Health

Health Department Backtracks On HIV Figures

The Department of Health has revised its 2007 HIV figures for pregnant women, after stinging criticism from academics prompted a behind-the-scenes reassessment of its methods for estimating the numbers.

While the development is not explicitly spelt out at yesterday's release of the figures for last year, it nevertheless indicates an increased openness on the government's part about HIV/AIDS.

Newborn Survival Campaign Launched

The Save the Children charity aims to reduce by two-thirds the number of children who die under the age of five in more than 40 countries, including South Africa.

Through its global Newborn Survival Campaign, the charity wants to reduce the nine million child deaths a year from HIV and AIDS, other illnesses, childbirth complications and malnutrition.

In South Africa, 75000 children under five die each year - 260 a day.

About 20000 babies are stillborn and 22000 die before they are a month old.

HIV Prevalence Stabilises Amongst Pregnant Women

HIV prevalence among pregnant women has stabilised at about 29 percent. This is according to health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi.

Releasing the 2008 results of survey antenatal HIV in Pretoria, Motsoaledi points out that, “The prevalence among women aged 25 and above has stabilised at high and unacceptable levels."

He states that the report is a useful tool to observe trends and increase commitment to the implementation of government policies, as well as to provide feedback to healthcare workers.

HIV on the Decline in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's adult HIV prevalence rate is continuing its downward trend, showing a drop from 14.1 percent in 2008 to 13.7 percent in 2009, according to new estimates released by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

The 2009 Antenatal Clinic (ANC) Surveillance Survey, based on blood specimens collected from 7,363 pregnant women anonymously screened at 19 clinic sites throughout the country, estimated that 1.1 million Zimbabweans in a probable population of around 11 million were living with HIV.

South African Therapeutic Community Conference

The Western Cape Therapeutic Community Centre will host the South African Therapeutic Community Conference from 9-11 December 2009 in Cape Town.

Topics at the conference will range from evidence based practices to offender programmes for those who are incarcerated in our prisons.  A variety of both international and local speakers will share what are working and what are simply not working.

Conference objectives
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    Local Funding Needed to Fight HIV

    A Zambian NGO, Reformed Communities (REC) says the continued dependence on donor funding in HIV and AIDS projects could throw the fight against the pandemic in disarray.

    Reformed Communities (REC) coordinator, Deliah Kaweche, says there is a need to source local resources for the fight against HIV andAIDS instead of relying on funding from donors.

    Scientists Discover Antibodies that Disarm HIV

    Scientists have found two powerful new antibodies that disarm HIV, offering fresh clues in the hunt for a vaccine. The antibodies were found in blood samples of volunteers in regions hit hardest by HIV, including South Africa.

    Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV/AIDS Centre at the University of Cape Town, Linda-Gail Bekker, describes the discovery as one small step towards developing a vaccine against HIV infection as scientists still needed to discover how the antibodies work and turn these properties into an effective jab.

    Kidnapped Aid Worker Released

    A Greek employee of the Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders - MSF) the medical charity, kidnapped in eastern Chad early last month, has been released.

    However, army general, Oki Daggache could not reveal all the details regarding the release.

    In March, British charity Oxfam estimated that 25 attacks occur every month on NGOs operating in eastern Chad.

    The violence is often blamed on bandits, and NGOs have frequently denounced the lack of adequate security.

    Traditional Leaders Criticise NGOs Over Circumcision

    The National House of Traditional Leaders has vowed to continue with the customary circumcision of young Xhosa and Sotho men, and has warned "intrusive NGOs" opposed to the practice to stay away.

    "The intrusive NGOs and groups are in for a real fight because they do not know anything about the importance of (male) circumcision," says chief Gcinikhaya Gwadiso, head of the house's national campaign for safe initiation schools.

    RECABIP: Advanced HIV and AIDS Lobbying and Advocacy Course

    The Regional Capacity Building Partners (RECABIP) is hosting a five-day course entitled “Advanced HIV and AIDS Lobbying and Advocacy Course: An International Capacity Building Workshop” from 9-13 February 2009 in Kenya.

    This international capacity-building workshop will explore critical skills required to effectively lobby and advocate on HIV and AIDS issues. The course is designed for NGOs and CBOs, and other stakeholders who are responsible for influencing policies, strategies, and programmes at the local, regional, national, or international levels.

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