South Africa committed to achieving universal access

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South Africa committed to achieving universal access

08 March 2010

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Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe (left) met with Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund (right) and Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director (second from right). Luthuli House, Johannesburg 8 March 2010. Credit: Juda Ngwenya/The Global Fund

South Africa is transforming its AIDS response. Today, the Deputy President of South Africa HE Mr Kgalema Motlanthe met with Executive Directors of UNAIDS and Global Fund in Johannesburg. He recommitted his government’s commitment to meet their universal access targets.

“AIDS is one of the top priorities for South Africa and we will work with development partners and civil society,” said Deputy President Mr Motlanthe.

In its annual budget for 2010-2011, the country has proposed a budget of US$ 1.1 billion for the AIDS response, the biggest domestic investment in a developing country. South Africa has recently taken the responsibility of providing antiretroviral treatment from its own budget and aims to provide access to nearly 2.1 million people living with HIV.

“A successful AIDS response in South Africa can break the trajectory of the global AIDS epidemic,” said Mr Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director. “South Africa must lead the region in stopping all new infections and providing treatment for everyone who needs it.”

At the meeting the Deputy President also pledged to support the regional and global AIDS response and advocate for a fully funded Global Fund. The Global Fund also invited the Deputy President to participate in the Third replenishment conference that will be chaired by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in October this year. Sustaining investments in health and development are critical if the world has to reach the millennium development goals

South Africa must lead the region in stopping all new infections and providing treatment for everyone who needs it.

Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director

“We welcome South Africa’s support in fully funding the Global Fund,” said Dr Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director. “We cannot afford to let down the millions who are still waiting to receive treatment and prevention services.”

UNAIDS also called on South Africa to leverage the upcoming football 2010 FIFA World Cup to mobilise the global community on preventing HIV transmission to children. “We can eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV by the time the next World Cup is played in Brazil,” said Mr Sidibé. “From Soweto to Rio de Janeiro, we have to show the red card to AIDS for stopping babies from becoming infected with HIV.”

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At a separate meeting of civil society representatives working on issues of maternal health, TB, HIV and malaria, participants urged for a synergetic approach to ensure that health rights are realised. 8 March 2010. Credit: Juda Ngwenya/The Global Fund

At a separate meeting of civil society representatives working on issues of maternal health, TB, HIV and malaria, participants urged for a synergetic approach to ensure that health rights are realised. Recent evidence shows that many maternal deaths are now associated with HIV. South Africa has pioneered the integration of HIV and TB services under one roof. Efforts such as these complement each other as well as increase efficiencies. South Africa leadership-political, civil society and people are together bringing about change—for the better.