SA needs to scale up Cheka Impilo campaign

Monday, November 25, 2019

Deputy President David Mabuza says South Africa needs to work across all sectors to scale up the roll out of the Cheka Impilo campaign.

The Cheka Impilo campaign aims to accelerate screening and testing for HIV, tuberculosis (TB), sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

“We need visible leadership advocacy to increase the uptake, and get as many people as possible tested and put on treatment to prevent the spread of TB,” the Deputy President said at the weekend at the closing of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Extended Plenary.

He said consistent with the country’s accelerated drive to reach and treat increased numbers of infected people, the health facilities must be ready, accessible and responsive to deepen the impact of interventions. 

“Our target of putting an additional two million people on treatment by December 2020 still remains. All sectors of our society are called upon to intensify the drive of finding the missing TB patients. These are people who are infected with TB but have never been diagnosed and therefore not on treatment,” he said.

He said the country’s HIV and TB programmes must be embedded within communities in a manner that allows for broad-based participation of all sectors of civil society.

“More importantly, we need our youth sector programmes to be scaled up to reach as many young people as possible in our communities. Our prevention efforts must target adolescent girls, and young women who are more at risk of contracting HIV.”

He said alongside this, cultural and socio-economic determinants and drivers of gender-based violence require the country’s collective response at all leadership levels

“Of continuing concern to all stakeholders gathered here, is that our HIV pandemic is linked to pervasive gender inequality accompanied by the violation of human rights of vulnerable sectors in our society.

“The abuse, murder, and rape of women, children, persons with disabilities, lesbians, gays, and transgender persons must be addressed as part of our comprehensive response to the challenges of HIV and Aids,” the Deputy President said.

He said the country further needs to also scale up its communication efforts on all these issues, because the messaging is about the people who we are representing who are not in this room and this should be led from the front by those who are in positions of leadership. 

“It is becoming clear that without committed leadership at all levels of government across all spheres, we will not be able to reach our stated targets and make the necessary impact.

“We need to strengthen the capacity of Provincial, District and Local Aids Councils to provide leadership direction and effective coordination of HIV and Aids and TB prevention programmes,” the Deputy President said. –