Health Public Health and Health Systems

Paper: The broken thread – Primary health care, social justice & the dignity of the health worker

Mark Heywood
Written by Health-e News

This 17-page public position paper was recently presented at a 1 September Wiser lecture by Section27 Executive Director Mark Heywood.


Public interest law organisation Section27 Executive Director Mark Heywood

The paper argues that the heart of the health systems crisis currently being experienced in South Africa is an acute shortage of health workers and the deteriorating conditions under which they are employed.

Unless a plan and adequate budget to rectify this social injustice is seen as the Department of Health’s first priority the prospect of equitable and improved health care under a National Health Insurance scheme is a pipe-dream, the author argues.

Heywood concludes by arguing that while international and local best practices could be used to improve the country’s health care, the realisation of the right to health will require broad reaching political commitment. Finally, he argues that part of this will entail the creation of a new civil society alliance for health worker rights that unites health unions, health activists and academia.

Download the paper: The broken thread – Heywood

About the author

Health-e News

Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews

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