HIV: Private sector sharing health burden — Dhlomo

2010-09-16 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Health Department has called on the private health sector to continue its contribution to combat HIV and Aids.

Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said early HIV testing is saving lives and that contributions by the private sector are easing the health and welfare burden on the government. He was addressing over 450 pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and nursing practitioners at the fourth annual Clicks pharmacy conference in Durban yesterday.

Dhlomo said early HIV diagnosis followed by treatment means people can live longer and healthier lives.

Clicks’ group of pharmacies had tested over 4 000 people in KwaZulu-Natal as part of the national HIV counselling and testing campaign. This is said to be over a quarter of all the tests done by the retail pharmacy group in the country.

“One only has to look at how malaria rates have been reduced. This year 162 people were diagnosed with malaria inKZN — none died, and a few years ago this figure was 2 000. Malaria rate was controlled when we got out there and got to work, and this public/private partnership will slow the pandemic,” Dhlomo said.

Clicks group chief executive David Kneale said two- thirds of the testing it has done has been for people without health insurance, and it is looking to expand the service.

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