TAC WC hosted its Provincial Annual General meeting in Cape Town on the 25-26 March 2013. The AGM was attended by 70 delegates, partners, donors, staff and supporters of TAC from across the Western Cape. The Provincial AGM formally reviewed the work of the organization in the province since the last congress. Part of the process was to have strategic discussions and debate the new organizational form and elect a new provincial secretariat and propose resolutions on the national, provincial and district campaigns that TAC WC should undertake. The opening of the AGM was done by Vuyiseka Dubula, National General Secretary of the organization. The provincial accreditation and credentials was done by Loyiso Mahomba who was followed by Yolande De Monk who did the Chairpersons report and Fredalene Booysen who did the financial report. The key note address was done by Mark Heywood of Section 27.
Most of the discussions and debates happened inside the commissions that covered: (i) Constitutional amendments, (ii) How to build strong branches and sustain the membership of TAC, (iii) Integration of NHI with TB/HIV and the last commission looked at the (iv) relevant structures, committees and platforms that TAC WC should participate in as well as partners that we should be working with.
After much deliberations and vigorous discussions, the AGM came up with some of the following resolutions.
- The Chairpersons forum must be part of the constitution with clear directions as to what this body will constitute and the purpose and its function
- Before branches are formed they need to go through an induction process for 6 weeks which includes in house meetings
- Staff members should not serve as political office bearers
- Staff should be part of a branch
- All newly elected office bearers must be inducted before taking office
- All organograms to be changed into a provincial organogram as well as the change from district office to provincial office to be reflected
- For a branch to be constituted it needs to have 15 members and more
- Sectors (PLWA, youth, women, men and now the LGTBI sector) to be incorporated into the constitution and they should form part of the branches and come out of the branches
- The provincial coordinator will not automatically be the chairperson of the provincial secretariat but an ex officio member of the secretariat and the council
HOW TO BUILD STRONG BRANCHES AND SUSTAIN THE MEMBERSHIP
- This commission first identified the challenges that have made TAC weak and why branches were not functioning, for example: No proper lines of communication, information does not flow, no resources, Lack of support, No commitment from both members and staff, TAC overview not done properly, certain individuals want to own TAC, No Treatment literacy education , People feel that they are not welcome because of attitude, Personal Problems with community members, People are tired with the way we give out the information, Inductions are not done!
- How to build strong branches and sustain the membership:
- Prevention and Treatment Literacy education to all branches every time we have branch meetings
- All the big meetings should include all the branches leaders
- Branches must support each other and each others activities
- Involvement, Networking and partnership with CBOs and participating in all the local structures in your areas
- Members need to do research
- Change the way of recruitment and the behavior as well
- Old members have a role to play
- CMs are not fit enough, this needs to be unpacked
- Leadership Training- soft skills (chairing meeting, writing minutes, public speaking, listening, communicating, treatment literacy) also education on Socialism, Globalization, Privatization
- We need provincial organizer to travel around the province
- New ideas to make TAC exciting- we can use educational documentaries, social dialogues on rape, xenophobia, unemployment, and readings of papers
- We need to Mobilize and make sure the following people are part of our branches and membership: Males, Females, PWAs, Nurses, Teachers, Doctors, Police, Library Staff, LGTBIs, etc.
