Category Archives: Medical & Health Care

Nine South African MPs Resign from National Parliament

PRETORIA, June 14 (NNN-Prensa Latina) The announced resignation on Thursday of the South African Labor Minister, Mildred Oliphant, has raised to nine the list of former high-ranking government officials who has made up their mind to resign their parliamentary seat after being frozen out of the new cabinet.

In two weeks all those ministers who did not remain in the new government announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on May 31 asked to leave the national parliament.

Mildred Oliphant, who was serving as MP since the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994 and also served as Labor Minister from 2010 to 2019, was the last one official to resign.

In Cape Town, headquarters of parliament, the ANC parliamentary group spokeswoman, Nonceba Mhlauli, officially brought forward Oliphant’s resignation, preceded by that of former Minister of the Presidency and leader of the Women’s League of the African National Congress (ANC), Bathabile Dlamini.

The other Ministers who resigned, where the ANC is represented by 230 of the 400 seats, were Siyabonga Cwele (Interior), Jeff Radebe (Energy), NormaIndia Mfeketho (Human Settlements), Tokozile Xasa (Sports and Recreation), Susan Shabengu (Social Development) as well as Dipuo Letsatsi Duba (State Security).

Derek Hanekom, former Minister of Tourism and a lawmaker since the first parliament formed after the first post-apartheid elections in 1994, also resigned.

In announcing the composition of the new Government, Ramaphosa revealed the staff reduction from 36 to 28 and the appointment of 14 new Ministers.

Local media outlets believe that some of these ANC veteran members left the parliament to ensure their pensions as former Ministers and take on other positions.

Source: Nam News Network (NNN)

EU Mobilizes Another 3.5 Millions Euros to Combat Ebola in Africa

BRUSSELS, Jun 134 (NNN � Prensa Latina) � The European Union (EU) is mobilizing another 3.5 million euros to strengthen the capacity to deal with Ebola in Uganda and South Sudan, assured Thursday the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Christos Stylianides.

A total of 2.5 million euros will go to Uganda and 1 million to South Sudan, in addition to the 17 million mobilized to combat Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2018, when an outbreak broke out in the east of that country.

The European Commission official expressed the commitment of the EU bloc to ‘continue our assistance until this outbreak ends, as long as necessary.

He explained that ‘the main task is not only to help the DRC, but also to assist neighbouring countries such as Uganda’ and ‘to strengthen the local capacities of these countries to act in a timely and effective manner’.

The new European funds will help strengthen disease surveillance in communities, health centers and border crossings and the training of rapid intervention teams and health personnel.

Assistance will also be directed towards the preparation of human resources at the first line of contact with those affected, in areas such as infection prevention, control measures, psychological support and dignified burial.

The Ebola outbreak, which began on August 1 in eastern DRC, affects the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

According to the Congolese Health Ministry, there have been 2,071 cases so far, of which 1,977 have been confirmed, and 1,396 deaths have been registered.

For its part, the Health Ministry of Uganda confirmed this Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, after the two deaths regirested during the past two days and the repatriation of their relatives to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Source: Nam News Network (NNN)

EU Mobilizes Another 3.5 Millions Euros to Combat Ebola in Africa

BRUSSELS, Jun 134 (NNN � Prensa Latina) � The European Union (EU) is mobilizing another 3.5 million euros to strengthen the capacity to deal with Ebola in Uganda and South Sudan, assured Thursday the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Christos Stylianides.

A total of 2.5 million euros will go to Uganda and 1 million to South Sudan, in addition to the 17 million mobilized to combat Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2018, when an outbreak broke out in the east of that country.

The European Commission official expressed the commitment of the EU bloc to ‘continue our assistance until this outbreak ends, as long as necessary.

He explained that ‘the main task is not only to help the DRC, but also to assist neighbouring countries such as Uganda’ and ‘to strengthen the local capacities of these countries to act in a timely and effective manner’.

The new European funds will help strengthen disease surveillance in communities, health centers and border crossings and the training of rapid intervention teams and health personnel.

Assistance will also be directed towards the preparation of human resources at the first line of contact with those affected, in areas such as infection prevention, control measures, psychological support and dignified burial.

