Five babies have died in an outbreak of klebsiella in a Durban hospital, a senior health official confirmed on Tuesday.
Pigs competing with humans for water in unhygienic conditions is just one of the causes of a parasitic brain infection which left a child dead in the Eastern Cape and landed another 29 in hospital.
Former President Nelson Mandela has called on all South Africans to take part in the 2004 national HIV and AIDS survey, starting on Monday.
International Health Summit (IHS) Symposium on: Leadership Development for Public-Private Partnershi
The South Africa Symposium on Private Sector Roles for The Public's Health is being held in cooperation with the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, The African Health Forum, The Nuffield Trust of England, and the Cambridge International Health Leadership Programme of the Judge Institute of Management in Cambridge England. The symposium will among other highlights showcase new insights into successful outsourcing of services from public hospitals and health plans to private sector organizations.
Africa's governments are failing children affected by HIV/AIDS - up to 65 percent of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have no national policy in place to care for orphans and vulnerable children, a new UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) report has found. According to the report Africa's Orphaned Generations, the cultural practice of the extended family caring for orphans has so far relieved the pressure on governments and national institutions, but this was slowly unravelling. Families had become overstressed and overwhelmed, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy told journalists at the release of the report on Wednesday in Johannesburg. Orphaned children could no longer remain invisible, shielded by their extended families. It has been too easy for government leaders to assume that the extended families will take on this burden, Bellamy said. Child rights activist Graca Machel, who attended the launch of the report, reiterated the need for African governments to play a greater role. In light of the commitments made by African leaders at the 2001 UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS to develop national policies by 2003, the failure of countries to respond was even more disappointing, UNAIDS deputy director Kathleen Cravero pointed out. The numbers presented in the UNICEF report sound an urgent alarm for action. More than 11 million African children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, more than one in five children will be without their parents by 2010. Although some governments had introduced orphan policies, there were still a lot of barriers to be overcome before they reached those hardest-hit, Machel noted. She called for new thinking on the way people affected by the epidemic - particularly children - were treated. Paying attention to their emotional and psychological needs was one of the most difficult issues we have to deal with. The UNICEF report recommended interventions that would encompass more than the material needs of families caring for orphans. Psychosocial support is an essential, but often overlooked, service ... early intervention is vital. The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative [http://www.repssi.org/] is a project featured in the report as an example of how to address these needs. This technical resource network brings together over 30 organisations in eastern and southern Africa and aims to offer psychosocial support to over 25,000 children over the next five years. The report concluded with an outline of the responses needed from African governments and the international community to alter the course of the crisis. Nevertheless, it pointed out, the family remained the single most important factor in building a protective environment for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.(Source: PLUSNEWS 26 November2003). Full report: http://www.unicef.org/media/files/orphans.pdf
Former president Nelson Mandela has thrown his considerable weight behind an R80-million private sector plan to extend free antiretroviral drug treatment to thousands of poor people with HIV/AIDS. The plan is spearheaded by the South African Medical Association (Sama), representing 16 000 doctors. It throws down the gauntlet to the government, which continues to stonewall state antiretroviral provision for the estimated six million HIV-positive South Africans - close to 500 000 of them with full-blown AIDS. Currently about 20 000 South Africans - just more than four percent of those who qualify - receive antiretrovirals, overwhelmingly through private medical aid schemes. However, few medical AIDS cover more than a fraction of AIDS drug treatment. The Sama project will be launched on December 1 - World AIDS Day at a gala dinner in Johannesburg. Mandela's international standing would give a huge fillip to Sama's fund-raising efforts. Letlape said the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which had its own HIV/AIDS programme, would also be approached for funding. A practising doctor and outspoken critic of the official AIDS policy, Letlape said government was undermining the battle against the epidemic on a range of fronts. Letlape made no bones about his desire to jolt the government into action.If they set up just one pilot site it would send a message of hope to ordinary people. Letlape said in its first year the scheme would target 9 000 poor people with HIV/AIDS at an estimated outlay of R80-million, covering doctors' and laboratory fees, monitoring, and the cost of the drugs and their delivery However, the number of patients and treatment sites would expand if more money was raised. The plan was to use the testing and counselling infrastructure of the state, which would refer patients for private treatment once their HIV status had been established. Sama would draw up a register of suitable doctors. On funding, Letlape said charitable organisations and private corporations would be approached. However, United Nations AIDS funding might also become available. The obstacle, Letlape said, was a UN Global AIDS Fund rule - inserted last year at the South African government's behest when the fund was launched - that all funding pass through national governments. This is at the crux of the unresolved spat over a R600-million UN grant to a project in KwaZulu-Natal, which the government blocked as unprocedural. The project included antiretroviral provision. (Source: The Mail & Guardian, 20 September 2002)
