What do human rights have to do with health? If you think about it, quite a lot. Many reasons people don’t access care are a result of human rights violations. These can be anything from a policeman breaking the needle of someone who injects drugs thereby putting them at risk of blood-borne diseases, to someone not wanting to attend a clinic appointment for fear of losing their job. Denying someone health care is itself a violation of a human right.
This was the reason behind a multi-stakeholder meeting held on the 21 and 22 November in Johannesburg. Nearly 100 delegates from civil society organisations around the country gathered to discuss the data on human rights violations and to formulate the steps to generating a national plan that can address them. Completing this task is a critical part of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs 2017-2022.
TB HIV Care was highly visible at the meeting. CEO, Prof Harry Hausler, presented a case study of how human rights violations impact people who inject drugs, with particular reference to the closing of our needle and syringe programme in eThekwini.
Anna Versfeld and Christian Tshimbalanga, independent consultants working with TB HIV Care, presented the findings of the research they have been doing into the barriers people experience when accessing TB services.
It was an intense two days hearing about how much work we still have to do to address a variety of stigma and structural barriers. We look forward to a plan that will move us towards ensuring that no one is left behind, and that health is accessible to all.
This week the Stop TB Partnership announced the theme for World TB Day 2019: It’s Time
A simple but powerful theme, it is also a call to action. Following on from the first-ever UN High Level Meeting on TB in September, the launch of the SA TB Caucus, and the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health, which took place in The Hague in October, it is time to build on the momentum, harness political will and see the end TB in our lifetime.
As The Stop TB Partnership have announced, It’s Time…
- …to keep the promises made at the UN HLM on TB
- …for a world without TB
- …to treat 40 million people affected by TB by 2022
- …to know your TB status
World TB Day takes place on Sunday, 24 March 2019.
The provincial launch of World AIDS Day 2018 took place in Uitenhage on Wednesday, 07 November.
The event was divided into three parts:
- A political briefing from 08h00 – 09h30
- Formal proceedings
- A taxi rank activation
The formal proceedings took place just in front of the Municipal Town Hall. The Executive Mayor of the Metro, Councillor Bobani, welcomed everyone to the event, before Ms Helen Sauls-August (Eastern Cape MEC for Health) outlined the purpose of the day. The main speaker was the Acting Premier, MEC Dr Dyantyi. He encouraged the outreach teams to go out and conduct HIV and TB testing. There were more than 300 testers present – all proudly wearing their branded T-shirts and caps.
It was a beautiful display of support from TB HIV Care, and we were acknowledged for the massive support that we gave to both the launch and the WAD outreach activities.
The taxi rank activation took place at the Uitenhage Main Taxi Rank, and this was followed by a visit to Hollywood where door-to-door visits were done (the focus was on community testing). Lastly, we visited a clinic in Despatch, where the Acting Premier and other dignitaries met with clinic staff to listen to how they will accept all clients who have interrupted their treatment back into care. There was also an opportunity for members of the community to raise their own concerns and challenges about the clinic.
Mr Dayile from ECAC (who was MC on the day), made special mention of TB HIV Care – for all support that we have rendered to the programme,