Health department has plan for united action
THERE is no doubt that the spread of HIV is reaching alarming proportions. The Department of Health recently released the latest results on HIV incidence in pregnant women in South Africa.
One out of every 10 young mothers reporting to ante-natal clinics in Soweto is testing HIV-positive. Predictions are that by the year 2005 one-fifth of South Africa's population - men, women and children - could test HIV positive.
In the light of statistics such as these, many people are questioning whether the government is taking the fight against HIV/AIDS seriously enough.
Rose Smart, consultant to the Department of Health's HIV/AIDS and STDs directorate, says the department has a clear-cut plan for the workplace based on "A National Aids Plan for South Africa", and has begun working within departments in an attempt to get a truly united government response.
The key focus during 1996 was to continue the process of forming partnerships with five sectors the directorate views as its key partners: government (national departments, provincial government, and local government structures); business (employer and employee representative bodies); non-governmental organisations; the community and civil society.
On the public sector side, efforts are being made to establish an inter-departmental committee to bring together top decision makers from all the national government departments.
To assist departments with developing, managing and monitoring policies and programmes, the directorate has come up with an information guide outlining a six-part process for developing an AIDS policy. It also holds one-day AIDS education workshops for HIV/AIDS committee members and a a management presentation on the economic impact of AIDS. Top of page