Southern African Development Community

Network for Equity in Health in Southern Africa

Equinet seeks to: * Develop and widen the conceptual understanding of equity in health and identify critical areas of work and policy issues in relation to equity in health. * Make visible existing unfair and avoidable inequalities in health.

Southern African Development Community To Create Plan To Fight AIDS in Region

The 14 member nations of the Southern African Development Community are scheduled to meet on Friday in Lesotho to develop a joint plan to combat AIDS in the region, officials announced last week, Reuters reports. The region, where about 1% of the world's population lives, has an estimated 40% of the world's HIV-positive people, according to the United Nations Development Programme. Despite all our efforts, the disease is not abating. By sharing our experiences in care, treatment and education about HIV/AIDS, we might be able to come up with a successful common strategy, Esther Kanaimba, SADC spokesperson, said. The SADC member nations include Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe (Reuters, 6/27). (Source: Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report at kaisernetwork.org - daily reports, Jul 01, 2003)

Southern African leaders to discuss poverty, AIDS at annual summit

Poverty and the AIDS epidemic will take center stage early next month in Luanda, when regional leaders gather for the annual meeting of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC). AIDS has hit southern Africa harder than any other region in the world, with HIV infection rates ranging from 20 percent to nearly 40 percent of adults in the most affected countries, according to the UNAIDS agency. The countries most affected are Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with Botswana suffering the highest infection rate in the world. The problem of poverty compounds the AIDS crisis. About 60% of people in the 14 SADC countries live below the poverty line. Forty percent of those people live on less than one US dollar a day. The epidemic in the region is driven by several factors that include poverty, low levels of literacy, high levels of migration - both inter and intra country - internal wars in some countries, low status of women and poor health systems, The summit, set for October 2-3. (Source: SAPA-AFP, 18 September 2002)

SADC delegates participate in Evidence-Informed Decision-Making for HIV/AIDS Educational Programmes

Mr Geoffrey Setswe, Programme Manager of the Secure the Future HIV/AIDS Fellowship programme at the National School of Public Health, MEDUNSA, was one of the twenty-six delegates from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) who took part in participatory research training on Evidence-Informed Decision-Making for evaluating educational programmes for HIV prevention in southern Africa. The aim of the research was to gather HIV/AIDS prevention information at all levels of implementation across the SADC by conducting capacity building training sessions during May, July and September 2001. A partnership between DfID (United Kingdom Department for International Development), the Social Science Research Unit (at the University of London), and the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at RAU (in South Africa) has been established to facilitate the research process. The impact of the course on policy and practice for HIV/AIDS prevention in the SADC region, is hoped to be varied and wide-reaching through the various roles delegates play in their different organizations. It is hoped that this work will have a real and long-lasting effect on HIV/AIDS prevention, research and intervention in this region. The research process will continue through interaction between the delegates and the Social Science Research Unit, at the Institute of Education, University of London. Further information about the workshops can be found at: http://hivsa.ioe.ac.uk/hivsa/

HIV/AIDS: Massive help from rich nations needed

Massive financial help from wealthy nations would be needed for HIV-positive people in poor African nations to be treated properly, United Nations AIDS official Peter Piot said on Friday. Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, contended that the rich countries had a moral obligation to provide such support. He was speaking after attending a meeting between seven multi-national pharmaceutical companies and health ministers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). South African Health Minister Manto-Tshabalala-Msimang, who chaired the meeting, confirmed that SADC countries could not afford antiretroviral therapy, despite current discounts on such drugs. Health Director-General Ayanda Ntsaluba said antiretroviral treatment would cost South Africa at least R4 billion a year if 25 percent of the population were HIV-positive. The meeting reviewed progress in the SADC region since the May 2001 announcement by five pharmaceutical companies that they would start dialogue tomake HIV-AIDS related treatments more affordable. They work in partnership with five UN agencies in what has been dubbed the UNAIDS Accelerating Access Initiative. Two other companies have since made commitments of their own. Friday's meeting was attended by all seven companies - Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Roche and Pfizer. Several SADC countries were present, including the health ministers of Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Botswana. The pharmaceutical companies reiterated their commitment to broadening access to HIV/AIDS medicines in Sub-Saharan Africa. Stressing they would work in partnership with countries concerned, they said there was no simple way to bring antiretroviral treatment to more people. Msimang said the SADC countries welcomed the initiatives of the companies, and called for greater consultation between governments and the industry. Piot described the meeting as a groundbreaking development in the dialogue between SADC countries and the pharmaceutical companies. (SAPA, 8 June 2001)

BUILDING ALLIANCES FOR EQUITY IN HEALTH - SOUTHERN AFRICAN REGIONAL CONFERENCE

Alpha Conference Centre, Midrand, South Africa
The Southern African network on Equity in Health - EQUINET - is a net- work of institutions in Southern Africa who aim to develop and widen the conceptual understanding of equity in health; gather and analyse information and carry out research to support scientific debates and policy decisions on equity in health in Southern Africa; engage stake- holders in the health sector from regional to community level and in- fluence policies and agendas on health at national and regional level in Southern Africa, including at Southern African Development Community (SADC) level.
In September 2000 EQUINET will be holding a Regional Conference on Equity in Health outside Johannesburg, South Africa. The conference will gather people from research institutions, health policy makers and planners, health system managers, consumer groups and health profes- sional groups under the theme Building Alliances for Equity in Health.
The major theme areas for the conference will be:
* The status of equity in health in Southern Africa
* Macroeconomic policy and health
* Monitoring equity in health and triggers for planning
* Equity in resource allocation for health
* Equity in health service issues (human resources, private public sub- sidies, core services etc)
* Governance and participation in health systems
* AIDS and equity
* Building alliances for Equity in Health
The conference will include a mix of presentations on work and findings on equity in health in southern Africa, and interactive discussion on issues, policy and implementation proposals and research areas and methods arising. The working language of the conference will be Eng- lish. The conference aims also to outline future areas of work on equity in health in southern Africa and propose institutional mechanisms for tak- ing forward this work in Southern African, including through EQUINET. It also aims, through links with policy makers, media and internet to build an increased policy and public profile for equity in health in Southern Africa.
More information: rloewenson@healthnet.zw