KZN winning the Aids battle
KwaZulu-Natal, known as the epicentre of the HIV/Aids pandemic, has shown signs that the battle against the scourge is slowly being won, with the province having reduced mother-to-child transmission of the virus from 22 percent in 2008 to 2.8 percent in 2010.
Delivering his State of the Province address in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, Premier Zweli Mkhize said this was the result of the efforts of the provincial Council on Aids.
“Aggressive expansion of antiretroviral treatment has now reached more than 500 000 patients, the largest in the country. Voluntary counselling and testing have seen more than two million people being tested, and medical circumcision has rapidly grown to exceed 105 000,” he said.
He announced that KZN would roll out national health insurance (NHI) in two districts this year. The districts would be announced by Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.
The government was first sorting out compliance matters with national and local government levels.
While the tuberculosis infection rate remained too high, the cure rate for uncomplicated TB had risen to 85 percent, and defaulters had been reduced from 12.9 percent in 2007 to 6.6 percent.
Mkhize also announced that several health infrastructure projects were to be built in the 2012 financial year. These included the extension of health facilities in Estcourt and at the Madadeni Psychiatric and Empangeni hospitals; new hospitals to be built at Inanda and KwaMashu; several clinics; and the completion of work that was under way, such as the reconstruction of King Edward VIII and Addington hospitals.
Mkhize said KZN had recorded a slowdown in housing provision of 21 500 units, and some unspent money had been returned to the Treasury.
“Housing MEC (Ravi Pillay) has been asked to deal with land ownership problems, the alignment of bulk infrastructure and to conclude investigations, (all of) which were factors in the poor output.”
Mkhize said KZN’s tourism market had continued to grow.
Other announcements included:
l Additional measures to fight fraud and corruption.
l The possibility of setting up a judicial commission to probe fraud and corruption.
l Reviewing and tightening loopholes in supply-chain management.
l Expediting the conclusion of disciplinary cases against officials.
l Upping the battle against drugs and human trafficking.