News / Africa

South Africa United in AIDS Fight

Joe DeCapua

South Africa’s health minister says his country is united in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  But he told the 18TH International AIDS Conference in Vienna that South Africa faces serious challenges in its efforts to achieve universal access to treatment, care and prevention.

Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi took over the health minster’s job in May of last year.  He replaced the late Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who advocated beet juice, among other things, to treat HIV/AIDS.  Dr. Motsoaledi indicated those days of controversy are over.

“In the past, South Africa has been the subject of much criticism at these conferences for being a highly divided country on its approach to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.  However, I can stand before you here today to state categorically that in 2010 all of South Africa is united behind our one goal on HIV prevention and treatment,” he says.

Things are different now

He says South Africa is guided by “science, best practices and the recognition of its constitutional responsibility” to provide universal access to health care services.

He adds, “And to do our best to try and get control over the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”

South African Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi
South African Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi

Dr. Motsoaledi says the recent World Cup taught his national about the importance of mobilization of resources, good planning and ambition.  However, he says his country could have done better in recent years in dealing with the pandemic.

“It is clear, that we have been falling short of this commitment.  And that in order for South Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goals and our commitment to improved the quality of life for all citizens and free the potential of each person, we need to take rapid and drastic action,” he says.

South Africa has high maternal and child mortality rates for maternal health and for children under age five. Much of that is blamed on tuberculosis.  TB is the leading cause of death for people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

“There is a 73 percent co-infection rate.  Between 1997 and 2005, the number of people dying of TB each year rose by 338 percent.  Of the estimated 5.5 million people in South Africa infected with HIV, one-third will develop TB during their lifetime,” he says.

Plan of action

The health minister says solving his country’s HIV/AIDS problem is like climbing Mt. Everest.  He says there is no choice but to make the climb.

“The South African National AIDS Council has got a plan called the national strategy plan or NSP.  It has two main objectives, which are to be achieved by 2011.  Objective number one is to reduce the number of HIV infected people by half.  And objective number two – to provide comprehensive treatment, care and support to 80 percent of those who need it,” he says.

South African plans to test and treat millions of people for HIV and TB.  But Motsoaledi admits it will be a strain on the budget.  It’s hoped that in the long run, the cost may be kept in line as a result of fewer opportunistic infections.

However, even with greater efficiency in health programs, it’s still expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs