Latest Equinet Updates

Call for applicants: Desk review of health-related food standards in east and southern Africa
Deadline for applications: September 15, 2022, 5pm Southern Africa time

EQUINET is calling for applicants for a desk review of domestic legal and statutory provisions in 16 ESA countries (Angola, Botswana, DRC, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia) taking note of key international and regional standards, and guidance. The review will use online information from international agency websites and African and ESA regional organisations, and online legal databases for the above 16 countries to identify the most recent laws and specific standards in force for: International and regional standards and guidance relevant to food risks, safety and standards relating to the principles, rights, duties and authorities included, the key areas of food safety, risk, standards covered; and provisions/guidance on functions, governance and financing. Domestic law in relation to food and health in relation to scope, objectives and mission; principles, rights and duties; key areas of food safety, risks and standards; key functions; mechanisms and administration; governance and financing. Applicants for the call are asked to outline their key experience, capacities and availability for the task, institutional and individual country location and contact information for follow up; their CV and the pdfs of at least two publications related to this field that they have authored. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application before or by September 21 2022. For further information on the grant and application see the website.

EQUINET Information sheet 8 on COVID-19: Experience of the pandemic from a youth lens
Training and Research Support Centre for EQUINET, July 2022

What does looking at the pandemic from a youth lens tell us about what we need to address now in our region? This brief focuses on this. EQUINET information sheets on COVID-19 summarise information from and provide links to official, scientific and other resources on east and southern Africa (ESA) covering selected themes related to equity in the pandemic. This brief covers: recent data on COVID-19 in ESA countries and in youth; youth health and wellbeing during the pandemic; services and responses to youth needs during the pandemic; youth led responses and initiatives and equity issues and actions exposed by the pandemic for young people.

Join the EQUINET conference on Reclaiming the State, Online, Next session 15 September
Register before 5 September

The 2022 EQUINET regional conference 'Catalysing change for health and social justice' is sharing and discussing experiences, evidence, analysis, successes and struggles from local to regional level and engagement globally to advance health and wellbeing in East and Southern Africa. Through the exchanges we are framing propositions to advance health equity and social justice in our region that will inform policy engagement and future work. The conference includes statements from key institutional representatives in the region and internationally, research papers, photojournalism, art and music and group discussions. The first day has been held, but you can still register for the second and third days on the conference website. The programme for the second day "Reclaiming the State 2" on September 15th is now available online covering issues relating to urban health, youth health, equitable health financing, promoting primary health care in pandemics and more.

Tax justice for universal public sector health systems in East and Southern Africa
Loewenson R; Mukumba C: Training and Research Support Centre, Tax Justice Network Africa, EQUINET Discussion paper 126, EQUINET, Harare, 2022

This paper outlines performance on key dimensions of public sector health financing: the size of the funding ‘gap’ in relation to basic health service needs; population entitlements; and state duties to health care; with brief discussion on the negative implications for equity of meeting this gap through out of pocket spending and privatisation of health services. With tax revenues the most progressive source of health financing for universal health coverage, it examines the level, sources and drivers of lost tax revenue in ESA countries, and relates the public sector health system funding gap to the sources of lost tax revenue. The paper points to how the current global tax framework and its unfair allocation of taxing rights benefits high income countries to the significant detriment of low- and middle-income countries. Despite promises of reforms by some larger high income countries, those that have been proposed fail to address this tax injustice. This evidence indicates that it is possible to meet the health financing gap for public sector health systems in the region through adequate funding from progressive taxation. With the public health and economic implications of COVID-19 having drawn socio-political attention to the need for investment in public sector health systems, the authors argue that there is an opportunity for a more ambitious alliance between the health and finance sectors to demonstrate the public health value of addressing these critical tax losses to increase public revenues for health.

Diss 125: Protecting equity in the face of privatisation of health services in east and southern Africa
Loewenson R: EQUINET Discussion paper 125, TARSC, EQUINET, Harare

Funding for public health services paid from general taxation, provided universally and free at the point of access, is considered the most effective way of redistributing resources from high to low income groups while contributing to improvements in health. Nonetheless, in recent decades the privatisation of health services has expanded, through the in privatisation of services and expansion of private sector services in parallel with the public system, or in various forms of commercialised market reforms within public sectors, and the growth of public-private partnerships. This paper outlines equity-related evidence on privatisation in the ESA region in terms of differential entitlements, assets, endowments, and capabilities; differentials in vulnerability; health outcomes; and in life course, long-term and wider system consequences. Drawing on this evidence, the paper suggests elements of the pathways for responding to the equity dimensions of privatisation of health services and reflections on which elements may have a broad impact on multiple dimensions of inequity. The presentation of areas for action on pathways for change is not intended to be prescriptive. It rather intends to stimulate and inform dialogue and advocacy, understanding that what may be relevant and feasible depends on the country context. Motivating actions to address the inequities inherent in privatisation implies countering a common narrative that limiting privatisation of services undermines development. In contrast it implies promoting the right to health care, as embedded in many constitutions of ESA countries, and the understanding that public sector health systems are central for universal health coverage.

