22 November, Public Debate: Raising Alarm and Being Heard

22 November, Public Debate: Raising Alarm and Being Heard

Programme: 22Nov HCW Advocacy Debate Programme

Date:  22 November 2017, 1530 for 16:00 – 18:30

Place: University of the Witwatersrand, School of Public Health, Resource Centre

RSVP: For catering purposes RSVP by Monday 20 Nov to Karessa@rhap.org.za

In a context of an ailing health system faced with many challenges, patients and their families need healthcare providers to be the eyes and ears on the ground. To be skilled in advocating for quality health care. To be confident in raising alarm before things go amiss. But if we have learnt one thing from the tragedy of Life Esidimeni, in which 141 lives were lost due to leadership failures and negligence, it is that not all healthcare workers have these skills, or the moral compass, to speak out. Others who do get silenced, ignored or give up after one try. As a nation we have said this never again. But we also know that Life Esidimeni is not an exception and other tragedies have and continue to unfold countrywide as we speak. The questions we therefore ask at this debate are:

  • What have we learnt about healthcare worker advocacy from the tragedy of LifeEsidimeni?
  • What institutional and political change is needed to ensure healthcare workers speak out and are heard and protected?
  • Does society have a role to play in supporting healthcare worker advocacy?
  • Are universities doing enough to produce advocacy competent healthcare workers?


Representative from Treatment Action Campaign

Shelley Wilsnach                    Community service Occupational Therapist

Dr. Mvuyiso Talatala               Psychiatrist, SASOP Representative

Dr. Lesley Robertson              Psychiatrist, SASOP Representative

Tendai Mafuma                       Legal Researcher, SECTION27

Prof. Laetitia Rispel:                Wits School of Public Health

Mark Heywood                        SECTION27

Marije Versteeg-Mojanaga   Rural Health Advocacy Project