Mbeki commits to “greater vigour” on AIDS

President Thabo Mbeki has lauded Government’€™s plan to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic as among the best in world adding that it was being implemented with ‘€œgreater vigour’€.

Addressing the opening of Parliament in his annual State of the Nation address, Mbeki said broad trends in mortality confirmed the need to continue to pay particular attention to the health of the nation.

‘€œWith regard to AIDS in particular, the government’s comprehensive plan, which is among the best in the world, combining awareness, treatment and home-based care is being implemented with greater vigour,’€ he said.

However, reports indicate that even though 151 health facilities are providing anti-retrovirals, only 20 000 people were accessing treatment by December. This is despite a Government target of treating 53 000 people with anti-retrovirals by March 5.

With regard to the social sector, Mbeki reported that government has continued to allocate more resources and put in more effort to provide services to society at large and a safety net for the indigent.

He added that ‘€œProject Consolidate’€ of the Department of Provincial and Local Government would further increase the capacity of the municipalities to improve their performance in these areas.

In addition, Mbeki said that campaigns to reduce non-communicable and communicable diseases as well as non-natural causes of death would continue, through the promotion of healthy life-styles and increased focus on TB, AIDS, Malaria, cholera and other water-borne diseases, and generally increasing the standard of living of the poorest among us.

He reported back that with 90% coverage of most social grants, Government had almost met the target set in 2002, of ensuring that all who are eligible for these grants receive them within three years.

Also, last December, the country passed the 10-million mark in terms of South Africans who have gained access to potable water since 1994.

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