COMMEMORATING 10 YEARS OF ARVS IN THE PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM – BUT WILL WE GET TO 20 YEARS?

·       TAC pulls out all the stops to keep our heartbeat alive as we mark 10 years of ARVs 
 
·       Justice Edwin Cameron, Ahmed Kathrada, Barbara Hogan, Claire Johnston, Gail Johnson, Pieter Dirk Uys, Glenda Gray, Vuyiseka Dubula, Jay Naidoo and Justice Johann Kriegler and many others to join TAC Ten Year Reunion and Rededication on World AIDS Day, Monday December 1.
 
JOHANNESBURG, 26th NOVEMBER 2014: This year marks ten years of antiretrovirals in South Africa. This is a huge milestone and is a cause for celebration. But there are now worrying indications that the AIDS response is stalling – and perhaps beginning to unravel. Literally hundreds of thousands of lives are in jeopardy – a situation only worsened by the Treatment Action Campaign’s funding crisis.
 
In his June 2014 budget vote speech Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi stated that 37% of patients starting antiretroviral treatment are lost to follow-up three years after initiating treatment. In addition, less than 40% of those who are on treatment are known to be virally suppressed. A survey published by the Stop Stockouts Project late in 2013 found that one in five healthcare facilities had experienced a stockout of key HIV or TB medicines at least once in the preceding three months. A new survey to be released in early 2015 shows that the situation has not improved this year.
 
Therefore whilst TAC will be commemorating the success of starting over 2 million people on ARVs with a high profile ‘Activist Reunion’ on World AIDS Day, TAC will also engage in a nationwide week of action and fundraising within our communities highlighting the critical issues yet to be addressed.
 
 
World AIDS Day 2014: Celebration?
 
While the reality on the ground is worrying, instead of addressing the issues the government and South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) have decided to “celebrate” World AIDS Day in an event costing at least ZAR 4 million in the Free State – a province currently facing a severe health system crisis that costs many lives.
 
TAC will not be boycotting the government’s World AIDS Day event but neither will we dignify it with our participation. We have raised our concerns and they have been ignored. Instead our branches will be carrying out door-to-door campaigns, rolling out education messages and distributing condoms in our local communities. A list of some of these events is provided below. Interventions we feel strongly are more critical. We cannot in good conscience participate in an event in Free State while people die as they wait for ambulances that never arrive, or where hospitals report not having the most basic equipment and medical stocks.
 
TAC questions the impact of expensive World AIDS day celebrations. For instance Gert Sibande - a district in Mpumalanga with the highest prevalence of HIV amongst pregnant women at 46% and the venue of last year’s multi-million Rand World AIDS Day government event - still remains in crisis with a high HIV prevalence and a crumbling health system. We are tired of expensive World AIDS Day events that bring a bit of attention to a heavily affected area for one day and leave the realities of people living with HIV unaddressed. We say stop the circus.
 
This week TAC will draw attention to the importance of the primary healthcare system with a week of action starting on 26th November. Through its branches and members TAC monitors hundreds of clinics and hospitals. Our members are the people who need the public health system to work, so they are the first to notice when it doesn’t. The local activism of TAC’s members is the true life-blood of the organisation. By organising locally, our members demand accountability and quality healthcare services where the services are actually delivered.
 
This week over 80 TAC branches will engage in a number of community-based activities to raise funds and build support for TAC whilst highlighting the major problems still facing the healthcare system. These include community to clinic fun runs – as comrades are “Running for Our Lives” – queue in’s at local health facilities as comrades demand access to HIV testing whilst demonstrating long waiting times & staff shortages, clinic monitoring of medicine stockouts and quality of services, condom distribution, and much more.
 
We know that there are serious challenges at clinic level including sporadic stock outs of medicines, staff shortages, overcrowded buildings, under pressure referral systems, poor infection control and long queues. However, TAC is not in the business of sitting on the sidelines and pointing fingers – TAC members and employees work tirelessly, often in partnership with healthcare providers, to draw attention to that which works and that which needs help.
 
