by Isak Fritz, MPL – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
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Date: 20 August 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape will probe condom shortages experienced in the Province that have threatened to undo the gains made in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Earlier this year, it was stated in the Third Quarter Report for 2017/2018 that the department owed just under R1 million to Barrs Medicals and that the delays in the processing of condom suppliers had resulted in non-delivery of ordered condoms. Subsequently, this led to poor condom distribution across the province. The supply issue particularly affected Frances Baard and John Taole Gaetsewe districts, over the festive season and beyond.
In effect, the department underachieved on the number of male condoms distributed by the end of the third quarter of 2017/2018, by 1,643 million. This is a massive service delivery failure. This alone is enough to defeat the progress made in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Payment issues are not the only challenge affecting the supply and distribution of condoms in the Northern Cape.
In the past, it has been well documented that this department failed to secure safe and adequate storage of condoms throughout the districts, in turn compromising on the quality of condoms. It also failed to provide dedicated transport to deliver condoms from storage sites to facilities for distribution. It remains unclear as to whether these issues, particularly the transport challenges, have been resolved.
Given that the Northern Cape has been experiencing declining numbers of patients remaining on anti-retroviral treatment due to poor implementation of retention and adherence strategies, which is also compounded by poor data management, it can ill afford to turn a blind eye to something as critical and simple as condom distribution to fight HIV and AIDS.
The DA will submit parliamentary questions to Health MEC, Fufe Makatong, to establish whether outstanding payments to condom suppliers have been made, the extent of condom shortages in the province, as well as what interventions have been implemented to rectify storage and transportation challenges.
The ANC-led government is increasingly demonstrating its inability to sustain critical health interventions needed to combat HIV and AIDS, with its “one step forward, two steps back” approach.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that the fight against HIV and AIDS is advanced in an uninterrupted manner that will serve to create an HIV and AIDS-free generation.
Isak Fritz, MPL
DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387