SA making progress in reducing maternal mortality
Pretoria – The Department of Health has welcomed findings that South Africa is one of the 16 sub-Saharan countries that stand a chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on maternal mortality by 2015.
According to the findings of the study undertaken by the University of Cape Town’s Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, in conjunction with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, the number of maternal deaths has dropped from about 376 000 in 1990 to about 293 000 in 2013.
Maternal mortality in the country has dropped by almost 7% a year over the past decade – at 171.4 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births.
The study showed that 30 countries had annual reductions in the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of MDG 5 pace or better from 2003 to 2013.
“Eight of which were in sub-Saharan Africa (Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, and Swaziland) and 10 in central and eastern Europe (Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Russia,” according to the findings.
However, the study noted that despite reductions in the number of maternal deaths, only 16 countries, seven of which are developing countries, are expected to achieve the MDG 5 target of a 75% reduction in the MMR by 2015.
Speaking to the GCIS Radio Bulletin, health spokesperson Joe Maila stressed the need to work very hard to make sure that the numbers decline even further.
“The numbers that are there right now are not as good and we want them to be less than what it is. We need to make sure that we work very hard to make sure that it indeed declines further.
“If we work together with all the people involved, one of the things we can do is to make sure that mothers – as soon as they are pregnant – come to our facilities within 14 weeks. That (way), we would be able to know what is it that we can do to make sure that we restore their health,” said Maila.
The findings were part of a study into maternal mortality across the globe over the past two decades. The study aimed to measure levels and track trends in maternal mortality, the key causes contributing to maternal death, and timing of maternal death with respect to delivery.
MDG 5 established the goal of a 75% reduction in the number of maternal deaths per 100 000 live births between 1990 and 2015.
According to the 20 Year Review released by The Presidency in February, life expectancy in the country has increased from 52.7 years in 2002 to 59.6 years in 2013. The Infant Mortality Rate has decreased from 63.5 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002, to 41.7 deaths per live births in 2013.
The under-five mortality rate has also decreased from 92.9 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 56.6 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2013. Severe malnutrition among children has decreased from 88 971 in 2001 to 23 521 in 2011. –SAnews.gov.za
South Africa: Minister of Justice launches new programme to help stop anti-gay violence
The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in South Africa has launched a new programme to tackle violence against the country’s LGBT community.
According to News24, Jeff Radebe confirmed on Tuesday the introduction of the programme as part of an extension on South Africa’s equality clause, which he acknowledged had not stemmed anti-gay attacks.
He said: “Notwithstanding the comprehensive constitutional and legal framework and protection for LGBTI persons, we have sadly witnessed acts of discrimination and violent attacks being perpetrated against LGBTI persons.”
Over the past year, a national task team had developed an intervention strategy to deal with hate crime-related violence.
Mr Rabede said: “The purpose of the rapid response team is to urgently attend to the pending and reported cases in the criminal justice system where hate crimes have been committed against LGBTI persons.
“As a department we have finalised a policy framework with regards to the need for a specific legal framework for hate crimes.”
The Minister of Justice first confirmed his department had finalised the draft policy framework last year.
By Pink News
24 April 2014
Petitioning South African Government Step up for equality!
The Anti-Homosexuality Act signed by President Museveni on Monday, February 24, 2014 threatens people who engage in same sex acts with life imprisonment. It also threatens the work of organisations that seek to advance the health, rights and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act creates an environment of fear, threats of violence and increased discrimination towards sexual minorities in Uganda. With the publication of names of people, there is deep anxiety of increased attacks amongst the community of sexuality minorities..
We also note similar laws in countries, such as the recent Anti-Same Sex Marriage Act in Nigeria, which undermines our collective humanity and dignity.
Section 9 of the South African Constitution offers protection on the basis of sexual orientation and guarantees dignity and equality for all in South Africa. South Africa’s leadership on this issue is particularly important to realising equal rights for all in the region.
