20 June 2013

South Africa: Turning the Tide Against HIV and Aids - 726 338 Active Patients Are On Anti-Retroviral Treatment

press release

Dr Zweli Mkhize has described this term of office as a turning point in the fight against HIV and AIDS. He was presenting a Budget Speech for the Office of the Premier in the Provincial Legislature today.

"When we were given the privilege to provide leadership to this administration as the Office of the Premier in 2009, we identified as our core function planning, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of the Provincial Government's service delivery programmes."

"We set out to position ourselves to be able to respond better to the challenge to align our national and provincial priorities in recognition of the absolutely critical contribution the Province of KwaZulu-Natal has to make in order for South Africa to move forward."

"The Province has a functional Council on AIDS that meets three times a year since 2009. The mayors are leading the response in the Districts supported by the district champions who are Members of the Provincial Executive Council."

"We remain indebted to the leadership and guidance given by His Majesty the King whose decisive intervention in the fight against HIV and AIDS has struck a major blow to reduce the numbers of the infected and affected among us. By heeding Bayede's call for us to implement male medical circumcision, almost 300 000 males have voluntarily come forward."

"For the first time, the Province has seen a turn-around on HIV with the Ante-Natal Survey Prevalence of 2011 of 37.4% from 39.5% in the 2010 survey. Our Province has made great strides in the reduction of mother to child transmission of HIV. In 2008 we stood at 21% and now, by improving the quality of service and mobilisation, the rate stands at 2.2% on routine information. We have 726 338 active patients that are on anti-retroviral treatment, which clearly indicates that the public is responding to our message to come forward to be tested."

"The improvement in the quality of life even in rural KwaZulu-Natal is best demonstrated by the increase from 56.5 years in life expectancy to 60 years - a tangible indicator of the positive impact of our interventions."

"In 2012 the Province hosted the South African National AIDS Council and Premiers and MEC's from other provinces as part of recognition of the proper functioning of our AIDS Council.

"The Provincial Council on AIDS, through Operation Sukuma Sakhe, will continue strengthening prevention programmes, paying special attention to the youth programme, male medical circumcision and HIV testing at a ward level. Our model, which has integrated the work of the Council on AIDS with the service delivery model that is Operation Sukuma Sakhe, has been mentioned in the National Assembly by the Honourable Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for the rest of the country to draw lessons from. Mr Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, has also undertaken to bring a team to study our way of doing things and use it as a comprehensive response to the challenge of HIV/AIDS."

"For the current financial year we shall focus on integrating maternal and child mortality monitoring within District and Local AIDS Councils and war rooms to discuss and prevent these."

"The death of mothers and babies has to be everybody's concern for it to be reversed. No woman should die whilst giving life. No baby's life must be lost if that is avoidable."

Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier

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