NORTH West premier Supra Mahumapelo said he followed all required legislative processes in destabilising the Provincial Council on Aids (PCA). This comes up after Democratic Alliance provincial leader, Joe McGluwa said they will seek explanation from Mahumapelo on dissolving the PCA.
McGluwa said since 2001, the North West Provincial Council on AIDS has been making great strides in coordinating HIV/AIDS programmes.
“The body mobilised all available resources in the province to combat this outbreak. With over 441 816 people living with HIV, the establishment of the Aids council was vital to fight the epidemic.
“Statistics reveal that the province has experienced an increase in new HIV/AIDS infections and deaths. Up to 5 000 people die annually from HIV-related diseases,” McGluwa said.
He added that PCA was such an important body directly mandated to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS.
However, Mahumapelo refuted that and defended his decision. According to Mahumapelo, he resolved the body because there was a need for an all encompassing structure that will pay dedicated attention to all diseases and not HIV/AIDS only.
“The Reconciliation, Healing and Renewal forum has in this regard been established to perform this function. This will include carrying on with the work previously done by the PCA. However, this will have added responsibilities to also pay attention to other ailments in the province.
“Furthermore, we have chief directorate located in the health department which also pays attention to HIV/AIDS issue. Health department extract shows that the province is on course with regard to its efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” he said.
Mahumapelo further said all health facilities provided antiretroviral and TB treatment. He also added that the number of patients initiated and remain on ART has increased from 147 782 in 2012/13 to 190 861 in 2015/16.
“This is attributed to 2014/15 policy change. That allows treatment initiation at less than 500 CD4 count. This benefits pregnant women and children below the age of 5 irrespective of CD4 count including co-infected patients.
“TB treatment success rate has also improved from 76.6% in 2012 to 82.1% in 2015. The health department is currently decentralising MDR treatment to Primary Health Care. This will assist in order to de-institutionalise stable patients and bring follow-up treatment closer to communities,” Mahumapelo said.