National Women’s Day

National Women’s Day
07 August 2017
National Women’s Day is acknowledged, annually, in South Africa on 09 August. But what does this day truly commemorate, and why is it important to the health of our people today? Let’s find out:

March to the Union Buildings
On 09 August 1956, more than 20 000 South African women marched to the Union Buildings, to protest the introduction of pass laws, which forced black women to carry and present a pass, whenever and wherever they were. These pass laws not only restricted the movement of black people, but were also underpinned by the discriminatory Group Areas Act, that assigned geographical areas to race groups across the country. 

The history of our health systems
Apartheid legislation led to extreme discrimination, and effectively cut certain race groups off from being able to work, reside and utilise the facilities of developed areas. That included health facilities, as the health care system created huge inequalities between the facilities available for each race group within South Africa. Effectively, Apartheid created two health systems – one that served a white minority, that was well-resourced and easy to access; and another, that was under-resourced and difficult to access. Moving beyond that legacy has proven difficult, as health care systems and services are still taking strain, and patients are often subjected to long queues, stock shortages, and more. As the government looks towards implementing the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, we remain hopeful that the right to health care will soon become easily accessible and affordable for all. Full details on the NHI can be accessed here.

Reproductive rights and liberation
Segregated health care services were underpinned by discriminatory government spending, which led to a lower life expectancy among black people in South Africa, and dramatically affected infant and maternal mortality rates. This PACSA factsheet presents some alarming statistics, that serve as a reminder of just how far our health systems have come, but also how much further we need to go as a country. After 1994, as our democratic nation edged towards maturity, women’s reproductive rights came to the fore too. In the late 1990s, termination of pregnancy services became available for all, via the public health care system and access to an ever-expanding range of reproductive health care services remain a national focus for the Department of Health. 

Women’s health is global health
Globally, the fight for women’s health is far from won, as discriminatory practices and poverty play a huge role in preventing women from accessing quality health care, especially in under-developed or poorly resourced regions. Just as the struggle for liberation is still not done, so too is the fight for quality, accessible health care. As a company, we look forward to a time when the struggle for health care has been won, for everyone. 

LifeDoc™  Can Help
LifeDoc™ helps you take control of your health care. Now available for download as a mobile application, LifeDoc™ helps you take charge of your personal health information, making it easier to keep track of appointments and schedule those important check-ups, while securely storing your personal medical history. Register here or like the LifeDoc™ Facebook page for regular updates. You can also stay on track with LifeDoc™ developments on Twitter.