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
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
18 August 2005
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- The Draft Health Charter: An agreement for transformation or inequality?
- Key points on the draft Health Charter
- TAC/ALP submission to the Department of Health on the draft Health Charter (endorsed by NACTU and South African Catholic Bishops Conference)
- A letter has been sent by the South African Council of Churches to the Minister of Health raising concerns about the draft Health Charter
- Getting infected as a truck driver. As told to Sibongile Mashele by FS
- Ebrahim Patel, General-Secretary of SACTWU, will deliver the second Ashley Kriel Annual Youth Lecture on 18 August 2005 (tonight). Time: 18h30 for 19h00. Venue: Great Hall at UWC.
The Draft Health Charter: An agreement for transformation or inequality?
On Tuesday 16 August, the AIDS Law Project (ALP), South African Medical Association and TAC, endorsed by NEHAWU and HOSPERSA, held a press conference to raise concerns about the draft Health Charter.
A summary of the ALP/TAC submission on the Health Charter is available here on the TAC website.
Here are the key points that we have made about the Health Charter:
- We support the Health Charter and acknowledge the task team's effort to develop it.
- Regrettably, there are a number of serious flaws that require significant reconsideration and substantial redrafting.
- The health charter was drafted without sufficient consultation. Both civil society and health-care unions were left out of the consultation process and this is reflected by the emphasis of the draft.
- The deadline for making submissions, i.e. 15 August, was too short.
- The draft does not make the purpose of the Health Charter clear.
- For us, the Health Charter must be used to secure agreements necessary for transforming the health sector. This means reducing inequality between the private and public sector, moving towards a unified health system and developing a minimum package of care and service that all public sector patients should receive.
- The emphasis of the Health Charter is currently on Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and transfer of ownership. Concrete targets are established for this. We support BEE, but transfer of ownership will not on its own translate to better health-care for the majority of South Africans, especially poor people. Although the charter contains much rhetoric about improved health for poor people, no concrete targets are set for reducing inequality or improving patient care. The Health Charter has no concrete recommendations around National Health Insurance and does not adequately consider the provisions of the recently passed National Health Act. Nor are targets established for increasing the number of black health professionals (e.g. pathologists, doctors, dentists etc.). A broad-based BEE approach would consider these factors, but they are neglected in the charter.
In addition, the South African Council of Churches sent the following letter to the Minister of Health:
- None of the targets set for the private sector are aimed at improving health-care generally or the public sector in particular.
15 August 2005
The Hon Dr ME Tshabalala-Msimang
Minister of Health
Private Bag X399
Dear Dr Tshabalala-Msimang
Re: DRAFT HEALTH CHARTER
The South African Council of Churches applauds the Ministry's efforts to develop a Health Charter. We believe that such a Charter has the potential to harmonise the efforts of public, private and non-profit sector health service provision to transform the health care system and to promote just and equitable access to quality health care for all South Africans.
We have had an opportunity to review the comments on the Draft Health Charter submitted jointly by the AIDS Law Project and the Treatment Action Campaign. We feel that their response is largely consistent with the policies and principles of the SACC.
In particular, the Council wishes to endorse the ALP/TAC's contention that:
- All stakeholders must be party to the Charter, including providers in all sectors, health care workers and organisations representing people who use health care services;
- The Charter should be informed by a vision of a unitary health care system which provides an essential set of quality health care services to all South Africans on an affordable basis, taking into account each user's ability to pay;
- These objectives of transformation, equity and universal provision of quality services through a unified system should be more clearly articulated in the Charter's objectives;
- The Charter should set measurable goals and time frames for the realisation of the vision set out in existing legislation and policy statements;
- Government must take charge of implementation, including the introduction of measures to control spiralling health care costs;
- Consumers of health care services should participate fully in structures set up to regulate the health care system;
- The subsidising of private health care should be phased out; and
- The Health Charter is not the most appropriate place to address BEE concerns insofar as they deal with the structure of ownership of private health care enterprises rather than the extension of equal access to quality treatment to all South Africans.
As a member of the People's Budget Campaign, the SACC also remains committed to the People's Budget call for the abolition of the present two-tiered health system and the introduction of a unitary National Health Insurance scheme that harnesses all of the country's health resources. Although such an arrangement would leave room for private providers, it would do so through a national health system. We have been critical of Social Health Insurance options on the grounds that they would perpetuate the current dualistic system of health care delivery that obstructs the achievement of greater equity in provision of health care.
We trust that there will be further opportunities for engagement on the content of the health charter and we look forward to taking part in these ongoing discussions.
Dr. Molefe Tsele
[END OF HEALTH CHARTER - BACK TO CONTENTS]
Getting infected as a truck driver
By FS, as told to Sibongile Mashele
My name is FS and I was born in 1946 at Lydenburg. I was raised by my grandmother and my parents got divorced when I was young. Then my father had to go back to Mozambique. So my sister and I had to live with my grandmother.
I spent my teenage years in Lydenburg where I attended my school. I never completed my matric because my girlfriend got pregnant and I had to go and work to provide for my family. In 1965 I started working as a switchboard operator at a hotel. I then moved to work in another company as a clerk in 1973. In 1978 I started driving at Ngodwana and then resigned in 1987. Just after that I got a job as a truck driver doing deliveries for a spice factory and I had to resign in 1990 because the company had to move to Jo’burg. In 1991 I worked as a bus driver until 1999 where I retired as a driver.
In my younger days I loved sex too much. I slept with many kinds of women and wasn’t using condoms for protection. Even though I slept around I had a wife at home. I think it was because I was doing a lot of traveling.
I first found out that I was HIV-positive in 1985. I had a problem peeing. It was as if my pipes were blocked. Then the doctor advised me to take an HIV test and I tested positive. At that time I didn’t know about HIV. The only thing that I knew was that HIV kills. Then the doctor advised me to take care of myself and to make sure I use a condom everytime I have sex. At that time condoms were only available at the pharmacy.
I once had TB in 1977. I took TB treatment but couldn’t finish my treatment because where I lived there was no access to TB treatment and I had to travel to Nelspruit for treatment. Years later TB re-occurred. I had to stay in hospital for a month and then continue my treatment at home. Since then I have not had TB again. I have experienced Drop and it re-occurred several times.
Because I was having unprotected sex with many people aI got infected with HIV. After I knew about my status I always used condoms, even though I couldn’t disclose to my sexual partners. If they didn’t want to use condoms I would break up with them. At home with my wife I was using condoms till it came to a point whereby my wife desperately wanted a baby and we didn’t use condoms and she fell pregnant and the baby died. We then tried later on and she gave birth to a baby boy who is now 11 years old. My wife then tested years after that and she tested HIV-negative. She also had another test and she still tested negative.
One thing that I took from my doctor was that I must make sure that everytime I had sex I should use a condom. If you are HIV-positive you must seek information about HIV and that will help you understand how to deal with HIV. Also make sure that you join a support group in your area.
[END OF TRUCK DRIVER'S STORY - BACK TO CONTENTS]
[END OF NEWSLETTER]