Daily Archives: December 2, 2016

PEPFAR and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation launch $4 million partnership to reach men with HIV prevention and treatment services

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) today announced a $4 million, two-year partnership to accelerate progress toward controlling the AIDS epidemic through innovative strategies to reach men aged 25-40 with HIV prevention and treatment services in Malawi.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161201/444836

The partnership will focus on supporting the 90/90/90 UNAIDS treatment targets by working with HIV service delivery organizations on pioneering approaches in HIV testing, treatment, and linkages to care for males in Malawi. In Malawi and many other countries, data show that men often access HIV testing at far lower rates than do women. As a result, men living with HIV often enter care with more advanced disease, are less likely to receive lifesaving ART, miss opportunities to prevent ongoing transmission, and have higher AIDS-related mortality than their female counterparts.

Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, said: “We have made tremendous progress in the global AIDS response, but we are falling short in identifying and serving populations with unique needs, including men. We must invest in innovative approaches to reach those who too often go untested, undiagnosed, and untreated for HIV. Through this exciting new partnership with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, we will deliver high-quality, life-saving HIV services for more working-age men in one of the highest burden districts in Malawi.”

The partnership was announced live on ABC’s The View earlier this morning. Show host Whoopi Goldberg, an Ambassador to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, recently held a dinner to raise awareness for ETAF’s work, which sparked collaborative conversation and inspired increased investment in the Mulanje District of Malawi, an HIV hotspot where ETAF has funded programs since 2008.

“It was remarkable for me to shine a spotlight on these vital issues with key leaders in my home,” Whoopi Goldberg said in a statement. “To see my friend’s foundation continuing on, and collaborating with a U.S. government initiative that has committed more to combatting a single disease than any other nation in the world really moved me. I know that evening would have made Elizabeth very proud.”

Through the partnership, PEPFAR and ETAF will work closely in the Mulanje District to identify and serve HIV positive men through home- and community-based approaches, linking them to treatment and care.

Joel Goldman, Managing Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation said: “When the GAIA Elizabeth Taylor Mobile Health Clinic program began working in Mulanje District eight years ago, less than 10% of villagers were within an hour’s walk to healthcare. Today, 84% of villages are within a one hour walk to healthcare, allowing our mobile clinics to support over one million patient visits. We now have the infrastructure in place to test and treat everyone in Mulanje District. PEPFAR’s investment will help us reach more adolescent and adult men, the population our implementing partner has struggled to get to. By scaling up our men’s focused programs in concert with the District Health Office, we can achieve 90/90/90 in Mulanje.”

Through innovative approaches including mobile clinics and door-to-door household level testing, the partnership aims to improve the ratio of men accessing timely HIV services, providing a model for replication in harder-to-serve regions. Men often only visit health service centers when they already are very ill. The use of mobile clinics and household testing offer opportunities to engage with men earlier, increasing their rates of HIV testing and improving their adherence on antiretroviral treatment.

Social Development remembers lives lost in Esidimeni

Persons with severe disabilities who are dependent on support services to live decent lives, are particularly vulnerable to being marginalised, excluded and discriminated against. In better case scenarios, they are cared for either by families or staff in institutions where they reside but with little prospect of experiencing life to the fullest.

In worst case scenarios, they live in inhumane and degrading circumstances both at home and in institutions due to system failures.

Earlier this year, 37 persons with psychosocial and/or intellectual disabilities were confirmed as having lost their lives following a decision to transfer them from Life Esidimeni hospitals in Gauteng to NGOs and/or place them with their families.

A national independent investigation has been instituted by Government and a number of cases have been opened with law enforcement agencies. Processes have also been put in place to verify the whereabouts and living conditions of the remaining approximately 1900 persons who were transferred.

In light of this national tragedy, the Minister of Department of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, together with civil society organisations resolved that the International Day of Persons with Disabilities for 2016 would not take the usual celebratory approach, but it will honour and commemorate the lives lost, and to recommit the country to upholding the rights of persons with severe disabilities.

The theme for the National IDPD2016 is: Upholding the rights of persons with disabilities as equal citizens � Living independently and being included in the community.

The focus will be on specific measures that are required to ensure that the rights of persons with psychosocial, intellectual and/or neurological disabilities are at all times promoted, protected and upheld, regardless of their age, gender, race, geographical location, socio-economic status, sexual orientation and/or cultural background.

Source: Government of South Africa

President Jacob Zuma appoints South African Human Rights Commissioners

President Jacob Zuma has appointed new full-time commissioners to the South African Human Rights Commission for a period of seven years with effect from 03 January 2017.

The newly appointed commissioners are:

i. Prof Bongani Christopher Majola, Chairperson of the South African Rights Commission

ii. Ms Devikarani Priscilla Sewpal Jana, Deputy Chairperson of the South African Rights Commission,

iii. Adv. Andrew Hurtley Gaum,

iv. Ms Matlhodi Angelina Makwetla, and

v. Adv. Joseph Bokankatla Malatji.

The President also appointed Mr Andrew Christoffel Nissen and Mr Jonas Sibanyoni as part-time commissioners to the South African Rights Commission for a period of seven years with effect from 03 January 2017.

President Zuma wishes the new commissioners all the best in their new important responsibility of entrenching constitutional democracy through advocating and protecting the basic human rights of all South Africans. The President also wishes the outgoing commissioners all the best in their future endeavours.

Source: Government of South Africa

President Jacob Zuma addresses TACC International Thanksgiving Ceremony

President Jacob Zuma will on Sunday, 4 December 2016, address the annual Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ (TACC) International Thanksgiving Day celebrations at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Source: Government of South Africa

Civilian Secretariat for Police Service clarifies allegations of payment made to Indoni

The Civilian Secretariat for Police Service would like to clarify its stance on the allegation of the payment of R30 million made to Indoni which was published by various media specifically City Press and Independent Group of Newspapers on the 27 November 2016.

As a department that supports the Office of the Minister to enhance his role and to achieve his mandate, the Secretariat was involved in the We are one Humanity Campaign which was aimed at raising awareness on the anti-xenophobic attacks in various provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and other provinces by educating the public on diverse cultures, humanity and to promote unity amongst the people of South Africa and accommodate foreign nationals.

The Civilian Secretariat for Police Service partnered with Indoni in the conceptualisation of the campaign and the development of activities and programme management for the Ministry and Civilian Secretariat for Police Service.

The partnership with Indoni is regulated by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was entered into with Indoni in 2014. The department has a number of other MOUs with various organisations in different sectors that are aimed at assisting in the fight against crime and violence.

The department, guided by the MOU paid an amount of R348 000 to Indoni in the financial year 2015/16. The department would like to refute the allegations that an amount of R30 million was paid to Indoni and that the officials in the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service were forced to pay such an amount.

We however note with concern instances of incorrect allegations which are not based on facts and principles of fair reporting.

The department is committed to principles of good governance and accountability and as such the Acting Secretary of Police Service, Mr. AP Rapea has engaged the services of the Public Service Commission to investigate the matter.

Source: Government of South Africa