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Press Release: We welcome a Listeriosis-free country, but we call for affordable nutritious fresh foods

The People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA) welcomes the announcement by the Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday 3 September 2018, that South Africa is now listeriosis-free.

The outbreak confirms that we need strong legislation with adequately-resourced monitoring and enforcement to ensure the prevention of disease. We want to see the National Health Insurance (NHI) ensure strengthening of prevention rather than resources spent disproportionately on treatment of preventable diseases.

Secondly, we highlight the fact that most of the 180 people who died in the epidemic are from poor families whose financial constraints lead them to mainly consume cheap cold meats. Why is it that healthier foods like fresh fish, vegetables and milk, to mention only a few, are not affordable to our people? The food economy in South Africa is skewed towards profit for big producers and is not geared to promote health amongst our people.

Lastly, the upcoming Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), usually tabled in Parliament in late October, could provide proof that increases in social assistance, through a range of grants targetting persons needing state support, should exceed a mere adjustment for inflation.

These would be steps in the right direction towards furthering economic and social justice, and taking a stand against companies who play with people’s lives. We call on government to make sure that future outbreaks are prevented with no loss of lives and that the food economy in South Africa is restructured to put people before profits.

Issued by People’s Health Movement South Africa

For Media Comments, Contact:
Tinashe Njanji, PHM-SA Coordinator, 078 831 5809

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