Catalysing health R&D, innovation and access

South African Health Technologies Advocacy Coalition

SAHTAC’s Mission

"To advocate for an enabling environment for research, development, and access to lifesaving technologies and innovations."


Research and development (R&D) is critical to ensuring that high impact, affordable health technologies reach the people who need them most. In low and middle income countries, a policy and regulatory environment that encourages innovation can lead to enhanced economic growth and better social outcomes. Moreover, domestic investment in health R&D guarantees that solutions reflect a country’s priority health needs. 

The government of South Africa has demonstrated commitment to health R&D, passing a number of policies and strategies aimed at bolstering the country’s innovation agenda. Additionally, government funding for health R&D has increased over the past decade and has met an important international commitment to direct 2 percent of the national health budget to R&D. These policies and commitments should ultimately translate science, research, and technological development into economic growth and a higher quality of life for South Africa’s people—implementation, however, remains a challenge. 

Advocacy is therefore needed to ensure that policies are fully implemented, funding mechanisms are aligned, and accountability measures are in place to monitor progress.

Civil society has a role to play in these advocacy efforts by holding the government accountable to R&Drelated commitments and ensuring that science is translated into tangible economic and social benefits for all people in South Africa.

Bringing together civil society voices for health

Recognizing the potential of advocacy to impact South Africa’s innovation system, a group of nongovernmental organizations launched the South African Health Technologies Advocacy Coalition (SAHTAC) in 2016. 

Each member organization has a history of advocating for improved health technologies, programs, and services—from HIV and tuberculosis, to maternal, newborn, and child health. 

Through coordinated advocacy, SAHTAC is underscoring the importance of increasing access to lifesaving technologies across the health spectrum. 

SAHTAC will enable all member organizations to achieve mutually shared goals that support the research and development of highimpact health interventions in South Africa.