Johannesburg - Despite being criticized for his call to ban alcohol adverts, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has vowed not to back down until his mission is fulfilled.
"I won't pull back on the issues of alcohol, smoking and the high medical costs in private hospitals because health is a human rights issue and differs from other commodities, hence I won't stop making noise on these issues .... Our children must only see smoking in museums and in the books by 2030," said Dr Motsoaledi on Wednesday during the launch of Absa HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign.
Motsoaledi noted that while non-communicable diseases cannot be transmitted, the diseases were on the rise due to unhealthy lifestyles including smoking, alcohol intake, poor diet and lack of exercise.
He recommitted his department to take care of non-communicable diseases head on.
"Foetal alcohol syndrome [cases are] at 20 per 1 000 [births] around the Gauteng, and in out of about 70% of accidents, there's alcohol involved... It's very destructive and we must stop lying to our youth and encourage them to take alcohol.
"We have teenagers who are [overweight] and need treatment for diabetes for life. Just stand up and walk briskly for 30 minutes three times a week.
"I'm the Minister of Health and when these people are dying, they come to me and if I can't help them, they blame me," Motsoaledi said, mentioning one province where babies don't stop crying when given a bottle of milk and only stop crying when they are given a glass of beer as they got used to consuming it while their mothers were pregnant.
Absa launched the HCT campaign in support of government to get more people to know their HIV status. The company targets to get 80% of its 35 000 employees nationally to get tested.