Human rights activists: (From left)Prof Leslie London, Nicole Fick, Pregs Govender and Prof Nomafrench Mbombo at the launch of the toolkit on the right to health
It was appropriate that the toolkit on the right to health was launched on 26 May - right on the heels of local government elections.
A number of human rights violations concerning health, such as the open toilet saga and the killing of protestor UCT alumnus Andreas Tatane, have been linked to poor service delivery by local governments.
And as Pregs Govender, deputy chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, put it at the launch, the notion of the indivisibility of rights is central to the toolkit. "You can't separate one right from another."
The toolkit is a product of the Learning Network, which was established in 2008 by the Health and Human Rights Programme at UCT, the University of the Western Cape, Maastricht University in the Netherlands, Warwick University in the UK, and six local civil society organisations - The Women's Circle, Women on Farms Project, Ikhaya Labantu, Ikamva Labantu, Epilepsy South Africa and the Cape Metropolitan Health Forum. Linking research, training and advocacy, they developed the toolkit as a practical tool for educating communities on their right to health, how to identify violations of such rights, and how to respond to these violations.
Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Professor Marian Jacobs said the manual will make a huge difference in the lives of people who did not know their rights, and encouraged people to ensure that it is implemented.
Professor Leslie London, who led the UCT team on the project, noted that while the toolkit is aimed at South African audience, it is hoped that it can also be adapted for use in other countries in the African region.
The toolkit can be downloaded from the website of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine.
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