DURBAN – The South African government should be in a position to make a decision about the provision of Nevirapine to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS by this afternoon. (Friday)
This was the view of AIDS 2000 conference co-convenor, Prof Jerry Coovadia, who said that researchers who had worked on the trials had provided all the information necessary to the government.
Coovadia said that the AIDS 2000 conference had provided a wealth of information and that the South African government had a list of options of what it could do to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS in the future.
“The government must look at the issues and decide,” he said. “The position is now absolutely clear.”
The director-general in the Department of Health Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, however, said that government still needed to evaluate the information from the SAINT (South African Intrapartum Nevirapine Trial) study and would be guided by the Medicines Control Council (MCC).
The MCC would have to approve the use of Nevirapine before it could be used in state hospitals, but Ntsaluba said government was committed to fast-tracking this process once it was ready to proceed.
Meanwhile, the French government has announced a project to provide Nevirapine to some 24 000 pregnant women in Soweto.
The International Therapeutic Society Fund, a French non-profit association, will initiate a programme using Nevirapine for the prevention of HIV transmission during pregnancy, as well as providing healthcare, based on anti-retrovirals “where necessary” and directed at “the women, their children and where possible, their partners in Soweto”.
The partners in the project as announced by the ITSF include the South African Ministry of Health, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Zola Clinic in Soweto and the Gauteng provincial authorities.
Dr Ntsaluba confirmed that this agreement had been concluded during the AIDS 2000 conference. – Health-e News Service.