Welcoming Remarks by Hon. Premier DD Mabuza at the SANAC Plenary Meeting

08 November 2014

Honourable Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of South African National Aids Council (SANAC), Mr Cyril Ramaphosa;
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Honourable Members of the Executive Council from various Provinces and our Province;
Honourable Mayors and Councilors;
Members of the AIDS Councils from all Provinces;
Heads of Departments;
Government Officials;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

As a Province we are honoured to, once again, host the SANAC plenary meeting to deliberate and reflect on progress that the nation is making in addressing the devastating impact of HIV and Aids. We do so because we understand the importance of our collective responsibility and commitment towards combating and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS as well as giving support to those who are infected and affected.

Collectively, we have a responsibility to provide leadership in driving programmes and initiatives aimed at preventing the spread of this pandemic. Government, business and civil society formations must join hands and work together to confront HIV and Aids challenges head on. We must mobilise every sector of our society to stand up and fight with all we have to save our nation from this scourge.

Time is of the essence. All of us have a duty not to waste time bickering and pointing fingers while the nation is perishing under the yoke of HIV and Aids. The task at hand is to work together and strengthen partnerships that implement programmes aimed at fighting the spread of HIV and Aids

Honourable Deputy President, I would like to confirm that as Mpumalanga we have risen to the challenge of pulling all sectors our society together to provide the necessary leadership on matters of HIV and Aids. Our political and civil society leaders and organisations are working together to respond to HIV and Aids challenges.

The Premier of the Province chairs the Provincial Aids Council. We have a fully functional Provincial Aids Council that brings together government, business and civil society. We are also pleased that the Executive Mayors are providing the necessary leadership at their levels. Our engagements with the traditional leadership of the Province are very positive. We have identified joint programmes for implementation.

I must take this opportunity to thank SANAC and our partners in providing the necessary support to provincial and local structures to ensure that they understand their roles and deliver on expected outcomes.

Overview of HIV Prevalence

Chairperson, despite progress that we are making as a Province, we are still concerned about HIV prevalence trends.

Whilst some parts of our regions have been recording significant drop in prevalence rates, we have seen notable increases in other regions.

We are concerned by the spike in these figures and this situation has compelled us to double up our efforts in dealing with this scourge. It should be noted that in some instances the increase in prevalence figures has been a direct result of more and more people presenting themselves for testing. Our HCT campaign is bearing fruit.

According to the Mpumalanga Department of Health, HIV prevalence rate for females aged 15-49 for was recorded at 35.6% in 2012, higher than the national average of 29.5%, but declining with more than 1% point between 2011 & 2012.

50% of Mpumalanga’s municipal areas recorded an HIV prevalence rate of 40% plus in 2012 and the highest rate was recorded in Steve Tshwete and the lowest in Dr JS Moroka.

Gert Sibande antenatal HIV prevalence has significantly declined from 46.1% in 2011 to 40.5% in 2012, a decrease by 5.6%. On the other hand, Nkangala antenatal HIV prevalence has increased from 29.6% in 2011 to 32.1% in 2012, though still the lowest in the province.

TB remains the number one cause of death within the province and co-infection with HIV compounds this problem. We are pleased that our TB cure rate is improving.

Meeting the NDP targets

Honourable Deputy President in line with the National Strategic Plan on HIV,STIs and TB (2012 to 2016) as well as the key National Development Plan targets we are prioritizing, among others, the following areas:

  • We want to raise the life expectancy of South Africans to at least 70 years
  • We want to ensure that the generation of under-20s is largely free of HIV
  • We want to significantly reduce the burden of the disease particularly among the elderly
  • We want to achieve an infant mortality rate of less than 20 deaths per thousand live births, including an under-5 mortality rate of less than 30 per thousand
  • For us to be able to raise life expectancy of our people, We have decided on early initiation of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy for all eligible people living with HIV;
  • We are initiating all TB patients on lifelong ARV therapy, irrespective of their CD4 count
  • In conclusion Honourable Deputy President, I would like to assure you that as a Province we are on course. We are committed to playing our leadership role at different levels to ensure that South Africa conquers this pandemic.

    Let me take this opportunity to welcome you and all other esteemed delegates who are gathered here on this very important SANAC plenary session and wish everyone well as we continue to renew our pledge to work even harder to eradicate the scourge of HIV and AIDS.

    I Thank You.

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