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.
On 5 May 2003 the TAC Treatment Project was incorporated and registered under section 21 of the Companies Act (i.e. non-profit companies). The following fourteen people were elected as directors by the founding members: Vuyiseka Dubula (chairperson), Zackie Achmat (treasurer), Sharon Ekambaram (secretary), Gavin Brown (managing director), Kwezi Matoti, Colwyn Poole, Nomfundo Dubula, Siphokazi Mthathi, Vuyani Jacobs, Thembi Zungu, Pholokgolo Ramothwala, Thabo Cele, Thembeka Majali, Mandla Majola.
The TAC TP was subsequently registered with the Department of Welfare as a Non-Profit Organisation with registration number 029-349-NPO. An with the South African Revenue Service for Public Benefit Organisation status (tax exemption) is pending.
The project was originally intended to treat TAC activists across the country with antiretrovirals. The TAC TP board decided, however, to allocate an equal number of treatment slots to activists and people in communities not affiliated to TAC. With initial funds 50 treatment slots could be created. These were to be filled by the end of 2003. Selection, treatment and treatment support (for details please see funding proposal) of TAC activists are administered directly by the TAC TP, whereas community slots are allocated to public facilities with the requisite capacity.
Over the period of June-August 2003 the focus was on establishing the logistical and human infrastructure to import and distribute medication, administer a fair patient selection process, recruit doctors and provide adequate treatment support to patients. At this stage only about R400 000 had been raised and resources were severely constrained. This proved more challenging than expected, mostly as a result of the difficulty of implementing operations at provincial level without dedicated staff and resources (originally existing TAC structures were to implement the new project).
Implementation was in the first phase restricted to the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, where TACs structures were most strongly established. Three volunteer coordinators were employed and a selection process (consisting of CD4 counts for a large number of TAC members) was launched. By the first meeting of the TAC TP Board on 1 August 2003, only a small number of TAC patients and no community patients were on treatment but operations were well underway. At this meeting the Board approved the following priorities for the subsequent six months:
1. strengthening systems and infrastructure;
2. raising at least R1 million;
3. improving follow-up and wellness support for TAC members and candidates not selected to start treatment;
4. ensuring every volunteer in the project has received adequate training to improve standards of care and support;
5. improving treatment support systems (including formalising curricula and protocols for counselling, workshops, support group meetings, etc. and better integration with TAC treatment literacy work);
6. expanding the fluconazole programme to reach larger numbers of patients and a wider geographic distribution.
In the four months since that meeting, good progress has been made on some of these priorities, and less on others. This report will examine this progress closely and attempt to articulate the key strengths and weaknesses of the current project model. It will attempt to point to the most important challenges that we need to overcome in order to increase the pace of delivery over the next months.
The severe resource constraints faced by the project in its initial phases has been somewhat alleviated. The TAC TP currently has almost R2 million in confirmed funding and a further R1 million is highly likely to be allocated. This means we can now afford to invest in infrastructure (e.g. permanent staff as opposed to relying on volunteers). It can be argued that the failings of the period under review (fewer people on treatment than targets, wellness programme not adequately established) are the result of insufficient capacity. This can now be addressed.