Implementation key to AIDS success

‘€œI don’€™t want to talk on stage about the plan. I want to go around and monitor implementation,’€ said Mlambo-Ngcuka.


The deputy president said she was looking forward to the conference’€™s recommendations, but she chastised the conference organisers for not giving health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang a more prominent role in the conference.


‘€œThe minister has withdrawn from the conference because of the place you gave her on the programme. You can’€™t put someone who is the custodian of the department of health in a panel,’€ said Mlambo-Ngcuka.


‘€œI also don’€™t think you are making the deputy minister of health’€™s position easy by the way you are deploying her.’€


Tshabalala-Msimang was due to address this morning’€™s (wed) plenary session while her deputy, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge is to address tomorrow’€™s plenary session.


UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot said the AIDS conference could mark a turning point for South Africa. ‘€œIf South Africa can achieve its aims, the country will be well on the way to leading Africa into a new phase in the AIDS response,’€ he said.


Piot said the country’€™s prevention of mother to child transmission programme was missing a major opportunity to integrate health services into the regular health system. ‘€œThis should be a simple thing to do, but only 30 percent of pregnant women have access to these (PMTCT) services.


He added that it was vital to ‘€œchange to higher gear on tuberculosis (TB) control’€.


‘€œThe emergence of extremely drug resistant TB strains is a dramatic wake-up call ‘€“ if we don’€™t factor and integrate TB into everything we do, we will get nowhere.’€


Piot ended that South Africa had a better chance than any other country in the region to deliver on AIDS. ‘€œIf you can’€™t, who can?’€


Graca Machel called on every person in the country to take ‘€œpersonal responsibility’€ for speaking to friends and family about HIV and the importance of having an HIV test.


‘€œWe need to build a social movement around the struggle against AIDS,’€ said Machel.


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