 
Update on #SaveTAC
 
Since the start of the public fundraising drive, nearly ZAR 1.5 million has been donated to keep TAC afloat from supporters in South Africa and across the world. This is only one fifth of our target. Yet it is enough to fully fund one of our essential national campaigns – for instance the campaign to stop the health crisis that is ravaging through the Eastern Cape.
 
We truly thank those who have donated already, but call on others who have indicated their support for saving lives to fulfil their commitments to make a donation to TAC. There are only five days left to show your commitment to supporting active civil society organisation to prevent HIV and TB.     
 
 
Activist Reunion and Rededication
 
On Monday, December 1, TAC, SECTION27 AND MSF will join hands to celebrate 10 years of ARVs. All three organisations have played a role in getting South Africa to the point today where reportedly over 2-million people living in South Africa access lifesaving antiretrovirals. However, we know we did not get to this point, via a smooth path. It was a rocky road with many setbacks and the deaths of many beautiful and brave people, including children. As much as we need to celebrate we need to pause, remember and make sure we never return to the dark days before 2004.
 
The Reunion, hosted in Johannesburg on Monday, December 1, will be involve many individuals who who had played a key role in our struggles for better health and treatment. These include Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron, former TAC General Secretary Vuyiseka Dubula, former Health Minister Barbara Hogan, struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada, social justice activist Jay Naidoo and people living with HIV such as Hazel Tau and Busi Maqungo were key applicants in court cases that saved thousands of lives. Artists and AIDS activist Pieter Dirk-Uys (Evita Bezuidenhout) will also perform at the event. There will be recorded messages from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe.
 
We call on South Africans to look back to a dark time in our history before 2004 and say “Never again”.
 
Please support TAC and donate to #SaveTAC. www.tac.org.za/donate
 
 
MEDIA CONTACTS:
For media enquiries and to arrange interviews contact the following people:
 
For general enquiries and provincial activities:
Lotti Rutter / lotti.rutter@tac.org.za / 081 818 8493
Butho Mpofu / mpofu@section27.org.za / 084 020 0528
 
World AIDS Day Reunion:
Molly Slingsby-Smit / Media Liaison / 083 522 2550
 
Government World AIDS Day:
Anele Yawa / TAC General Secretary / 079 328 1215
 

 

 
WEEK OF ACTION EVENTS:
 
Wednesday 26th November
 
FREE STATE: 300 Community Healthcare Workers will march to the Free State Department of Health in Bloemfontein.
LIMPOPO: Community dialogue promoting screening for cervical cancer and provincial fundraising in Thomo.
 
 
Thursday 27th November
 
EASTERN CAPE, FREE STATE, GAUTENG, KWAZULU-NATAL, & MPUMALANGA: Branches will engage in over 60 community-based activities to raise funds and build support for TAC whilst highlighting the major problems facing the healthcare system. These include community to clinic fun runs – as comrades are “Running for Our Lives” – queue in’s at local health facilities as comrades demand access to HIV testing whilst demonstrating long waiting times & staff shortages, clinic monitoring of medicine stockouts and quality of services, condom distribution, and much more.
 
LIMPOPO: 400 comrades will march to the Limpopo Department of Health to demand urgent action to improve the provincial health system and in particular access to emergency medical services (ambulances) and cervical cancer screening.
 
 
Saturday 28th November
 
WESTERN CAPE: Community based fundraising events across Cape Town district.
 
 
Monday 1st December – World AIDS Day
 
JOHANNESBURG: TAC Activist Reunion featuring Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron, former TAC General Secretary Vuyiseka Dubula, former health minister Barbara Hogan, struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada, social justice activist Jay Naidoo and a number of individuals who were key applicants in critical court cases. A full list of attendees with biographies will be made available and interviews arranged.
 