- Membership: 10 Rand Membership Fee, ongoing training for members, should get a HIV positive T-shirts, trainings for members should be accredited , membership should begin at the age group 13
INTEGRATION OF NHI WITH TB/HIV
- Develop strong partnerships with HIV/TB organizations within the province and represent TAC on the relevant HIV/TB structures within the province (like TB/HIV Care, Sonke Gender Justice, Desmond Tutu, MSF, ARASA, PAC, MSATs, SO4, HAST, DHC, local health committees and forums and Polls Moor)
- An person that will coordinate TB within the province, starting in Khayelitsha, this position will fall under CMs
- Have an internal TB task team that will work closely with health facilities and the community at large
- Intensify community outreach activities which will include the PLWA sector activities on TB/HIV, early initiation and others
- Integration of PLWA sector into this campaign
- Monitor the GeneXpert at facilities
- Continue the work with the provincial NHI coalition
- Intensify Internal and External education, community workshops and awareness on NHI, TB/HIV
- TAC to work closely with the Eden NHI task team that’s already in existence around the monitoring at the Pilot site and all health facilities across EDEN district
- Set up meetings with the provincial and local health officials that is responsible for the NHI
- TAC members to sit in all the relevant TB/HIV structures within EDEN district
- Work closely with HIV/TB organizations within EDEN district
- Work on the resolutions from the NHI summit in Eden that took place in August 2012
- Set a meeting with MEC for health on both HIV/TB and NHI
RELEVANT STRUCTURES, COMMITTEES AND PLATFORMS THAT TAC WC SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN AS WELL AS PARTNERS WE SHOULD WORK WITH
- General meeting will be called to take stock of who is representing the organization on the different platforms and if they are still relevant or if we need to make changes, at the same time they will give feed-back on platforms they have been representing the organization so that we can determine if this messages that we giving out on the different structures and platforms is still in line with the provincial strategy
- Inductions must be given to all the TAC members that will be representing TAC in any platform, committee or structure, locally and provincially
- Monthly and Quarterly meetings will be held with these representatives for them to give feed backs as well as get a mandate from the organization
- Appropriate forms for reporting needs to be filled in or developed
- Structures and platforms we will sit on: clinic committees, MSATs, PAC, SO4, COC HIV/TB coordinating committee, DHC, HAST, ward committees, etc.
- Organizations TAC will work with and sign MOUs with: MSF, NACOSA, SJC, Philani (PTL sessions, social securities, referrals), Ubuntu (education, PTL referrals), Caring Network (bedridden), PHM (NHI), COSATU, SANGOCO, Khayenet (social media), Workers World media, Mosaic/Simelela, Radio Zibolene, Grassroots soccer and Sonke
The WC newly elected provincial secretariat include the following people:
|Position||Name & Surname|
|Deputy Chair||Vathiswa KamKam|
|Deputy Secretary||Vuyokazi Majali|
|Women's representative||Nothando Qabazi|
|PLHIV representative||Andile Madondile|
|LGTBI representative||Pumeza Runeyi|
|Additional members||Ntombi Mfiki Thanduxolo Mngqawa|
While we commemorated World TB day, we need to take stock of the progress we have made in fighting the disease. TB remains the number one cause of death in South Africa with approximately 500,000 new cases of TB disease per year. A further 13,000 new cases of drug resistant TB are projected for 2013. South Africa continues to carry one of the highest TB burdens in the world. The Western Cape is reported to have one of the highest incidences for all smear positive cases of TB in South Africa. The HIV epidemic has led to an enormous increase in the number of TB cases.
Although we welcome many efforts by the NDOH in scaling up its campaign for HIV/TB screening and furthermore making the GeneXpert available across the country (GeneXpert drastically reduces the time to diagnose active TB disease and especially drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). However, the GeneXpert can only make a difference if it leads to faster initiation on treatment. For this to happen, we need uninterrupted cartridge supply and capacity to manage DR-TB at primary care as soon as the patient is diagnosed, this includes adequate resource allocation, training of staff, continuous supply of TB and DR-TB drugs and adequate supervision capacity. Medicine stock-outs, as we saw in 2012, increase the risk of developing drug resistance and endanger the lives of many of South Africa’s people.
We welcome the department’s policy framework on decentralised and deinstitutionalised management of DR-TB for South Africa in 2011. However, we have had to witness with sadness that two years later the policy framework has hardly been implemented. The provincial operational plans for decentralisation of MDR-TB care have not been drafted, nor have readiness assessments been conducted of all proposed decentralised MDR-TB units, satellite units and PHC facilities, nor have doctors and nurses been trained.
New drugs are being developed and tested. Bedaquiline is one example, and we welcome the open label trial to provide expanded access to Bedaquiline. However, we need to increase the number of primary care based sites which are able to manage DR-TB adequately throughout South Africa to ensure our brothers and sisters elsewhere can access this potentially life-saving drug.
