"); NewWindow.document.close(); return false; }

Monitoring access to free ARVs
Wednesday 19 January 2005
Home About PlusNews Country Profiles News Briefs Special Reports Subscribe Archive IRINnews


East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
·South Africa
West Africa
RSS - News Briefs


PlusNews E-mail Subscription

SOUTH AFRICA: Monitoring access to free ARVs

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

©  PlusNews

18,500 South Africans are currently receiving ARV treatment

DURBAN, 17 December (PLUSNEWS) - A South African non-profit organisation has initiated a nationwide network to monitor access to free antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.

The project, called the 'Treatment Monitor', collects data from a wide range of organisations throughout the country, which will be used to lobby government, detect shortfalls in research and develop best practices.

The Health Systems Trust (HST) began keeping track of access to ARVs and care early this year, and functions as a clearinghouse for treatment information. The Trust saw the need to launch the project because "there is no single monitoring framework available that provides a national picture" of South Africans' access to treatment, said HST senior researcher Rob Stewart.

"Access to information is a major hurdle a number of institutions have to overcome, and the government is certainly one of them," Stewart told PlusNews, adding that some government departments held back information that should be in the public domain.

The Treatment Monitor is aimed at helping to identify loopholes in the current health system and build consensus among the participating institutions.

Groups providing information to the Treatment Monitor include the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), AIDS Law Project, KZN Monitoring Forum, Medecins Sans Frontieres, South African HIV Clinicians Society, South African universities, government departments and parastatals, such as Eskom, and private sector corporations, including Anglo-American and Daimler Chrysler.

"We try to pull the different pieces together and create an environment where information can be shared," said Stewart.

Another goal of the Treatment Monitor initiative is to identify gaps in research. According to Stewart, research has not been done in a number of areas, such as service delivery models, the role of community health workers and traditional healers in screening and supporting drug adherence, financing of the national ARV programme and its sustainability, and making structural changes to the health system required for a successful rollout of ARVs.

Although HST will only be disseminating the first observations of the Treatment Monitor next year, Stewart could identify some core weaknesses of the South African government's health policy.

According to the latest numbers from the Joint Civil Society Monitoring Forum, 18,500 South Africans are currently receiving ARV treatment - just a third of the government's target of having 53,000 people on treatment by March 2005. "We have a long way to go," said Stewart.

For more articles on the subject, plus interviews and a comprehensive database on numbers on treatment in sub-Saharan Africa, visit the PlusNews Web Special


Recent SOUTH AFRICA Reports
Closing the treatment gap,  18/Jan/05
Volunteer caregivers being exploited, says study,  14/Jan/05
Mandela's AIDS courage praised,  7/Jan/05
Too poor to access free AIDS drugs,  7/Jan/05
Tired of the "same old" AIDS messages,  31/Dec/04
Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

[Back] [Home Page]

Click to send any feedback, comments or questions you have about IRIN's Website or if you prefer you can send an Email to

The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All graphics and Images on this site may not be re-produced without the express permission of the original owner. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2005