“No plan must be passed or approved without the rural-proofing box being ticked.” Dr Andrew Robinson, North West Department of Health
On the 29th of January the RHAP launched the Rural Proofing Guidelines in Parktown, Johannesburg. The event was attended by National, Provincial and District Department of Health officials, National Treasury, Rural Health Partners, various civil society stakeholders and academia.
Read the foreword by the Rural Health Partner’s rep Dr Desmond Kegakilwe: “Over the last few years the South African health care sector has been undergoing an important phase of reform. We have seen a renewed commitment to the revitalisation of Primary Health Care through initiatives such as ward based outreach teams, school health teams, district specialist teams, and most recently the contracting in of private General Practitioners (GP) to public facilities.
There is no doubt that these are all have great potential to improve access to healthcare for all who live in South Africa. Fixing health care in this country is no easy task though. Our health system is struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid and the consequent inequitable distribution of resources based on factors such as race, class and geographic location. This is particularly apparent in rural contexts where historical neglect, high levels of material deprivation, longer distances to facilities over difficult terrain, a lack of infrastructure and equipment, and a chronic shortage of critical health care and well-skilled support personnel requires contextually appropriate solutions to improving access to care.
As rural health care providers and advocates for the rights of our patients we are all too aware that what works in Johannesburg or Cape Town will not necessarily work in Lusikisiki or Manguzi. While this may come as little surprise to you, addressing the specific rural health context in policy design, budget allocations and implementation plans is not yet a standard process in South Africa.
The rural-proofing guidelines in front of you have been developed to assist with this task; to ensure that “the rural health context” is addressed adequately when new policies and budgets are drawn up and implemented in the beautiful rural parts of our country.
As rural health partners we are very excited about this development and many of us have actively contributed to the design of these guidelines. It is important to note that addressing rural health does not mean neglecting any other area of health. As rural health partners we stand for “health for all!’. What it does mean is that the specific rural context is taken into account in the policy and implementation processes.This is a critical step if we are to support and achieve our national goals of improving the nation’s health and eradicating the persistent inequities between urban and rural, public and private health care. We would like to offer our voices and experience to this process and become active partners in rural proofing for health”.
DR DESMOND KEGAKILWE, Chairperson of RuDASA
On behalf of the Rural Health Partners: Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA), Rural Rehab South Africa (RuReSA), Professional Association of Clinical Associate South Africa (PACASA), Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP), Wits Centre for Rural Health, UKZN Centre for Rural Health, Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, The rural health student clubs at WITS and UKZN, Africa Health Placements (AHP)
Daygan Eagar – Introduction to Rural Proofing Guidelines
DDG Jeanette Hunter – NDoH Response to Rural-Proofing Guidelines
Health-E clipping: http://www.health-e.org.za/2015/01/30/rural-proofing-policy/