NEHAWU Statement On The Health Campaign

NEHAWU Statement On The Health Campaign

Monday September 16, 2019

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is launching its national health campaign with a focus on the broader transformation of healthcare system, mobilisation of society against the current mode of production [capitalism] which regards nature as a commodity and healthy lifestyle campaign as part of non-communicable diseases, under theme “Healthy mind in a healthy body” .

This campaign is underpinned by our drive for primary healthcare which emphasises a prevention approach and full implementation of the National Health Insurance [NHI] as a Universal Coverage that ensures access particularly to the working class on healthcare services.

The Central Executive Committee [CEC] of December 2018 directed the national union to embark on this campaign as part of our contribution to the unabated wide spreading of non-communicable diseases and mental health problems. In this regard, NEHAWU, as a transformative union of workers, has taken a progressive decision to take full responsibility to bring awareness on all non-communicable diseases and also intensify class consciousness to the South African communities, particularly the working class and the poor about the need to pay attention to all aspects of health.

The campaign seeks to highlight and promote practical alternatives to the commodified healthcare and delivering quality service in order to improve the health system and conditions of the working class. With a current healthcare system that prioritises curing rather than prevention it is important to create a citizenry that fully understands that the route to a healthy nation begins with one taking good care of his/herself and avoiding situations that can lead to ill-health and diseases. Moreover, the campaign aims to create awareness and build a society that plays an active role in healthcare rather than fully relying on the healthcare system for cure for ailments that can be prevented. “A country that does not value the health of its citizens deserve not future”

Scientific studies have identified certain types of behaviour that contribute to the development of non-communicable diseases and early death. Health is not just about avoiding disease. It is also about physical, mental and social wellbeing. When a healthy lifestyle is adopted, a more positive impact is enabled in reducing and combating non-communicable diseases.

It is upon this basis that NEHAWU has embarked on the campaign of promoting a Healthy Lifestyle for members and leaders to ensure a healthy mind is in a healthy body whilst simultaneously being in the forefront of advocating for Primary Health Care System which is centred on prevention, primary care and active participation of society in transforming the health sector.

This campaign will be conducted through different forms and strategies of awareness and activities which some already been set in motion including a media campaign that highlights non-communicable diseases and mental health issues. The national for the past week has been running health care advertisement in television, radio, newspapers and on social media in its bid to inform our people about the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.

NHI Seminar

With the imminent full implementation of the NHI the national union is preparing for a massive campaign on the kind of healthcare we envisage. We have always been at the forefront of campaigning for universal access to healthcare and the building of the healthcare system that does not treat people based on the size of their pocket. For the NHI to work and become the success it is destined to be, and it is very imperative that our people begin to live a healthy lifestyle in order not to overburden the system.

The national union will host a seminar on the NHI tomorrow [Tuesday September 17, 2019] at the University of KwaZulu-Natal [UKZN] Howard College under the theme “Access to healthcare is a right not a commodity”. The aim of the seminar is to adequately prepare for a full-blown campaign on the NHI and ensure that we defend this hard won victory of the working class against its detractors which include major hospital groups and the Democratic Alliance [DA].

The seminar will begin at 10am and will be addressed by various speakers including the South African Communist Party [SACP] which will be represented by its 1st Deputy General Secretary Cde Solly Mapaila, the KwaZulu-Natal MEC responsible for Health Cde Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases [NICD]. The National Department of Health will give an update on the implementation plan of the NHI and the progress made so far. Discussions will also focus on the imperatives of Primary Healthcare and infrastructural support mechanisms amongst other topics.

NEHAWU National Sports Festival
As part of promoting a healthy lifestyle the national union decided to adopt an extra-mural activity project which will take place annually and rotate to all nine provinces starting from 2019 upwards. This activity constitute an integral part of the campaign which is aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle first and foremost to its members and leaders in order to ensure a healthy mind in a healthy body. The aim of the activity to prove that one does not need expensive gym memberships in order to live an active lifestyle and that sports can play a crucial role in promoting healthy bodies that can fight diseases.

In implementing this campaign, the national union is organising its inaugural NEHAWU Games Festival to take place from the 21st up to 23rd September 2019 in KwaZulu-Natal province, City of Durban at Curries Fountain Stadium where the Congress of South African Trade Unions [COSATU] was born in 1985. This national event will have a formal opening ceremony in the form of a gala dinner on the 20th September 2019 at Durban University of Technology and closing function in a form of Music Festival on the 23rd September 2019 where prices and medals will be awarded to all participants. Knock-out games of soccer and netball will start as from the 21st up to finals in the afternoon of the 23rd September 2019. Prior to actual games, a 5km fun run/walk will commence and end from Curries Fountain Stadium.

At the three day event will be offering free health checks and screenings. The public is encouraged to attend to get check-ups for high blood pressure, TB, HIV, Diabetes and other ailments. Health professionals will be in attendance to give comprehensive advice to all those who seek help regarding their health status.

As NEHAWU, we hope that through this campaign we can make a major contribution in the transformation of our healthcare system and play an active role in building a healthy nation.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500
or email: Visit NEHAWU website:

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