This is an archive of the Treatment Action Campaign's public documents from December 1998 until October 2008. I created this website because the TAC's website appears unmaintained and people were concerned that it
was becoming increasingly hard to find important documents.

The menu items have been slightly edited and a new stylesheet applied to the site. But none of the documents have been edited, not even for minor errors. The text appears on this site as obtained from the Internet Archive.

The period covered by the archive encompassed the campaign for HIV medicines, the civil disobedience campaigns, the Competition Commission complaints, the 2008 xenophobic violence and the PMTCT, Khayelitsha health workers and Matthias Rath court cases.

TAC Electronic Newsletter

4 August 2005


In Brief:

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Access to treatment breakthrough in Queenstown

(This is an abbreviated report. A detailed report is available here on the TAC website.)

On 26 July 2005, TAC held a demonstration at Frontier Hospital in Queenstown. This followed months of efforts to increase access to treatment in Queenstown and excessive use of force by police at a TAC march on 12 July.

At the 26 July event and meetings surrounding this event, TAC met with officials from the Eastern Cape Department of Health and Frontier Hospital, as well as the police. We are pleased to report that there has been progress.


Remembering Ronald Louw

A memorial service for Ronald Louw, anti-Apartheid and gay rights activist, who died of AIDS at age 47 on 26 June 2005, will be held on Friday. (For more on Louw's life, see this obituary by Zackie Achmat.)

A campaign to encourage people to get tested and treated will be launched at the memorial service.

Date: Friday, 5 August 2005
Time: (15h00 for) 15h30-17h30
Venue: Shepstone 1 Lecture Theatre, Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal


Generous response to Pretty's story

In our last newsletter we told the story of seven-year-old Pretty's struggle for access to antiretroviral treatment. We received a number of generous requests to sponsor Pretty's treatment, for which we are grateful. The first of these offers was taken up and treatment for Pretty is therefore being organised at the moment.


ALP/TAC submission to Parliament on amendments to the Patent Act

A draft bill amending the South African Patents Act has been tabled in Parliament. Jonathan Berger of the AIDS Law Project and acting on behalf of TAC presented a submission to Parliament on the proposed amendments on 2 August 2005.

The full submission is available here on the TAC website.

Summary of Submissions

We support the Bill in general and in principle.  However, we submit that if it is to play its rightful role in striking a balance between incentives for innovation and access to the benefits of scientific developments, it needs to be strengthened by:

Necessity of further amendments to the Patents Act

We would like to draw to the Portfolio Committee’s attention that South Africa requires a comprehensive review of its patent legislation to enable the development of an appropriate patent regime within the bounds of both what is permitted in terms of international trade law and what is required by international human rights law and the Constitution.  In many respects, the level of protection afforded to patentees in the Patents Act remains inappropriate for a country with our level of development, burden of disease and industrial strategy regarding the domestic generic pharmaceutical industry.

In our view, much of this can be corrected by amendments to the Patents Act that fully incorporate the public health safeguards and flexibilities permitted by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), as clarified in the Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health (the Doha Declaration)1 and complemented by the WTO decision on Implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health (the Paragraph 6 decision).2 

For South Africa to be able to make full use of the regulatory options permissible under international law, it needs – at minimum – to enact the following legislative amendments:

Not only is this a desirable course of action to take, but in our view, it is also constitutionally mandated.


Nurses needs Treatment Literacy

By Sydney Masinga

It is of a serious concern that a lot of nurses including student nurses have no idea what HIV/AIDS treatment is. On 10-11 May 2005, we went to Mmateme Multi Skills Development Agency to do treatment literacy training. The agency is situated in a rural area called Matibidi in the far north of Mpumalanga. It is a private nursing college that has about 28 students so far. It was started in August 2004 by a retired nursing sister named Alvina Makhubedu. She had the courage to admit to us that nurses do not have the necessary knowledge when it comes to HIV treatment, so she needs TAC to help with the training.

We went there thinking that it would be easier because we would be training nurses, but we were wrong.

The college is registered with SETA and the students are doing their practical work at Volksrust Hospital which is far away from the college. Miss Alvina has been applying for funding from the government but she has not received anything. Their venue is small and there is a lack of equipment. The students are paying R275.00 per month tuition fee and R100.00 for accommodation. Two of the first year students are studying free because they are coming from a poor family that cannot afford to pay their tuition fee.

It is very critical that we train as many nurses as possible in treatment literacy. More trained nurses are necessary for reaching our target of treating at least 200,000 people by March 2006.

In Mpumalanga Province we are still negotiating with the Department of Health to give us a permission letter to go to clinics and train nurses and the community about treatment literacy. After the Mpumalanga People's Health summit that was hosted by TAC in November 2004 the Head of the Department of Health (Mr. Verachia) promised that the department would give us the permission letter. But they have still not done so and they did not show up at a meeting we organised. The last time they spoke to us was when they were trying to talk us into canceling the march we were going to have in Standerton on the 25 April 2005.

Government should understand that health care workers or nurses are working directly with people who are infected with HIV/AIDS, so they need to offer the nurses treatment literacy training for free of charge, maybe we should demonstrate because it seems that is the only language they understand.