The AIDS Law Project (ALP) welcomes this opportunity to make written submissionson the Health Professions Amendment Bill [B 10 – 2006] (“the Bill”). As an organisation that has consistently sought to ensure that the Health Professions Council (“the Council”) holds health professionals to account, we welcome the Bill and the many positive contributions we believe it will make in advancing and safeguarding the public interest.
Since October 2005 the TAC and the AIDS Law Project (ALP) have assisted HIV positive inmates at Westville Prison in acquiring ARVs that have routinely been refused to them by prison authorities. Situated in Kwazulu Natal, one of the provinces most severely affected by HIV/AIDS, Westville had steadfastly prevented TAC or other NGOs from conducting treatment workshops, treatment literacy programs, or any form of HIV awareness training.
The AIDS Law Project (“the ALP”) takes this opportunity to thank you and the Innovation Fund’s Intellectual Property Management Office for facilitating and hosting the provincial consultation workshop held in Cape Town on 30 March 2006. My colleague Fatima Hassan and I found the event to be extremely useful in understanding the context within which the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) from Publicly Financed Research Framework (“the policy framework”) is situated. In addition, it provided us with an opportunity to float, consider and refine our formal submissions on the policy framework.
Government Notice 2007 of 2005 (Government Gazette No. 28214 of 11 November 2005) calls for submissions – amongst other things – on a methodology for conforming with international benchmarks of the prices of medicines. According to the notice, the methodology will be determined and published by the Minister of Health (“the Minister”) in terms of regulation 5(2)(e) of the Regulations Relating to a Transparent Pricing System for Medicines and Scheduled Substances (“the pricing regulations”).
Apart from our obvious interest in this Charter as a provider of legal services, the AIDS Law Project has been centrally involved in broader efforts to expand access to justice. In February 2005, the ALP co-hosted a conference on improving access to legal services for people living with HIV.
Disability grants or antiretrovirals? A quandary for people with HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Article by Chloe Hardy and Marlise Richter published in the African Journal of AIDS Research Volume 5 (1) 2006.
According to the Department of Social Development, disability grants are available to adult South African citizens and permanent residents who are incapacitated and unable to work due to illness or disability.
A number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs) have accessed disability grants once they have fulfilled the criteria set down by the Department of Social Development. Current government policies entitle PWAs, a least in theory, to access antiretroviral medications. Where PWAs have been able to access antiretroviral treatment (ART) through the government’s antiretroviral programme, this has led to an improvement in their health and subsequent disqualification for a disability grant.
In an advertisement placed in the Sunday Times (dated 23 October 2005 and entitled “Call for Submissions”), the Pricing Committee invited “interested parties to provide input on an appropriate dispensing fee as envisaged in terms of section 22G of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, Act No. 101 of 1965” (the Medicines Act). In particular, the advertisement called for interested parties to “provide input on all issues that are relevant to the determination of an appropriate dispensing fee.”
Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill
The National Working Group on the Sexual Offences Bill made a submission on 30 October 2005. This submission begins by explaining why violence against women is an obstacle to the socio-economic development of South Africa. It then provides statistics on the extent of the problem before setting out the policies and laws which have been developed to address violence against women, or gender-based violence.
The AIDS Law Project (“ALP”) welcomes the objectives underpinning Sections 27, 70 and 71 (“the Sections”) of the proposed Draft Revenue Laws Amendment Bill, 2005 (“the Bill”) to increase access to private health services. In this way, the Bill seeks to achieve its objective through the provision of tax subsidies for medical contributions and expenses to self employed and formally employed persons, including their dependants (beneficiaries). It also aims to remove the distinction between on site and off site medical services, an area of the proposals that we are particularly supportive of.
The AIDS Law Project (“the ALP”) welcomes, in principle, the move by the Department of Health (“the DOH”) to repeal the Nursing Act 50 of 1978. The memorandum on the objects of the Nursing Bill (“the Bill”) states that its primary purpose is to “transform the Nursing Council so as to increase the protection of the interests of the public” as well as to increase the accountability of the Nursing Council (“the SANC”).