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.
The 6th South African AIDS Conference opened last night in Durban. Sifiso Nkala of the TAC took the stage and accepted the Dira Sengwe Leadership Award on behalf of the TAC. The award “recognises ethical beacons and leaders in AIDS” and was awarded to the TAC in recognition of its critical role in the HIV movement since its inception.
The conference, as the HIV movement more broadly, must be led by the people for whom the ideas and decisions discussed at it mean the most – people living with HIV, yet Sifiso was the only person openly living with HIV to share the stage at the opening ceremony. In the tradition of TAC activism, Sifiso took the opportunity of TAC’s receipt of the award to address the conference audience of around 2500 on the challenges that cripple the health system, cost lives and show that the end of AIDS is not so near as some would have us believe.
With the vitally important UN High Level meeting on AIDS only one week away, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) has issued an important resolution setting out the country’s position in the negotiations for a renewed commitment to HIV and TB.
On 16 and 17 September 2010, over 60 members of civil society organisations and trade unions met to discuss their work and their efforts – independently and through the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) – to strengthen the national response to HIV and to achieve the goals of the National Strategic Plan (NSP). The aim of the meeting was to define a new agenda going forward for civil society activism both within and independent of SANAC and to focus on our human right to health.
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.”
In July 2007, at the time of the publication of its last 18-month review, the ALP was still in its infancy. It had just re-fashioned itself as an independent not-for-profit organisation, having separated itself from the University of the Witwatersrand, moved offices, registered as a law clinic, complied with a range of corporate law requirements, appointed a Board of Directors, and commenced upon a new organisational life whilst pursuing essentially the same mission.