Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Health-e News Discusses Delays in S. African National AIDS Care, Treatment Program With Coordinator Nono Simelela
Health-e News on Monday featured an interview with Dr. Nono Simelela, coordinator of South Africa's "Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care and Treatment" and South African Department of Health's division of HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases, who spoke about the implementation of the national treatment plan (Bodibe, Health e-News, 2/9). The South African Cabinet in November 2003 approved a plan for a national HIV/AIDS treatment program, including the provision of antiretroviral drugs. The program aims to treat 1.2 million people -- or about 25% of the country's HIV-positive population -- by 2008. About 25% of South Africa's economically active individuals are HIV-positive, with about five million total HIV cases in the country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/4). Simelela said, "I think what is important to highlight is the fact that there is quite a significant amount of work that we needed to do and that we are currently doing to prepare for the implementation" of the program. "[W]e do have a health system that needs to be upgraded significantly, especially in the most remote parts of the country. And that is the work that the teams have been doing in the provinces," Simelela said, adding, "We don't want a situation where patients don't adhere or patients don't know where to go for follow-ups. So, it's all those things that are really not new problems. HIV/AIDS has brought to the fore the problems that have existed in the health system all along" (Health-e News, 2/9). The complete interview is available online.
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