Campaign on cancer to take centre stage

Friday, February 16, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa says in the next three months government will launch a massive cancer campaign similar to the HIV counselling and testing campaign.

The campaign will involve the private sector as government aims to mobilise all resources to fight the scourge of cancer.

The President said this when he tabled his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Friday.

President Ramaphosa, who is also the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), said government will also take the next critical steps to eliminate HIV from our midst this year.

“By scaling up our testing and treating campaign, we will initiate an additional two million people on antiretroviral treatment by December 2020,” he said.

As it stands, South Africa today has the biggest HIV treatment programme in the world with over 3.9 million people on treatment by August 2017.

HIV positive South Africans now have access to anti-retroviral drugs irrespective of their CD4 count. It is through these efforts of HIV treatment that led to an increase in life expectancy and low levels of mother-to-child HIV transmission rates.

Research by the South African Medical Research Council shows that mother-to-child transmission declined from 8.5 percent in 2008 to 1.5 percent in 2015. As a result, thousands of babies were protected from HIV infection.

The Health Department, under the leadership of Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, will in April 2018 introduce the new fixed-dose combination of three drugs, Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Dolutegravir that will make it easier for patients to adhere to treatment.

National Health Insurance (NHI)

President Ramaphosa said the time has arrived to finally implement universal health coverage through the National Health Insurance (NHI).

“The NHI Bill is now ready to be processed through government and will be submitted to Parliament in the next few weeks,” said President Ramaphosa.

Certain NHI projects targeting the most vulnerable people in society will commence in April.

The first phase of the NHI started in 2012 and paved the way for the implementation to universal access to health.

According to the Health Department it has achieved the following since 2012:

  • Established District Specialist Teams to supervise doctors in each district and further contracted GPs to work in public clinics. 
  • Finalised the infrastructural needs for all 700 health facilities as well as refurbishment and backlog maintenance.
  • Within the 10 pilot districts, 34 new and replacement clinics were built.
  • Outside the 10 pilot districts, 96 clinics have been completed and with 132 others in progress, to give a total of 228 new and replacement clinics.
  • In the same period within the pilot districts we have completed 154 clinics were the refurbished and 192 others are in progress.

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