Let's all stand up against HIV and Aids

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Various leaders in society have been called on to form partnerships and collectively roll up their sleeves to fight the scourge of Tuberculosis, HIV and Aids.

“We are advocating for communities to create a ward-based grassroots response, involving all sectors of society and acting together outside party political and partisan interests to save our people from the pandemic.

“We want to appeal to churches and [the] religious fraternity to work much closer with the provincial government in helping our community to foster behavioural change to defeat social ills,” KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said on Tuesday.

He was addressing delegates at the start of the 9th South Africa Aids Conference at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban.

Zikalala told the delegates at the conference the Amakhosi and traditional leaders have a pivotal role to play in the stabilisation of communities.

“As the provincial government we will work closely with the House of Traditional Leaders and individual Amakhosi to intensify the fight against HIV, Aids and Tuberculosis.

“We want elected leaders from all political parties, in provincial and local government, traditional, religious leaders and those in civil society to understand the Human Rights Plan launched today," Zikalala said.

Traditional practitioner Makhosi Mhlanga, told SAnews that he was pleased that government is now recognising the contribution traditional healers can make.

“As the traditional healers, we are concerned about the scourge of HIV and Aids in our communities. We are willing and prepared to work with the government to find solutions in the fight against HIV and Aids,” Mhlanga said.

The KwaZulu-Natal province is hosting the Aids Conference under the theme: “Unprecedented Innovations and Technologies: HIV and change”.

The conference focuses on the scientific, social and digital innovations/technologies which can expand possibilities and opportunities towards controlling the HIV and Aids epidemic.

The conference is expected to highlight milestones, initiatives, strategies, models, systems and best practices in accelerating the control of the HIV and Aids epidemic ahead of the 2020 global targets.

The South African AIDS Council (SANAC), which is one of the main sponsors of the conference, has organised an educational exhibition at the venue.

Earlier on Tuesday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and Premier Zikalala launched the Human Rights Plan to reduce human rights violations.

The strategy is aimed at protecting the rights of people living with HIV, TB and STIs as well as vulnerable populations and promoting access to justice by educating them about their rights and how to seek redress when their rights are violated.

The key programmes include the reduction of stigma and discrimination, capacity building of health care providers, sensitising law makers and law enforcement officers, legal literacy, legal support services, monitoring and reviewing laws and policies and reducing gender inequality and gender-based violence.

The plan was developed as a response to the baseline assessment which was conducted in October 2017.

The conference is being attended by, among others, community leaders, medical practitioners, traditional leaders, members of society and guests from other countries. – SAnews.gov.za