Legislative obstacles are preventing the effective treatment of prisoners with HIV and related diseases, Parliament's joint committee on HIV/Aids heard on Friday.
Correctional services department director of healthcare services Maria Mabena, told MPs only nurses qualified in primary healthcare were allowed to administer anti-retroviral treatment to inmates.
There was currently a high turnover of these nurses at correctional facilities around the country.
The department had over 800 professional nurses in its employ.
“We only have 137 (nurses) with primary healthcare experience,” Mabena said.
While HPV vaccines will save lives, target schoolgirls will be hard to reach.
South Africa will become the first African country to pay for cervical cancer vaccines – one of the most expensive immunisations in the world – for schoolgirls in February next year. But experts warn that the health department will face daunting challenges, much bigger than the exorbitant cost of the vaccine.
Cervical cancer, which is caused by the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), kills more South African women than any other cancer, according to the Medical Research Council. Every year about 6000 women, many of whom are HIV positive, are diagnosed with HPV, and at least half die.
More than 12 African heads of state and other global leaders met today and reviewed progress toward implementing transformative reforms in the AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria responses and pledged to accelerate the pace of change (increase annual domestic funding for health care, particularly AIDS, TB and malaria services). AIDS Watch Africa (AWA), an advocacy platform for African Heads of State on AIDS, TB and Malaria convened the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the side-lines of the African Union summit celebrating 50 years of African Unity.
In the early 90s when South Africa's Themba Lethu clinic could only treat HIV/Aids patients for opportunistic diseases, many would come in on wheelchairs and keep coming to the health centre until they died.
Two decades later the clinic is the biggest anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment centre in the country and sees between 600 to 800 patients a day from all over southern Africa.
About 500 000 people are expected to benefit from a US$30million global project aimed at addressing non-communicable diseases. The project will be rolled out in four countries, including South Arica, and will have a special focus on diabetes.
South Africa’s health clinics are congested with thousands of patients burdened with the diseases of HIV, TB, and other infections.
Child mortality rates have slowly come down, although they are still significantly high. Health experts say this is attributed to huge inequalities that exist in accessing health care.
According to health experts at a Peoples’ Health Movement conference in Cape Town, last week, poverty and high unemployment rates are some of the barriers that prevent people from accessing quality health care. Director of the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape, Professor Dave Saunders, says child mortality in South Africa is still high and it has a direct link to the levels of unemployment and rising poverty.
The Gauteng Health Department has set aside R1.4 billion to ensure a steady supply of medicine, with the bulk of the amount to be allocated to the Medical Supplies Depot.
Presenting the department's R24.5 billion budget for 2012/13 on Friday, Gauteng Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said the department had obtained permission from the national Health Department to procure some drugs from additional suppliers in order to pre-empt and mitigate the shortage of chronic medication.
"The department has reviewed maintenance contracts in order to minimise the breakdown of medical equipment. To this end, we have allocated R427 million to purchase medical equipment for our hospitals.
FOURTEEN years ago, Kholekile Shasha joined SA’s nascent doctor training programme in Cuba, unaware of how controversial the state-sponsored initiative would turn out to be.
He came from a poor family, and had finished high school in the Eastern Cape with exam results just shy of the grades needed to study medicine in SA. He leaped at the chance of a free education in Cuba.
"I was disadvantaged in terms of colour, and access to education and finance," he says.
Ministers present here today
My Colleague Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa
MEC’s of Health from various Provinces
Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Dr Monwabisi
Goqwana and Members of your Committee
Honourable members of the House
Director –General of Health Ms Precious Matsoso
Your excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassodors
Leaders of various statutory bodies, Health Unions and other Health related Organisations
Our Special guest the Rollback Malaria and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and UN Envoy for Africa, Ms Yvonne Chaka Chaka
Ladies and Gentlemen