On the 29th of March 2023, PRICELESS-SA/SAMRC Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science hosted a highly successful South African launch of The Lancet series on commercial determinants of health at the Resource Centre, Wits School of Public Health.
The series is a ground-breaking expose of the products and practices that are collectively called the commercial determinants of health (CDOH). This Lancet Series defines the CDOH, shows how they function and provides extensive evidence of how human and planetary health are damaged by commercial actors and entities. The series calls for a power shift that prioritises health over profits, and suggests specific actions for public health practitioners, civil society organisations, governments, and academics to facilitate this shift to turn the tide of health and planetary harm.
This hybrid event, which had an in-person attendance of 50 people, with 250 individuals attending online via zoom, was supported and partly sponsored by the Daily Maverick, The Conversation Africa, the South African Medical Research Council, the Healthy Living Alliance SA, the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAF), Vital Strategies USA, and the Community Media Trust.
Representation from the SAMRC included Dr Refiloe Zwane and Mr Tendani Tsedu.
The launch commenced with an introduction by Prof Lynn Morris, Deputy Vice Chancellor of The University of Witwatersrand with closing remarks by Prof Tobias Chirwa, Dean of the School of Public Health. The series was launched by Professor Karen Hofman (University of Witwatersrand) and Professor Jeff Collin (University of Edinburgh).
This was followed by a panel discussion of senior stakeholders facilitated by well-known SA human rights and social justice advocate, Mark Heywood. Eminent Panellists included Dr Anban Pillay (Department of Health), Ms Carina Muller (Department of Education), Ms Lebogang Ramafoko (Oxfam), Prof Lekan Ayo-Yusuf (ASSAf) and Mr Nzama Mbalati (Healthy Living Alliance SA).
The launch saw robust engagement on the issue of commercial determinants of health and the need for urgent action from all levels of society during both the panel discussion and the Q&A session. This event will hopefully provide a springboard for future engagement on this important topic. The Feedback has been very positive.
Within two days, Members of the SAMRC Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science also published three articles in The Conversation Africa, all of which have received multiple reads and also had several interviews in the media.
Read the articles below: