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People's Health Movement South Africa - Training Update

14 Jul 2009

The Right to Health is about people’s access to healthy food, clean water, decent sanitation, adequate housing/shelter, steady employment and proper health information. Because health is determined by so many factors outside the health services, we need to promote people’s understanding of the Social

Determinants of Health as part of the campaign. The campaign must be led by civil society, including many sectors required for the health of communities.

The RtH campaign consists of three subcommittees which include

  • Training
  • Testimonies
  • Media


The Training Committee is a key component of the Right to Health (RtH) Campaign. The purpose of the training is to equip community-based activists with knowledge and skills to become active in the RtH campaign and to add value to their own work in communities. The Committee developed a one-day package on the right to health involving participatory methods and ran workshops in 2008 with diverse groups including community organisations, refugee centres and anti-xenophobia activists. A follow up workshop was conducted for activists who attended the initial workshop. Training was also included in the 7-day solidarity March/community programme in response to the xenophobic attacks.

Some of the lessons to emerge from this work included the following:

  1. A single day's training was insufficient to empower participants to go back to do training in their own communities. It was good for raising awareness but a longer training was necessary for training of trainers.
  2. The training could better serve to strengthen PHM's RtH campaign if we had the tools ready for the collection of testimonies. The different committees of PHMSA need to harmonise their work better.

As a result, the Committee decided to plan a week-long Train the Trainer course in 2009. Those who go through the training would be the activists on the ground to implement the programme of collecting testimonies towards a public hearing on the right to health as part of the RtH campaign. We had a successful training of trainers'. We had 18 participants from different organisations. (Report available at PHMSA). The purpose of the training was to increase participants’ knowledge on the right to health and introduce them to the PHM Right to Health Campaign.

An important issue that arose from the training was that the South African government has signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1994 but has not ratified the Treaty. PHMSA has since joined other Civil Society Organisation in a ratification campaign to call on our government to protect all our human rights by ratifying the Covenant NOW!!

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