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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid