Report raises issues in the health sector

2017-11-23 06:00
Civil Society representative Sindi Mnguyi, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, UNAIDS director Michel Sidibé, Professor Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape MEC for Health and Quarraisha Abdool Karim, UNAIDS Special Ambassador for Adolescents, and Councillor Anele Gabuza of Ward 98, in Khayelitsha on Monday.PHOTO: Mbongiseni maseko

Civil Society representative Sindi Mnguyi, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, UNAIDS director Michel Sidibé, Professor Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape MEC for Health and Quarraisha Abdool Karim, UNAIDS Special Ambassador for Adolescents, and Councillor Anele Gabuza of Ward 98, in Khayelitsha on Monday.PHOTO: Mbongiseni maseko

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Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday made public a new report which highlights the right to health as the key to ending the Aids pandemic.

The UNAIDS Right to Health report makes clear that states have basic human rights obligations to respect, protect and fulfil citizens’ right to health.

The report gives a clear demonstration of the challenges that lie ahead in the efforts to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.

Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS, also introduced Quarraisha Abdool Karim, the associate scientific director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, as UNAIDS Special Ambassador for Adolescents and HIV.

Motsoaledi said the number of people who are now on treatment for HIV has reached about 21 million globally.

“We must do more to prevent new infection of HIV, which we want to reduce by 70% by 2020.

This struggle belongs to all of us, just like the one for Apartheid belonged to all of us. In the next six years South Africa is going to spend about R6 billion on HIV,” he added.

He also said the issue of legalising of sex work is a “serious one” and that “we need to work together to help sex workers.”

He also encouraged males to circumcise to reduces the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS.

Motsoaledi also said the last few years have seen a decrease in babies born with the HIV in the country.

He said there were about 270 000 new infections every year in the country and 67% percent of the new infections were among young women and girls, aged between 15 and 24 years.

He said the study shows that most young women and girls contract HIV from older men.

The study also shows that men are reluctant to go for HIV testing and only 18% are more likely to access treatment and just 8% of men are likely to die from Aids-related illnesses than women.

Motsoaledi also said he is pushing forward with the National Health Insurance (NHI) and that he expects a “war” in parliament when he tables it in a few weeks time as some Members of Parliament are opposed to the motion.

Sidibé said: “Many people do not remember that in 2000 there were only 90 people in South Africa on treatment. Today, South Africa has the biggest life-saving treatment programme in the world, with more than four million people on treatment. This is the kind of acceleration we need to encourage, sustain and replicate,”

Western Cape MEC for Health, Professor Nomafrench Mbombo- answering questions about the shortage of staff and the long waiting period for some patients to get help in health facilities- said they were aware of the challenge and that the department was finding ways address these.

“That issue is hard to deal with, because the number of people is increasing, more especially in the areas. It is true that hospitals are full,” she said.

Mbombo, making a follow-up to Chuma Dyadoni’s- from the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)- request for sex workers to have clinics designated for them in all communities, said only 14% of new infections come from sex workers and their clients.

Dyadoni said sex workers become reluctant to go to public clinics because “there is too much stigma” around them and that they “feel uncomfortable” to go there.

“There are a lot of sex workers in all the communities. Some people get gifts in exchange for sex, but they are not even aware that doing so is sex work on its own. Sex workers are responsible for their health,” he added.

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