The Ebola outbreak, which began on August 1 in eastern DRC, affects the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

According to the Congolese Health Ministry, there have been 2,071 cases so far, of which 1,977 have been confirmed, and 1,396 deaths have been registered.

For its part, the Health Ministry of Uganda confirmed this Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, after the two deaths regirested during the past two days and the repatriation of their relatives to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Source: Nam News Network (NNN)

Address by Deputy President Mabuza at the closing plenary of the 9th South African National Aids Conference, ICC, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Programme Director

The Conference Chair, Prof Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya

Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Sihle Zikalala,

Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla

All MECs present

The Acting Mayor of eThekwini, Ms Fawzia Peer and other leaders from Local Government

Diplomats

Leadership of Civil Society

SANAC Board Members and Management

Senior Government Officials

Scientists, Researchers and Activists

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We could not join you at the opening of the conference due to pressing government business.

We are, however, pleased to be with you at this official closing to reflect on the journey we have travelled as a country and to share some perspectives on what we need to do in our forward march to end this epidemic.

The gravity of HIV and AIDS pandemic continues to outlive many South Africans. As we went through what we thought was a maturation period of the HIV epidemic, we realise the magnitude of the task at hand as we continue the fight against the the resilience of this virus.

HIV and AIDS continues to affect all aspects of our lives beyond the dictates of medicine, as it becomes more apparent that this epidemic defines our social, psychological, economic, and spiritual existence.

We cannot be complacent in our drive to end this epidemic. We must be resolute in our fight and in all our interventions in research and policy implementation.

We are informed that the scientists, researchers, government and civil society that attended this AIDS conference, all agree that if we are to end this epidemic, something drastic needs to be done.

The theme of the conference is therefore appropriate that we must innovate and use technology at all levels to bring about sustainable change in our responses to HIV and AIDS.

Statistics which were shared by the Human Sciences Research Council as well as the University of Cape Town, show us how far we have come in our fight against this epidemic. They equally show the extent of the journey we must travel to emerge victorious.

The Thembisa modelling done by the University of Cape Town suggests that there are approximately 7.4 million South Africans who are HIV positive. We currently have 4.9 million people living with HIV that are on treatment. We need to initiate another 2 million on ARVs by December 2020.

Whereas our comprehensive HIV response is being hailed as a success, what is clear is that we are not doing well in preventing new infections of the virus.

It is estimated that there are around 250 000 new infections annually, and our target is to get below 100 000 new infections by December 2020. This gap is big and it must be closed.

As we make these strides, the contributing factor in not reaching desired targets, remains the challenge of stigma and discrimination. It is a scientific fact that HIV as well as TB, does not discriminate by age, race, gender, class and socio-economic status.

We too must not discriminate on the basis of any of these categories, instead we are called upon to value every human being and should at all material times assist those infected and affected to overcome their condition in order to reach their full potential. We must be compassionate and ensure that available services are provided with respect and dignity to all.

We thank our new Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize for launching the Human Rights Plan on Tuesday. With this Plan, it is a commitment as government that every public servant shall provide care with compassion and at the highest possible level of quality. This is not only a right thing to do, but a fundamental human right.

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are cognisant of the multiple biological and societal factors that play a role in the transmission of the virus. Our learners, especially adolescent girls and young women, will be getting focussed attention from our government.

This entails a holistic approach to sexuality, starting from age appropriate life skills education in schools, so that young people have an understanding of their own bodies. We are approaching this work with utmost care and caution, so that we do not prematurely sexualize our children.

In addition, access to dignity packs is being prioritized and recently our government has made all menstrual products VAT free.

We believe that every girl should have the power to decide their future. Our responsibility as government including parents, is to ensure that they are equipped with education in order to lead independent and productive lives. Our responsibility is ensure that they are healthy, and that they are safe from any form of abuse and gender violence. Empowerment of women is fundamental to transformation of society.

It is has been proven that there is a symbiotic relationship between the levels of societal development and empowerment of girl children, and women. It is for this reason, that we launched three years ago the She Conquers campaign.

Another area of concern is that the age of the first sexual debut amongst young boys is decreasing. This exposes them to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as becoming fathers without any planning! Again, we need ensure that we nurture our young men to become responsible adults.

