The People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA) works with other Civil Society Organisations to strengthen Health Committees (HCs) as vehicles for Community Voice in the health system. Health Committees are statutory structures created by the National Health Act, but which lack a clear mandate because the roles and functions are left to provincial legislation. As a result, there is wide variation in what Health Committees do, what they are empowered to do and how the health system treats them.
To make Primary Health Care Re-engineering work and to ensure the National Health Insurance (NHI) delivers universal coverage, we need strong community voice, from the bottom up all the way through the health system.
In the Western Cape, for example, Health Committees are in some disarray as a result of a legislative process that has effectively undone years of work by dedicated activists in communities, with the new Act essentially ignoring existing health committees and creating a space for new health committees to be appointed by the Health MEC. There is little support given to Health Committee members by the services, and little recognition.
PHM-SA works with the Learning Network for Health and Human Rights in strengthening Health Committees in the Western Cape and nationally. We will continue to run workshops, organise campaigns and disseminate information to empower community representatives to build strong Health Committees.
For Health Committee training materials, see the resources made available by the Learning Network for Health and Human Rights. For additional information, see the articles below.
To join the PHM-SA Health Committees working group, please contact email@example.com.