We call for the South African Government to:
• Issue a statement clarifying South Africa’s commitment to human rights for all and a foreign policy which promotes a human-rights based approach to minority sexual groups throughout Africa and the rest of the world;
• Commit our Embassy in Kampala to provide support to protect the safety, rights and dignity of all fellow Africans at risk on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity; and
• Confirm South Africa as a safe haven and confirm its willingness to grant asylum to anyone facing persecution on the basis of the sexual orientation or gender identity.
South African fight against maternal mortality shows mixed progress.
South Africa’s District Health Barometer, which kicked off in Pretoria yesterday (Monday October 28th), revealed an inconsistent picture of the progress to combat maternal mortality.
Although the overall number of maternal deaths has decreased by 57.6 per 100,000 births in the last four years, the country is still way off the 2015 targets that have been set by the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
And according to Health-e, a more detailed look at the new data shows some regions are in a desperate position. One example is the Central Karoo district of Cape Town, which has seen stillbirths more than double in the last year.
The Barometer explained that the worsening problems in Central Karoo give an insight into the inadequate provision of healthcare during the latter stages of pregnancy.
It read: “The stillbirth rate is a good indicator of care during the third trimester [of pregnancy] and intra-partum period [labour].”
The Western Cape was also found to have the highest rates of infant diarrhoea in the whole of the country, but interestingly it had the lowest number of infants to die from the disease – perhaps indicating a strong infant healthcare system.
29 October 2013
UN Deploys Women Protection Advisers to Curb Rape in Africa
Despite the United Nations’ zero-tolerance policy against sexual violence, gender-based crimes have broken out across several of the world’s latest conflict zones. Included on that list are South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia and the Central African Republic.
Describing rape as “a weapon of war”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council last month that sexual violence occurred wherever conflicts raged, “devastating survivors and destroying the social fabric of whole communities”.
“It was a crime under international human rights law and a threat to international peace and security,” he said.
Since most of the heinous crimes are taking place in conflict zones overseen by UN peacekeeping missions, the preeminent international organization is issuing Women Protection Advisers (WPAs) to specifically curb sexual violence in war zones. For starters, they will be deployed with peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, DRC, Mali and Somalia.
“First-ever scenario-based training programme”
The secretary-general said that UN Women and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) have developed, on behalf of the UN Action Network, the “first-ever scenario-based training programme for peacekeepers”. Noteworthy is the fact that some UN peacekeepers have in the past, along with aid workers, been accused of sexual violence – specifically in South Sudan, DRC, Ivory Coast and Haiti.
The UN will also set up a team of experts on “the rule of law and sexual violence in conflict”, described as an important tool for strengthening national justice systems and legal frameworks. The team has already provided technical advice to governments in the Central African Republic, Colombia, Ivory Coast, DRC, Guinea, Liberia, Somalia and South Sudan.
DRC situation is “unacceptable”
More recently, in late June, the United Nations described as “unacceptable” several cases of rape of young girls in DRC. Nine young girls, aged between 18 months and 12 years, were admitted to a hospital in South Kivu with marks of violence on their bodies and very serious internal wounds, resulting in the death of two.
“Such violence and abuse is unacceptable and must be brought to an end,” said Roger Meece, head of MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC. “These abuses are said to be related to harmful traditional practices perpetrated by individuals who kidnap young children from their communities.”
There were also widespread reports of 135 women and girls allegedly raped by government soldiers in Minova in eastern DRC back in 2012.
Safety and dignity of survivors
The UN should take urgent action to ensure that WPAs be trained before their deployment and encouraged to work collaboratively with already operational humanitarian structures, said Marcy Hersh, a senior advocate for women and girls’ rights at Refugees International. Additionally, they should be held accountable to fundamental and non-negotiable ethical and safety criteria for investigating sexual violence in conflict, which preserves the safety and dignity of survivors.
Hersh said the recently unanimously passed Security Council Resolution 2106 includes language that is in accordance with these recommendations in its calls for the timely deployment of WPAs, their adequate training, and their coordination across multiple sectors.
