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International News

South Africa: Shot in the Arm for HIV/AIDS Treatment and for Public-Private Partnerships

March 5, 2010

Dramatically improving health care and increasing life expectancy by 2014 are two main objectives of a new government health initiative.

The recently released targets include:

  • Halving HIV prevalence among those ages 15-24 from 10.65 percent to 5.2 percent.
  • Increasing the number of people on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment from 700,000 to 2 million.
  • Reducing the number of new TB cases from 341,000 to 175,000.
  • Boosting the TB cure rate from 65 percent to 85 percent.
  • Decreasing child deaths from 69-91 per 1,000 live births to 30-35 per 1,000.
  • Increasing life expectancy from 47-51 to 55 years.

In December, President Jacob Zuma announced the government would introduce new HIV treatment guidelines by April 1, allowing HIV patients who are either pregnant or TB-infected to start on ARVs when their CD4 counts fall to 350, instead of 200. All HIV-infected infants will receive immediate treatment, instead of having to wait until they show clinical symptoms. The new guidelines are expected to save 10,000 lives annually, according to the Treasury.

The presidency-led initiative will ensure ministers and their departments will be held accountable for their performance in meeting these objectives.

In response, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has called for "a closer partnership between the public and private health care systems." Officials said the government is considering various models and has not ruled out using the private sector to deliver clinical services, something that has not been permitted previously.

Back to other news for March 2010

Adapted from:
Business Day (South Africa)
02.18.2010; Tamar Kahn

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More News on HIV/AIDS in South Africa