Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province to Dispense Post-Exposure Prophylaxis to Rape Survivors
Sibongile Manana, health minister of South Africa's Mpumalanga province, announced on Thursday that provincial hospitals will begin dispensing post-exposure prophylactic treatment to rape survivors in accordance with national guidelines issued last month, African Eye News Service/AllAfrica.com reports. Manana, who "vigorously entrenched the African National Congress' dissident view on HIV/AIDS" drugs in provincial health policies, faced "widespread public outrage" when she refused to expand PEP treatment beyond two test sites despite the national government's recent endorsement of the therapy. She was also heavily criticized for taking legal action to evict the Greater Nelspruit Rape Intervention Project, a volunteer organization that provides rape counseling and PEP to rape survivors, from two hospitals in Nelspruit and KaBokweni. Manana spokesperson Dumisani Mlangeni said Manana would still pursue the eviction of GRIP despite the change in official policy because the group was working in the hospitals "without the consent of the [health] department and not because it was providing antiretrovirals to rape survivors." He said that Manana also would not reinstate former Rob Ferreira Hospital Superintendent Dr. Thys von Mollendorff, who was fired for allowing GRIP to work in the hospital, because his actions constituted "insubordination." GRIP Director Barbara Kenyon said Manana's decision to offer PEP at public hospitals was "fantastic" and offered her group's services. Mlangeni said that 90 nurses throughout the province had been trained to administer the drugs and to provide counseling to "enable survivors to make sound decisions about the medication and the risks involved" (Samayende, African Eye News Service/AllAfrica.com, 6/10).
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