Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Provincial HCT Achievement Awards Ceremony

Keynote Address by the Honorable MEC for Health - Mr Mxolisi Sokatsha, at the official Provincial HCT Achievement Awards Ceremony. Upington. Siyanda District – Northern Cape,
20 February 2012: 10h00

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Programme Director

Executive Mayors of Siyanda,Namaqua,Pixley-Ka Seme, John Taolo Gaetsewe and Frances Baard District Municipalities

All Mayors of Local Municipalities present

Municipal Manager of Siyanda District Municipality

All Counselors present

Representatives of strategic partners

Senior Managers, District Managers, Facility Managers and Departmental officials from the Provincial Department of Health

Esteemed Members of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning and a warm welcome all. I am indeed very honored and privileged to be part of today’s important gathering in celebrating the achievement of our province during our country’s HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Campaign.

Today we are recognizing and appreciating those health districts, health facilities and partners across the province that has contributed their time, commitment and efforts to ensure the HCT Campaign has been successful in the Northern Cape Province.

Ladies and gentlemen, Health has been prioritized as part of the five priority areas to which the ANC led government has committed to deliver on in the next five years after the 2009 national elections.

In addition, government developed a Ten Point Plan to address the service delivery challenges faced by the health sector. The HCT Campaign by government is a direct response to Point 3 – Improving the quality of health services and Point 7- Accelerated implementation of the HIV & AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections National Strategic Plan 2007-2011 and increased focus on TB and other communicable diseases of the health sector Ten Point Plan.

Today’s HCT achievement awards ceremony falls within the Sexual Reproductive Health Month of February as per our Health calendar. Sexual Reproductive Health month is furthermore celebrated in conjunction with:

Healthy Lifestyles focus
World Cancer Day on the 4th of February
STI/ Condom week: 12-17 February, which is also celebrated together with Pregnancy Awareness week and
Healthy Lifestyles Awareness day on 17 February

February is the month that the Department of Health throughout the country calls for increased awareness and access to maternal health and reproductive health services for all women We also call on everyone to adopt Healthy Lifestyles as a way of living by not smoking, not consuming alcohol, eating healthy foods and doing regular exercise.

Programme director, when the Honorable President, His Excellency Mr. J.G. Zuma and the Honorable Premier Hazel Jenkins soon afterwards officially launched the HIV Counseling and Testing Campaign(HCT) in April 2010, it was another significant milestone for the ANC led government in our country’s fight against HIV and AIDS. A new comprehensive HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment plan was started. The HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Campaign was and is still a direct response aimed at increasing our efforts to address the scourge of HIV and AIDS and TB in our province and our country.

Furthermore, the campaign aimed to create an enabling environment for all South Africans to test and know their HIV status and access treatment and Care and Support for those who are already HIV infected. Those who are HIV negative were encouraged to remain negative.

The HCT Campaign aimed to reach fifteen(15) million people nationally between 01 April 2010 and 30 June 2011 as well as expanding the Anti-retroviral treatment(ART) at all health facilities to one and a half (1.5) million people.

In the Northern Cape Province we aimed to reach six-hundred and ninety thousand (690 000) people through voluntary HIV counseling and testing, three-hundred and thirty-seven thousand nine- hundred and forty-one(337 941) of whom are expected to test for HIV and twenty-one thousand(21000) people to have access to ART by the end of the campaign.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that as the Northern Cape Province, we have managed to successfully test three hundred and twenty-one thousand nine hundred and nine (321 909) people relating to a 96% achievement rate. Siyanda was the best performing district followed by Pixley ka Seme, whilst Namakwa has recorded the lowest but bearing in mind they have the lowest population density.

The campaign was not without challenges. Management, data management, barometers, transportation and departmental testing were some of the obstacles encountered.

Valuable lessons were also learnt during the campaign namely the importance of management buy-in and involvement, data management, communication, follow-up and support visits to name just a few.

Programme director, in light of the magnitude of the campaign, it is understandable that inter-sectoral collaboration and support is key to ensure success.

It is in this light, that the Department of Health recognizes the sterling role of partners who heeded the Minister’s call and responded in a very hearty manner to assist the province to reach its target. We would in particular like to thank:

The Society for Family Health, who outdid themselves travelling the length and breadth of this vast province to join the Ministerial Campaigns and also conduct many HCT activities on their own, in non-medical settings.

The SA Business Coalition on HIV & AIDS (SABCOHA) Northern Cape Office, for encouraging business sector to test and to collate and report the statistics to the Department on a regular basis

Right to Care, for their sterling contribution in conducting much-needed testing at institutions of Further Education & Training

The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) for the secondment of staff into the province in support of the Presidential Mandate

The NGO sector, for the guidance and supportive supervision of all categories of Community Health Workers who worked inside facilities and in the homes of communities conducting HCT awareness and testing

And lastly thanks to Lifeline, LoveLife, TB Free and the TB/HIV Association for their loyal support over many years to advance various programmes of this Department. In this regard special thanks goes to the funders of these Organizations as well-coordinated by the PEPFAR Liaison in the province.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we wish to applaud and acknowledge the HIV coordinators, professional nurses, retired nurses, lay-counselors and strategic partners who displayed commitment and put effort and tireless sacrifices to achieve the provincial HCT targets between 01 April 2010 and 30 June 2011.

I am appealing on you all individually, to take necessary action to do what is in your power to improve the lives of our patients, who place all their trust in you when they visit facilities, hoping for fast and efficient service delivery. For example, having tested so many patients, have you assessed all our HIV positive clients for ART eligibility? Have you screened all pregnant women and TB patients for HIV? Have you initiated ART to all patients who require ARV’s on treatment? These are just some of the questions we need to be asking and addressing to save lives.

Treatment is available freely, it works; therefore it is criminal to withhold it from those who depend on you for it.

In conclusion, the HCT campaign continues and new targets have been set as part of early detection of HIV and TB, so that proper management can be effected. Over 500 Nurses have been trained to accelerate the initiation of ARV’s.

As you receive these awards, I would like you to see these as a token of my appreciation for all your hard work, yet I also challenge you with this award, to go back to your service point and be even more determined to make a difference in the lives of our people.

Thank you.


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