LEPHALALE — Limpopo Health MEC, Dr. Phophi Ramathuba, said that there are many people in this country who still do not take the issue of AIDS seriously.
Ramathuba was speaking at the Lephalale Municipal Chamber while launching the AIDS council ahead of National Health day on the 22nd of March 2016.
“With the AIDS council we are focusing on mining areas because these areas are high risk and the stats keep going up. Lephalale as a municipality is performing very well in terms of corporate governance but in the health sector a lot needs to be done, because they don’t have an AIDS council”.
She said the function of the AIDS council is to advise government on HIV, AIDS and STI policy and strategy and related matters. It also provides leadership and creates and strengthens partnerships for an expanded national response to HIV and AIDS in South Africa. They receive and disseminate information on sectorial interventions in respect of HIV and AIDS and consider challenges, amongst others.
She also took the “Kick TB” campaign to the Lephalale taxi rank where people were encouraged to test for various illnesses and she addressed the community regarding the importance of knowing one’s health status. “A lot of people are saying that they are too busy to have their health checked, so we decided to come to the taxi rank where people have no excuse to say that they are busy, we want people to be aware of their health and be health conscious” she said.
Ramathuba said that the health department wants to spread a message of hope and positivity by establishing the health councils which reach out to the communities.
Leading by example was Councillor Paulina Molekwa of ward 12 in Seleka, who also tested and said that it is very important for each and every individual to know their health status. “Frequent health checks is a necessity that every individual needs to go through” she said.
The overall provincial HIV prevalence in Limpopo has increased slightly from 21.9% in 2010 to 22.1% in 2011 and 22.3% in 2012.
Waterberg district continues to record the highest HIV prevalence in the province, although a notable decrease of 3% from 30.3% in 2011 to 27.3 % was noted this year.
“I am aware that this district has a number of farms, mines – including Medupi Power Station – which attract immigrant workers and informal settlements which are said to be the contributory factors to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.”
She also said that the council which was launched on Monday 7 March should work around the clock to ensure that the district turns the tables around by encouraging the communities to know their health status.