SECTION27 is a public interest law centre that seeks to influence, develop and use the law to protect, promote and advance human rights. Our name is drawn from the section in the South African Constitution which enshrines everyone's right to health care, food, water and social security.
On Friday 16 March 2012, health workers, counselling organisations, activists and a representative of the National Department of Health met in Hillbrow to discuss how to improve HIV testing and counselling. The meeting was hosted by the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, the Treatment Action Campaign and SECTION27.
The participants have produced a joint statement on “How we can improve HIV testing and counselling”. The statement contains a number of recommendations regarding testing and counselling of children, the role of counsellors in the public health system and self-testing, amongst others.
For the full statement and a full list of presentations and documentation from the meeting click “read more” below
We are a range of organisations who campaign for the right to health, and/or who provide health care services to poor people who depend on the public health sector. We fully support the efforts of the government to improve health care services. We also support unions and their members who are at the front line of health care provision, and who justifiably try and draw attention to the difficult conditions in which most health care workers operate.
TAC and SECTION27 call on government and unions to find an urgent solution to the human resource crisis in the health system.
On 6th September 2010 the public sector strike was suspended to allow trade unions to consult their members on whether to accept the government’s revised offer on pay and other conditions. We urge the union members to seriously consider this offer as the public health system cannot afford a return to the strike. We are aware that many workers will regard acceptance of the offer as a compromise and that it may not satisfy public sector workers’ demands for a reasonable standard of living or a salary commensurate with the contribution they make to our society. Nonetheless we believe that it should be accepted.
The Department of Health has given the go-ahead for patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART) to be given three months supply of medicines instead of one month. The TAC and SECTION27 welcome this decision. It will be more convenient for patients because they will have to make fewer trips to their health facility. It will also reduce patient-load on the health system, particularly on health facility pharmacies given the shortage of pharmacists in the public health system. In a memorandum dated 2 July 2010, the Department of Health states, “There is no indication of any legislation prohibiting the supply of medicines for three months to any one patient. This practice should only be implemented once the patient has proved stable on the regimen.”