In sickness and in health … how water, sanitation, education and jobs all contribute to a healthier society

Good health will lead to a better quality of life for all South Africans. It will also narrow the gap in the lived experience of the poor and rich since health inequity is a key indicator of inequality in our society. South Africa’s leading civil society organisations have joined forces to dissect the factors that are stopping South Africans from enjoying good health.

The Soul City Institute, is hosting a public debate to  look at the impact of the social determinants of health - such as water, sanitation, education, transport and gender – on the health outcomes of South Africans.  The South African Human Rights Commission, Black Sash and the Health Systems Trust are on the panel.

The Acting Editor of The Star, Kevin Ritchie, will moderate the debate “In sickness and in health … how water, sanitation, education and jobs all contribute to a healthier society”.

SARHC commissioner Pregs Govender will review the commission’s recent research on access to water and sanitation. She said: “The SAHRC's work on water and sanitation illustrates that human rights, like human beings can't be fragmented. All rights impact on each other. The lack of water and sanitation impacts negatively on health, housing, food, education, safety and security and human dignity.

“The majority of those who do not enjoy Constitutional rights are poor. Black people in SA's former Apartheid homelands, townships and informal settlements have the least access. A holistic human rights approach recognises the need to address macro-economic causes of deepening inequality  that undermine human rights.”

Said Kalideen: “We have experienced significant improvements since 1994 with the establishment of free primary health care, gains in service provision and the passing of relevant legislation. But these gains are often overshadowed by the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the health sector.

“These challenges do not only rest within the Department of Health as fixing the health system alone will not improve health outcomes. Our health status is not just determined by whether or not we are able to visit a clinic when we are ill: it also depends on our access to clean water, sanitation, good nutrition, housing, education and transport.”

Added Moeti: “Health is an indivisible human right, that is central to development. Improving health requires that we tackle the socio-economic determinants of health such as poverty, access to clean water and sanitation, and education through intersectoral collaboration. The primary health care approach offers us an opportunity to tackle the causes of ill health in a coordinated and coherent manner. If we approach the problem in a fragmented manner, we will achieve fragmented results.”

Panel Discussion: In sickness and in health … how water, sanitation, crimes and jobs all contribute to a healthier society


  • Ms Pregs Govender, Deputy Chairperson, South African Human Rights Commission
  • Dr Themba Moeti, CEO, Health Systems Trust
  • Mr Elroy Paulus, Advocacy Manager, Black Sash
  • Ms Bongiwe Ndondo, Senior Manager: Research, Monitoring & Evaluations, Soul City

When: Monday, September 1, 2014

Time: 10am - 12noon

Where: Soul City Institute, First Floor, Dunkeld West Centre, 281 Jan Smuts Avenue (Cnr Bompas Road), Dunkeld West, Johannesburg

RSVP by 29 August 2014 to Unathi Jobela or 27 11 325 5251

For more information and interviews:

Savera Kalideen
071 227 0939

Lee-Ann Alfreds
+27 11 325 5251
072 125 2826

Unathi Jobela
+27 11 325 5251
073 8532 789

UPDATE: Panel Discussion Audio

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