Taking stock of the country’s performance in addressing AIDS, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, noted that over about 20 million South Africans have tested for HIV in the last two years and that HIV transmission from mother to child has dropped to below 3%. But Motsoaledi cautioned that much still needs to be done.
If undiagnosed and untreated for a long time, HIV infection can trigger off a dormant virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can lead to blindness. Cytomegalovirus is the most common cause of blindness in people who have HIV.
This past week the national Health Department announced that as from April 2013, AIDS patients will start taking one antiretroviral pill a day that combines the compounds of all three ARVs they need for effective treatment. This has been lauded as making AIDS treatment simple and convenient.
The Gauteng Health Department is delaying the announcement of findings of a forensic investigation into suspected financial irregularities at the provincial medicines supplies depot in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. The investigation was commissioned in the hope that the investigation will uncover financial corruption and help reduce the costs associated with the depot’s services.
The launch of the Joint Public Health Enhancement Fund last week is a rare occurrence in the history of South Africa’s health care. The Fund illustrates that in a climate of tough economic times and international donor fatigue, local private sector funds are sorely needed if South Africa is to improve its health outcomes.
A unique partnership launched this week between the private health sector and the national Health Department will result in more student doctors being trained, the strengthening of health management education and training and the funding of local research in TB and HIV and AIDS.
About 35% or 500 out of 100 000 strokes that occur in South Africa every year can now be prevented. This is thanks to a new drug registered for use in the country this week for the prevention and management of strokes in people with a heart condition known as Atrial Fibrillation.
Government’s HIV/AIDS programme is bearing fruit, with fewer deaths now than in 2006. And older people are now dying, not young people in the prime of their lives, according to the Census released yesterday.
The Gauteng Health Department held talks with lay HIV counsellors and other community health workers this week to discuss options of managing and incorporating them into the health system. Currently, they are employed through various non-governmental organisations and are not recognised as employees of the department.
Following a Health-e report last week and after initially denying it, Dr Nomonde Xundu, the head of health in Gauteng, has now confirmed that she is leaving the distressed unit after serving only 11 months of her three-year contract.
Where government services fail to reach, Tshwane University of Technology students do what they can to help a forgotten poverty-stricken community just outside of Pretoria with food and health awareness campaigns.