Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government

Address by Hon. Premier DD Mabuza at the Launch of the HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign, Winnifred Maboea CHC, Lekwa Local Municipality

30 April 2010

Programme Director, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for Health, Ms Patricia Ngobeni,
Minister of Basic Education, Minister Angie Motshekga
MEC for Health and Social Services, MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu
Members of the Executive Council,
MP’s and MPL’s,
Executive Mayor of Gert Sibande District Municipality,
Executive Mayors and Councillors,
Traditional Leaders and our spiritual leaders,
Administrator of Lekwa Municipality, Mr Jabu Sindane,
Members of the Mpumalanga Aids Council,
Health practitioners,
Government’s Social Partners,
The citizens of the Province,
Ladies and gentlemen, 

Today’s launch of the HIV Counselling and Testing campaign is an important and historic moment that marks our nation’s decisive commitment to action in the fight against HIV and Aids.

For a nation besieged by the burden of HIV and Aids, the moment for action is now. Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary actions. Let everyone be part of our collective efforts to fight against the devastating impact of HIV and Aids.  

Addressing the National Council of Provinces in October last year, President Zuma made a clarion call for the nation to take extraordinary measures to deal with the problem of HIV/Aids. He said:

“If we are to stop the progress of this disease through our society, we will need to pursue extraordinary measures. We will need to mobilise all South Africans to take responsibility for their health and well-being and that of their partners, their families and their communities. All South Africans must know that they are at risk and must take informed decisions to reduce their vulnerability to infection, or, if infected, to slow the advance of the disease”

The key message here is that every one of us must take responsibility for turning this situation around. Every one of us, across all sectors, must play a role in the fight against HIV and Aids. As individuals, we must take responsibility for our own health.

Programme Director, the negative impact of HIV and Aids continues to weigh heavily on the health profile of Mpumalanga citizens. The scourge of HIV and AIDS continues to pose serious challenges to the quality of life of many infected and affected citizens. The provincial HIV and Aids prevalence rate is unacceptably high at 35.5%. Mpumalanga is ranked number two, after KwaZulu Natal in terms of HIV and AIDS prevalence.

For us, it is significant that we have selected Gert Sibande District to host the launch of this HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign. This District is one of the top four districts in the country with the highest HIV prevalence rate of 40,5%.

If we are to win this war as a Province, our programmes must make a difference in Gert Sibande.

Programme Director, we are also concerned that the twin evils of HIV and Aids and Tubercolsis continue to decimate our young people. HIV prevalence among youth between 15-25 years of age is high at 26,7%. Equally, Tuberculosis is ranked as number one of the leading causes of death for the age group of 15-24 in Mpumalanga.

This situation cannot be allowed to continue. We need to strengthen the effectiveness of our programmes in the fight against HIV and Aids, Tubercolosis and other opportunistic diseases. 

As the province of Mpumalanga,   we embrace the President’s vision that redirects all of us to focus our energies to fight the scourge of HIV and AIDS once and for all.  

As most of you would know, on the occasion of the celebration of World Aids Day on the 1st of December last year, President Zuma announced groundbreaking new initiatives in the fight against HIV and Aids. Part of new measures focused primarily on prevention is a massive campaign to test 15 million South Africans in one year until June 2011.

As a Province, we are planning to test 1,3 million people by June next year. This is a massive undertaking to mobilise people to know their HIV status. It is meant to support people to take proactive steps to a healthy lifestyle irrespective of HIV status. The HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign will also facilitate referral and access to prevention, treatment, care and support services after testing.

As part of the roll-out of this campaign, Districts will develop their implementation plans to meet stipulated targets. 

As we launch the campaign today, we are calling on everyone in Mpumalanga from individuals, communities, businesses and government to take personal and collective responsibility to stop new HIV infections, provide care and support to those living with HIV and to ensure access to treatment for all people in need. 

Our leaders at all levels, across all sectors, must lead by example. Let me call upon all the people of the Province to go to their health facilities to test for HIV, blood pressure, diabetes, and TB screening, so that we ensure they receive appropriate support and assistance. 

Let us all know our HIV status and take appropriate action to get help before it is too late. 

Thank you.

Issued by Office of the Premier, Mpumalanga Provincial Government


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