Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.
The Department of Health yesterday released a revised policy and guidelines clearing the way for dual therapy in the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.
At the same time, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang dismissed claims that her department was reluctant to implement the new regime.
"I was the first person to express concern about monotherapy, but we had to make sure that we had enough time to examine the implications of dual therapy," she said.
Up to now, most state clinics have offered only the officially sanctioned single drug, nevirapine, to pregnant mothers.
Dual therapy will mean the addition of a second drug, AZT, which will increase the effectiveness of the intervention.
Speaking at a media briefing in Parliament yesterday, Tshabalala-Msimang said treatment guidelines and protocols had had to be drafted before the programme was rolled out.
"We had to make sure that sites are properly accredited and that there were proper facilities."
She said her department would meet the National Health Council this month to finalise time frames for implementation.
Those provinces who were ready would be allowed to immediately roll out. Western Cape clinics already offer dual therapy.
Commenting on disciplinary action against KwaZulu-Natal doctor Colin Pfaff for administering dual therapy at Manguzi Hospital, Tshabalala-Msimang implied that the provincial health department was correct in its decision to suspend him.
"We have particular protocols and guidelines on dual therapy. Anything done outside these guidelines is incorrect," she said.
However, she would not be drawn into details of the case, saying it was an issue between Pfaff and the provincial department.
Tshabalala-Msimang said evaluation of the prevention of mother to child treatment programme in 2005 suggested that resistance to monotherapy had indeed become a major issue, and that providing nevirapine alone was insufficient to "improve outcomes" for mothers and babies. - Sapa