Face the Facts – Right to Health

factsIt’s time that we face the facts about our right to health. There are two sides to look at:  the facts about what this fundamental human right includes, and facts about why this right is denied to the vast majority of people around the world.  This post begins on the first side, with an introduction to a comprehensive fact sheet from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Health Organization.  Once we all know our right to health, we can better understand why it is often denied, and see clearer how we can address this failure of human rights and decency.

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As human beings, our health and the health of those we care about is a matter of daily concern. Regardless of our age, gender, socio-economic or ethnic background, we consider our health to be our most basic and essential asset. Ill health, on the other hand, can keep us from going to school or to work, from attending to our family responsibilities or from participating fully in the activities of our community. By the same token, we are willing to make many sacrifices if only that would guarantee us and our families a longer and healthier life. In short, when we talk about well-being, health is often what we have in mind.

The right to health is a fundamental part of our human rights and of our understanding of a life in dignity. The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to give it its full name, is not new. Internationally, it was first articulated in the 1946 Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), whose preamble defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The preamble further states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”

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If our new President is serious

If the Presdent is seriousTAC welcomes resignation of former President Zuma – urges new Acting President Ramaphosa to initiate bold reforms

JOHANNESBURG, 15th FEBRUARY 2018 – The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcomes the resignation of Jacob Zuma as President of South Africa. Under Zuma’s disastrous Presidency key state institutions have been weakened, unemployment has risen, and corruption and mismanagement has flourished.

As TAC, we have in recent years seen first-hand how widespread corruption and mismanagement have compromised service delivery to people dependent on the public healthcare system – especially in the Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Underperforming and uncommitted Premiers and MECs for Health have often been rendered untouchable due to their political connections. We consider the Life Esidimeni tragedy, the victimisation of the #BopheloHouse94, and the oncology crisis in KZN, amongst others, to be the direct symptoms of this degradation of the state brought about by Zuma.

We have no illusions about the massive task ahead of South Africa’s new Acting President Cyril Ramaphosa, the team around him and our society more broadly. Our healthcare and education systems both remain deeply dysfunctional. Unemployment rates remain unacceptably high and South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world.

In the coming weeks, we will be looking for signs that Acting President Ramaphosa is serious about addressing these foundational crises facing our society.

·       If Acting President Ramaphosa is serious he will reduce the size of the current bloated Cabinet by at least 20% and bring an end to the policy and culture of cadre-deployment.

·       If Acting President Ramaphosa is serious he will remove the following grossly underperforming and/or suspiciously corrupt Ministers from office:

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