We also welcomed the recent cooperation between the Department of Health and the Department of Correctional Services to jointly prioritize and combat TB in prisons and the development of the "Guidelines for the Management of TB, HIV and STIs in Correctional Centers" that have been announced. However, we warn that: Whilst DCS and DOH should work together to improve health in prisons, the DCS remains legally responsible for the work and must be held accountable for it. Whilst the guidelines are a necessary step, the DCS and DOH must remember that detailed set of Standard Orders already exists and controls health care services in prisons. These must be enforced. We must remind the DCS and DoH that guidelines and policy only bear fruit when enabled by budgets and implementation plans. We therefore call for a budget and implementation plan for an effective comprehensive HIV and TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment, cares and support programme in prisons.
For the month of March 2013 the Western Cape province was chosen by the National Department of Health as the province where they will focus on due to our high incidences of TB. TAC and MSF participated in a range of TB activities during TB month, some included having door to door activities in areas like Nkanini in Khayelitsha, pamflateering and education in health facilities. We also participated in a TB march that was co organized by TAC and TB/HIV Care, we participated in a TB picket in Kuyasa area in Khayelitsha as well as a TB picket at Polls Moor prison.
On the 15 March 2013 TAC WC and Free Gender marched against "Hate Crimes" in Khayelitsha from Nkanini to Harare where a memorandum was handed over to the MEC for Safety and Security.
In the past months the LGBTI community of South Africa has witnessed and experienced immense trauma and pain due to the on-going attacks against and the murder of LGBTI people. Free Gender and its allies are angry that there is no statistics that can be produced on the number of hate crimes committed against LGBTI persons. Hate crimes is on the increase and the reporting of hate crimes is increasing.
Up until now we are not clear what the plan of action or the response from our provincial and our local government is towards “Hate Crimes” in the Western Cape.
In the interim and until the ‘Hate Crimes’ Bill is promulgated, we asked for the following measures to be taken to protect the rights and interests of LGBTI persons:
- The Western Cape Province to Name and Shame the perpetrators of violence against women and children
- That the National Prosecuting Authority keep statistics of the number of alleged hate crime cases that they decline to prosecute, the number of hate crime cases that are withdrawn by complainants and the number of convictions of perpetrators of hate crime.
- A clear strategy to combat homophobia and hate crime in the Western Cape province
- LGBTI organizations to be invited to participate in the activities organized by the Western Cape province
- One Joint provincial event in partnership with LGBTI organizations to end homophobia in the province.
- Police to be sensitized to barriers faced by women and LGTBI community reporting cases as well as for the training of police officers in this regard
The memorandum was accepted from a representative on behalf of the MEC for Safety and Security, Mr Dan Plato and a representative from SAPS Khayelitsha.
For more information on this campaign please contact Funeka Soldaat at 076 321 0276 or alternatively you can contact our TAC WC offices at (021) 364 5489
On Monday the 18 February 2013 TAC WC attended the launch of the NHI pilot project in EDEN. The event took place in the George Town Hall, York Street, George. The event was attended by Prof. Craig Househam, Head of Health: Western Cape, Minister Botha, Dr Renette Crous, Chief Director: Rural Districts Health Services, Ms Florence Rhoxo, Director: Department of Education Eden District and many health care workers from the Eden district. Although the National Minister of Health's name appeared on the programme he was not physically present at the launch.
This project is called the Integrated School Health Programme. On display were the three mobile clinics that will be used to reach out to selected schools in the Eden health district. The programme includes health assessments for learners in Grade R and Grade One, which include hearing, eye, gross motor, weight and height and oral health.
There are a total of 163 primary schools and 36 High schools in the Eden health district. One of the main functions of the NHI is to re-engineer primary health care, and the strengthening of the South African health system. The NHI pilot project will be rolled out through a focus on schools and promoting health among learners and preventative health care, whilst rendering quality curative and rehabilitative services.
