Lawmakers told of surge in HIV testing

2010-07-30 00:00

THE provincial legislature yesterday welcomed a progress report by KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo.

In his report, Dhlomo singled out HIV and Aids prevention, medical male circumcision, the fight against fraud and corruption and the improvement in leadership and nurse training.

With regard to HIV and Aids, he gave an account of the testing campaign that was launched at Edendale Hospital in April.

He said the number of people tested “grew in leaps and bounds”, with the target set at 3 059 234 by the end of June 2011.

He said medical male circumcision contributes positively to the increase in the number of people tested, more especially males.

“The campaigns have led to an increase in the number of patients eligible for anti-retroviral therapy [ART] getting treatment.

While there are challenges with regard to the appointment of service providers in certain districts, steps are being taken to address this in order to reach the targets, said Dhlomo.

He said an additional budget has been allocated to appoint more sessional doctors to assist with circumcision. The department has also brought urologists into the programme to provide clinical oversight and training.

Of the 2 548 circumcisions at camps since June, 800 or more were performed using the Tara Klamp,which he said is safe and effective. It has no active bleeding during surgery or after circumcision and reduces the risk of infection.

Dhlomo told the MPLs that his department is working hard on rooting out crime and mismanagement.

He said 27 cases with serious financial prejudice to the department were investigated, with six dismissals and 15 pending cases to date.

“These small strides are a move towards improving the lives of our people”.

Inkatha Freedom Party MPL Dr Bonginkosi Buthelezi hailed Dhlomo’s report as refreshing in view of the ambiguity and secrecy of the ANC provincial administration during the previous term of government, adding, “As a medical doctor, I cannot over-emphasise the importance of prevention when it comes to the HIV and Aids pandemic.”

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