Most people, before we began assisting with health advocacy, did not know about or think they had a right to healthcare. In 2015, Mr MN who has lived in Xhora Mouth for 70 years explained to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that he has never seen or heard of an ambulance in the area.
In order to advance the right of access to healthcare, we have built strong partnerships with SECTION27 and the Eastern Cape Health Crisis Action Coalition (ECHCAC) as well as continue to work well with the SAHRC and government. We have a Health Committee that includes Chief Noofisi Gwebindlala and the sub-headmen from the different regions, and various other members of different social class and standing. The BI’s Health Programme Manager, Bulelwa Ganca and the Project Assistant Manager, Bongweza Sontundu are also members and provide essential infrastructural support and organisational leadership.
The community has offered thoughtful solutions to all the challenges raised by government. They have offered land and resources to ensure access to health services. Through a process of extensive activism, the community now has an ambulance based in Nqileni village that is “housed” and looked after by the Bulungula Lodge (which is 100% community owned).
For more information on how we managed to secure an ambulance on our hills read: How a Deep Rural Community Got an Ambulance.
The right of access to health remains unrealised as we still do not have access to a clinic. We will continue to empower and assist our community with their advocacy in this area.