By Thalif Deen
22 July 2013
ARV stock arrives in Gauteng
Antiretroviral medication was distributed on Tuesday to Gauteng clinics experiencing a shortage of supplies, health MEC Hope Papo said.
“We understand that a shortage of drugs places a heavy burden on patients who have to make many trips to the clinics,” Papo said in a statement.
“We are also sensitive to the fact that patients my develop drug resistance if they do not take their medication regularly. It is for this reason that we are taking every possible step to stabilise drug supply in the province.”
Papo said a total of 50,000 units of Lamivudine was delivered to the Helen Joseph hospital on Tuesday morning, and it would be delivered to clinics in Ekurhuleni, on the East Rand.
More stock was expected to be distributed on Wednesday, Papo said.
In a statement, the department said the Daveyton East clinic, which had inadequate ARV supplies, was among the first clinics to receive stock.
On Tuesday, the Health Professionals’ Sector of SA National Aids Council (Sanac) expressed concern at the shortage of ARV medication in the province.
“It is sad to note that some of the patients in East Rand clinics are reported to have gone for a week without their antiretroviral drugs,” Sanac said in a statement.
“This, we believe, compromises compliance, as antiretroviral drugs can prolong life only when taken correctly and timely.”
Sanac said it would be difficult to fight the epidemic if problems of medication supply were still happening.
“We wish to urge the Gauteng department of health to strengthen its procurement and distribution systems so that such an occurrence does not happen in future.”
Department spokesman Simon Zwane said the shortage was caused because of capacity at the suppliers, and that the department was looking at ways of improving capacity at the depots.
By The Sowetan
10 July 2013
More people living longer with HIV in SA.
South Africa has more people living longer with HIV, which is attributed to the country’s anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment programme. The National HIV Household Survey for 2012 shows about 6.4 million people in South Africa are living with HIV, or about 12.3% of the population.
These figures are up from 5.6 million or 10.3% of the population, in 2008. Over 2 million people are on ARV treatment.
Dr Khangelani Zuma of the Human Sciences Research Council presented some of the survey’s findings at the 6th South African Aids Conference in Durban.
“When we looked deeper into the results is that the prevalence of HIV has increased among people who are 25 years and above, but among those that are 15 years to 24 years HIV prevalence has gone down, which means actually fewer youth is HIV positive. But more people who are 25 and above are HIV positive which has a steady increase that could be attributed to the success of ARV therapy,” says Zuma.
A more worrying finding is that condom use among the youth between 15 to 24 years, and among adults aged 25 to 49 has significantly declined.
The Health Department’s Dr Yogan Pillay says they’re extending condom distribution.
“The department is currently working on condom distribution plans at district level which is far more targeted for both male and female condoms because we recognise that while we need combination prevention, condoms work,” says Pillay.
Pillay adds: ” We buy a lot of condoms, 500 male condoms are not enough but 12 million female condoms. The question is who is using it and for those that are not using it why aren’t they using it and what can we do about it. Those are critical questions that we need to answer.”
20 June 2013
By The SABC
6th SA AIDS Conference: Invitation to an Evening Cocktail Event – What is the current role of the business sector in the response to HIV & AIDS? AAI and SABCOHA
INVITE YOU TO:
An evening cocktail event
HIV & AIDS Workplace programmes: What is the current role of the business sector in the response to HIV & AIDS?
Thursday, 20 June 2013, 18:00 – 19:30, Hilton Hotel, 12 Walnut Road, Durban (opposite ICC Durban)
As part of the 6th SA AIDS Conference in Durban 18-20 June 2013.
A panel of experts from:
- AIDS Accountability International
- The De Beers Group
- The International Labour Office
- South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS
- The South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union
will speak about the current role in 2013 of the business sector in the response to HIV and AIDS.
To view the invitation please click below:
Please click here to RSVP online: http://www.amiando.com/VZTTHUA.html
or email firstname.lastname@example.org