Current Campaigns

The TAC National Council has decided on five key campaigns. The five campaigns aim at both direct improvement of healthcare services and achieving knock-on improvements in the healthcare system.
 
1 & 2.
The Free State and Eastern Cape campaigns address collapsing healthcare systems in the two worst-affected provinces. In both cases a large part of the TAC’s work is to monitor health facilities and communities’ access to HIV and TB services in particular and to let that information inform our advocacy. In the Eastern Cape we led the establishment of a coalition of over 20 organisations. In the Free State, we are engaged in a struggle to have MEC for Health Benny Malakoane removed from his position and an emergency plan to fix the health service there. Malakoane faces multiple charges of fraud and corruption.
 
3 & 4.
The campaigns on the prevention of cervical cancer and hard-to-treat drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) are also concerned mainly with provincial-level implementation. On cervical cancer we seek increased awareness and availability of cervical cancer screening. Cervical cancer kills more women in South Africa than does any other cancer. Many of these deaths could be prevented through early detection. We are also involved in ensuring a vastly improved rollout of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine in schools in order to stem the longer-term tide of cervical cancer. With respect to DR-TB, a landmark 2011 policy on decentralising DR-TB care remains largely unimplemented in provinces, while rates of DR-TB are rising alarmingly. Our DR-TB campaign focuses on ensuring that this growing problem is addressed more effectively in the public healthcare system and that MDR-TB is declared a public health emergency. Another leg of our TB work focuses on the TB crisis in prisons. In this regard we are leveraging a very strong Constitutional Court judgement from December 2012 to advocate for better TB control, screening and treatment in correctional facilities.
 
5.
Our fifth main campaign aims at reforming South Africa’s patent laws in order to strike an appropriate balance between the need to access affordable medicines and the need for investment in pharmaceutical research. The campaign is in line with South Africa’s international obligations under the TRIPS agreement read with the 2001 Doha Declaration on Public Health. This campaign has already resulted in the publication by the government of a new draft national policy on intellectual property (in September 2013), which we are working to improve.
 
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Finally the TAC’s flagship treatment literacy programme remains key to our model of highly informed grassroots activism. Funding pressure has in recent years taken a toll on this programme, but we remain committed to teaching the science of HIV/AIDS, TB and relevant treatments to our members and the general public. This programme promotes highly informed and active community members who understand the importance of treatment and adherence. Branch leaders are trained and subsequently facilitate trainings at a branch, community and clinic level. In addition accurate and informative materials related to adherence and treatment literacy are disseminated through localised social mobilisation campaigns.
 
The TAC has already developed several relevant materials that are used to improve understanding of HIV, TB and treatment such as its booklets HIV in Our Lives, and its quarterly publication Equal Treatment. Equal Treatment is the TAC's high quality treatment literacy magazine. Through it we aim to empower people living with and affected by HIV and TB to take responsibility for their own health and for their healthcare system. The magazine covers various issues relating to one's rights in the healthcare system and to the science and treatment of HIV and TB. The magazine forms the cornerstone of the TAC's treatment literacy programme through which we build our cadre of highly informed active citizens. Equal Treatment is available in four languages. It is distributed for free to TAC members, partner organisations, policy makers, and libraries.
 
Depending on the funding we are able to raise, we hope to reenergise this programme.