Limpopo Provincial AIDS Council Retreat

Aug 24, 2023 | News

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. News
  4.  » Limpopo Provincial AIDS Council Retreat

SANAC participates in the Limpopo Province AIDS Council Retreat

-Karabo Makgato

On Wednesday, 23 August 2023, SANAC participated in the Limpopo Provincial AIDS Council Retreat at The Ranch Hotel, outside of Polokwane.  Led Limpopo Premier, Stanley Chupu Mathabatha, the retreat was aimed at charting priorities for the province in response to the burden of HIV, TB & STIs.

The retreat also looked at the strengthening of the tripartite partnership between government, civil society and the private sector.   Key among discussions of the day were the issues of enhancing the Provincial Council on AIDS, District AIDS Councils and Local AIDS Councils in the coordination of the response to the tree epidemics in the province, through the implementation of the Provincial Implementation Plan for HIV, TB and STIs.

Following the successful launch of the South African fifth National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB, and STIs: 2023-2028 (NSP) at the World TB Day Commemoration, in Rustenburg, North West in March 2023, the next steps in is the drafting of the multisectoral Provincial Implementation Plans (PIPs) and Multisectoral District Implementation Plans (MDIPs) at local levels as guided by the national plan.

Heeding the call for the finalisation of both the PIPs and MDIPs, the Premier of Limpopo called for the need to enhance integrated planning by all key stakeholders (i.e., government, civil society, and the private sector), on the development and implementation of the 5-year plan PIP towards the elimination of the burden of HIV & TB in the province by 2030.

In his keynote address, Premier Mathabatha called for the collaboration of both the public and private partnership to vigorously fight against sexually transmitted illnesses including HIV transmission particularly amongst the youth.  “Ours remain a commitment to intensify progressive preventative programms which is the ABC, we continue to call for abstains, being faithful to one partner, and condomizing, as government, we will continue to appreciate and unleash the HIV prevention programme like male circumcision, condom distribution, awareness campaigns, treatment, and care.”  Premier Mathabatha further stated that teenage boys and males in particular were not being tested, “we therefore encourage the Limpopo Provincial Council on AIDS (LPCA) to come up with innovative ways to ensure that teenage boys and males also get tested”, he said.

According to a presentation made by the MEC for Health in Limpopo, Dr. Phophi Ramathuba, new HIV infections and incidence rate have been consistently declining over the last five years, however, the province was not able to reach the target of 0,3% at the end of FY 2021/22.  The gradual decline seen over the years is attributed to the HIV prevention interventions implemented in the province, Ramathuba said.

The number of new HIV infections for 15-24 years declined among this age group. However, HIV infection among females is four times higher than males of the same age.  Another concerning area in Limpopo is teenage pregnancies, “they have continued to rise despite efforts by the department of health in increasing access to contraceptives (including condoms), health awareness campaigns and targeted interventions such as DREAMS. The Provincial Department of Health is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive multisectoral strategy (DOH, DSD and DBE) to address the issue”, the MEC said.

Presenting the priorities of the National Strategic Plan and what the province should focus on to eliminate the burden of HIV & TB, the SANAC Executive Manager for NSP Implementation, Dr.  Nkhensani Nkhwashu said, “HIV and AIDS remains a public health burden in South Africa. Although significant strides have been made, much still needs to be achieved”. The presentation touched on the guiding principles of the NSP, how the strategy was developed, as well as zoomed in on the four strategic goals of the NSP 2023-2028.  Dr Nkhwashu also indicated that the new NSP was budgeted for at an estimated cost of R274 billion over the next 5-years.

The high-level multisector stakeholder engagement included delegates from government, civil society and the private sector, other key presentations comprised one from Stats SA that spoke to Limpopo SDG performance and Limpopo demographics and leading causes of death in the Province and Districts, presentation by Civil Society Sector on the role of Civil Society in implementing the National Strategic Plan at Provincial and Local government level, presentation by Private Sector on Private Sector Priorities, and its contribution towards reducing the burden of HIV, TB, & STIs, as well as a presentation by PEPFAR on Country operational plan (COP 23) and implemented programmes in Limpopo.