12 March 2010
The South African government is scaling up its HIV/Aids prevention and treatment programme by shifting away from voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to HIV counselling and testing (HCT), a new service delivery model that will see HIV testing become part of procedure at all public health facilities.
In addition to the testing, all health care facilities will also be equipped to offer anti-retroviral treatment. Anyone who walks into a health facility will be offered a test, as opposed to South Africans having to go for voluntary testing.
The HCT campaign will be launched nationally in Gauteng province on 15 April 2010, with provincial launches taking place on 19 April 2010. Public testing will also take place during the launches. The target of the campaign is to test up to 15-million people by June 2011.
Engaging retired professionals
According to government spokesperson Themba Maseko, the Cabinet has made an earnest appeal to retired and non-practising health workers to offer their assistance to the new initiative.
“Retired and non-practising medical staff such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists will be requested to make themselves available to the health system to support this initiative.
“[The] Cabinet appeals to the professionals to respond positively to the minister’s call in the country’s hour of need,” Maseko said.
The Cabinet also called on South Africans to be part of this initiative by making themselves available for testing in order to know their status, live healthy lifestyles and help the nation to defeat the scourge of HIV/Aids.
Maseko said the President as well as ministers and deputy ministers have thrown their weight behind the voluntary testing campaign, and have agreed to participate, depending on their schedules.