Gloves off against HIV-Aids

Much progress is being made in revamping the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) and boosting the fight against HIV-Aids, government communications and information services (GCIS) head Themba Maseko said yesterday.

Much progress is being made in revamping the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) and boosting the fight against HIV-Aids, government communications and information services (GCIS) head Themba Maseko said yesterday.

The revised comprehensive plan to combat and manage HIV-Aids is now being finalised, Maseko said after the fortnightly cabinet meeting.

Cabinet had received a progress report on the initiative led by deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to revive and strengthen the partnership against HIV-Aids through Sanac.

A series of meetings were held with a number of organisations, including the National Association of People Living With Aids and the Treatment Action Campaign, to discuss the challenges in the fight against the pandemic and other opportunistic diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB).

"Cabinet welcomed the fact that significant progress was made in this regard as parties agreed that the only way we can defeat the pandemic is through co-operation," Maseko said.

Cabinet also resolved that in addition to dealing with the HIV-Aids pandemic, sight should not be lost of the other health challenges facing the country.

In this regard, the health department would engage interested parties to coordinate other efforts to deal with the latest strain of drug-resistant TB and other opportunistic diseases.

A Sanac workshop would be held on Tuesday to discuss ways to make the body stronger, effective and more representative.

Cabinet had also approved the composition of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on HIV-Aids.

Its members would be Mlambo-Ngcuka as chairman and the ministers of health, social development, agriculture and land affairs, education, provincial and local government, the presidency, public service and administration, labour, arts and culture, transport, correctional services, minerals and energy, foreign affairs and public works. GCIS would also be represented.

The IMC would be supported by a technical committee of director- generals of the respective departments.

Cabinet announced extensive plans last month to resuscitate Sanac and manage government interaction with stakeholders to strengthen the partnership against HIV-Aids. - Sapa

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