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ARV rollout set to begin in Eastern Cape
Friday 26 August 2005
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SOUTH AFRICA: ARV rollout set to begin in Eastern Cape


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]



©  Healthfirst

The Eastern Cape has a high prevalence rate

JOHANNESBURG, 22 April (PLUSNEWS) - The rollout of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment is set to begin early next month in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

According to Sizwe Kupelo, media liaison officer for the Eastern Cape department of health, seven hospitals across the province will be able to administer ARV treatment by the second week in May.

The provincial HIV/AIDS Programme Director, Nomalanga Makwedini, said candidates were already being screened and tested.

Existing voluntary counselling and testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and post-exposure prophylaxis services will serve as entry points to the treatment programme, while health care clinics will provide screening services, follow-up, and monitoring of clients.

Kupelo told PlusNews that the provincial health department was working on strengthening service delivery levels. "We will also continue to build our partnerships with with NGOs and community-based organisations to provide ongoing counselling."

In areas where there are no service points, a referal system was being estbalished to refer clients to the right treatment institution after they had been screened.

The rollout programme will be extended to additional sites once the initial six-month phase has been completed.

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) spokesman Nathan Geffen welcomed the news. "TAC will do everything possible to support the department of health in the Eastern Cape as they roll out antiretroviral treatment."

The South African government's Comprehensive Plan for Management, Care and Treatment of HIV And AIDS was approved by cabinet in October last year. Critics of the rollout's progress have pointed out that implementation of the plan has largely been determined by the leadership within each province, and the capacity to interpret the provisions and initiate action.

According to Statistics SA's report, "Measuring Poverty in South Africa", the Eastern Cape is the poorest province in the country. The HIV prevalence rate recorded at antenatal clinics in 2002 by a department of health survey stood at 23.6 percent.

[ENDS]




 
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Links
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The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
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International HIV/AIDS Alliance
International Council of AIDS Services Organisations (ICASO)

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