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Monday, August 10, 2020
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    SANAC visited GMM for the first time

    Deputy President David Mabuza visited the Gert Sibande District on Saturday, 23 November. The meeting took place to discuss the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs and also to talk about the functionality of Provincial District AIDS Councils. This was the sixth extended plenary but the first in our area.
    The SANAC Plenary received and discussed progress updates on the country’s comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS, TB and STI’s including the roll out of the Checka Impilo National Wellness Campaign, preparations for the World AIDS Day 2019, SANAC’s Sex Worker Plan, Human Rights Plan as well as addresses by Chairperson of SANAC Civil Society Forum, Ms Steve Letsike, Minister of Heath Dr Zweli Mkhize and Mpumalanga Premier Ms Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane.
    Deputy President David Mabuza also addressed the Provincial Men’s Parliament on Saturday. This is an initiative of the South African National AIDS Council and the Department of Social Development with the broader Takuwani Riime movement in mind, supported by Deputy President David Mabuza. This outreach was the first of its kind in the Gert Sibande District.
    In Deputy President David Mabuza’s opening remarks, he said the following: “Earlier this year, the Department of Health reported that just over 838,000 people tested positive for HIV for the period from January to December 2018. The highest incidence rates were recorded in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. 
    The province of Mpumalanga is sitting with 76,007 of new HIV-positive cases.”
    He continued: “As we have said before, one HIV infection is one too many. Working with our partners in civil society and in the business community, it is possible to reverse the HIV pandemic that has affected approximately 7.4 million people who are HIV-positive.   
    We need to continue putting in practical and decisive measures to reduce this level of incidence as we know how disproportionally it affects young women.” Ms. Mmapaseka Steve Letsike, SANAC Co-Chairperson representing Civil Society, also had a chance to address the people. Here are excerpts from her speech: “Let me take this opportunity to again congratulate the 6th Administration in securing the trust and confidence of the South Africans in taking the country forward. Since a clearer look at the ESA Commitment and integration of School Health Programme between DBE and DOH, and also with the support programmes by Civil Society Organisations such as Rise, Dreams, First Things First, AGYW, Boys Projects, YOLO, Treatment support programmes and so forth we  noted a steady decrease in new infections among adolescent girls and young women from 2 500 to 1 000 infections per week and early and unintended pregnancies from over 99 000 in 2013 to 82 00 in 2017.” In Deputy President David Mabuza’s closing remarks he said: “Of continuing concern to all stakeholders gathered here, is that our HIV pandemic is linked to pervasive gender inequality accompanied by the violation of human rights of vulnerable sectors in our society. The abuse, murder and rape of women, children, persons with disabilities, lesbians, gays and transgender persons must be addressed as part of our comprehensive response to the challenges of HIV and Aids.” He continued: “The functionality of these AIDS Councils must be our urgent priority. Premiers and Mayors must play a central leadership role. We expect all Aids Councils to be functional by the end of March 2020. Not only should we ensure that they are set up and functional, we must ensure that regular meetings are convened, and there are tangible programmes that are being implemented and monitored. We are determined to work even harder in mobilising more support from the private sector as we strengthen our response to the challenges of HIV and Aids and TB. Once again, let me thank all of you, and invite you to be part of our community outreach programme today.”
    The day was characterised by the blue light brigade speeding through town and even an accident because of their speeding. – Ané Prinsloo

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    SANAC visited GMM for the first time