Civil Society groups have written an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa calling for his intervention following cuts in government funding. They say they are struggling to keep their doors open and to provide the necessary support to communities on the ground.
Many of these organisations help government in treating and caring for HIV/Aids and TB patients. They also provide counselling and support to victims of abuse.
Chief Executive Officer of the Smile Foundation, an organisation providing healthcare to children living with facial conditions, Hedley Lewis says NGOs are going through a difficult time.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Africa we heeded the call by our president to step up. Obviously the needs that the NPOs were addressing prior to COVID-19 have not disappeared. Civil society has gone through some very tough times obviously because budgets have been cut due to tough economic times in our country. Hence the call to the presidency to assist us with stabilising this sector. During COVID-19, we have seen NGOs assist with feeding, psychological support, assisting government with rallying public for PPE equipment for doctors, nurses and heroes that are on the front line.”
COVID-19 screening should be inclusive
Recently the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) said that while the focus is currently on COVID-19, other diseases should not be neglected.
SANAC says since the lockdown, screening, testing and initiating people on HIV and TB medication has stopped. Some clinics have been converted into COVID-19 only facilities which then excludes people with other chronic conditions.
The council’s CEO Dr Sandile Buthelezi said HIV and TB should be included in COVID-19 screening.
“Actually if integration is done well what we actually anticipate as negative consequences of COVID-19 can be translated into health gains since HIV and TB are non-communicable diseases.”
In the video below, Aurum Institute’s Dr Reginah Osih explains how coronavirus affects HIV and TB patients:
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