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Networking of municipalities critical for tackling HIV/AIDS
Tuesday 7 September 2004
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SOUTH AFRICA: Networking of municipalities critical for tackling HIV/AIDS


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


JOHANNESBURG, 11 June (PLUSNEWS) - A new study commissioned by the South African Cities Network (SACN) urges local municipalities to develop a multi-sectoral strategy to tackle the effects of HIV/AIDS on their communities.

The report, titled 'South African Cities and HIV/AIDS: Challenges and Responses', noted that while there had been a number of initiatives to support local government in developing an HIV/AIDS response, there was little attempt to assess the challenges facing the cities.

Responses by the nine metropolitan municipalities to the many obstacles created by the pandemic also came under scrutiny in the study.

SACN national programmes coordinator, Sithole Mbanga, said in a statement: "The cities, the SACN and its members can ill afford to be ignorant of the impact of HIV/AIDS, an issue central to growth, economic performance and the sustainability of South African cities."

The network suggested that the planning of strategies to tackle HIV/AIDS should occur at a local level, as the impact of the disease was felt most in the businesses, the schools and the larger communities that constituted cities.

Research shows that rapid urbanisation, often associated with the growth of informal settlements, appears to provide an ideal environment for the spread of disease, including HIV/AIDS.

SACN said South Africa was no exception, with over 54 percent of the population living in urban areas by 1996 and the figure having risen to 58 percent by 2002.

"The capacity of urban areas to generate employment and provide social services is failing to keep up with the rapidly-growing urban population," the report noted.

According to the study, countries worst affected by HIV/AIDS register a higher prevalence of HIV in urban areas than rural areas. Levels of self-reported sexually transmitted infections, which were often pre-cursors to HIV infection, were highest among dwellers of urban informal settlements.

Networking is critical in determining who is doing what, promoting collaborative relationships between institutions and programmes, providing a forum for sharing of information and experiences, and allowing for local organisations to rapidly locate support, SACN pointed out.

One the most extensive and effective NGO networks at city level in the nine municipalities was Children in Distress (CINDI), operating in Pietermaritzburg in the Kwazulu-Natal province.

By drawing most city stakeholders under a common umbrella, the network generated significant resources and effectively achieved an intergration of services.

The study of South Africa's nine largest cities' response to HIV/AIDS concluded that, while daunting, the task of constructively managing the epidemic was possible.

The findings of the report are being used to develop and implement a support framework for the SACN member cities and also strengthen the capacity of South African municipalities in responding to the affects of HIV/AIDS on their communities.

The nine member cities of the SACN include: Buffalo City Municipality (East London), the City of Cape Town, the City of Johannesburg, the city of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (Pretoria), Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (East Rand), eThekwini Municipality (Durban), Manguang Local Municipality (Bloemfontein), Msunduzi Municipality (Pietermaritzburg), and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth).

Access the full report on: www.sacities.net

[ENDS]


 
Recent SOUTH AFRICA Reports
Support and strength from The Tree,  30/Aug/04
HIV-positive women speak out,  17/Aug/04
Sexual Offences bill raises many concerns,  13/Aug/04
Campaign to create awareness on sexual offences law,  6/Aug/04
Medicines Control Council phases out Nevirapine monotherapy,  14/Jul/04
Links
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
AEGIS
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

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PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:

  • UNAIDS
  • IRIN
  • Inter Press Service (IPS)
  • SAfAIDS
  • PANOS
  • Health Systems Trust
  • Health & Development Networks
  • GTZ/Afronets

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