A new research report from ACTION shows that while countries have taken steps in the right direction to combat the deadly duo of TB and HIV, policy improvements have not all translated into changes at the facility level.
The report, From Policy to Practice: How the TB-HIV Response is Working launched at the International AIDS conference in July 2016, affirms that of all the countries with high burdens of HIV-associated TB, the government of South Africa has most fully embraced TB-HIV integration and actively taken steps to implement collaborative activities. Support for TB-HIV collaboration flourishes within the Ministry of Health, who was the first country to develop a joint strategic plan for HIV, TB, and STIs.
South Africa’s government has been incredibly innovative in its fight against TB and HIV, and has recently begun to implement the recommendations in South African HIV and TB Investment Case published in March 2016. This investment case, which began as a requirement for a Global Fund HIV proposal and was taken further by the government, affirms that HIV and TB represent among the most serious of all health threats to the people of South Africa. South Africa is also in a unique position among high burden countries to scale up R&D for new diagnostics and treatments.
Despite the country’s strong efforts to fight TB and HIV, the report highlights a key challenge: A health system fractured between overburdened public clinics and well-resourced private providers accessible only to elites means that many people who need services are being left behind. To address inequity, South Africa is rolling out a national health insurance financing system over the next 14 years and is working to address quality of care in public clinics.4,5 For the “ideal clinic” concept to be realized, public health facilities, especially at the primary health care level, need to be resourced (i.e., financially and staffing-wise, with trainings to build capacity, and dissemination and implementation of new guidelines and policies).
On this World AIDS Day, ACTION partner WACI Health in collaboration with TB/HIV Care Association proposes to creating a moment where recommendations from the report From Policy to Practice: How the TB-HIV Response is Working along with the case study Combating TB-HIV in South Africa can be brought to relevant stakeholders including government, donors and civil society. This event will be taking place in Mdantsane NU 1 Community hall on the 8th of December 2016 from 9h30.
The key messages are as follows:
- The South Africa government should increase investment in research and development by 33 percent to support the advancement of new tools to fight TB and TB-HIV.
- The Ministry of Health should work with primary health care facilities to support the implementation of TB-HIV policies.
- Donors should continue to invest in high impact TB-HIV interventions and support sustainable national programs.
- Civil society must work to promote equitable access to care and support community-based responses to TB-HIV care
For further information, please contact:
Sizwe Nombasa Gxuluwe, Waci health, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell:082640554