 
MEDIA CONTACTS:
 
For media enquiries and to arrange interviews contact:
 
Lotti Rutter / lotti.rutter@tac.org.za / 081 818 8493
Ngqabutho Mpofu / mpofu@section27.org.za / 084 020 0528
Mary-Jane Matsolo / mary-jane@tac.org.za / 079 802 2686
 
For media enquiries related to specific province activities please contact the spokespeople outlined below.
------
FULL EVENT LISTINGS:
 
Wednesday 26th November
 
Free State: 400 Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) together with the Treatment Action Campaign will march to Bophelo House, the headquarters of the Free State Health Department to demand urgent action on the on-going crisis in the Free State health system and the immediate reinstatement of the CHWs who lost their jobs in April 2014. Amongst the CHWs will be the 126 who were arrested in July 2014 following a peaceful night vigil who have yet to be sentenced. All decided to plea not guilty in September 2014.
 
WHEN:
09h00 - Assembly at Pelonomi Hospital, Doctor Belcher Road, Raamkraal
10h30 - Arrive at Bophelo House, Free State Department of Health
 
MEDIA SPOKESPERSON: Selinah Hlaba-Hlaba 071 005 3326
 
 
Limpopo: Community dialogue in Thomo will take place to demand access to cervical cancer screening services in Limpopo to stand in solidarity with women of South Africa during the 16 days of activism. Two TAC branches will carry out door-to-door community engagement across five communities followed by a dialogue that will additionally draw attention to TAC’s financial crisis and raise local funds.
 
WHEN: 10h00
WHERE: Thomo Village Sport Centre
 
MEDIA SPOKESPERSON:
- Provincial Organiser - Jennifer Milambo: 073 068 0416
- Provincial Women’s Representative - Beatrice Maluleke: 083 880 8530
 
 
Thursday 27th November
 
Eastern Cape: All Eastern Cape branches will engage in community dialogues, local fundraising and local campaign activities.
 

 

 

Mevana, Lusikisiki
09h00

Education on cervical cancer

Xurhana
10h00

Football, HIV testing and education activities

Mantlaneni, Lusikiski
11h00

Fundraising in local taverns, condom distribution

Palmerton, Lusikisiki
09h00

Donation on Taverns and shops doing education on condom use

Bodweni, Lusikisiki
09h00

Traditional dance concert and Education on GBV

Mpoza, Lusikisiki
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Qaukeni, Lusikisiki
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Flagstaff, Lusikisiki
09h00

Football tournament and community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Bizana, Port St Johns
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Magwa, Lusikisiki
09h00

Magwa tea project and community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and our campaigns

Malangeni, Lusikisiki
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs, a charity football match

Goso Forest, Lusikisiki
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Zibeleni, Queenstown
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Queenstown, Lusikisiki
09h00

Donation from branch members and education at Methodist church

Machibini, Queenstown 
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Langa, Uitenhage
09h00

Donation from branch members and education at Methodist church

Nobuhle, Uitenhage
09h00

Traditional dance concert and education on gender based violence

Zanothando, Buffalo city
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Zanempilo, Buffalo city
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Masakhane, Buffalo city
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Braelyn, Buffalo city
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Sakhisizwe, Buffalo city
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

Joza, Cacadu
09h00

Community outreach to raise awareness and promote HIV testing and adherence to ARVs

 
 
Free State: TAC Free State will host a fun run from the local community of Dinaweng to Batho Clinic to monitor local services. The healthcare system in Free State is currently in collapse and TAC has received reports of clinics that are under staffed, lacking essential equipment and medicine stockouts, without electricity/water/toilets, and facing lengthy waiting times. After monitoring the clinic the runners will head to Mangaung Sports Ground for a fundraising event including football games and featuring the following artists: S’Goloza, DJ Motswako, Kakapa, Selinah Hlaba-Hlaba, Amanda Chiwaka.
 
