#Childhood Matters Episode 10: In South Africa, our challenge is not to let public health slide, like in India, says Mark Heywood

Mark Heywood discusses the reason Indian pharma became the developing world's hope and the necessity for a conversation between the largest democracy i.e. India and the most hopeful democracy i.e. South Africa.

ByBiraj Swain
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#Childhood Matters Episode 10: In South Africa, our challenge is not to let public health slide, like in India, says Mark Heywood
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Full Disclosure: The full video was shot on January 25, 2018, on a hand-held mobile phone. Biraj Swain’s trip to South Africa was sponsored by the International Centre for Journalists, Washington DC as part of her fellowship.

Mark Heywood, co-founder of Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Section 27 speaks to Biraj Swain, Consulting Editor, Newslaundry and ICFJ Fellow on why he has taken the government of South Africa to Court, the case of Life Esidimeni after the death of 143 mental health patients. He charts the journey of Treatment Action Campaign, the meaning of Right to Health and Access to Medicine and how that resulted in exposing the profiteering of Big Pharma. TAC’s movement resulted in Indian pharmaceuticals becoming the pharmacy of the developing world.

He also shares his concern about the slide in public healthcare in India and how India is becoming a no-go country case study, from its inspiring days of third world’s pharmacy. He shares the challenges of universal healthcare delivery in South Africa and globally. From the mental health patients’ neglect, glaring inequalities to half-baked sanitation campaigns, the similarities between South Africa and India are many and hence, the conversation between the most hopeful democracy (South Africa) and the largest democracy (India) is necessary.

He shares the hope he has from the South African Constitution, one of the most pro-poor Constitutions in the world where social justice is written into the Constitution. He shares why they litigate and the Court victories they have had, which has resulted in health rights being operationalised.

He shares his take on challenges to health journalism and child development discourse and believes both need to be pro-public and located in the justice framework.

Watch the full conversation here: 

References:

1. Everywhere they need help: We just give them help

2. The heist no one is talking about | OxfamGB 

3. Life Esidimeni: Horror story under ANC’s watch

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