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Open letter to Minister of International Relations: Intervene in Karabus case

Dear Minister

OPEN LETTER REQUESTING YOUR IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION IN THE CASE OF PROFESSOR CYRIL KARABUS

We request you to intervene urgently to secure the release of Professor Cyril Karabus, a South African citizen, from incarceration in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Letter of concern regarding Umlingo WamaNgcolosi Lifestyle plans to exhibit at Durban Business Fair

Yesterday, TAC and HIV-911 Programme sent a joint letter to the Durban Business Fair and the Provincial and Ethekwini AIDS Councils, regarding the plans of Umlingo WamaNgcolosi Lifestyle to exhibit at the upcoming Durban Business Fair. The letter outlines the potential harm to public health of providing a platform to the organisation to spread misinformation about HIV/AIDS and its treatment. The full letter can be read here

TAC responds to MEC Dhlomo’s defence of a dangerous circumcision device

The Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, today released a press statement responding to the Treatment Action Campaign’s (TAC) complaint to the Public Protector about the use and procurement of an unsafe circumcision device called the Tara KLamp. His full statement can be read here

Dhlomo’s defence fails to provide any compelling responses to the concerns raised in our complaint to the Public Protector. Below, we respond to a number of the arguments he makes in defence of using the Tara KLamp and list a number of crucial issues he failed to respond to.

Civil society organisations welcome announcement of Commission of Inquiry into Khayelitsha police

Today the Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry (CoI) to investigate problems with policing by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Khayelitsha. This follows years of sustained campaigning by our organisations and members, many of whom continue to experience the effects of a failing police and criminal justice system. While the CoI is welcomed the terms of reference fail to include the City of Cape Town’s Metro Police – an integral part of policing in Khayelitsha.
 
The power to create a CoI is defined in Section 206(5) of our Constitution which states that a province:
 
may investigate, or appoint a commission of inquiry into, any complaints of police
inefficiency or a breakdown in relations between the police and any community
 
This is the first time in South Africa that a community and civil society has won the right for this section of the Constitution to be invoked. Over a period of years we have monitored a number of criminal cases at the Khayelitsha Magistrates’ Court, supported victims and taken testimony from residents about their experiences with police and the courts. We have noted the continued failures on the part of the police and others responsible for safety and justice in Khayelitsha. These failures include protecting people from harm, preventing and investigating crimes and the facilitation of justice timeously and with consideration for victims and families.
 

TAC lodges a complaint with the Public Protector against KZN MEC for health and KZN DoH

KZN Government continues to rollout expensive and dangerous circumcision device

 The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has lodged a complaint with the Public Protector against the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for health and the KZN Department of Health (DoH). The complaint asks the Public Protector to investigate the procurement and ongoing use of the Tara KLamp (TK) to perform medical circumcisions on adolescent and adult men in KZN. The TK is a plastic device that is clamped over the foreskin of a man’s penis for 7 to 10 days until the foreskin dies and falls off (sometimes it has to be surgically removed). 

 The TK is a dangerous device. It has specifically not been approved by the World Health Organisation because it failed in the only clinical trial conducted to test its safety.
 
The TK is also more expensive to use than the standard surgical circumcision methods.
 
TAC has been asking the KZN government to halt the use of the TK since we first learned of its use in early 2010. We have also asked the National Department of Health to intervene. Our efforts have been in vain and we have therefore been left with no choice except to lodge a complaint with the Public Protector.

 

TAC and partners will picket outside the Constitutional Court and at Pollsmoor Prison on 28 August

 “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” -- Nelson Mandela, detained at Pollsmoor Prison from 1982 – 1988. He had TB during this time.

 On 28 August 2012 the Constitutional Court will hear argument in the matter between Dudley Lee and the Minister of Correctional Services. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and partners will at the same time picket outside the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg and Pollsmoor prison in Cape Town.

 TAC, the Wits Justice Project and Centre for Applied Legal Studies, represented by SECTION27, are participating in this case as Amici Curiae in order to persuade the Court to that the Department of Correctional services must reduce the spread of TB in prisons.

TAC complains to the Public Protector about the KZN government

TAC has lodged a complaint with the Public Protector against senior members of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) government. For further details, please attend our press conference this Thursday, 23 August at 12pm. The press conference will include speakers from TAC, the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society of Southern Africa and the South African Medical Association.

The press conference will take place at:

Community Media Trust Durban
331 West Street, West Tower
10 Floor, Room 10 A
Durban CBD

 

Include fixed-dose combinations in new ARV tender

TAC and MSF call for the inclusion of fixed-dose antiretroviral combinations purchased at reasonable prices in South Africa’s new ARV tender

 
When more than one medicine is combined into a single tablet it is called a fixed-dose combination (FDC). Today most tuberculosis (TB) patients in the public sector in South Africa take FDCs, which combine into a single tablet up to four medicines active against drug-susceptible TB.
 
There are also FDCs of many antiretroviral (ARV) regimens, however our public sector does not yet offer them. South Africa’s upcoming ARV tender – expected to cover the period from the start of 2013 to the end of 2014 – is an opportunity to phase out multi-pill ARV regimens in favour of FDCs.
 

TAC intervention leads to important legal advance: public interest concerns are relevant in determining interim interdict in patent cases

TAC intervention leads to important legal advance: public interest concerns are relevant in determining interim interdict in patent cases

On 26 July 2012, the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the matter between the Aventis group of pharmaceutical companies and Cipla’s group of generic pharmaceutical companies.

Tackling TB: Expand access to and improve affordability of diagnostics and treatment

Statement by the Treatment Action Campaign, SECTION27, Médecins Sans Frontières and Oxfam

 
On 12 June 2012, The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), SECTION27, Médecins Sans Frontières and Oxfam hosted a meeting prior to the launch of the 3rd SA TB Conference. The meeting brought together TB clinicians, counsellors, patients, activists and academics. Speakers and participants drew attention to the many challenges and failures of the country’s response to TB and DR TB, but also highlighted important opportunities to begin to reduce new cases and reduce mortality.
 
TB is the number one cause of mortality in South Africa. Expanding diagnosis of and access to treatment for TB and DR TB is crucial to reducing mortality – these services must no longer be limited to certain areas and facilities. Additionally, facilities and patients must have access to better diagnostic tools and medicines, as well as improved access to existing diagnostic tools and medicines.  
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