HIV testing campaign reaches farms

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pretoria - Hundreds of people at ZZ2 Farms in Limpopo have joined the country's HIV counseling and testing campaign.

A total of 840 people were counseled for HIV and 813 went on to test for HIV; 645 people were screened for TB, 75 for blood pressure, 75 for blood sugar and 53 had a PAP smear.

Speaking at the HCT campaign at ZZ2 Farms, Deputy Minister of Heath, Dr. Gwen Ramokgopa, commended South Africans for heeding to the call by President Jacob Zuma to undergo HIV counseling and testing.

Over the 15 months of the HCT campaign, 14 million people have been counselled and more than 12 million have tested for HIV in the public sector. In addition, 1.5 million were tested in the private sector. This reflects a sixfold increase in the number of people testing for HIV over the previous year. Of those tested, two million people were found to be HIV positive and were referred for further care

"We want to commend South Africans for taking a responsible step of testing to know their health status. Through the testing, we were able to reduce the mother to child transmission from 8% to 3.8% this year. Our wish is that by June next year, no unborn child should be infected, this to be in line with our 'zero transmission rate," Ramokgopa said.

She called on all South Africans to take responsibility for their lives.

Limpopo MEC for Health and Social Development, Dikeledi Magadzi, commended the owners of ZZ2 farms for working together with the department to ensure that the standard of health of their employees improves.

"We are happy that the Van Zyl family let us launch the HCT in their farms and also assist us with other logistics like transporting the employees to and from the event. As government we will avail funds for medication to ensure that we win the battle against HIV. We will continue give farmer workers all the needed services. We are calling on all the South Africans to be responsible and test to know their health status," said Magadzi.

ZZ2 chief executive officer, Tom van Zyl, said they have created a conducive working environment for employees by availing health services to them.

"We are ready to assist the employees to know their health status to ensure that their health is restored, especially in the HIV area," Van Zyl said.

Limpopo is the first province to launch and intensify the HCT campaign in farms, with Schoeman Boerdery in Marble Hall being the first farm to embrace the campaign followed by ZZ2 farms in Mooketsi.

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