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n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - The South African National Strategic Plan : what does it mean for our health system? : news - national
South Africa has a new and highly ambitious guiding document to comprehensively deal with HIV over the next 5 years, the National Strategic Plan (NSP) (Table I). The country has an HIV problem resulting in huge mortality and morbidity, with an associated tuberculosis crisis, a growing orphan population, and a range of well-documented adverse social and economic impacts.
In 2000 the South African government, under siege internationally for its denialist President and combative Health Minister, hurriedly unveiled its 5-year programme for HIV. The plan was vague and committed the government to very little of substance, and its soft wording contrasted with the strong and clearly defined advocacy campaigns around prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) provision, nutrition and unscientific supplements. In 2003, the release of the ART component of the Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, Management, and Treatment resulted in the provision of antiretroviral treatment throughout the country over the next 4 years.
The original Plan expired in 2005, but it was only when the absence of an updated version was highlighted in the media, that the Department of Health began responding by drawing up a new Plan. An initial very rough draft, released after some consultation with special interest groups in the middle of 2006, rapidly attracted civil society interest and mobilisation, as well as strong media interest.
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