As the highest body charged with coordinating the HIV, TB and STIs response in the country, SANAC, for the second time, coordinated the participation of Team South Africa at the recent 24th International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada, held under the theme “Re-engage and Follow the Science” from 29 July to 02 August 2022.
In a similar fashion used to coordinate multisectoral stakeholders for national commemoratory events such as World AIDS Day and World TB Day, SANAC issued a call to all government departments, provincial governments, development partners, civil society, the private sector and to ordinary South Africans to submit their delegation lists and form part of planning meetings ahead of the conference. This was to ensure that the country, with all its diverse representatives at the conference, shares the story of the South African HIV response in a harmonized manner. The coordination of attendees was to also assist with Visa applications since the SA Embassy and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation were part of planning meetings.
Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla led the country delegation on behalf of Deputy President David Mabuza who usually leads Team SA in his capacity as the Chairperson of SANAC. Dr. Phaahla was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hon. Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Premier of Mpumalanga, Hon. Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, some provincial Health MECs, business leaders and renowned South African scientist such as Prof. Glenda Gray, head of the Medical Research Council (MRC).
SANAC Satellite Session: Rising Against All Odds – SA’s Progress Beyond COVID-19
In collaboration with the Department of Health and the Civil Society Forum, SANAC hosted a satellite session to reflect on the effects of COVID-19 on HIV, TB and STIs programme and, the recovery strategies employed by South Africa in her quest for resuscitate and scale up access to HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care.
The conversation could not have occurred at a better time considering that South Africa is currently in the process of developing the country 5th generation of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs for the period 2023 to 2028. This will be the last NSP ahead of “Agenda 2030”, making it the most critical one to drive the country’s response towards the objective of ending AIDS by the year 2030, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the country’s very own National Development Plan.
Team SA Exhibition Stand
SANAC also coordinated the Team South Africa Exhibition anchored around the theme “South Africa’s Resilience Through the Years and the COVID-19 Pandemic”. All stakeholders participating at AIDS 2022 had an opportunity to contribute to the content of the stand. It featured six panels, all adorned with content covering: 1) Sex Worker HIV, TB & STIs Plan 2)Community-Led Responses 3) HIV & TB Catch-Up Plans 4) Zikhala Kanjani Youth HIV Prevention Campaign 5) Youth Zones and, 6) Men’s Health. Aligned with the conference theme, the core objectives of the Team SA Stand were to:
- Highlight SA’s AIDS response to date
- Reflect on the impact of COVID-19 and the country’s counterresponse and pandemic preparedness going forward
- Focus on challenges that still exist in the response
- Reflect on the achievements of the multisectoral response model
The vibrant and colourful stand was quite a hit to conference delegates who continuously took pictures against it.