KwaZulu-Natal’s integrated Aids approach bearing fruits

Thursday, February 28, 2013

By Albert Pule

Pietermaritzburg - The number of Aids related deaths has decreased in KwaZulu-Natal since 2009.

This was announced by Premier Zweli Mkhize during his State of the Province Address on Thursday.

“Since … 2009 we have stabilised HIV prevalence in our province from 39.5% to 37.4% as a direct result of our integrated approach through the Provincial Council on Aids. [We are] working together with all sectors of our society to ensure that our initiatives on prevention, and to make anti-retrovirals available, are successful.

“Among 15 – 24-year-old youth, we have also noted that HIV prevalence is down from 31% to 25.5% - another firm indicator that KwaZulu-Natal has turned the corner in the fight against HIV & Aids. This is a trend we expect to continue. I salute the health and social workers involved in this very successful intervention.”

According to the premier, the waiting list of anti-retrovirals has been cleared due to employing a team of dedicated health professionals.

“Using a special team of dedicated health professionals to initiate therapy for all 550 000 deserving individuals, we can  declare that for a few years now the waiting list for anti-retroviral treatment no longer exists. It has been cleared for good.”

Earlier this year, Old Mutual reported that the death rate among employees of companies that bought risk cover from the company had fallen almost 20% between 2008 and 2011.  

It quoted a study by the Medical Research Council which found that “the life expectancy had increased from 56.5 years in 2009 to 60 years as fewer people died of Aids”. It attributed this to the success of the government’s drive to get more HIV patients on treatment.

Mkhize added that the province had made progress in setting aside funds for the procurement of equipment for the implementation of the National Health Insurance.“As our country moves with speed towards the introduction of the National Health Insurance system, we demonstrate through the pilot sites in Amajuba, Umzinyathi and Umgungundlovu that NHI is the way towards universal access to health.

“Funds have been set aside to procure equipment and contract the services of general practitioners. We are determined to ensure the full roll-out of the NHI in which ill-health, not personal wealth, determines the health care you receive.” –