More resources to combat HIV/Aids

17 February 2010

South Africa is stepping up its fight against HIV/Aids by allocating a further R3-billion to its national prevention and treatment programme in 2010/11.

In October 2009, R5.4-billion was set aside to enable more people to get treatment and improve the effectiveness of treatment programmes in public hospitals.

Delivering his Budget speech in Parliament, Cape Town on Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the additional funds would help broaden access to antiretroviral drugs to those infected with TB and women and children with CD4 counts lower than 350.

Presently, about 920 000 people are on anti-retroviral treatment; the Budget provides for this number to be increased to 2.1-million by 2012/13. Total spending on South Africa’s public health system is projected at R105-billion for 2010/11.

Public-private partnerships

Gordhan said the government would continue to broaden the use of public-private partnerships in the health sector, in particular to improve the country’s health system. Partnership programmes are on the cards for hospitals like Chris Hani Baragwanath, the new George Mkhari and Polokwane Academic.

“Alongside longer-term reforms to the financing of health care systems is a prerequisite for the introduction of the National Health Insurance system,” Gordhan said.

Public health

The Department of Health has established an advisory committee on the NHI system. Work is under way to identify measures that will enable a feasible transition to an NHI model over the next five years.

These include improving public health funding, decentralising financial management to hospitals and local health districts and improving public health management.

Provinces are set to increase their spending by 7.2% per year to more than R107-billion by 2012/13.

Source: BuaNews