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LOCAL GOVERNMENT EDUCATION BEATS POVERTY

About 5,5 million people in South Africa are HIV positive and the number continues to rise. For many South Africans, this disease is destroying the dream of a better future. To help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS, a handbook was published as a guide for municipalities to deal with people infected...

Framework for an Integrated Local Government Response to HIV and AIDS, is the title of the handbook issued by the Department for Provincial and Local Government. It is a guide which shows municipal leaders and officials what steps to take when dealing with HIV and AIDS in their communities.

This is in line with the department's aim of getting local municipalities involved in preventing the disease from spreading.

Challenges

The handbook helps municipalities to look at ways in which HIV and AIDS affect their ability to govern and deliver services effectively. Some municipalities have had some success in responding to the disease, but many are still facing challenges.

The handbook shows municipalities how to take action against the disease. Special attention is given to rural communities. This is where the disease spreads faster, because many people don't have access to health services and clean water.

Key areas

The handbook points out some key areas that need special attention. These include safe, reliable, and affordable access to municipal services, like water and sanitation, health, electricity and waste removal.

Government departments

The handbook encourages municipalities and rural communities to work together with all government sectors and departments to fight HIV and AIDS.

The following departments play a role in government's HIV and AIDS plan:

  • Department of Health: ensures that HIV and AIDS prevention treatment and care, as well as support services are provided at every municipality.
  • Department of Social Development: provides a social security net to help homes and households that are affected by the disease.
  • Department of Housing: ensures all South Africans have access to secure housing, especially those affected by HIV and AIDS.
  • Department of Land Affairs: promotes access to land and security for all homes affected by the disease.
  • Department of Public Works: supports people affected by the disease through poverty-relief programmes.
  • Department of Agriculture: promotes food security.
  • Department of Transport: ensures that all households affected by the disease have access to health and social service points and that it is safe, affordable and accessible.
  • Department of Water and Environmental Affairs: ensures that all homes, clinics, hospitals, etc have safe and affordable supplies of water and hygiene.

- Samona Murugan

The HIV and Aids handbook for municipalities points out that the key areas which need attention, include reliable and affordable access to municipal services like water sanitation, health, electricity and waste removal.
National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012322