South African Government ‘Finally’ Offers Leadership on AIDS Epidemic, Editorial Says
The South African government, which has "essentially had its head in the sand about AIDS" until recently, "seems finally to realize the need for aggressive action" against HIV/AIDS, a Tennessean editorial says (Tennessean, 8/19). The South African government on Aug. 8 called for the Ministry of Health to develop a national program to provide antiretroviral medications to residents with HIV/AIDS. The announcement came after a special meeting of the cabinet to consider a Joint Health and Treasury Task Team cost report on providing HIV/AIDS drugs to the public. According to the cabinet, "Policy and funding commitments made in the last two years leave South Africa well placed to offer a comprehensive package of prevention and care in the health sector" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/15). Until this announcement, the government had "come up with numerous excuses not to confront the disease," blaming the high cost of such a program and saying that antiretroviral drug regimens were "too complicated to implement," the Tennessean says. While the country "faces an enormous task" in rolling out the national antiretroviral program, "the focus right now is to look ahead and explore the best ways to fight the global health menace," according to the Tennessean. "Solid leadership is the key" to successfully implementing the program, and "[t]he people of South Africa now have some on this important issue," the Tennessean concludes (Tennessean, 8/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.