SAHTAC held its first quarterly meeting webinar on Wednesday 31 May 2023. The first guest speaker Elroy Paulus, Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) Board Member and Treasurer challenged the coalition to strengthen its advocacy agenda and make it clear in terms of what it aims to achieve and who the target audience is.
He shared on best practice for advocacy campaigns and further unpacked the need to advocate for essential medicines in every health facility where there is a need is a critical need . He also encouraged the coalition to engage strategic partners like the People’s Health Movement of South Africa, and PHM Global, Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG), RHAP and Budget Justice Coalition.
The second speaker Thokozile Madonko, Research Manager Public Economy Project, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies explained that the state budget is a piece of legislation that should realise the pillars in the constitution to promote, protect respect and fulfil. She unpacked the health budget, the purpose of budget laws which is advancing the realisation of socio-economic rights and ensure public participation. She highlighted the stages of the budget process and how the public can engage at the different stages.
She emphasised the use of evidence-based budget advocacy to influence policy reform, create awareness and support critical issues. She shared that our health budget is under enormous stress, with lots of budget cuts, still many unemployed covid health care staff. Health department will experience further budget cuts, this information is critical when framing our advocacy strategies.