Exchange experience! Submit an Abstract to the EQUINET 2002 CONFERENCE before June 15th 2022
EQUINET Steering committee: Abstract submission is open and closes 15 June 2022

The EQUINET Conference 2022 “Catalysing change for health and social justice” invites submissions from different voices and in different forms for presentation at the conference within the three strategic areas of the conference. For Day1 July 28th: Reclaiming the Resources for Health, for Day 2 September 15th: Reclaiming the State, for Day 3 October 13th: Reclaiming Collective Agency and Solidarity. The abstract submission page at provides further information on content areas and the online submission form. We are inviting presentations of research, interventions, policy engagement with a focus on actions for equity oriented change. Your presentation may be an oral presentation but we are also inviting short videos, podcasts, zoom recordings of discussions, poems, photojournalism and other forms. We expect presentations to be short (less than 15 minutes) so please indicate in the abstract how much time you envisage your input will need. We may provide some support for preparation of presentations for those with limited resources. Please complete the information in the online Abstract submission form below and ensure you submit before 15 June. Accepted abstracts will be notified by 30 June.

Join the discussion! Register for the EQUINET 2002 CONFERENCE before July 15th 2022
EQUINET Steering committee: Registration is open and closes 15 July 2022

The EQUINET Conference 2022 “Catalysing change for health and social justice” invites participation from community members, workers, state personnel at all levels, civil society, parliamentarians, academics, trade unions, diverse professionals, innovators, producers and others. The online conference will be 9am to 5pm Southern African time for the three full days: Day1 July 28th: Reclaiming the Resources for Health, Day 2 September 15th: Reclaiming the State, and Day 3 October 13th: Reclaiming Collective Agency and Solidarity. Participants can register online for one, two or all three days of the conference at the registration page at Please register separately for each of the three days, using all three links for all three days if you want to attend all. All those attending a day of the conference will be automatically registered for the fourth half day 9am to 1pm on November 17th. Registration is free. The inputs to the conference will inform the future work of the network. Please join and be part of it!

Bring your experiences and ideas to the EQUINET conference in 2022!
Watch out for the announcement and call for submissions in April 2022

EQUINET is holding a regional conference in 2022. We are living in a time of widening inequity, globally and in our region, but also of intensifying levers of change. The conference is for you! The EQUINET steering committee is inviting voices from all levels, disciplines, sectors and institutions that contribute to health equity in the region to share, discuss, network and reflect on experiences, ideas and actions, and to consolidate proposals for advancing equity in health and wellbeing in our region. The conference will be online, with thematic conference days held intermittently between July and November 2022. We will include a range of forms of evidence, including studies, stories, artistic and visual evidence, on our challenges and actions to reclaim the resources for health, our states, and our public services, and collective agency and solidarity in health. Leading up to the final day, we will explore how we organise as a network of equity actors from in the region. The full announcement with information on the conference, the registration and the call for submissions will be shared in April. To receive further information by email please subscribe at

EQ Diss 124: Health sector financing and COVID-19: East and Southern Africa trends and a Zambia case study
Chitah B: UNZA, EQUINET Discussion paper 124, EQUINET, Harare, 2022

EQUINET commissioned this study from the author at University of Zambia to explore trends in equity-related healthcare expenditures in East and southern Africa (ESA) countries prior to the pandemic (2000–2019), and, through a deeper case study of expenditures in Zambia, how financing changed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/21. The regional analysis reviewed selected indicators available from the WHO Global Health Expenditure database for 2000–2019 of the: extent to which governments prioritise health in domestic budget spending; level of financial protection; level of government pro-poor spending on primary health care; and the share of public versus private financing in total health expenditure. The financing trends for 2000–2019 in ESA countries raise issues around health system preparedness for the pandemic, while the Zambia case study demonstrates the consequent impact of the responses to COVID-19 on health system financing.

EQUINET Information sheet 7 on COVID-19: Turning vaccines to vaccination in the region
TARSC, EQUINET: Harare, 2022

EQUINET information sheets on COVID-19 summarise information from and provide links to official, scientific and other resources on east and southern Africa (ESA) covering selected themes related to equity in the pandemic. They complement and do not substitute information from public health authorities. Brief 7 summarises pandemic developments in the region to December 2021, with a focus on equity in vaccination coverage. It covers: 1: Recent trends in COVID-19 in ESA countries; 2: Vaccine supply to the ESA region; 3: Storage and distribution of vaccines in the region; 4: Vaccine uptake and vaccination coverage; and 5: Addressing equity - from vaccines to vaccinated populations.