Western Cape Government opposes the centralization of health facilities and all it is currently being undertaken by the Western Cape Government through the support of the NHI pilot project is to strengthen health services in the Eden District and to provide the country with viable models of health care that have worked and will continue to provide quality patient centered health care services.
It was very worrying to see that there was almost no representation from civil society when this programme was launched for the people. One would have thought that such an important event would have been launched in one of the poor communities of George with as many community members being present.
On the 01 January 2013 a fire started that left about 4000 people homeless and those who lost their lives was about 5 people of which two were children . The main reason why the fire was uncontrollable was because the area is highly dense with no streets for the fire fighters to reach homes. Secondly during this time of the year Cape Town is known for are strong winds. Many families were away in the Eastern Cape for the festive season holidays and they will find no homes in Cape Town as they come back this week. Most families are now temporarily housed in the nearby community hall in Oliver Tambo “Mew Way”.
The TAC Khayelitsha office went to visit the area of disaster and we also have a local TAC branch in the area. We also immediately sent text messages to friends of TAC to donate clothes, blankets, food and anything that they can use.
We managed to locate nine of our TAC member families. These families together added up to more than 33 people including children as young as a month old. We also made a list of those in need to their chronic medications and we found 20 mostly at Ubuntu clinic.
We have set up a TAC team to support made up of:
1. Sonia Tombe in charge of distribution
2. Andile Madondile and Sr Mpumi in charge of those who need medication
3. Andile Madondile and Masa Nkawule in-charge of tracing our members and their families 4.Mthuthuzeli Dutyulwa, Micheal Hamnca and Vuyiseka in -charge of donations and pick-ups
We received donations of clothes and food from Anso Thom, Nicola Brewer, Vuyiseka Dubula, Lynette Marrian, Peter Benjamin, Carohn Cornell and their families. Thank you for their speedy response. We distributed to all the families that we managed to trace, we also received a donation of R1000 which will go towards buying school uniform of the children. Jane Letourneau donated R16 700 towards building material for the 12 families we are helping, Deena Bosch R500, Nathan Geffen R500, Dorete R150, Nicola Brewer R1000, MSF coordination office R3010 . 13 people came forward with clothes, shoes and blankets donations. Mrs Bosch will buy stationery and toiletry for 10 kids.
Please continue to support and share this message to your friends. We need more clothes, blankets, children clothes. If you have something to give, please drop off at TAC Khayelitsha office at Sulani Drive, Town one properties and contact Sonia 078 7037 666 or our office (021) 364 5489
If you wish to make a donation towards a child’s school uniform please use the TAC national account below:
- Account Details: Nedbank, Cape Town
- Account Holder: Treatment Action Campaign
- Account Number: 1009726269
- Branch Code: 100909
- Reference: BM fire or BM relief
Thank you again for your support and we will keep you updated!
The People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAs) sector took the lead on Sunday at the HIV Clinicians Society conference that is currently taking place in Cape Town from 25-28 November at the CTICC. TAC WC and some of our partners had a picket outside CTICC against D4T and for the drug to be phased out in South Africa. After the picket the TAC PLWAs joined the D4T debate on the inside.
Why is a trial with d4T planned in South Africa, when we are doing our best to phase it out, which is recommended both by the WHO and our national guidelines?
PLWAs testified about their bad experience on D4T especially the side effects. There is an agreement amongst TAC PLWAs that D4T should be phased out in South Africa!
For more information about D4T and TACs position, visit out website at: www.tac.org.za
The Treatment Action Campaign Western Cape is delighted with the Khayelitsha magistrate's court ruling and sentencing of Mlulani Gagu who was found guilty of raping seven girls over a period of two years. Gagu’s victims included girls between the ages of 8-12 years old. He has been sentenced to three life terms in prison and he was also found guilty and sentenced to four years for sexually grooming and showing pornography to the children.
This is a case that came to TACs attention in middle 2010 with the TAC attending the first court hearing on the 15th July 2010. We have consistently supported and followed the case and has been organizing protests at all the court hearings. One of the TAC Khayelitsha objectives is to monitor criminal justice cases, especially cases that involves rape and gender based violence.
