Premier urges fight against HIV/Aids during Eastern Cape Aids Council Meeting

BY YOLANDA PALEZWENI - OCTOBER 7, 2016

Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, on Thursday chaired the second Eastern Cape Aids Council Meeting, in his capacity as the council's chairperson at King David Hotel in East London.

In his opening remarks, Premier Masualle highlighted the progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, referring to the introduction of the Universal Test and Treat Policy that was announced by the minister of health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi starting from September 2016.

“We are proud that our government has swiftly moved in this front and has revised the testing guidelines 3 times within a period of 5 years where anyone who test positive for HIV will be initiated on treatment regardless of the Cd4 t cell count,” he said.

The Premier added that it is the duty of the council to support the implementation of this policy in the Eastern Cape Province and that they are confident in MEC for health and her team will work tirelessly to ensure that this pronouncement is implemented.

“We are equally appealing to sectors and as well as our members of organisations that the affected sectors should mobilise their members so that they can be ready to receive the treatment,” he said.

Speaking at the council meeting, Premier Masualle said that the government must find a way of placing HIV and AIDS agenda where it belongs in the local government sphere.

“We are aware that the reviews of both national and provincial strategic plans suggested that the local government response to the HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics must be strengthened in the country, so as to reduce significant reduce burden,” he described.

He added that in this forum government must find a way to make this a reality because it is in the sphere where people experience the challenges these epidemics pose on a daily basis and that that from the provincial government, they will support the Municipalities in this regard.

However, the provincial government call upon the all the mayors and councillors to take time to understand and appreciate the depth of the problem in their respective areas, and the civil society forum to strengthen and expand its reach in the local government.

Furthermore, Premier Masualle announced the Bumb’ingomso HIV project launch that will take place on Friday, which aims to assist with HIV prevention among young women and also encouraged by the participation of other development partners within the social lap on young women in the Eastern Cape.

“We are going to discuss among other things progress that had been made in dealing with this challenge, and also to congratulate the DG Murray Trust for leading this programme and to take part in Bumb’ingomso HIV project,” concluded Premier Masaulle.