The following landmark speech was delivered this week by Health Minister Barbara Hogan before an assembly of leading HIV scientists, clinicians and activists. Her opening address to the International HIV Vaccine Research Conference, Minister Hogan’s speech below, in which she acknowledges the causal link between HIV and AIDS; commends the efforts of the scientific, medical and activists communities; recognises the depth and severity of the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa; commits Government to achieving the targets of the National Strategic Plan; and lauds the Cape High Court for its recent judgment against notorious quack AIDS denialist Matthias Rath, marks an historic turning point in the South African government’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. TAC salutes Minister Hogan for her openness and honesty as well as for the leadership she has shown on HIV/AIDS since taking office last month.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcomes the appointments of Ms Barbara Hogan as the Minister of Health and Dr Molefi Sefularo as the Deputy Minister of Health. We congratulate President Motlanthe for making these excellent appointments.
We are confident that Hogan has the ability to improve the South African health system. She has been one of the few Members of Parliament to speak out against AIDS denialism and to offer support to the TAC, even during the worst period of AIDS denialism by former President Thabo Mbeki and former Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. 0n 14 February 2003, she received the TAC memorandum to President Mbeki for a treatment plan. She was removed as Finance Portfolio Chairperson by Mbeki in part for her stand on HIV/AIDS. She has a reputation for being hard-working, competent and principled.
The Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Health has yet again taken disciplinary action against a doctor without good reason, this time Dr Mark Blaylock of Manguzi hospital.
The Kwazulu-Natal Department of Health has withdrawn its disciplinary action against Dr Colin Pfaff. The TAC welcomes this development.
We agree with Dr Francois Venter, president of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society who said:
Briefing on TAC and SAMA v. Rath and Government of South Africa in the Cape High Court on 26 April 2007
Acting Health Minister meets with TAC