With only one week to go until World AIDS Day 2108, TB HIV Care joined a number of a organisations (including We Beat TB and SFH) in supporting the Western Cape Department of Health’s activation on Thibault Square this morning – bringing testing, screening and other health care services directly to the heart of the city centre.
We are nearing the end of Movember (November is Men’s Health Awareness Month), and the national theme for World AIDS Day 2018 is “Cheka Impilo. Know your status”, so it was wonderful to see Priscilla Wawini and her team encouraging men to look after their health and fitness and making HIV testing so quick, easy and accessible. Thank you!
The first meeting of the Coordinating Body of the SA TB Caucus was held on Friday 23 November. The meeting was co-chaired by Hon. Dunjwa and Hon. Dlamini and a number of decisions were made about the format and work of the caucus going forward.
The caucus has already shown it’s value. Hon. Dlamini called the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHRA) to a parliamentary committee meeting earlier this month to explain the status of the licensing of a paediatric formulation for TB. SAHRA announced that it had just licensed two formulations, meaning that it is now up to the Department of Health to procure the formulations and roll them out. The sooner this happens, the sooner children with TB will have access to child-friendly TB treatment.
Prof Harry Hausler, CEO, explained the history of the Global TB Caucus, the role of the secretariat and how parliamentarians can assist the response to TB. Phumlani Ximiya of the National Department of health gave a presentation on the status of TB in the world and in South Africa.
The meeting was a very welcome start to the important work of the caucus.
Co-chairs of the SA TB Caucus: Hon. Dunjwa (left) and Hon. Dlamini (right)
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.