The overwhelming support that we continue to receive from the bilateral and multilateral partners, in particular PEPFAR, Global Fund and the German Development Cooperation is highly appreciated and critical to our response to the HIV epidemic.

The reduction of deaths and new infections and the overall management of the HIV epidemic proves that as South Africa, we are a community that responds well to nurturing, and that we take our leadership in the fight against HIV very seriously.

Our government, through the South African National AIDS Council, has capable leadership that will continually drive our national response and in the process, ensure the sustainability of the flow of donor funding as well as efficient expenditure.

We acknowledge the advice from our experts such as Prof Abdool-Karim that our focus should be on delivery and implementation of programmes at the local and district levels. That is why our Provincial and District AIDS Councils must be strengthened.

All our Premiers and Mayors will be held accountable for the performance of these AIDS Councils at provinces and municipalities that they lead.

We are pleased that there are sub-districts that are showing good performance and this good performance must be translated to other areas of the response.

The survey by the Medicins San Frontiers in Eshowe in particular has shown good performance against the 90-90-90 targets. This intervention, which reached 90-94-95 against the targets, illustrates that we can reach the targets that will bring us to epidemic control.

The next step is for us to upscale the interventions that worked in Eshowe. We also call upon the SANAC Secretariat to convene a meeting of experts to see how this can be done as rapidly as possible.

We were concerned about the reported association between the contraceptive depo provera and HIV acquisition by women. The ECHO study, with strong South African researchers as principal investigators, released their results yesterday.

It is a real comfort that this well designed study found that there is no relation between being on this contraceptive and acquisition of HIV.

We have heard the complaints about drug shortages in the different facilities and the Minister of Health has prioritised this issue. This 6th Administration will not allow a situation where people’s lives are put at risk because of supply chain inefficiencies.

Distinguished Delegates

This conference has provided an opportunity for all voices to be heard, especially those in frontline service. However, we must not be a nation that listens through conferences. We must continuously be engaged in deliberative policy processes in order to shape and improve on our interventions as government, together with all social partners. It is in our collective interest to listen and to act accordingly.

We acknowledge the important role played by the leadership of people living with HIV in assisting government to deepen and accelerate our response to the epidemic. We are pleased that some of those who were at the forefront of the early years of the fight against the epidemic, have joined us in this conference. This demonstrates that indeed HIV should not define one’s destiny.

Mr Lucky Mazibuko, a successful businessman, has been living openly with HIV for 28 years and is running community projects to benefit his own community.

We also wish to acknowledge the work of Mandisa, who is the daughter of the late Gugu Dlamini as well as the work of the Gugu Dlamini Foundation. There are many others that are doing important work in our communities, we wish to salute them and encourage them to continue with their good work.

In conclusion, to the conference organizing committee under the leadership of Prof Phaswana-Mafuya, we thank you for putting together this very important conference and making us proud as a country.

On behalf of government and SANAC, we commit to take forward the recommendations that came from this conference so that when we meet in two years’ time, we can see a quantum leap in our country’s response to HIV and AIDS, including meeting the targets we set for December 2020!

Thank you.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

President Ramaphosa announces reconfigured departments

On 29 May 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the appointment of a reconfigured national executive following the recently held general elections.

Delivering the announcement, the President committed to a process of further reforms to promote coherence, better coordination and improved efficiency of government.

As part of these measures, the President has commenced with the process to conclude performance agreements with Ministers and Deputy Ministers. To strengthen accountability, further directed that the areas of responsibility of all Deputy Ministers must be clearly delineated.

In the departments with two Deputy Ministers, the Ministers will be responsible for the overall functioning of the Ministry and Department and under the Minister’s direction and guidance, the responsibilities between the Deputy Ministers are delineated as follows:

Ministry of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development

Land Reform – Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha

Rural Development – Deputy Minister Sdumo Dlamini

Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Local Government – Deputy Minister Parks Tau

Traditional Affairs – Deputy Minister Obed Bapela

Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation

Human Settlements – Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete

Water and Sanitation – Deputy Minister David Mahlobo

Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services

Correctional Services – Deputy Minister Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa

Justice and Constitutional Development – Deputy Minister John Jeffery

Announcements relating to the Ministries of International Relations and Cooperation and Trade and Industry will be made in due course.

