The Development of South Africa’s New HIV, TB & STIs Plan Underway
PRETORIA, 10 June 2022 – The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) has officially commenced the process of developing the new National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, TB and STIs for the period 2023-2028 through provincial, national, targeted and sector-specific consultations.
The NSP is a five-year national strategy which guides the country on how it should respond to the HIV, TB and STIs epidemics. It contributes to the National Development Plan 2030 and ultimately, the greater Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. SANAC carries the national mandate to coordinate the drafting of the strategy by bringing together all sectors of society such as government, civil society, business, scientists, organized labour, development partners, researchers and ordinary South Africans.
The current NSP for the period 2017-2022 was meant to be concluded by March this year (2022), however, it was extended by an additional year due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – it is now under its end-term evaluation whilst the country continues to implement Catch-Up Plans designed to mitigate against the effects of COVID-19 on HIV and TB programmes.
The current NSP had bold and ambitious targets such as to reduce new HIV infections from 270 000 to less than 100 000 per year; reduce TB infections from 450 000 to less than 315 000 per year, as well as to accelerate the country towards meeting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, which called on countries to ensure that, by December 2030, 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of those infected are on sustained treatment and, 90% of those on treatment are virally supressed. South Africa only met the first 90 by December 2020, however, the figures have continued to improve since the implementation of the Catch-Up Plans and the Welcome Back Campaign that is designed to improve engagements in HIV services and promote long-term retention and care. It is hoped that the accelerated implementation of the Catch-Up Plans will help the country to eventually meet the 90-90-90 targets so it could move towards the new Global AIDS Strategy targets of 95-95-95.
Drawing lessons from consultations of previous NSPs, there is strong emphasis to solicit as much community voices as possible to ensure that no one is left behind. Placing communities at the centre of the response to HIV TB and STIs remains a priority. SANAC structures in provinces are working tirelessly to ensure that each provincial consultation follows a bottom-up approach and is fully inclusive of all stakeholders. Upon conclusion of the provincial consultations, there will be targeted consultations with specific sectors such as key and vulnerable populations (sex workers, people with disabilities, people who use drugs etc.), media and development partners, to mention a few.
Following the conclusion of all provincial and targeted consultations, a multisectoral consensus-building national workshop for all SANAC stakeholders and structures will commence, following which, the first draft of the NSP will be compiled for public comment. That draft will then be disseminated through various mechanisms and made available on online platforms, including the SANAC website. Running parallel to the entire process of consultations will be an online survey for those unable to attend any of them.
The complete NSP is to be endorsed by SANAC structures before being tabled to cabinet for approval. The official launch will be in March 2023 and will be led by Deputy President David Mabuza in his capacity as chairperson of SANAC. This fifth generation of the NSP will be designed to be pandemic-ready so that disruptions experienced at the onset of COVID-19 are avoided should another pandemic occur.
Members of the media will soon be invited for their own consultation at a venue to be announced.
For media queries, please contact Nelson Dlamini, SANAC Communications:
firstname.lastname@example.org / 078 731 0313