HIV campaign gets private-sector backing

Friday, March 26, 2010

Johannesburg - The private healthcare sector has pledged millions of rands to government's HIV Counselling and Testing (HTC) campaign.

Their support will be through funding and free services during the campaign's launch on 15 April 2010, where millions of South Africans are expected to visit sites throughout the country and get tested for HIV.

Discovery Medical Scheme has pledged R5 million for the campaign, with the Life Care Private Hospital group pledging R500 000. They have also committed to support the training of health workers.

General Manger for new markets at Discovery Health, Penny Tlhabi commended the Health Department for taking such an initiative.

Tlhabi said the scheme decided to be part of the campaign in an attempt to mobilize it members to go for testing and support the department during the campaign.

"We are happy that the Minister of Health has taken leadership and as the private sector we believe that this should have been done long ago but we are happy it's finally happening and believe that it will succeed," Tlhabi said.

She added that Discovery and the department will discuss how the money would be utilised.

Other sectors, who offered their support, include Clicks and the Link Pharmacy Group. They have pledged to make available 470 pharmacy clinics to provide free testing throughout the entire campaign.

Approximately 500 general health practitioners from around Gauteng have indicated that their practices will be available as free testing sites.

Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, encouraged all organisations in South Africa to contribute their efforts during the campaign