The President has further announced the reconfiguration of old departments or the establishment of new departments to align them with the Ministries.

Some departments remain mainly unchanged, but require changes to nomenclature to conform to Ministerial portfolio designations. The total number of departments has been reduced by five, stemming from mergers and the transfer of functions.

The Ministers will oversee the following departments and entities as per their delegated portfolios:

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is responsible for the newly reconstituted Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). This is a new department arising from a merger between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).

The Minister of Basic Education is responsible for the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The DBE will lead an integrated ECD function in collaboration with the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Department of Health (DoH).

The Minister of Communications is responsible for the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT). This is a new department arising from a merger between the Department of Communications (DOC) and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS).

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is responsible for the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) and the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA)

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans is responsible for the Department of Defence (DoD) and the Department of Military Veterans (DMV).

The Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries is responsible for the Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF). This department arises from the transfer of the functions of forestry and fisheries from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Minister of Employment and Labour is responsible for the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL). This department will coordinate all government efforts to create jobs and reduce unemployment, and will be required to change its approach from mere compliance enforcement to facilitating job creation.

The Minister of Finance is responsible for the National Treasury (NT), the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and the Government Pensions Administration Agency. The Infrastructure Development Management System (IDMS) function, currently under the National Treasury, is transferred to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

The Minister of Health is responsible for the Department of Health (DoH)

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology is responsible for the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)

The Minister of Home Affairs is responsible for the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and the Government Printing Works (GPW)

The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation is responsible for the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS)

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation is responsible for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services is responsible for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ and CD), the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), and the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ).

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy is responsible for the new Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE). This department arises from a merger between the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Energy.

The Minister of Police is responsible for the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (IPID) and the Civilian Secretariat for the Police Service (CSPS)

The Minister in the Presidency is responsible for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) including the National Planning Secretariat, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and Brand SA

The Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities is responsible for the new Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). The DWYPD arises from the transfer of the youth function from the DPME and the function of people with disabilities from the Department of Social Development.

The Minister Public Enterprises is responsible for the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).

The Minister for the Public Service and Administration is responsible for the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), the National School of Government (NSG) and the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI).

The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure is responsible for the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). Over and above what it was previously responsible for, the department will assume coordinating responsibility for all public infrastructure development.

The Minister of Small Business Development is responsible for the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD)

The Minister of Social Development is responsible for the Department of Social Development (DSD).

The Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture is responsible for the new Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC). This department arises from a merger between the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Arts and Culture.

The Minister State Security is responsible for the State Security Agency (SSA). Processes are already under way to reorganize the SSA, based on the recommendations of the Review Panel Report on the State Security Agency. These changes will be communicated in due course.

The Minister of Tourism is responsible for the Department of Tourism (DT)

The Minister of Trade and Industry is responsible for the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic). The Economic Development Department (EDD) is disestablished and incorporated into the dti. The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) is transferred from the EDD to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).

The Minister of Transport is responsible for the Department of Transport (DoT)

The President is, in line with the Public Service Act, the Executive Authority of the department, The Presidency.

The Public Service Commission is responsible for the department, the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC).

All state-owned entities, development finance institutions (DFIs) and national regulatory institutions attached to ministries and departments of the Fifth Administration will move to the relevant ministries and departments of the Sixth Administration in line with the reconfiguration indicated above.

National Macro Organisation of the Government (NMOG) governance structures have been set up to support the reconfiguration process. Consultation and ongoing communications shall be undertaken with the affected departments, clients and organised labour.

The redesign of organisational structures is limited to the realignment of macro organisational structures and exclude restructuring. Staff will transfer to new departments with their existing conditions of service.

The reconfiguration of the national government in the sixth administration has seen a reduction of five departments from the fifth administration, stemming from mergers and the transfer of functions. To summarise what is stated above, the following ten departments are merged into five departments respectively:

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (without the forestry and fisheries portfolios) is merged with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to form the new Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD);

The Department of Communications and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services are merged to form the new Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT);

The Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of Energy are merged to form the new Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE);

The Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Arts and Culture are merged to form the new Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC); and

The Economic Development Department is merged into the Department of Trade and Industry to form the new Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic).

As previously stated by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, the project of reconfiguring government and the state is an ongoing process and there will be continuing review and monitoring of the work of the new departments.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa