Understanding healthcare and population mobility in southern Africa: The case of South Africa

Walls, H., Vearey, J., Modisenyane, M., Chetty-Makkan, C., Charalambous, S., Smith, R. and Hanefeld, J. (2016) Understanding healthcare and population mobility in southern Africa: The case of South Africa South African Medical Journal 106(1):14-15. [DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i1.10210 OPEN ACCESS]

The impact of global increases in human mobility on health systems is a little understood but highly political issue in recipient countries. South Africa (SA) is the greatest recipient of migrants from the Southern African Development Community. There is a policy of free primary health care for all in SA – as outlined in the Constitution and the National Health Act – but its interpretation is less inclusive within implementation guidelines and practice.  As a result, non-nationals face access challenges, and public health responses have engaged with migration to a limited extent. Migration provides opportunities for health and economic benefits, and has the potential to positively and negatively affect health systems. To maximise positive impact and mitigate against potential negative consequences requires attention and engagement of policy-makers from health and other sectors, including public health researchers and health workers. We outline our current research and existing responses to migration and health in southern Africa.

About Jo Vearey

Jo Vearey is a Professor and the Director of the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand. She holds an Honorary Fellowship with the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, and a Senior Fellowship at the Centre for Peace, Development and Democracy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In 2015, Jo was awarded a Humanities and Social Science Wellcome Trust Investigator Award. Jo holds a MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases (LSHTM, 2003), a PhD in Public Health (Wits, 2010), and has been rated by the National Research Foundation as a Young Researcher. In 2014 and 2015, Jo received a Friedel Sellschop Award from the University of the Witwatersrand for outstanding young researchers. She was a Marie Curie Research Fellow in 2013, at the UNESCO Chair on Social and Spatial Inclusion of Migrants, University of Venice (SSIM-IUAV), Venice, Italy.

With a commitment to social justice and the development of pro-poor policy responses, Jo’s research explores international, regional, national and local responses to migration, health, and urban vulnerabilities. Her research interests focus on urban health, public health, migration and health, the social determinants of health, HIV, informal settlements and sex work. Jo is particularly interested in knowledge production, dissemination and utilisation including the use of visual and arts-based methodologies.

Jo has a range of international collaborations, including an ESRC-NRF funded project with the University of Edinburgh, a WOTRO funded project with the VU University, Amsterdam on migration and sex work, and partnerships with the University of Massachusetts Boston and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine‘s Faculty of Public Health and Policy and Gender, Violence and Health Unit.

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