The ruling and sentencing of Gagu send a tough message that criminal activities are not tolerated and law will take its course. The ruling and sentencing is also a lesson to many other perpetrators who commit crimes against children and women in particular.
TAC is happy that justice has finally been served.
On the 4th September 2012 we got a call from branch members in F section that formula milk is being sold in spaza shops in Khayelitsha, this is formula milk that is not supposed to be sold as it is an government issue and says "not for sale" at the back of the can.
We send out a team to investigate. We went to two Somalian shops to go and buy the formula milk, they charged us R35-00 and the other store is in I-section and they charged us R45-00. We then went to Sis Mpumi to inform her but also to confirm which of the health facilities is giving out this formula feed. We were also informed that there was a similar case of formula milk that was being sold whilst it is an government issue and should be for free, the case was never followed through by the police, no evidence. Our concern is that this is happening again under the same management of the people that is supposed to look after the district health resources but instead we have corruption that takes resources away from our poor people.
We continue with our investigation and our evidence was already given to Forensic Units at both Province and City who is jointly working on this case.
In the meantime, we urge the community of Khayelitsha and in other districts to look out and report such corruption. If you have any information that could assist us with this case, please do not hesitate to contact our district office, for Mthura or Mike or Fredalene at (021) 364 5489.
On the 28th of August 2012, TAC activists and partner organisations gathered outside the Constitutional court and simultaneously at the gates of Pollsmoor prison. At the constitutional court, activists remembered the struggle back in 2002 when the Treatment Action Campaign challenged government’s policy of limiting the provision of Nevirapine to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV to a limited number of mothers in a pilot project.
This Tuesday TAC was back at the constitutional court to support Dudley Lee as he seeks compensation from the Department of Correctional Services for getting infected with TB at Pollsmoor prison.
Lee was a healthy man when he went into Pollsmoor. In June 2003, he was diagnosed with TB.
A year later, after spending four years in prison, he was acquitted of all the charges against him and released. He sued the Minister of Correctional Services at the Western Cape High Court for causing him to become infected with TB by neglecting to implement measures to control TB in prisons.
South Africa has one of the highest incidence rates of TB in the world. TB is the number one cause of death of many South Africans.
It continues to haunt and torture the poor especially people living with HIV. Prisons and mines are mostly vulnerable to the disease. The conditions that Lee endured In Pollsmoor prison and to which many of our brothers and sisters continue to live under are appalling. Being locked up for 23 hours a day and being jammed into cells like sardines with little medical care.
Pollsmoor Prison is a particular example where appalling living conditions and a lack of TB prevention and control measures have turned the prison into a TB breeding ground. The chance of being infected with TB in Pollsmoor is 90%. But this is also a public health menace beyond prison, because prisoners and detainees awaiting trial return to their communities with TB.
We cannot reduce the rate of TB infection without reducing it in prisons first. Let this case be the first one to push the Department of Correctional service to deal with the disease that continuously haunts our prisons and our communities.
TB is an airborne and communicable disease. It doesn’t stay in one place and travels through the air. You could be visiting a family member in prison and easily contract the bacteria and take it back to the community. If South Africa is serious in addressing TB let this case be a starting point as there are many Dudley Lees out there locked into cramped cells. Let this case be the first to push the Department of Correctional service to deal with the disease that continuously haunts our prisons.
The Department of Correctional Services needs to improve the living conditions of prisoners. The new national strategic plan for 2012 to 2016 for HIV/Aids acknowledged the importance of reducing TB infection and vows to reduce TB infections by 50% by 2016. It also recognises prisoners as a key-population that is extremely vulnerable to TB infection. We will not achieve the zero to TB infections unless we start in prisons. Tackling the TB crisis should be one of the government’s priorities.
While we wait for the judgement from the constitutional court, we wish the constitutional court to consider that at the heart of this case are the rights to health and conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity. As section 24 of the constitution states everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing. We need that environment to be actively protected through the implementation of measures to prevent and control disease.
By Sibongile Nkosi, Inland Communications officer