TAC Officials Meet With South African Deputy President to Discuss HIV/AIDS
Officials from the Treatment Action Campaign met with South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday to discuss HIV/AIDS-related issues, the South African Press Association reports. TAC Chair Zackie Achmat and Mark Heywood, the group's secretary, met with Zuma and Dr. Ayanda Ntsaluba, director general of South Africa's Department of Health, in Cape Town, where they discussed the group's call for a national antiretroviral treatment program "at length." Lakela Kaunda, a spokesperson for Zuma, said that the deputy president recognized the "need for urgency" regarding treatment for people with HIV/AIDS, but said TAC's deadline of Dec. 1 for a government commitment to such a program was "not feasible." Both Zuma and TAC agreed that the government must take a "leading role" in HIV prevention, treatment and care and that a framework for a national treatment plan should be developed through the National Economic Development and Labor Council, which includes representatives from labor, business, government and the community. Kaunda said that the discussion was "conducted in an open, frank and productive manner," and noted that Zuma agreed to further talks on the issue. The meeting participants also discussed the government's five-year plan on HIV/AIDS, the roll-out of programs for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and Cabinet statements "reaffirming the commitment to fighting the epidemic in partnership" (South African Press Association, 10/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.