SA gets boost to fight killer diseases

By Murray Williams Time of article published Feb 23, 2012

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A finance package has been thrown at SA’s biggest killers – HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and a range of child-killing diseases.

Documents tabled with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Budget on Wednesday, showed that R121.9 billion had been set aside for health – and R9.5bn specifically for fighting HIV/Aids and TB, a 15.5 percent increase before accounting for inflation.

The Treasury’s 941-page Estimates of National Expenditure document said new HIV infections would be reduced by, first, spending enough money for 500 000 young men to be medically circumcised each year, and counselling 10 million people a year about the dangers of contracting the virus.

Next, enough funds were available to pay for appropriate care, treatment and support services for at least 80 percent of people who were already HIV positive or had Aids, and their families.

Third, 650 000 new patients would be put on antiretrovirals by March next year.

The next mass killer to receive more attention was TB. The government wanted 80 percent of all “susceptible patients” treated this year, up from 74 percent, and to increase the treatment of sufferers of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis by 3 percent.

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