Growing up fast is the key to survival in the face of poverty, sickness and death. Wendy (13) is painting a picture of how children are forced to witness the slow and painful death of their parents from HIV/AIDS. She says: The picture is of my home. The ambulance is fetching my mother.The flower is me. I have to stand tall, protect my mother and my home. My mother had another baby. I looked after her until she died and then I looked after the baby. He also died. Wendy told her story at the opening of the national conference on Children affected by HIV/AIDS in Johannesburg on Sunday night. Sonja Giese, head of the HIV/AIDS programme at the Children's Institute of the University of Cape Town, says: Wendy is one of 90 children affected by HIV/AIDS who want their voices heard and their views to be considered in the drafting and implementation of policy and programmes to protect children. Many of the 90 children are caregivers and breadwinners in their households. They spoke of how difficult it was to attend school while caring for sick parents or younger siblings. Some of the children live in dire poverty, unalleviated by inadequate social security measures. Others spoke of the social implications of living in a household where someone is HIV-positive and how they also suffer discrimination. It is estimated that by 2015, between nine and 12 percent of 43 million South Africans will be affected by HIV/AIDS. Already, 61 percent of South African children - 10,28 million of them - live in poverty.HIV/AIDS adds to their suffering. It is impacting on many aspects of their lives, says Giese. What they spoke about shows that it is very closely linked with poverty. They are not allowed to go to school because they can't pay school fees or afford uniforms. Schools feeding schemes don't offer food every day and teachers often don't know what the children's circumstances are.We need good mechanisms for teachers to use to help them identify vulnerable children and we need strong systems so that teachers can refer them for support. The four-day conference is jointly organised by the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, the Department of Social Development and the United Children's Fund (UNICEF). Nelson Mandela Children's Fund chief executive Sibongile Mkhabela has called for co-ordinated action for children affected by HIV/AIDS. We are faced with a crisis of unprecedented levels, and a co-ordinated response needs to be in place if we are to secure their (children's) future, she says. The conference highlighted inefficiencies in the way programmes and projects already in place respond to the specific needs of children, especially those affected by HIV/AIDS. Mkhabela says: We have policies, backed by our Constitution, that affirm children's rights.However, the children do not benefit optimally from this. Our development actions and service delivery systems are still far from being child-friendly. The Child Care Act, among other laws, is currently under review to improve the status of children.But the biggest challenge is how we implement and address the child's right to shelter, proper healthcare, food security, says Mkhabela. She says fragmented, isolated and duplicated services are not the answer. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which South Africa is signatory, everybody is responsible for the overall protection of the rights of children. Minister of Social Development Zola Skweyiya says: There can be no denying that the incidence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa has reached catastrophic proportions and most of us interact with people infected by AIDS. We can no longer speak of people affected by HIV/AIDS as if it were some theoretical concept out there.We are all affected, either directly or indirectly. We have no option but to face the challenge and to deal with it using every resource we can muster. Thousands of children across the country are orphans and have to fend for themselves.There are about 450 000 AIDS orphans. In three years' time, their numbers are expected to reach about a million, rising to 2,5 million in 2010. Skweyiya says: As we speak, they have not had enough to eat, have no decent shelter and (are) unable to access health and social services. Tragically many are subjected to appalling forms of maltreatment and abuse,often at the hands of those who are supposed to care for them. Fresh in my mind are the cries of 11-year-old Lindiwe Sithole at the Thembalethu Home-based Care project in Schoemansdal, Mpumalanga. At the age of 11 she made a fervent plea to the Government to protect them from being evicted from their homes when their parents die of HIVAIDS. ( Source: Sowetan, 4 June 2002)
The Government's AIDS policy appeared to be in tatters yesterday as Gauteng's African National Congress (ANC) premier, Mbhazima Shilowa, announced far-reaching plans to deal with the epidemic, and party bosses grappled with the issue until late last night. Former president Nelson Mandela attended a meeting of the ANC's national working committee yesterday afternoon, intending to raise his concern about government's AIDS policy, which has drawn international criticism. After the meeting, ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama acknowledged that AIDS had been discussed, but said Mandela agreed that government and the ANC were on the correct path. Shortly before the meeting, at the opening of the Gauteng legislature's session, Shilowa said that the antiretroviral drug Nevirapine would be supplied to HIV-positive pregnant women in all public hospitals. He committed R30m to the programme. Rape victims would also receive antiretrovirals at provincial facilities, he said. Gauteng's move seen as a shift in political commitment and policy within the ANC's ranks drew praise from AIDS activists and opposition parties. Shilowa's announcement makes Gauteng the third province to decide to provide the drugs, after Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and the only one ruled outright by the ANC to do so. Gauteng had been supplying the drug at several sites assisted by the team at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, which supplies the drug to HIV-positive pregnant women throughout Soweto. Shilowa said that the plan was to ensure pregnant women throughout Gauteng accessed the full package of care within a reasonable distance from their homes. After consulting experts locally and internationally, Mandela stepped into the AIDS fray recently, believing government policy needed to be addressed. He told the Sunday Times at the weekend that he would meet the ANC yesterday, a meeting that lasted the afternoon. A second meeting, without him, was scheduled to take place later. According to Ngonyama, the meeting at Luthuli House did not specifically discuss Mandela's statements reported at the weekend. He said the issue was discussed more broadly. Mandela left before the meeting was over. (Source: Business Day, 19 February 2002)
Former President Nelson Mandela urged business leaders in South Africa on Saturday to follow the examples of others who had become involved in sponsoring various AIDS projects. Speaking at a belated birthday bash at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital near Soweto, he said that all sectors of society should form a solid and united front to tackle the epidemic which was the toughest challenge facing the country. Mandela praised a large banking institution that has pledged to give R1 million for AIDS orphans and families. He said religious leaders should lead the battle against the silent killer by showing communities how they baptised, cuddled and counselled people infected with HIV. He said that people should not treat those who were infected as though they were living in the shadow of a death sentence. Mandela condemned the actions of the ignorant who had killed people like Dudu Dhlamini, a KwaZulu-Natal AIDS worker, when she revealed her HIV positive status. He said that stigmatising people who had the disease served no purpose. He said that celebrities like Princess Diana had been seen visiting the sick and dying, she had held their hands and talked to them. If a British princess can be seen treating HIV infected people like ordinary humans, then who are we to treat them any differently. Those who have HIV/AIDS deserve to be treated with dignity, said Mandela. (Source: SAPA, 21 July 2001)
Prof Jerry Coovadia, head of Natal University's department of pediatrics, and former South African Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron have been awarded the prestigious Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights.