Anti-retrovirals a bright side to Zuma’s reign

2018-11-28 06:02
Moeti Molelekoa Social Observer

Moeti Molelekoa Social Observer

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Despite the dark cloud of corruption, fraud and money laundering hanging over Jacob Zuma’s head – as well as the accusation of looting on an industrial scale – there is a bright side to his presidency.

When evaluating the Zuma years, it is easy to focus on the corruption and looting of state coffers during his eight years of administration.

Although the administration of Zuma’s predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, is thought to have been better, we conveniently forget the mass destruction of his policy on anti-retroviral drugs.

It will be remiss on my part to ignore the one great achievement by Zuma – the introduction of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission care which, to some degree, improved health care.

This is one achievement worth mentioning during the era of Zuma.

In his term, Mbeki denied that HIV causes AIDS. Not only did this spark a huge controversy, but it led to many deaths due to a lack of proper medication.

People were encouraged to use nutrition as protection against the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.

Upon the takeover by Zuma, we saw a widespread distribution of anti-retroviral drugs and the implementation of the mother-to-child strategy.

Pregnant women were encouraged to test early to avoid spreading the disease to unborn infants.

Before the change of guard, thousands of babies who tested positive to HIV often died before turning six months old.

Prevention has since reversed that scenario.

According to recent statistics, infant mortality has dropped dramatically from 48% of every 1 000 births in 2002 to 32% last year.

However, we are still haunted by the is noteworthy to mention we are still haunted by the disease as human-beings.

Young men and women still refuse to use protection, and they refuse to remain pure before committing to marriage.

After interviewing 33 000 people countrywide and testing 24 000 for HIV, the Human Sciences Research Council released findings of the national HIV prevalence, incidence, behavior and communication survey.

Findings showed a 44% decline of HIV prevalence since 2012.

Of males over the age of 15, who have had multiple partners, 68% reported to using a condom at their last sexual encounter, compared with only 47, 3% of females of the same age.

According to the survey, more than a third of young women had sexual relationships with older men, such as blessers or sugar daddies.

Researchers therefore came to the conclusion that the reduction in new infections was likely owing to the anti-retroviral treatment programme rather than wiser sexual behaviour.

Be that as it may, I strongly maintain that sex education and the importance of safe sex starts in our homes.

As parents, we cannot avoid this subject – if we do, our offspring will be exposed to wrong information gleaned elsewhere.

Reproductive education needs to start in our homes, so that when our children start schooling, they already have the basic and correct information.

It is costly to attempt dealing with a problem when it has already occurred.

Prevention is better than cure!


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