Voluntary Counseling, Testing to be more accessible in KZN

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ixopo - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health is committed to make the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) service more accessible to communities, targeting non-medical sites.

Addressing residents on Thursday during a Candle Light Memorial Day at Morningside Stadium, provincial MEC for Health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo said although the VCT sites are available at most of the province's primary health care clinics and hospitals, their priority now was to extend the service to non-medical areas.

"We want to extend the VCT service and make sure that it is accessible to more communities. We are now targeting non-medial sites to become VCT sites.

"This is important because we want to make sure that people know their status early and start protecting themselves," said Dr Dhlomo.

This forms part of the International Candlelight Memorial Day celebrated annually on Thursday, 28 May.

The campaign, themed "Together we are the solution", aims to commemorate and celebrate the lives of those lost as a result of AIDS - related illnesses.

It provides opportunities for the strengthening of leadership, policy advocacy, partnerships, and social mobilisation in response to HIV and AIDS. The campaign focuses on providing care and support to those living with or are affected by HIV and AIDS.

Dr Dhlomo urged non-government organisations, the Provincial AIDS Council, traditional healers and the business sector among others to pool their resources together, to find solutions to the challenges posed by HIV and AIDS.

"Together we can beat the HIV and AIDS. Our strength lies in our unity. The HIV and AIDS challenge is indeed surmountable when we work together. Government alone will not do it. The people of this country alone cannot do it.

"But this calls for a collective effort. We must put aside narrow agendas and focus on matters that heal our nation," said MEC Dhlomo.