David Mabuza calls for redoubled effort in fight against HIV and TB
Deputy president David Mabuza says South Africa remains confronted by the challenges of HIV and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics and focused interventions and targeted campaigns are required.
Mabuza was addressing the inaugural meeting of the National Aids Council Inter-Ministerial Committee in Tuynhuys, Cape Town.
He said the government must increase efforts to reduce the infection rate.
'South Africa bears the highest burden of HIV globally'
According to UNAIDS 2019 Global Aids Report, South Africa bears the highest burden of HIV globally. In the country there are 7.9 million people living with HIV, of whom 4.4 million are on antiretroviral treatment.
Key and vulnerable populations, including adolescent girls and young women, remain disproportionately affected by HIV. In addition, South Africa is among the 30 countries in the world with the highest burden of TB.
Mabuza said the 2017-2022 National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) must continue to guide the implementation of the country's multi-sectoral response to the epidemic.
This is aligned to the National Development Plan and the Global Sustainable Development Goals, he said.
“Therefore, our collective response to these challenges must entail very focused interventions, including targeted plans and campaigns that we are going to embark upon in this sixth democratic administration,” said Mabuza.
Mabuza said these efforts must triumph over the challenges brought by HIV, Aids, STIs and TB on the health of the nation.
“Our next focus should be on prevention, and more prevention. Over the course of this term, we must consolidate our partnerships and collaborative work with all key stakeholders, such as traditional leaders, as we fight the HIV and TB epidemics,” he said.
'Eshowe exceeded the United Nations' 90-90-90 targets'
Meanwhile the UNAIDS 2019 Global Aids Report identified the rural community of Eshowe as one exceeding the United Nations' (UN) 90-90-90 targets before the year 2020.
The 90-90-90 concept envisioned that by the year 2020, 90% of all people who are infected with HIV will be diagnosed, 90% of those diagnosed will be on antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of those who receive the treatment will virally suppressed.
“Eshowe was chosen for the launch of the report because there 90% of people who are infected with HIV were diagnosed, 94% of people who were diagnosed are on antiretroviral treatment, and 95% of those who receive antiretroviral treatment are virally suppressed.
“This means they achieved 90-94-95 - exceeding the 90-90-90 target,” he said.
Mabuza called upon the country to duplicate Eshowe and for the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) collective to redouble its efforts to bring down the curtain on HIV, Aids and TB.