South Africa’s leading AIDS activist organization is calling on the health minister to release a timetable for the government’s anti-retroviral drug program.
The Treatment Action Campaign, TAC, says the government has repeatedly failed to meet its own target of the number of people to be treated. It says only 14-thousand of the proposed 53-thousand are receiving treatment. The group had sued the South African government to force it to supply AIDS medicine to those in need.
Fatima Hassan is an attorney for the Treatment Action Campaign. From Cape Town, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the government’s anti-retroviral drug program. She says, “The first issue is the lack of willingness to share information. So, there’s a level of secrecy from the National Department of Health, which we believe is unconstitutional. And also we don’t believe there’s any merit in that approach to civil society. So, for example, it’s been a year after the adoption of the operational plan, but the minister hasn’t to date made available the implementation plan.”
She says TAC may consider legal action if the Health Minister fails, after a reasonable period, to release a time frame for treatment.