Five key takeouts from David Mabuza's remarks at Aids to council

25 November 2019 - 10:56 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Deputy president David Mabuza told the SA National Aids Council plenary that without committed leadership at all levels of government across all spheres, the government would not be able to reach its stated targets in the fight against HIV/Aids and TB.
Deputy president David Mabuza told the SA National Aids Council plenary that without committed leadership at all levels of government across all spheres, the government would not be able to reach its stated targets in the fight against HIV/Aids and TB.
Image: Twitter/@PresidencyZA

Deputy President David Mabuza says there is still much work to be done to curb the challenges of HIV/Aids and tuberculosis (TB).

Speaking at the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) plenary in Secunda, Mpumalanga, Mabuza said the challenges remained in critical areas of the government's implementation programme.

Here are five key takeouts from his opening and closing remarks:

HIV/AIDS

Mabuza said the progress reports from some provinces received by Sanac affected the government's work and targeted actions, and the response to HIV/Aids needed to “move into a higher and more focused gear”.

“As we have said before, one HIV infection is one too many. Working with our partners in civil society and in the business community, it is possible to reverse the HIV pandemic that has affected approximately 7.4-million people who are HIV-positive.

“We need to continue putting in practical and decisive measures to reduce this level of incidence as we know how disproportionately it affects young women.”

Femicide

He said it was the government's responsibility to see that women and girls were empowered with relevant information that could save their lives.

“There is a close relationship between the development of society and the empowerment of women and girls. The reverse is also true - women disempowerment in any form or manner, such as gender-based violence, disadvantages societal development.

“This is why, as government, we welcome the speedy arrest, prosecution, and sentencing of those who harm and violate the basic human rights of our women and girl children. There can be no excuse to justify gender-based violence."

Eshowe model

Mabuza said one of the key challenges to replicate the “Eshowe model” in high-burden HIV and TB provinces and districts was not being able to win the prevention battle.

“The Eshowe model provides us with clear evidence on how we can address some of the shortcomings regarding our prevention efforts. We also call on our partners in civil society and in the private sector to work with the government.

“It is within our grasp to reverse the HIV pandemic and conquer gender-based violence. We can and we will win the battle by working together with all stakeholders in our schools, in our homes, at boardrooms, and in workplaces.”

Committed leadership

He said that without committed leadership at all levels of government across all spheres, the government will not be able to reach its stated targets and make the necessary impact.

“We need to strengthen the capacity of provincial, district and local Aids councils to provide leadership direction and effective co-ordination of HIV/Aids and TB prevention programmes.

“The functionality of these Aids councils must be our urgent priority. Premiers and mayors must play a central leadership role.”

Aids councils in 2020

According to Mabuza, the Aids councils are expected to be functional by the end of March 2020.

“Not only should we ensure that they are set up and functional, but we must also ensure that regular meetings are convened, and there are tangible programmes that are being implemented and monitored.

“We will work more closely with provincial and district Aids councils to ensure they function optimally, in partnership with civil society, and work even harder in mobilising more support from the private sector as we strengthen our response to the challenges of HIV, Aids and TB.”


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