care within the resources available, and guarantees equality in access to these health services. Community participation is a central pillar for implementing PHC in Malawi’s 2011-2016 Health Sector Strategic Plan, which commits to ensuring that local communities have a voice and an opportunity to participate in issues that affect their health. This brief describes the role ad functioning of health centre advisory committees in supporting services to be responsive to the needs of people living with HIV. The committee members worked with volunteers, visiting villages with messages about prevention of vertical transmission and the services available for it.

Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) Court case wins the Gender Justice Uncovered Awards 2017
Nanfuka G: CEHURD, June 2017

The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), is an EQUINET cluster lead for the theme work on the right to health. CEHURD, Mubangizi Michael and Musimenta Jennifer Vs the Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital and Attorney General of Uganda (Civil Suit No 212 of 2013), “Mulago case” and Justice Lydia Mugambe’s judgement won the Gender Justice Uncovered Awards in May 2017 hosted by Women’s Link Worldwide. In this landmark ruling Justice Lydia Mugambe noted that the disappearance of the couple's baby also resulted to psychological torture for the parents as well as putting the spotlight on the State's failure to fulfil its obligations under the right to health. The Court also pointed to the overburdened hospital staff which led to errors as another example of the failure of the State to comply with its obligations. The judgment won with 3,829 votes beating 17 other rulings that were nominated for the best judicial decision from all around the world in the Gender Justice Uncovered Awards under the People's Choice Gavel 2017 category. This award comes at a time when CEHURD is implementing the judgment through discussions and support to Mulago National Referral Hospital to develop and put in place mechanisms to ensure the safety of babies after delivery.

Civil society brief: Resource curse or fair benefit: Protecting health in the extractive sector in east and southern Africa

The extractive (or mining) sector is a major economic actor in east and southern Africa. The mineral resources extracted are sought after globally, and how the sector operates affects the lives of millions of people. This brief aimed mainly civil society discusses the health impacts of the sector, how far these risks are recognised in policy and controlled in practice, and what civil society can do to ensure that health is protected in EI activity. It presents the proposals made at the 13th Southern Africa Civil society Forum in 2017 to advocate for regional health standards for EIs and a bottom up local to regional campaign for civil society to advocate for these harmonised standards for health in the mining (extractive) sector in SADC.

Clarity and contradiction at the World Conference on the Social Determinants of Health
Loewenson R: Health Diplomacy Monitor 2(5): 8-11, November 2011

At the World Conference on the Social Determinants of Health, held in Rio de Janiero Brazil from 19-21 October 2011, reports from countries indicated a promising range of actions being taken to assess or monitor equity and the social determinants of health (SDH), measures to plan and review action on SDH, as well as actions to strengthen constitutional protection of the right to health and to strengthen intersectoral action and comprehensive primary health care. However, few countries reported on actions on economic determinants, and countries that have regulated commercial interests for public health reasons, such as introducing taxes on foods high in fat or sugars, or in implementing legal controls over tobacco, allege they have faced counter litigation from companies. Despite persuasive evidence, health equity has been a marginal consideration in trade, economic or climate forums. Public health advocates argue that equity should be included at the centre of wider economic, trade and development agendas, including the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012 (Rio+20) and the UN Millennium Development Goals. While a task force of UN agencies was set at the WCSDH, key economic and trade agencies were not present.

Climate change and health: African countries at greater risk of increased disease burden
Machemedze R: Health Diplomacy Monitor 2(4): 15-17, August 2011

The author, citing evidence from World Health Organisation, argues that climate change raises challenges for health in Africa for a variety of reasons. African countries have a high burden of climate sensitive diseases and poor public health capability to respond. Under-nutrition and weak infrastructures may reduce the capacity to mitigate the effects of health risks from climate change. Negative effects of climate change on socioeconomic development may also seriously undermine health and well-being of people in such countries. WHO reports that many of the projected impacts on health are avoidable and could be dealt with through a combination of public health strategies, support for adaptation measures in health-related sectors such as agriculture and water management, and an overall long-term strategy to reduce health impacts. In Africa the author argues that countries should implement the priority actions outlined at the 2008 first Inter-ministerial Conference on Health and Environment held in Libreville, Gabon, contained in the Libreville Declaration. This Declaration was signed by 52 African countries and commits them to address challenges relating to health and the environment.

Commitments from the 2009 Regional Meeting of Parliamentary Committees on Health in Eastern and Southern Africa
The Southern and East African Parliamentary Alliance of Committees on Health, PPD ARO, EQUINET, APHRC

The Regional Meeting of Parliamentary Committees on Health in Eastern and Southern Africa, Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda, 21 September 2009, gathered members of parliamentary committees responsible for health from twelve countries and from regional bodies in Eastern and Southern Africa, together with technical, government, civil society and regional partners, to promote information exchange, facilitate policy dialogue and identify key areas of follow up action to advance health equity and sexual and reproductive health in the region. The meeting was held as a follow up to review progress on actions proposed at the September 2008 Regional Meeting of Parliamentary Committees on Health in Eastern and Southern Africa hosted by the same organisations. This document outlines the commitments to follow up action made at the meeting.

Communique of the Consultation on Improving Access to Health Workers at the Frontline for Better Maternal and Child Survival

The Consultation on Improving Access to Health Workers at the Frontline for Better Maternal and Child Survival was held at the InterContinental Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya from 25 to 27 June 2012. The objective of the consultation was ‘to speed up and scale up country responses to the human resource needs of both the UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health (Every Woman Every Child), and the Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive (Global Plan) as a key aspect of both plans’. The communique presents the key proceedings and opportunities, experiences and challenges to guide further action. The Consultation underscored the need for ministries of health, continental mechanisms such as the AUC, regional organisations such as ECSA HC, SADC, WAHO and OCEAC, development partners, FBOs, funding agencies, academic and research institutions, and civic society organisations to give priority to efforts towards increasing access to health workers at the frontline for better maternal and child survival. Recommendations were made to achieve this.

Conference Report: Human resources for health research: An African perspective
African Health Research Forum; Global Forum for Health Research; IDRC; COHRED; EQUINET; AMREF; ACOSHED, July 2006

The World Health Organization’s 2006 World Health Report “Working Together for Health” highlights the urgent need to improve human resources (HR) in the health sector in developing countries (HRH). the report does not address the shortfall specifically in the persdonnel for health research, nor the skills and human resources needed by developing countries to improve health research. A conference on Human Resources for Health Research (HR-HR) was held on July 2-5, 2006 on this issue. The conference opened discussion on the health research environment; the role of research networks and of communities in health research and skills to improve health research communication. This is the final report and record of the HR-HR expert meeting in Nairobi. Two further products
are under preparation: A short synthesis report of key messages from the conference; and a publication featuring reviewed papers produced by each HR-HR theme.