The hji is a dedicated public health and law initiative addressing the intersection between racial and gender inequality with a special focus on access to life saving diagnostics, treatment and vaccines for COVID-19, TB and HIV, drawing on the expertise of researchers in law, public policy, economics, and public health, as well as on universities and scientific experts in and outside of South Africa.

The hji is founded and headed by Fatima Hassan, a social justice activist and human rights lawyer.


Our multi-disciplinary advisory group are highly regarded experts in and outside of South Africa and long standing experts in their respective fields. Drawing on their expertise in law, public health, economics, scientific advancement, policy development, activism and community engagement, the inaugural advisors will guide the hji on its governance, strategic focus areas and partnership models.  


Our advisors are: 

Dr Francois Venter (Ezintsha, WITS), Phumi Mtetwa (JASS Southern Africa), Dr Francois Bonnici (Schwab Foundation), Phumeza Mlungwana (IBP-SA), Dr Els Torreele, Prof. Tshepo Madlingozi (CALS), Justice Kate O’Regan (Bonavero Institute), Noncedo Madubedube (Equal Education), Dr Linda Gail Bekker (Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation) and Dr Shuaib Manjra.


Director, Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford University

Justice O'Regan is a former judge of the first South African Constitutional Court (1994 – 2009). In the mid-1980's Kate practiced as a lawyer in Johannesburg in a variety of fields, with a focus on labour law and land law, representing many of the emerging trade unions and their members, as well as communities threatened with eviction under apartheid land laws. In 1990, she joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where she taught a range of courses including race, gender and the law, labour law, civil procedure, and evidence. Since her fifteen-year term at the South African Constitutional Court ended in 2009, she has amongst other things served as an ad-hoc judge of the Supreme Court of Namibia (from 2010 - 2016), Chairperson of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency and a breakdown in trust between the police and the community of Khayelitsha (2012 – 2014), and as a member of the boards or advisory bodies of many NGOs working in the fields of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and equality.

Covid 19


The hji works in partnership with other organisations that focus broadly on rights protections. Given South Africa’s massive inequality and dual health care system, it will address the factors that influence inequity in health access (with a focus on medicine access) during a pandemic, and after, with a focus on race, class and gender.

The hji will initiate broad local and global policy reform campaigns, using research, to protect classes of people and movements by focusing on the social determinants of ill health, to advance the right to access medicines and health care, specifically for COVID-19, TB and HIV, with a special focus on intellectual property and patent barriers, to address the health and other consequences of the pandemic and other chronic conditions on access to health care generally, and on pending and proposed health policy and law reforms.



  • Equitable Health Care

  • Access to Affordable Life-Saving Medicines 

  • COVID-19 and its intersection with other chronic conditions (TB, HIV/AIDS, Cancer)

  • Barriers to Access to Health Care (Inequality)  

  • Medicine Pricing and Affordability (Patents, Intellectual Property) 

  • Pandemic Profiteering, Pricing Transparency, Corruption and Accountability

  • The Impact of Joblessness on ill-health and vice-versa 

  • COVID-19 and the future of Universal Health Care in South Africa 





Cape Town, South Africa

​ NPC 2020/779556/08

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Health Justice Initiative - hji.

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