On the 21st of June 2012, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Mpumalanga and COSATU hosted a partners meeting in Ermelo to discuss access to health care in the province and a joint programme to educate the community and campaign against corruption in government.
In May 2012 TAC and COSATU met to discuss the programme and draw up a plan of action. Both parties have agreed that the campaign will not just be a one day event but will be a long term event. The objective of this campaign is to achieve active citizenship.
Concerns that were raised during the meeting included:
- Poor health infrastructure, recurring drug shortages and human resources shortages have a negative effect on the provision of quality health services to communities.
- The decision by the provincial legislature to phase out mobile clinics is very concerning and will become a major obstacle for access to health care for rural communities who live very far from health facilities.
- The basis for the allocation of R11 million for the National Health Insurance pilot project.
Key resolutions from the meeting:
- The establishment of a Civil Society Forum for Mpumalanga that will monitor corruption in the province. The forum will also monitor the service delivery protest in the province.
- The group will continue to advocate for the regular seating of ward meetings and ward committees.
- TAC will do community dialogues through their branch specific activities in conjunctions with other civil society organisations.
The two organisations called for;
- Lines of communication between the community and ward councillors need to be established and strengthened.
- The Mpumalanga Premier is called to chair the Provincial AIDS Council and ensure that all District and Local AIDS councils are functioning.
- All acting positions in the department of health need to be filled as soon as possible.
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Congress of South African Trade union (COSATU) will be hosting a stakeholders meeting to launch the “resources for health campaign” on the 21st of June 2012.
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss:
1. Access to quality healthcare
The recent Tenofovir (TDF) shortages have posed a considerable challenge for access to quality healthcare services. Through the monitoring of this shortage in the past few months other issues were identified within the health care system that negatively affect access.
2. Service delivery protests
The outbreak of service delivery protests in the province are alarming. Even more alarming are the reasons behind these protests. TAC and COSATU have noted the importance of educating communities about how issues should be voiced. This meeting will draw up a plan to educate community leaders and municipal officials so that we can have municipalities that respond to the needs of the communities.
3. Eradication of Corruption
Reports about corruption in the province have been on the rise over the last few years. This meeting will make resolutions about how communities can be educated about corruption and channels in place for them to report on corruption activities.
For more information please contact:
Tel: 017 811 5084
Mobile: 072 279 2112
Health facilities in Mpumalanga province are facing a shortage of the antiretroviral drug, Tenofovir (TDF).
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) office in Ermelo has established that Fernie, Volkrust, Amsterdam, Iswepe, Carolina and Mayflower health facilities do not have TDF and have been experiencing this shortage since early January 2012.
In Iswepe, patients that are due to be initiated on to antiretroviral drugs with TDF as part of the regimen are placed on a waiting list until the problem is resolved. The current stocks are only used for those that are already on TDF based regimens to avoid defaulting.
In Carolina, patients are initiated onto Stavudine (D4T) based regimens and those that were changed from D4T to TDF have been temporarily returned to D4T until TDF is in stock.
Responding to TAC’s concerns over the shortages, Department of Health Provincial ARV manager, Mr. Duma Nkosi said the province started late with the initiation of patients on to TDF based regimens. By the time they placed their order to the suppliers, the suppliers did not have the required quantity of TDF because it was already late in the year and they were about to close for the December holidays and were only due to open late January.
The provincial health department has communicated with facilities to borrow TDF from other facilities nearby.
Mr Nkosi said authorities have also communicated with the suppliers of TDF regarding the shortage to provide a letter permitting the department to order from other companies outside of the tender.
Mr. Nkosi has assured TAC that this matter should be resolved by Friday 3 February 2012. TAC continues to monitor the situation with plans of taking appropriate action if the shortage persists beyond the given date.
This shortage comes hot on the heels of the drug shortages that were prevalent in the province in late 2010 until early 2011.
The Ermelo office staff were invited to the Department of Educatio's wellness day event at Swanepoel Stadium in Ermelo on the 7th October 2011. There were company exhibitions, HIV testing stations from the Department of Halth and Broadreach and we were asked to also have an exhibition stand. The day was mostly a soccer tournament with tems from various regions playing against each other. And as fate would have, our Linda Mavuso (district manager) and Sizwe Moloi (CHA coordinator) train with the Department of Educations's Ermelo Team most afternoons. They made it to the finals.
