Substance Abuse Bill; TAC Songs; Peggy Nkonyeni; ARV mortality reduction; Response to BMJ; New TAC Position

TAC Electronic Newsletter

12 May 2008

We apologise if you received two copies of the previous newsletter. This is a glitch in our mailing system and we have not yet determined its cause. We apologise in advance if you receive two copies of this newsletter.

TAC Electronic Newsletter

12 May 2008

We apologise if you received two copies of the previous newsletter. This is a glitch in our mailing system and we have not yet determined its cause. We apologise in advance if you receive two copies of this newsletter.

Summary

  • TAC endorses a submission to the Parliament on the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill made by the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA).
  • Songs from the Generics album Jikelele are now available for free download on the TAC website. TAC has received a large number of requests for copies of the Generics' 2003 album following the the use of the song Jikelele by British singer-song writer Annie Lennox in her recent charity single SING. Unfortunately the Generics album is no longer in production, however we have uploaded all 13 tracks from the album, along with English translations of the lyrics, onto the TAC website. If you are interested in downloading Generics songs, please click here.
  • Senior AIDS Law Project (ALP) Researcher Jonathan Berger comments in the Mail and Guardian Online on the racism and misconduct of  KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni.
  • A study published over the weekend in the leading international medical journal, The Lancet, shows that the free distribution of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs resulted in a 10% decrease in mortality in the rural Karonga district of Malawi over a period of eight months. The results of the study are further evidence of the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy in reducing mortality and improving public health.
  • ARASA's Regional HIV and TB Treatment Literacy Coordinator, Gregg Gonsalves, submitted a rapid response to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) criticising a recent article published in that journal which in our view wrongly argued that the 'over funding' of HIV/AIDS programmes globally has undermined health systems in developing countries.

TAC endorses ARASA submission on draft Substance Abuse Bill

The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa has made a submission to Parliament on the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill [B 12—2008] . TAC has endorsed ARASA's submission as well as a similar commentary made by SMART (Substance Misuse Advocacy Research Training).

 

The purpose of ARASA's submission is twofold. First, it briefly identifies the key substantive issues addressed in a previous submission on the same Bill, made in February 2007, that remain relevant. Second, it considers the recommendations made in the previous submission that have not been – but should still be – addressed by the tabled Bill. ARASA's previous submission addressed the following key issues:

 

  • Substance use as a chronic, relapsing brain disease;
  • Substance use as a vehicle for the transmission of HIV and HCV;
  • The rise of heroin and injection drug use in South Africa;
  • The need for syringe exchange, substitution therapy and other harm reduction programmes; and
  • The state’s constitutional obligations to respond reasonably to substance use.

In addition, the submission made recommendations regarding specific changes to the text of the draft Bill. A copy of ARASA's original, February 2007 submission can be downloaded by clicking here.

 

While some of ARASA's recommendations have been taken into account by the Department of Social Development in its revision of the draft legislation, the Bill still fails to

 

  • acknowledge that substance use is a chronic and relapsing medical condition;
  • sufficiently recognize the links between substance use, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases; and
  • include key interventions to prevent and treat substance use and its associated harms.

You can download a copy of ARASA's latest submission clicking here. SMART's submission is available for download here.

On Tuesday 13 May, representatives of TAC and ARASA will present the submission to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Social Development. The presentation will be held at 10:20am on the ground floor in the NCOP building.

For media comment, please call: 071 501 6594.

[END OF ARASA SUBMISSION]

 

TAC is recruiting for a new Director of its Policy, Communications and Research Department

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is looking for a new Director of its Policy, Communications and Research  Department. This department is at the centre of TAC's work and is responsible for formulating and communicating TAC's advocacy positions as well as making complex science understandable for the general public. Most of TAC's materials, which have an excellent reputation for their quality and accuracy, are produced and distributed by this department, including TAC's renowned magazine Equal Treatment. This is an exciting career growth opportunity. The successful candidate will work with a dynamic group of young researchers and writers committed to human rights and the alleviation of the HIV epidemic. If you are interested in learning more about the requirements for this position as well as details on how you can apply please click here.

The closing date for applications is 21 May 2008.

[END OF TAC PCR DIRECTOR RECRUITMENT]

[END OF NEWSLETTER]