Notes delivered by the Premier, Dr ZL Mkhize event: World AIDS Day, Edendale Lay Ecumenical Centre
1 Dec 2009
Partnership for the fight against HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) has been strengthened during World AIDS Day.
As the provincial government we relish the opportunity to be with you this morning to observe World AIDS Day. We believe that this day will enable us to launch a joint assault against HIV and AIDS which is now twinning up with TB.
More importantly, I wish to point out that the principal focus of the new government has been improving the capacity of the state machinery to provide quality healthcare to our communities.
Today we want to ensure that we strengthen our partnership with all communities with the understanding that we are building a better life for all our people. I believe that partnership is the only tool that we can all use to win the battle against HIV and AIDS and TB.
We fully understand that the health of the nation can be measured by the extent to which government creates synergies. Building bridges over our divisions and creating a permanent and unified front to deal with socio-economic challenges.
We have already begun the process of creating a united front. Since the inauguration of the new government, members of the Provincial Executive Council have met with religious leaders, traditional leaders and the civil society in general.
In all our meetings we have committed this government to work towards the creation of an environment of an open debate and healthy engagement. We are doing this because we understand clearly that a democratic government represents the collective will of the nation.
It has the mandate from the electorate to articulate short and long-term objectives of the country. A legitimate government that has been elected through democratic processes is expected at all times to ensure a coordinated and coherent effort of many actors working towards the achievements of these objectives for the benefit of the electorate.
On 9 October we convened a conference of leaders of KwaZulu-Natal to discuss solutions and to form a Partnership to fight the scourge of TB, HIV and AIDS. We invited elected leaders from all political parties, in provincial and local government, traditional, religious leaders and those in civil society to plan and agree on the way forward to turn this situation around.
At the Partnership Conference we launched the rollout of an integrated response in the form of a Flagship Programme at Ward level across all municipalities. This programme involves inter-departmental collaboration and we have mobilised Volunteer Corps of youth whose vibrancy and energy will help drive a programme to change behaviour and mobilise the youth into a force to build our society.
Linked to this is the need to mobilise young people for a behavioural change. It should be fashionable for young people to go for an HIV test, to abstain and to use a condom at all times. We are advocating for communities to create a ward based grassroots response involving all sectors of the community and acting together outside party political and partisan interests to save our people from this pandemic.
Uniformity and visible leadership at all levels is needed urgently because HIV continues to threaten the social fabric of our societies. Epidemiological data show that the total number of those infected in Sub-Saharan Africa is 28 million.
Although there are hopeful signs that prevention measures, treatment, and care are beginning to slow its spread, Sub-Saharan Africa’s HIV and AIDS pandemic is showing no sign of slowing down.
These challenges call for leaders to lead with a sense of purpose. Leaders must have a high level of competency and be able to mobilise communities for a behavioural change. The 2009 World AIDS Day therefore heralds a new era in the country's collective effort in the response to HIV and AIDS.
Under the theme:
"I am responsible,
We are responsible,
South Africa is taking responsibility."
In line with this theme, all provincial MECs have been deployed across the province to demonstrate that they are responsibility. They are leading the popular struggle against HIV and AIDS and TB.
We have set ourselves a target to ensure that in each district we achieve the following:
a. Improved Treatment Adherence Measurement of TB defaulter rate. Defaulter rate must have decreased by three percent in six months
b. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's) partner tracing rate is increased
c. Condom uptake to increase by one percent in nine months
d. Decrease underweight for age by 0,5% in one year
e. Increase school enrolment and attendance of orphans and vulnerable children by 100%
f. Increase participation rate in sports and recreation activities and
g. Create sustainable human settlements by 2014.
As we celebrate World AIDS Day, we are calling upon each and every member of the community to be responsible and do the following:
* Support people who are getting treatment for TB. We must all reduce defaulters and ensure completion of treatment.
* Support 'One Home One Garden' campaign to ensure food security and empower communities to fight poverty and enhance improvement of the health status in communities.
* Encourage voluntary counselling and testing with sites in every ward. Only when people take the trouble to know their status will we be able to fight the stigma. VCT is the best form of education about the pandemic.
* Encourage family planning because this will help prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
* Prevention of mother-to-child transmission, this service must be open and used by all pregnant mothers. Fears of husbands and in-laws must be confronted.
* Support groups must be formed in all wards to ensure that all affected individuals receive support, comfort and protection from the society.
* Care for orphans must be discussed by all communities and support be arranged from relevant departments to get birth certificates, IDS, social grants, schooling and other necessities.
The heath situation has deteriorated over the years and resulted in many deaths of mothers and children and young people as a result of mainly the HIV and AIDS epidemic associated with tuberculosis.
We need to support the sick and help them to access the medication that government has made available to all. We must eliminate the stigma and encourage people to take medication to completion. We must create a compassion net that makes people to want to live and not give up for lack of hope.
We need to counsel the youth about the choices they need to make about their lives and create an understanding that there is a future for them to plan for and to live for. Another matter which I want to focus on briefly is the abuse of women and children.
During the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against the Abuse of Women and Children last week, we emphasised that we all have the responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.
In order to ensure maximum participation in the campaign, the Provincial Gender Machinery of KwaZulu-Natal which comprises of the Office on the Status of Women within the Office of the Premier is working with the South African Police Service to take this campaign around the province.
The 16 Days of Activism has provided a good opportunity to intensify the fight against crime. As government we believe that the fight against crime cannot be seen as a task involving only the South African Police Service alone.
We must all give the support necessary to create an environment where the police can effectively investigate and effect arrests without any hindrance. Crime occurs in our communities and it is vital that as society we must be integrally involved in the campaign to create safer neighbourhoods.
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Issued by: the Office of the Premier, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government
1 December 2009
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government
1 Dec 2009
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