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Mobile Mobilisation for a People’s NHI at Rural Health Conference 2018

By Shehnaz Munshi

At the Rural Health Conference 2018, the People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA) hosted a workshop themed “Bavuse! Mobile Mobilisation for a People’s NHI”. The conference took place on 21‑24 September 2018 close to Meyerton (Gauteng).

Shehnaz Munshi, a member of the PHM-SA Steering Committee, facilitated the PHM-SA workshop on 21 September. Participants mostly included students (nursing, medical and allied) who were interested in finding out more about the National Health Insurance (NHI).

Participants at Bavuse! Mobile Mobilisation for a People’s NHI workshop hosted by PHM-SA, 21 Sept 2018, Rural Health Conference

The workshop started with a  brief introduction to the NHI and policy developments since the initial Green Paper, and explained the need for more awareness, information sharing and mobilisation for a People’s NHI.

Participants were also introduced to Bavuse! – a new communications and mobilisation platform used by PHM-SA to mobilise for a People’s NHI and to increase people’s voice about health issues. Participants were given the opportunity to engage with the People’s NHI Campaign by dialling the free campaign join code: *134*1994*333#

Participants also engaged in a brief discussion on mobile mobilisation and the People’s Health Movement, focusing on the following questions:

  • Is the Bavuse! platform user friendly and easy to use?
  • Would they use Bavuse! for mobilisation on issues that concern them?
  • Do they think Bavuse! is a useful tool for rural settings?

Most participants saw value in Bavuse! and saw the need for mobilisation, but more time was needed for further engagement, training and practice to enable effective and active use of the technology.

The abstract of the workshop is provided below.

PHM-SA Workshop Abstract, RHC2018

Title: Bavuse! Mobile Mobilisation for a People’s NHI

Type of Presentation:

Workshop (60 minutes or 90 minutes)


Building Momentum: Taking the Rural Health Movement Forward


The People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA) has called on civil society, communities and allies in health struggles to join in mass mobilisation and community action to realise health equity and the right to health for all in South Africa. A prominent example is PHM-SA’s urgent campaign for a “People’s NHI”, which demands people-centred health services based on the principles of human rights, universality, social solidarity and social justice. PHM-SA is strategically using Bavuse! – an exciting new mobile health advocacy and mobilisation tool – to bring together community members and civil society groupings to establish a broad social movement for people’s health.

As a communications and mobilisation platform, Bavuse! can help with self-organising and information-sharing in remote and rural communities – at little or no cost to community members. Bavuse! could reach potentially thousands of people through SMS, USSD, email and social media. It is a single platform that is interactive and easy to use, and can be adapted to people’s access to specific forms of technology (basic phones, smartphones, tablets or computers). It can serve as a strategic tool that has the potential to change rural health mobilisation through:

  • Mobilising our constituencies in different geographical areas around health advocacy and social justice campaigns
  • Self-organising at grassroots level
  • Public education on health issues
  • Quick, large-scale information-sharing on developments happening on the ground

We will give an overview of how we have been using Bavuse! to mobilise for a People’s NHI Campaign and for increasing people’s voice about health issues – through initiating discussions, organising and bringing change. Bavuse! provides options to organise campaigns, call meetings, have votes, run polls, and integrate with petitions hosted through Amandla.mobi. Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the People’s NHI Campaign via Bavuse! – using our free campaign dialling code: *134*1994*333#. Thereafter, we will interrogate the merits of using mobile mobilisation techniques for mobilisation around health.

Biosketch of presenter:

Shehnaz Munshi is an occupational therapist who holds an MPH in Health Systems and Policy Research. She serves on the Steering Committee of the People’s Health Movement. She is the Chairperson of the Junior Public Health Association of South Africa, is an Atlantic TEKANO fellow for health equity and a fellow of the Emerging Voices for Global Health for 2018. Her research interests include the political economy of health, gender, transformation and decolonisation of health sciences education, health advocacy, governance and leadership, creative arts and ability for equity, accessibility, acceptability, quality, availability, human rights, gender equality and social justice.

About Tinashe Njanji