PRETORIA, 16 July 2020 – Deputy President David Mabuza today, 16 July 2020, convened and chaired the virtual meeting of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Inter-Ministerial Committee. The meeting was aimed at deliberating on the mitigation of the impact of COVID-19 on the HIV and TB response in South Africa.
The meeting follows the 23rd International AIDS Conference, held virtually from 6 – 10 July 2020 where South Africa participated under the theme “Resilience”.
Deliberations at the IMC meeting focused on measures to integrate a collective response to COVID-19, HIV and TB pandemics.
The state of the national HIV and TB epidemics during the COVID-19 pandemic response, highlights challenges and interventions being made in the implementation of the National Strategic Plan 2017-2022.
The IMC also deliberated on challenges experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of ensuring that there is no disruption of access to services for HIV and TB prevention and treatment by key populations.
Additionally, the meeting reiterated government’s determination to forge ahead with the work of responding to HIV and TB in order not to reverse the gains of the past two decades, taking into account the constraints that may be brought about by COVID-19.
The meeting also acknowledged the COVID-19 contributions from the United States Government and the Global Fund to fight TB, HIV and Malaria.
A resolution on the elevation and integration of communication to existing government communication in relation to Covid-19, HIV and TB was reached. This seeks to address stigma and discrimination, which prevents people from disclosing their status and timeously seeking medical care and treatment.
“We have to leverage on opportunities presented by our focused response to COVID-19. This includes the rollout of COVID-19 contact tracing, screening and testing services as an opportunity for increasing HIV and TB screening and testing. In order to ensure that we meet the targets that we have set for ourselves in the fight against HIV and TB, we must move with speed and determination so that no lives are lost uncesseraily to these pandemics,” said Deputy President David Mabuza.
The meeting was attended by Minister and Deputy Minister of COGTA; Minister and Deputy Minister of Health; Minister and Deputy Minister in The Presidency; Minister and Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development; Minister and Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture; and Deputy Ministers of Social Development, Public Service and Administration, Basic Education, and Police.