4 May 2010, Dar Es Salaam – Donors and African governments are making callous and unwise decisions on funding commitments to HIV and global health, according to a group of African health and human rights activists gathered in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to carry out strategic planning and advocacy in the lead-up to the World Economic Forum on Africa from 5-7 May.
Activists outlined demands to leaders at the World Economic Forum on Africa, which include setting a clear time-bound roadmap to achieving the Abuja target of 15% of health and ensuring more transparent and accountable use of health funding. They are also calling on global leaders, particularly the G8 and G20, to fully replenish the Global Fund in October 2010; and on President Obama to ensure that PEPFAR supports addition of new patients onto treatment in future.
This is a statement endorsed by over 260 organisations. It criticises a change in the US treatment guidelines made in December 2009 which recommended antiretroviral treatment for people with CD4 counts less than 500 cells/mm3. The statement affirms the need for the START trial which will help determine the optimal point at which to begin antiretroviral treatment.
Gert Sibande district has an HIV prevalence rate of 40.5%, which is the highest in Mpumalanga province. The HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign is important to detecting new cases and increasing access to treatment, care and prevention in the district. To effectively rollout a sustainable HCT Campaign, the district must address crippling human resource shortages. TAC is working in partnership with the Gert Sibande district Department of Health to advance a successful HCT campaign rollout and uptake of services.
Attached is a detailed commentary of the updated guidelines. It is important for all people, particularly patients and healthcare workers, to become familiar with the updated guidelines and new policies to ensure that they are properly implemented in all facilities at a district and provincial level.
On 13 April 2010 Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi delivered his budget speech in Parliament. He reiterated the efforts that the Department of Health is undertaking to improve health outcomes and meet the targets of the HIV/AIDS & STIs National Strategic Plan (2007-2011) in line with carrying out its 10 point plan to transform the health sector.To implement improved health policies successfully, the need for community advocacy and mobilization is as great as ever, particularly in under-served and remote areas.
Andrew Warlick passed away tragically on Sunday 11 April 2010. His loss comes as a shock to many, and in particular the many within TAC whose lives he has touched.
Andrew was a TAC employee and member for five years. During the years of AIDS denialism, Andrew worked in TAC’s policy, communication and research department to promote an effective, evidence-based policy framework for HIV treatment, prevention and care in South Africa.
Andrew used to work closely with some TAC district offices. He particularly loved doing grassroots work in Lusikisiki, where his efforts were much appreciated and he made good friends.
Over the past year, Andrew approached the task of monitoring and evaluation Manager with enthusiasm and creativity, pulling together our M&E system and laying the basis for exciting future development. With every breakthrough, he couldn't contain his excitement - and his enthusiasm was infectious. He was not just a number cruncher, but wanted to see the success of the initiatives that he monitored.
Andrew will be greatly missed by his friends, family and colleagues.
Hamba kahle, comrade and friend.
PRESS RELEASE 15 April 2010
The AIDS Law Project is encouraged by the health minister's commitment to strengthen the public health system, set clear targets for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and the urgency in tackling the country's health crisis.
We draw particular attention to following issues raised in his speech:
TAC Khayelitsha was honoured on the 12th March 2010 by the department of health for being the NGO organization with the most condoms distribution in the Western Cape.
Dr Molefi Sefularo was born in Potchefstroom in the North West in 1957. He was appointed MEC for Health in the North West in 1994. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Health in 2008 by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and reappointed in May 2009 by the current President Zuma's new administration.
TAC has worked closely with Dr Sefularo for many years. In particular we remember his constructive contribution in the process of drafting of the National Strategic Plan in early 2007. In the National Ministry of Health Dr Sefularo played a very important role post the denialist period on AIDS. He also represented a sense of continuity to the leadership of the National Department of Health at the time.
The nation will remember him as a good man and a leader who cared about the health of poor people. We must all work to ensure that his vision for health is made a reality in the years ahead.
TAC welcomes the implementation of the updated HIV treatment guidelines, recently published by the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC). The updated guidelines came into effect on 1 April 2010. The guidelines are available on the SANAC website at www.sanac.org.za.
The updated guidelines adopt some of the recent recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO). Most notably, the guidelines phase out the use of stavudine (d4T) in favour of tenofovir (TDF). TDF has fewer side effects and requires fewer treatment switches than d4T. The updated guidelines also permit earlier treatment for pregnant women and people with HIV and TB, early treatment for HIV positive infants, and improve regimens to prevent mother to child transmission. This move will ensure that South Africa will have 1 million people on treatment by the end of June 2010.