Mangaung, Free State: USAID joined the Deputy President of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa; the National Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi; and the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) as they launched South Africa’s five-year National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs, Friday, March 31. The event was also attended by representatives of the international and donor communities including UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, and the Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in South Africa, Ms. Jessye Lapenn.
The day began with the Minister of Health launching the new multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) nine-month short treatment regimen inside a TB ward of the local Pelonomi general hospital. This drug regimen is meant to improve the cure rate of MDR-TB within nine months compared to the old regimen that took up to 18 months.
Later that morning at the Clive Solomon Stadium, Deputy President Ramaphosa formally launched South Africa’s National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, TB and STIs 2017-2022. This was preceded by a panel discussion on how leaders can support the implementation of the NSP under the theme “Letting Our Actions Count.” The panel featured the Minister of Health, UNAIDS Executive Director, Regional Secretary of the labor organization (COSATU), SANAC Deputy Chairperson, a representative of the mining industry, and Chargé d'Affaires Lapenn representing development partners.
Chargé Lapenn spoke about how PEPFAR has supported the fight against HIV/AIDS for more than a decade. She stated that the United States is the single largest donor to South Africa and the Global Fund, and they are proud and very happy not to be doing it alone. She indicated that PEPFAR has been proud supporters of the NSP and congratulated the Deputy President on ‘an extraordinary document and a tremendous achievement.’
The Deputy President mentioned that South Africa is pleased to partner with the U.S. Government, PEPFAR and other donors who continue to support their efforts. He stressed the importance of supporting small NGOs that do the work on the ground, whom he referred to as foot soldiers in the communities. He further mentioned the importance of the NSP and said “this is about life, it is about our life as a people and as nation, and it is about that life that we should cherish, how we should protect life, how we should prolong life, …and we have it in us, and within our means to eliminate AIDS and TB as a public health threat…and this is the time to do so.”
The last segment of the program publically introduced the NSP at Hoffman Square in the City Center, where copies of the NSP were distributed, along with condoms and information on TB and HIV. USAID’s TB South Africa Program also conducted free TB screenings.
To download the South African National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs, please visit http://sanac.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/SANAC_NSP_Booklet_PRINT.pdf
Last updated: April 04, 2017