We held our National Health Insurance (NHI )consultations a few days back. The aim of this was to ring togethebranch represantatives andrepresantative from ivil society organisations to go through the National Health Insurance Green Paper. Thiswas also an opportunity for us to help each other get a much clearer understansing of the NHI so that we can be able to make informed recommendations, and also so that we can also educate community members about the NHI.
We also need to have a clear understanding of the NHI if we are going to be acting as monitors for its proper implementation. Some of the resolutions taken at theconsulaon were that civil society needed to be part of the discussions all the way through to implementation so that we can we can protect the NHI from corruption. There was aslo a lenghty discussion aboutcover for every person in the country including illegal immigrants, more especially if funding for the NHI will come from VAT.
A represantative from COSATU also gave a presentation which focused a lot on how we need to guard against corruption. At the end of his presentation, he also spoke about the fight against labour brokers and invited TAC to bea part of the marches that will soon take place in various parts of Mpumalanga.
He also invited us to come and give presentations to all of their affiliates about the NHI.
Here is some of the action fromt the day.
A lot has been happening lately in the health field, with the new NSP, the NHI green paper has just been released and ARV guidelines have been updated. Branch memebrs certainly have a lot of information to absorb in the coming weeks.
Today the TAC branch in Ermelo is doing just that. PTLP's and CHA's are doing a branch education session to ensure that members are up-to-date with all revelant information. Branch members are the link between clinics and the community so it is important that they are know what's happening.
Revolutionary Greetings dear comrades!!!!! Here is the latest edition of the Gert Sibande District newsletter. In this Edition of Gert Sibande District Newsletter May 2011 We welcome our new manager Linda Mavuso, well he's not very new to TAC but is in a new position, look at some of the activities that took place across Mpumalanga and many more.
On the 18-19 March 2011 TAC Mpumalanga hosted a review process of the country’s National
Strategic Plan on HIV of 2007 – 2011, which is coming to an end in June 2011.
The aim of this process was to assist TAC in assessing the progress, challenges and successes of the current NSP. The review identified priorities for the new NSP through key recommendations that included;
* The separation of AIDS Councils from the Department of Health
* Representatives within all AIDS councils at all levels must be liked to a constituency
* ART coverage target need to be increased from 80% - 90%
* Increased advocacy for fixed dose combination therapy.
* In order to mitigate the impending Global Fund shortfall, South Africa needs to create its own funding port (e.g South African AIDS Relief Fund)that will be
- Independent of governement
- May be coordinated within South African AIDS Council (SANAC)
* Extension of HCT to households to reach particularly youth and men,
o With clear confidentiality guidelines
TAC Mpumalanga together will all the partner organisations that were present at the event hope that these and other recommendations that came out of the review process will be taken into full consideration for the upcoming National Strategic Plan.
Check out some of the action below!
Wesselton: The public took to the streets of Wesselton Township in Ermelo for a 3 day protest. The protests, which were violent on occasion, saw over 120 people arrested and two crew members from e-TV attacked by the protesters.
When the protests stated it seemed as though they were service delivery protests and the media was very quick to label it as such. It has however since come to light that the motive for the protests was more political that we initially thought. People are apparently angry over a list of candidates for the upcoming municipal elections; they are claiming alleged discrepancies in the selection process.
Some of the reasons behind the 3-day-long protest, according to community members, were that;
- Most people that are employed in Ermelo are not from Ermelo.
- Poor Service Delivery
- Anger over the new list of ANC candidates for the upcoming municipal elections
A meeting with leaders is scheduled for Monday 21 February. Until then, calm has been restored to the township and there is a heavy police visibility.
I know this is a little overdue but I know most of you will like this. The event was help at Driefontein. 5000 people were expected to on the day but the number could have easily been double that. Obviously my estimation could be a little off, but there were way more than 5000 people there. Remember how TAC Gert Sibande went on a huge mobilising campaign in the weeks leading up to the event? It payed off big time and government did not fail to deliver. All the major service Departments were there;
Community members could among others;
- Apply for ID
- Apply for social grants
- Get birth certificates
- Get tested for HIV
You can download the speech that the deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe gave by clicking here.There was no new policy statement or anything new like last years speech, but he mentioned a few good successes of the HCT campaign.
so without much further ado, check out the pictures below!
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