Millions intended to be spent on the health needs of Eastern Cape residents have gone missing from d.
THE massive demand for antiretroviral drugs will collapse the fiscus if it is not stopped, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said yesterday.
The government had budgeted R8billion a year on antiretrovirals, a 33percent rise from the previous year, Motsoaledi told a media briefing in Cape Town.
"We must cut the rate of infection by 50percent by 2011 and reach 80percent of the people who need ARVs.
"If this country doesn't go through with that we are waiting for very tough times. To keep on increasing the budget of ARVs by 33percent, 33percent ... the fiscus will collapse if this is not stopped.
"The battle to cut the rate of infection by 50percent is the mainstay of the battle I want people to understand."
Yesterday the cabinet announced it had approved the implementation plan to scale up the HIV-Aids prevention and treatment programme. The new plan aims to reduce the rate of infection by 50percent by next year and to provide ARV treatment to 80percent of those who need it.
"More emphasis will be placed on prevention through information, education, widespread distribution of condoms and mobilisation of millions of South Africans to know their status," government spokesperson Themba Maseko said.
Highlights included voluntary and public HIV-Aids testing led by cabinet members and other leaders from broader society, a move from voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to HIV counselling and testing (HCT), and a service delivery model that offered testing to all patients at health institutions.
The target of the HCT campaign was to test up to 15 million people by June next year. The campaign would also promote healthy lifestyles and increase access to treatment, care, and support.
The new HIV-Aids implementation plan would be launched in Gauteng on April 15, with provincial launches on April 19. Public testing would also take place at these events.
Motsoaledi said the government had its "eyes off [the] ball" on immunisation and prevention campaigns and people had started to believe that "health means cure".
"Just look at the issue of maternal health. I am sure many of you, the last time you heard the word contraception and family planning might have been some years back. Many young girls are using abortion as contraception and are dying as a result.
"When you move around you see pamphlets all over advertising abortions. Family planning is primary health care in itself."
Motsoaledi said he would tell Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan which matters on the health budget were non-negotiable. - Sapa
"If you move to provinces now and say 'where is your budget for measles immunisation?'... you will struggle to get it. That must be a non-negotiable, that children must be immunised. Women must undergo primary healthcare at anti-natal clinics, - Sapa