Civil society watch, 9-15 November

Important to respond to other diseases beyond Covid-19

By Shani Reddy 9 November 2020

A health worker during intensified testing and screening on Freedom Day, screening and testing includes people over over 60, flu-like symptoms, comorbid conditions, like diabetes, asthma, hypertencsion, HIV and tuberculosis on April 25, 2020 in Alexandra South Africa. (Photo: Dino Lloyd)

This week will see countries marking World Diabetes Day. Although the planet is justifiably preoccupied with the spread of Covid-19, we should not overlook the need to respond to other more preventable causes of disease and death.


Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in higher income countries.

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 61/225 designating 14 November as World Diabetes Day. The resolution recognised “the urgent need to pursue multilateral efforts to promote and improve human health and provide access to treatment and healthcare education”.

Nurses currently account for over half of the global health workforce and the theme for World Diabetes Day this year is The Nurse and Diabetes. The campaign aims to raise awareness around the crucial role nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes.

With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing, and diabetes on the rise, universal national healthcare is vital. 

As part of the implementation of the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum (HSACF) corruption prevention programme, the HSACF will host its second webinar on Sunday, 15 November at 6pm

Moderated by Maverik Citizen editor Mark Heywood, speakers Dr Nicholas Crisp (head of the national health insurance office) and Sasha Stevenson (head of health at SECTION27) will debate the proposed National Health Insurance scheme (currently before Parliament) and its vulnerability to corruption. Register here.

The rest of the week…

At 4pm on Monday, 9 November, the Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ), Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), and SECTION27, invite you to a webinar on Defining a new economics: What role for human rights?

Join Prof Sandra Liebenberg (Stellenbosch University), Prof Pundy Pillay (University of the Witwatersrand), advocate Jason Brickhill (Oxford University), and Dr Basani Baloyi (Oxfam South Africa) for this vital discussion on the intersection between economics and human rights.

On Tuesday, 10 November, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) invites you to a discussion on Critical reflections on the Islamist military insurgencies in East and West Africa

The event will see speakers such as Prof Adebayp Olukoshi (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance), Prof Adriano Nuvunga (CDD), and Idayat Haasan (CDD) discuss similarities, patterns of operations, government counterinsurgency strategies, lessons and policy options for Mozambique’s troubled northern province, Cabo Delgado. Click here to join the Zoom meeting.

At 10am on Wednesday, 11 November, the Africa Criminal Justice Reform, in collaboration with the Dullah Omar Institute and the University of the Western Cape, invite you to a discussion on Provincial and local government and policing: the draft South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Amendment Bill.

This webinar will explore and reflect on the provisions of the bill which impacts on the role of provincial and local government in policing and law enforcement, particularly in view of the growing body of evidence indicating that local and provincial governments are increasingly attempting to address the safety concerns of citizens, where SAPS “fails to do so”.

At 1pm, the University of the Witwatersrand is hosting its fifth webinar in a series of critical engagements titled Pandemic Pangolins: Systems, Science, and Society. Wits is bringing together experts to debate and evaluate the ever-changing body of knowledge emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This week the series focuses on pandemics and society and the importance of community engagement. Register here.

At 3.30pm, the Sama Resource Group for Women and Health is hosting their third webinar in a series of five webinars on Ethical and Legal Challenges in Research on Preventive Vaccines and in Making Approved Vaccines Accessible. The aim of the series is to reflect on the science and ethics in developing and accessing vaccines for Covid-19.

This week, speakers (to be announced) will focus on regulating Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials. You can email [email protected] for more details and the registration link. 

As the response to the Covid-19 pandemic is showing us, economic policies have a profound impact on the realisation of rights. Yet the economics discipline continues to present itself as “value-neutral” and often fails to carefully consider the implications of policies on people’s rights.

On Thursday, 12 November, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC), and the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation invite you to a dialogue on The future of the Ingonyama Trust: substantive accountability in a post-Covid era.

The event, which will be facilitated by Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi (PARI), will see panellists Mavuso Mbhekiseni (Makhassaneni community), Zenande Booi (LARC), and Janet Bellamy (LARC) discuss the issues of the finances and financial management of the Ingonyama Trust’s assets, and whether these benefit the Trust’s beneficiaries – “the members of the tribes and communities” living on land vested in the Trust, as required by the legal framework governing the Trust. Register here

On Friday, 13 November, the People’s Health Movement is hosting a public webinar on the effect of Covid-19 on the livelihoods of people from vulnerable communities. DM/MC

You can register for the event here. DM/MC

South Africa is full of activists whose voices and campaigns need to be heard, and we want to report on all of them. So, wherever you live, if you have virtual events or meetings which you think other activists ought to know about, write to us at [email protected]

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"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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