Statement by Deputy President Motlanthe after the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Plenary meeting
25 November 2009
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen
We have just completed the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Plenary meeting which was very well attended by all of the key stakeholders. We discussed a range of issues and I will briefly share some of the major advances with you.
The board of the Global Fund for HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria has met and taken decisions on the applications for round nine. I am extremely pleased to inform the nation that South Africa's Round nine submissions entitled "Leveraging partnerships to achieve the objectives of the National Strategic Plan (NSP)" has been successful.
This means that over the next five years we will have an additional $108 million to fund our activities. This additional funding comes at the right time as we scale up our interventions and given the current fiscal environment. I wish to thank everyone that assisted us in preparing the proposal. As you know our previous two proposals were not successful.
The plenary also noted that a regional meeting of the Global Fund will be held in the mid of December in Malawi. SANAC will be sending delegates to this meeting. The objective of the meeting is to better understand how the Global Fund operates. This is very important for us as we try to mobilise additional resources for our response to the epidemic.
The plenary was briefed on the preliminary findings of the midterm review of the National Strategic Plan. This review took place alongside a United Nations led review of the health sector's HIV programme as well as an analysis of our state of readiness to conduct mass counselling and testing.
Through a review of documentation and interviews with representatives of a large number of stakeholders at national, provincial and local levels, a number of achievements and challenges were identified. The review focused on progress towards achieving the key objectives of the NSP as well as the institutional arrangements at national, provincial and local levels to implement the NSP. We acknowledge that the review team had a short timeframe to conduct the review and that a bit more work needs to be done to finalise the report.
In brief the review found that whilst levels of knowledge about HIV are high behaviour change is the challenge. Condom use has increased but we need to increase the consistent use of condoms significantly. On the treatment issue, more than 700 000 patients are on treatment but this represents only 50% of those who need to be treated.
The review found that there were the health system needs to be strengthened to ensure increased access to care and for services to be integrated with within the public health sector and between the public and private health sectors. We really need to ensure that we mobilise and align all our resources to meet our targets. There are also challenges with regard to information about the epidemic. We collect lots of data but do not use the information intelligently to monitor progress.
With respect to the institutional framework, the review found that we need to revise the organisational structure of SANAC and to strengthen provincial councils on AIDS as well as district and local AIDS Councils. In particular, the review found that the secretariat needed to be significantly strengthened. Plenary agreed with this proposal in particular. The overall preliminary conclusions of the review were that: progress has been made targets in the NSP; that we need to realign our activities and generate better coherence between all of the structures in SANAC and at provincial and local levels. Plenary agreed that the review team needs to complete their report and formally hand it over to SANAC.
Plenary was provided with a status report on assessing our state of readiness to mount a national HIV counselling and testing campaign next year. Knowing one's status is key to prevention and treatment, care and support. With respect to technical issues the following progress reports were tabled to plenary: (a) progress on implementing medical male circumcision in the public health sector; (b) decriminalisation of sex work; (c) that the findings on a multi-country study on microbiocide that reduce the transmission of the HIV will be released in a few weeks with South Africa being one of six countries that participated in this study. We hope that the results of this study will provide us with another method to prevent the transmission of the virus.
As you know 1 December is World AIDS Day. We are planning an interactive event at the Pretoria Showgrounds at which the President will address the nation on HIV and AIDS. The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is 'iBambeni - Take Responsibility'. We want to ensure that we have a national movement towards universal HIV testing and knowing one's HIV status. You are all invited to this very important event. This event will also be broadcast live on radio and television.
Issued by: The Presidency
25 November 2009
Source: The Presidency (http://www.thepresidency.gov.za)