Call to revise govt’€™s PMTCT programme

Call to revise govt’€™s PMTCT programmeAIDS activist group, Treatment Action Campaign, has intensified its call to the Department of Health to move from the current policy of offering only a single drug, Nevirapine, in its Prevention-of-Mother-To-Child HIV programme.

AIDS activist group, Treatment Action Campaign, has intensified its call to the Department of Health to move from the current policy of offering only a single drug, Nevirapine, in its Prevention-of-Mother-To-Child HIV programme.

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The audio is in isiZulu. See the English summary below.

 

MABUTHO: Ngokwesincomo sophiko lwezempilo enhlanganweni yezizwe iWorld Health Organisation (WHO) kumele omama abazithwele abaphila negciwane lesandulelangculaza emazweni asathuthuka afana ne Ningizimu Africa banikezelwe nge AZT ngaphezu kwe Nevirapine ukunciphisa amathuba okuthi igciwane lidlulele kubantwana babo abangakazalwa. Kepha izibhedlela eziningi zikahulumeni kuleli zisaqhubeka nokunikezela nge Nevarapine kuphela ngenxa yokuthi kusalindelwe isinqumo somnyango wezempilo kuzwelonke. Kuze kube manje akucaci kahle ukuthi loluhlelo luzoqala nini. Ugqongqoshe wezempilo kuzwelonke uDr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang uthi loludaba selungaphansi kwe National Strategic Plan 2007 ‘€“ 2011, okuwuhlelo okuhloswe ngalo ukudikidana nenkinga yengculaza kwelaseMzansi Afrika. uNgqongqoshe wezempilo uthi kubalulekile ukuthi loludaba lungathathelwa phezulu njengoba kusazodinga ukuthi umnyango wakhe uzilungiselele ukuqalisa loluhlelo.

 

DR MANTO TSHABALALA-MSIMANG: The issue of dual-therapy is a policy position that is in the National Strategic Plan (NSP 2007-11), adopted by Cabinet. Once the Cabinet takes a decision, it is for that particular department (Health Department) to then implement that decision. What we are trying to do now in the department obviously is to try to improve the guidelines, to facilitate the training of the health workers. In other words, prepare ourselves for the dual therapy.

 

MABUTHO : Kepha ongumxhumanisi wenhlangano iTreatment Action Campaign (TAC) esifundazweni saseGauteng uGordon Mthembu uthi lokhu kwenza kukangqongqoshe kunguhudula izinyawo. Child Transmission) PMTCT. Saze sathatha uhulumeni wethu sawuyisa enkantolo ngenxa yokuthi sasibonile ukuthi kwakufanelekile ukuthi yenzeke. Ijudgement yathi ama risk attached are fair outweighed by ama benefit. Yilapho ke esathi uma siya e Constitutional Court safike sayiwina le case. Emva kwalokho uMinister wakhala ngama cost kanye nama toxicities.

 

MABUTHO: Uthi njengamanje inhlangano yakhe iphezu kwemikhankankaso emikhulu yokuphoqelela uhulumeni ukuba aqalise uhlelo lwe dual therapy  okanye ukunikezelwa kwe neverapine ne AZT ngokushesha ukuvimbela omama abanegciwane ukuba bangalidluliseli kubantwana babo abangakazalwa.

 

GORDON MTHEMBU: Angeke sivume ukuba kube khona abantu abazophikisana nemigomo ezosiza izingane zezwe. Makusheshiswe uhlel lwe dual-therayo. Uma kudingeka (kuyiwe enkantolo) kunezincwadi esezizithumele nasezinkantolo lapho senza khona i litigation.

 

MABUTHO: NgokukaSolwazi uNigel Rollins, oyinhloko yesikhungo esibhekele izimpilo zabantwana iCentre for Maternal and Child Health enyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natal asikho isidingo sokuthi kuhudulwe izinyawo kuloludaba. Uthi lokhu ukusho ngoba isifundazwe sa         KwaZulu-Natal sisodwa nje sinabantwana abalinganiselwa ku 20 000 kuya ku 30 000 abathola igciwane komama babo minyaka yonke.

 

English summary

 

Call to revise govt’€™s PMTCT programme

AIDS activist group, Treatment Action Campaign, has intensified its call to the Department of Health to move from the current policy of offering only a single drug, Nevirapine,  in its Prevention-of-Mother-To-Child HIV programme.    

 

The TAC’€™s call comes at a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that developing countries, like South Africa, should provide dual-therapy, a combination of Nevirapine and AZT, to HIV-positive women to reduce the chances of infecting their children with the virus. Most government hospitals in the country, except in the Western Cape, are not providing dual-therapy, as they are still waiting for a go-ahead mandate from the national Department of Health.

 

Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, recently told journalists at a media briefing in Johannesburg that ‘€œthe issue of dual-therapy is a policy position that is in the National Strategic Plan (NSP 2007-11) adopted by Cabinet. Once the Cabinet takes a decision it is for that particular department(Health Department) to then implement that decision,’€ the Health Minister said, adding that her Department is currently working ‘€œto improve the guidelines, to facilitate the training of the health workers’€ to prepare for a dual-therapy programme.

 

However, the TAC believes that the Health Department is moving at snail’€™s pace and is accusing the Health Minister of not wanting to introduce dual-therapy for pregnant women.

 

‘€œThe Minister was against the PMTCT. We had to take our own government to court because we realized that it was necessary to do so to save the lives of babies. Moreover, the judgment ruled in our favor by saying ‘€˜the risk attached are far outweighed by the benefit’€™. After winning the case in the Constitutional Court, the Minister then raised the issue of cost and toxicities,’€ said Gordon Mthembu, TAC co-coordinator in the Gauteng province.

 

He says his organization will soon embark on a series of campaigns to force the government to start a dual-therapy programme immediately.

 

‘€œWe will not allow people who are opposed to saving the lives to delay the dual-therapy. It must be done immediately. And if need be, we are ready to go to court for litigation,’€ said a fuming Mthembu.

 

Professor Nigel Rollins, head of the Centre for Maternal and Child Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal recently told Health-e that ‘€œ the delay in introducing dual-therapy is a shame,’€œ saying’€ in KwaZulu-Natal alone, 20 000 to 30 000 children are being infected with HIV every year’€.