More patients on ARVs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pretoria - The country's HIV, Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign is bearing fruits in Limpopo, where the number of new patients on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) has increased significantly.

Launched in April 2010, the national HCT campaign aims to test 15 million people in the country by the end of June 2011.

During the campaign launch, the province had targeted to get 74 926 people tested for HIV in 2010. However, by the end of September, 76 000 people had been reached.

The province has also seen an increase in the TB cure rate, from 66 percent to 69.4 percent.

Speaking on behalf of the social cluster on Tuesday, Education MEC Dickson Masemola reiterated the provincial Health and Social Development Department's commitment to intensify its efforts to reduce TB treatment defaulters and increase access to ART for patients.

"We will continue to increase awareness through HCT campaigns and intensify our efforts to reduce the TB defaulter rate by providing improved counseling to all TB patients," Masemola said.

The department now has 365 clinics providing 24 hour services in the areas of preventative, curative and rehabilitative health care.

As part of the department's concerted drive to mitigate the shortage of health care staff in the province, 48 doctors and 66 professional nurses have, during the last quarter, taken their placements in the hospitals.

"We will continue to strengthen our recruitment and retention strategy to improve the quality of our health care services," Masemola said.