26 March 2010
South Africa’s private healthcare sector has pledged millions of rands in support of the government’s new HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign.
Their support will be through funding and free services during the campaign’s launch – pushed back from 15 April to a date soon to be announced – when millions of South Africans are expected to visit sites across the country to get tested for HIV.
Discovery Medical Scheme has pledged R5-million for the campaign, with Life Healthcare pledging R500 000. They have also committed to support the training of health workers.
General Manger for new markets at Discovery Health, Penny Tlhabi, commended the Health Department for taking such an initiative.
Tlhabi said the Discovery had decided to be part of the campaign in an attempt to mobilise its members to go for testing during the campaign.
“We are happy that the minister of health has taken leadership, and as the private sector we believe that this should have been done long ago, but we are happy it’s finally happening and believe that it will succeed,” Tlhabi said.
She added that Discovery and the government would discuss exactly how the money would be used.
Other companies that have offered their support include Clicks and the Link Pharmacy Group. They have pledged to make 470 pharmacy clinics available for free testing throughout the entire campaign.
Approximately 500 general health practitioners from around Gauteng province have also indicated that their practices will be available as free testing sites.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has encouraged all organisations in South Africa to contribute their efforts during the campaign.