Combatting the epidemic
The country has implemented a range of measures at national and provincial levels to fight the epidemic and mitigate its impact. A National AIDS Plan was published in 1994-1995 and a Partnership against AIDS launched in 1998. The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) was established in 1999. SANAC has a mandate to oversee the national response to the epidemic and the implementation of the Strategic Plan, facilitating collaboration between government and other sectors. At State level, HIV/AIDS initiatives are co-ordinated within the health sector, but each ministry is to appoint a focal person and team with responsibility for HIV/AIDS interventions. A national interdepartmental government HIV/AIDS committee has been established. Each province has a directorate on HIV/STDs linked directly to the provincial department of health.
South Africa’s current five year Strategic HIV/AIDS plan(2000-2005)aims to increase political leadership and public commitment to fighting the epidemic, strengthen inter-departmental and inter-sectoral response, and to increase resources and build capacity at provincial and district levels for the planning and implementation of HIV/AIDS programmes. It also seeks to protect human rights and reduce stigmatisation and to fully involve PLHAs in the design, implementation and evaluation of programmes.
The primary goals of the present strategy are to reduce the number of new HIV infections (especially among youth) and to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on individuals, families and communities.
Guiding principles include recognition that: government has a fundamental responsibility with regard to the provision of education, care and welfare of all citizens; education, counselling and care should be sensitive to culture, language and social circumstances; all sectors of government and other stake holders in civil society should involved in combating HIV/AIDS; a holistic approach to education and care should be developed and sustained; and that there be a focus on capacity building.
South Africa plays a leading role in efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in the region, notably within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which has established a task force and prepared an HIV/AIDS/STD plan for 1999-2003.
HIV/AIDS in education
In the face of the crisis, co-ordinated measures have been introduced into the education system to combat the disease, with a focus on prevention. Among the general strategies of the national HIV/AIDS Plan is the inclusion of " an effective and culturally appropriate information, education and communication (IEC) strategy”.
A national policy on HIV/AIDS for Learners and Educators in Public Schools, or Students and Educators in Further Education and Training Institutions was published in 1999. The policy urges all schools to have a planned HIV/AIDS strategy. It recognizes the duty of the State to ensure that schools are safe places in terms of physical protection from the virus and where there is adequate information and education on HIV/AIDS. Schools are urged to establish health advisory committees responsible for developing and promoting a school plan of implementation on HIV/AIDS and generally advising the school governing body/council on all health matters including HIV/AIDS.
South Africa’s education sector plans for 2001-2002 and 2002-2004 (Implementation Plan for Tirisano) also include sections on programming for HIV/AIDS. The plan for 2001-2002 included the preparation of 320 tutor trainers and 12,600 teachers in 2001, and the production of guidelines and other materials for the integration of HIV/AIDS content into the curriculum, including for the sight and hearing impaired. The subsequent plan includes a list of strategic objectives, outcomes and indicators for HIV/AIDS education.
Each provincial department of education is expected to designate an HIV/AIDS programme manager with responsibility for implementing the Department’s HIV/AIIDS programme, with the Director-General of Education having overall responsibility.
In addition, a Strategic Framework for a South African AIDS Youth Programme has been developed.
Policy advocates that HIV/AIDS education be taught in the context of lifeskills education and be infused throughout the curriculum. Its primary objectives will be prevention of the spread of the virus and reduction of stigma and discrimination. It is proposed that HIV/AIDS-related education be introduced from as early as the pre-primary level, and such education is presently supposed to be part of all secondary school curricula.
South Africa. Department of Health. HIV/AIDS/STD strategic plan for South Africa (2000-2005)
South Africa. Department of Education. Draft national policy on HIV/AIDS, for learners and educators in public schools, and students and educators in further education and training institutions. 1999
South Africa. Department of Education. Implementation plan for Tirisano 2000-2004
South Africa. Department of Education. Implementation plan for Tirisano 2001-2001-2002
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