South Africa showed commitment to protecting and promoting disabled children’s right to access healthcare services when it ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995, adopted the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007, which all include provisions guaranteeing the right of disabled children to access healthcare services. In implementing the Convention, state parties must refer to the requirements of article 2 of the Convention, which places them under a duty to respect and ensure the rights in the Convention to each child. A state party must also review its legislation in order to ensure that domestic law is consistent with the Convention.
South Africa also showed commitment by reviewing the Health Act 63 of 1977 (reviewed as the National Health Act 61 of 2003) and the Child Care Act 74 of 1983 (reviewed as the Children’s Act 38 of 2005). The review of the Child Care Act revealed that the act is virtually silent on the issue of disabled children’s health. Section 11 of the Children’s Act now specifically deals with the rights of disabled children. It is important to note that all the other rights in the Act are also applicable to disabled children.
The research reveals that although much legislation exists, none provides comprehensively for disabled children’s right to healthcare services. The legislation that does exist contains gaps. There is no reference to the core minimum requirements for the State in providing for the health of disabled children, particularly in the way of healthcare services. There is also a complete lack of legislation which protects the health needs of disabled children.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2014.