In South Africa, as in any society, people’s health is a major factor in both personal and social development. But in South Africa, unlike many other societies, people have a constitutional right both to access health services and to be treated in a way that should improve their health. For example, the rights to dignity, authonomy and equality should all inform and have an impact on the right to health. But despite this, South Africa is a very unhealth society and many indicators of health are getting worse. The HIV epidemic, violence against women, and homelessness all have a negative impact on health.
In our submission to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on the draft Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research Framework, we noted that “[w]hile we continue to advocate for the development of an intellectual property framework in South Africa that generally facilitates access to essential products, our primary concern is that the legislation and regulations . . . that will result from this process make particular provision for ensuring access to the products of research that were developed using public resources.”
A week after Cabinet adopted the Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, Management and Treatment for South Africa (“the Operational Plan”) in November 2003, MM – an inmate at Westville Correctional Centre and the seventh applicant in the case of EN v Government of Republic of South Africa (No 1) – was diagnosed withoesophageal candidiasis, an AIDS-defining illness.
We welcome the opportunity to comment on the draft NSP 5-year plan. Although we are aware that the Chief Director: HIV/AIDS and STDs has requested only short inputs (“not essays”) the complexity of the plan, and its importance to South Africa, has required the detailed response below. In addition, whilst working on this submission a further draft (dated 14 November 2006) has been made available. However, most of the points we deal with below remain relevant.
The AIDS Law Project (“the ALP”) and the Treatment Action Campaign (“the TAC”) welcome the release of the Strategic Framework for the Human Resources for Health Plan (“the Strategic Framework”) for public comment and discussion. We further welcome the express acknowledgement therein by the Department of Health (“the DoH”e need for appropriate human resources for health (HRH) planning and recognise the substantial work that has gone into the development of the Strategic Framework.
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.
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”).
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.”
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”).