SEE FLYER: http://on.fb.me/11ri6Qc
 
WHEN: 09h30 meeting at Dinaweng 
WHERE: Dinaweng to Batho Clinic; Batho Clinic to Mangaung Sports Ground
 
MEDIA SPOKESPERSON:
- Oupanyana Mohutsioa / 071 707 4127
- Patrick Mdletshe / 072 182 6833
 
 
Gauteng:

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Daveyton

Mall to mall  walk, to taxi ranks escorted by SAPS

Daveyton mall/Daveyton main clinic-Mayfield mall

Jabu Mahlangu and Senzo Zwane

0787445767

  1. Pimville

Walk and run

Pimville clinic to Baragwanath mall-9h00

Michael Mhlanga

0737734067

  1. Mofolo Branch run from 9h00 Lungile Thamela at 076 012 running

 

Mofolo clinic USAVE to 7940 and the BO

 

Xolane Sawuka at 060 304
 

  1. Katlehong south

Open day at the clinic and car wash

Moleleki clinic

Tshewu Mosedi

0760970413

  1. Garankua

Mobilisation for HCT and fundraising

Garankua, zone 4,Mamelodiaxi rank stanza hall and stand Soshanguve block P&Y

Brenda Masango and Goodness

0737395158 & 0837283614

  1. Mamelodi

 

  1. Soshanguve
  1. Caltornville

Donations request and material distribution

Khutsong ext 5

Tshepo Maboe

0766319162

  1. Boitomelo

Donation and material distribution

 

Pamela Ramba

0781484008 and 0766319162

  1. Vosloorus

Fun walk ext. 28 to J Dumane 9h00

Ext 28 Clinic  to  J Dumane clinic

Patience Radebe and Sibongile Tshabalala

0712265888

  1. Tokoza Branch

Walk to clinics 10h00

Phenduka clinic-Dresser clinic

Wiseman Maduna

0833389044

 

 

 

 

To arrange interviews please contact Lotti on 081 818 8493

 
KwaZulu-Natal:
 
All KZN branches will engage in clinic monitoring, HIV testing, and community engagement. They will highlight the low quality of clinic services and long waiting times by mobilising communities to get tested at the same time. This will
 
uMlazi: Branches will gather at 08h30 at AA in uMlazi until 10h00 after which they will do community outreach, condom distribution and door-to-door engagement.
 
Ntuzuma: Branches will gather at 08h30 at Ntuzuma Clinic to 10h00 after which they will do community outreach, condom distribution and door-to-door engagement.  
 
Mpolwene: Branches will gather at 08h00 at Mpolwene Hall to do a community dialogue.
 
Mazuzu: Branches will gather at 08h30 at Mazuzu Tavern to do community outreach, condom distribution and door-to-door engagement.
 
Eshowe: Branches will gather at 08h30 at Townboard Clinic to 10h00 after which they will do community outreach, condom distribution and door-to-door engagement. Partners will include SHINE.
 
Ncinyana: Branches will gather at 08h30 to do community outreach, condom distribution and door-to-door engagement. Partners include Red Cross, and MSF.
 
Mabuyeni: Branches will gather at 08h30 at Mabuyeni Clinic to 10h00 after which they will do community outreach, condom distribution and door-to-door engagement.
 
To arrange interviews please contact:
Promise Makhanya: 073 885 1783
Sandile Khumalo: 073 242 0440
Mzamo Zondi: 082 268 2531
 
 
Limpopo: 400 members from TAC Limpopo will be marching to the Provincial Health Department to demand urgent action to strengthen the Limpopo health system including long-term plans to improve emergency medical services, health worker positions to be filled, & access to cervical cancer screening services. The march will form part of the Resources for Health Campaign.
 
