However, the department remained mum on the number of people that were accessing treatment. According to the latest figures 33 000 people, including those being treated at donor assisted sites, were receiving anti-retrovirals. This is well short of the projected 153 000.

This week the department’€™s national accreditation team visited and accredited Kuruman Hospital in Kgalagadi district (Northern Cape), which was the last district without an HIV and AIDS service point.

Kgalagadi district is one of the 13 most impoverished districts in the country identified as nodal points for the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme.

The Health Department initiated an accreditation process that it said was aimed at strengthening the health system by evaluating the capacity of health facilities to provide services such effective screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of safety of people living with HIV and AIDS.

Health facilities eligible to provide antiretroviral drugs are then certified through this process.

The department said that the accreditation process had also assisted it in identifying the challenges in the health system and problems facing health facilities in various settings.

Some of the common challenges included:

–         Shortage of critical personnel including doctors, pharmacists and dieticians;

–         Lack of appropriate accommodation particularly for confidential consultation;

–         Longer turn around times for laboratory results;

–         Lack of adequate and safe storage for medicines and consumables;

–         Lack of training in AIDS related treatment across various health professions;

The department said that as part of the process it had:

–                   certified 250 laboratories to provide laboratory support to the programme;

–                   established three pharmacovigilance centres to monitor and investigate adverse reaction to treatment;

–                   recruited more than 1060 health professionals to support the programme;

–                   trained more than 7600 health personnel on the management, care and treatment of HIV and AIDS.

The tender for the supply of antiretroviral drugs was awarded to seven successful pharmaceutical companies earlier this month and according to the department all accredited facilities had adequate supply of antiretroviral drugs.

It added that the tender for inventory management and tracker system was being evaluated.

For a list of the accredited sites click here

E-mail Anso Thom