Medical Research Council
World Health Organization
Health Systems Trust
2011-2012 Education Sector HIV and AIDS: Global Progress Survey- Progression, Regression or Stagnation?UNAIDS
Health Legislation - Critical for Health reform in 1997
I was fortunate to recently attend an international seminar called Setting tomorrows agenda in developing countries. During the seminar, one of the facilitators lifted the recently published document on the South African drug policy and referred to the document as one of the best policy documents ever to come from any country in the world.
On the one hand, the above-mentioned incident could be an indication that our new policy makers are succeeding in curbing the chaos inherited from the previous health system. It may be an indication that we are now able to articulate a clearer vision of how quality and equitable health care can be provided to all. On the other hand, having good policies that are not implemented is also problematic.
While some of the most important policies such as free health care have been implemented, albeit with great difficulty at times, others did not go beyond just being draft or discussion documents. Subsequently, some of the most promising plans have been kept at bay due to lack of clearer implementation strategies. Most disconcerting is the underdeveloped legislative framework that should provide the legal weight behind these policies and plans. Only a handful of legislation bills were passed through the Parliament at national level and none at provincial level.
Although there are valid reasons why the delay in developing legislation, the Department of Health recognises that the situation cannot go on as is, and to that end, it has set a goal of pushing through parliament this year, at least ten new bills, including the much-awaited National Health Act. If this succeeds, health legislation will inevitably be propelled to the centre-stage of activities within the health sector this year. In recognition of this, we have decided to start our series of Updates for 1997 with this focus and we intend monitoring the process as it unfolds.
In this issue, we present views of a number of stakeholders on the legislative process, most notably from the National Department of Health and the National Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health. We also present the views of non-government organisations and an unrepresentative sample of e-mail respondents to a questionnaire we sent out to our HealthLink users. From this, we hope to give you the reader a snapshot view of the possible interaction between civil society and this important legislative process.