Assembly: Starting at SABC Park Polokwane to Provincial Department of Health 09h30
Arrive at Provincial Department of Health: 11h00
Memorandum handover to MEC of Health: 13h00
 
MEDIA SPOKESPERSON:
Solanga Milambo – Provincial Chairperson: 072 865 7771
Amukelani Maluleke –Provincial Coordinator: 083 974 7398
Boster Chauke –Provincial Secretary: 078 582 8123
 
 
Mpumalanga:
 
Matsulu - Ehlanzeni District: This branch will engage on a door-to-door activity at the shopping complex building and surrounding business areas highlighting the challenges of medicine stockouts, staff shortages and the non-adherence to national standards especially lengthy waiting times. The branch will then demonstrate the importance of donating TAC and keeping it alive for such advocacy work to continue and remain functional. The branch will depart from Matsulu Clinic gate to shopping complex at 8h00.  
Media contact: Gabisile Mbuyane (District Organiser) 083 474 8449
 
Ermelo - Gert Sibande District:
8:00 educational talk at MN Cindi clinic on SRHR
M.N Cindi Clinic @Mandela drive &corner OR TAMBO Street. Ermelo 2350
10:00 Walking and encouraging health and wellness doing door to door where we will be  asking for donations from different individual  and distributing condoms and equal treatment.
Media contact: Thobile Madonsela (Branch Organiser) 072 510 3080 
 
Standerton – Gert Sibande District
Mobilising people from clinics, schools, churches and community. Walk from Msimango clinic to the sporting complex at 10h00 followed by local fundraising activities. Meeting at N.M Msimango Clinic, Lushaba Street, Standerton.
Media contact: Nelisiwe Malinga (National Deputy Chairperson) 084 893 4991
 
Vukuzakhe – Gert Sibande District
The Vukuzakhe branch will start at the morning will be doing a health talk, at 10h00 they will depart to the Vukuzakhe clinic (Mavuso Street, Pixley KaSeme Municipality) to do education. Following this they will visit the tavern for local education on HIV awareness issues and ask for donations. Topics to be covered prevention of mother to child transmission, birth control and LGBTQIA.
Media contact: Sindi Kuhlase (Branch Organiser) 083 330 8567
 
 
Saturday 29th November
 
Western Cape:
A range of activities will take place in the Western Cape (Khayalitsha, Philipi, Harare, Litha Park, France, Mfuleni, KTC, Kuyasa, Nkanini) including car washes, partner engagement, door to door outreach in communities, clean up campaigns, targetting shops and doctors for donations. For more details contact: 
Partners: Neliswa 078 172 3863,
Car washes: Micheal 071 3171 349, Anelisa 073 6141 573, Nonstasa 060 5254 015, Ntshansa  078 768 0796, Ntosh 083 899 2346
Door to doors: Siyavuya Luzuko 072 517 6525, Nonzukiso 073 560 4826, Anathi 081 736 5026, Zandile 061 3106196, Ncedisa 078 819 4303
Clean up campaign: Nomtumsi 073 900 0475
Media enquiries: 021 364 5489
 
Monday 1st December -- World AIDS Day
 
Johannesburg: On Monday, December 1, TAC, SECTION27 AND MSF will join hands to celebrate 10 years of ARVs. All three organisations have played a role in getting South Africa to the point today where reportedly over 2-million people living in South Africa access lifesaving antiretrovirals. However, we know we did not get to this point, via a smooth path. It was a rocky road with many setbacks and the deaths of many beautiful and brave people, including children. As much as we need to celebrate we need to pause, remember and make sure we never return to the dark days before 2004.
 
The Reunion, hosted in Johannesburg on Monday, December 1, will be involve many individuals who who had played a key role in our struggles for better health and treatment. These include Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron, former TAC General Secretary Vuyiseka Dubula, former Health Minister Barbara Hogan, struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada, social justice activist Jay Naidoo and people living with HIV such as Hazel Tau and Busi Maqungo were key applicants in court cases that saved thousands of lives. Artists and AIDS activist Pieter Dirk-Uys will also perform at the event. There will be recorded messages from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe.
 
Interviews available on request.
 
WHEN: 11h00 – 15h00
 
MEDIA LIAISON:
Molly Slingsby-Smit / Media Liaison / 083 522 2550