Let's start a conversation...

"We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they have all learned to live together in the same box!"

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Right to dignity

Did you know our (South African) constitution states that we all have a:

Right to dignity???

Just been thinking about how to implement that in day to day life.

Thinking about the beggar at the side of the road. his position in life is quite undignified. how can I bring him dignity (even if it is something small???). For me I thought I need to make sure that I do eye contact and polite no thank you shakes of my head. (Hard to remember at the end of the day in traffic!)

Or what about my domestic worker? First thing is that she calls me by my name, not madam, maam etc... And something I grapple with a lot is treating her as an employee not a servant. This is a mixed up one in SA where there can be so much white guilt attached to this interaction (or is that just me?)

Or clients I see... even the ones that are really slow/ annoying/ strange/ funny... being respectful of their story. For me it is about hearing them out, not laughing at them behind their back, not checking my watch.

Would love to hear about areas where you would like to see dignity in peoples lives.

Monday, 17 March 2014

The right to quality healthcare



Wits Ethics dept runs a week called Ethics Alive where the health sciences faculty publicly re- commit to ethics... Steve Biko is a symbol of this week (and the dept) due to the unspeakable unethical treatment he received at the hands of medical professionals...

It is always worth attending (partly for the CPD points (we have t collect points to stay registered with HPCSA)) but mostly cos the talks are often thought provoking...

Here are a couple of statements that stuck with me and my thoughts on them:

  1. Quality vs Access! The SA health system is getting much better at access to health care but this doesn't necessarily mean that the accessed health care is of good quality... Dirty wards, shortages of linen and medicines, broken equipment and lack of staffing are just a few of the daily problems our hospitals face...
  2. SA has moved from a system of political apartheid to a system of economic apartheid. Sjoe... this is challenging! But if I look at how I live compared to how a person in Diepsloot lives there is no comparison. I take for granted water, electricity and sanitation and moan with the rest of my privileged neighbours about Eskoms power cuts but I don't face any of the hardships my Diepsloot neighbours face. and there is a definitely separateness between rich and poor in SA that is reminiscent of Apartheid. The reason this point was raised is that the poor are ultimately the people with no access to QUALITY health care.
  3. We cannot resolve a problem if we don't recognise the problem in the 1st place. I completely agree with this. we need to recognise our privilege, our failings, our prejudice in order to move past it.
 Hard truths... and I am still thinking about my response to them. Particularly around POVERTY as this is so challenging... And how do we make a difference?

Any ideas on how we can change poverty in SA? Watch this space... I will hopefully write a bit more about that soon.