The WHO Country Representative in South Africa, Dr Rufaro Chatora, called on the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) to voice its support of and promote the Country’s proposed National Health Insurance (NHI). Dr Chatora was addressing the opening plenary of the PHASA’s 13th Annual Conference that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I scan media every day and I hear Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, lone voice promoting NHI. However, there is almost nothing from PHASA”.
The NHI is the Country’s strategy to move towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) guided amongst others by several international frameworks of the United Nations multilateral system such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 and in particular SDG 3, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) frameworks on moving towards UHC whose goals are access to essential quality health services, financial risk protection, and responsiveness. Achieving UHC will contribute significantly towards realising the vision of a long and healthy life for South Africans.
The conference reflected on the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) and WHO collaboration on “A Global Charter for the Public’s Health” and its implications for public health in South Africa. Four enabling functions of the Charter: governance, capacity, information and advocacy were examined during the conference including how these can be strengthened in South Africa.
The conference was attended by over 300 National and International participants spanning the spectrum of public health including Academia, Researchers, Students, Administrators and Civil Society.
Dr Chatora’s presentation also addressed South Africa’s global commitments such as the International Health Regulations 2005examining how PHASA can strengthen the country’s work to attain these commitments. He also emphasized the important role South Africa through its strong institutions such as the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, WHO Collaborating Centres and Universities can play to support public health in other African countries.
Global Charter for the Public’s Health
The Charter adapts today’s public health to its global context considering that:
- Health is crucial to achieving growth, development, equity and stability
- Health is a product of complex and dynamic relations generated by numerous determinants at different levels of governance.
- Impact of social, environmental and behavioral health determinants, including economic constraints, living conditions, demographic changes and unhealthy lifestyles
The Charter also brings together the best of all the existing models and provides a comprehensive, clear and flexible framework that can be applied globally and within individual countries, whether low, middle or high-income