South Africa has the biggest HIV treatment programme in the world, with more than 3 million people on life-saving antiretroviral treatment. While the country has made good progress in its HIV response, AIDS deaths remain unacceptably high. This is in large part due to HIV’s twin epidemic, Tuberculosis (TB). South Africa has the third largest TB incidence in the world, after India and China, and approximately 70 per cent of people living with HIV also have TB. It is widely acknowledged that an integrated health service delivery system is critical to curbing these twin epidemics.
In recognition of this need, First Lady of South Africa, Tobeka Madiba-Zuma, in partnership with Sanofi, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, supported the construction of an integrated HIV and TB clinic to serve the community of 13 500 people in Manxili, a rural area in KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Previously residents had to wait for the mobile clinic which visited once a month or walk 10km to the nearest clinic. The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has also built a primary health care clinic on the same premises, thereby complying with government’s Operation Phakisa model of being an “ideal clinic”, which requires adherence to service excellence in accordance with core national health standards.
On Saturday 6 September, President Jacob Zuma was on hand to officially open the clinic, along with the Madame Zuma; MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Deputy Minister Joe Phaala, officials from Sanofi and local traditional leaders. Professor Sheila Tlou, Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa and Dr Erasmus Morah, Country Director for South Africa, represented the UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé.
“The people of Manxil deserve better than third rate health services. This new clinic comes close to my vision of an ideal clinic, which will give first rate service.” Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa.
“As a country, we face major health challenges, which we can only overcome if the public and private sectors work together with communities. Manxili is a great example of what can be achieved through a shared vision and partnerships.” Tobeka Madiba-Zuma, First Lady of South Africa.
“I am in the fortunate position of having spent time with H.E. Madam Tobeka Madiba-Zuma, and I can testify not only to her personal compassion but also her leadership and commitment to delivering services for everyone—particularly the most vulnerable—wherever they are needed. She embodies our vision of ensuring that the AIDS response leaves no one behind.” Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director