Opinion Paper

Will the current National Strategic Plan enable South Africa to end AIDS, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections by 2022?

Kathryn L. Hopkins, Tanya Doherty, Glenda E. Gray
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 19, No 1 | a796 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v19i1.796 | © 2018 Kathryn L. Hopkins, Tanya Doherty, Glenda Gray | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 August 2017 | Published: 04 October 2018

About the author(s)

Kathryn L. Hopkins, Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; and, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Tanya Doherty, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; and, Health Systems Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa; and, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Glenda E. Gray, Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; and, Office of the President, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: In May 2017, the South African National AIDS Council released the fourth National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections. This five-year plan (2017–2022), which aims to track the progress towards transitioning these epidemics to no longer being public health threats by the year 2030, is built on the successes and barriers of the previous NSP (2012–2016). However, the NSP does not address some critical components, which may contribute to a future failure in achieving its hefty goals.

Objectives: This article outlines the gaps within the new NSP, as well as highlighting aspects requiring careful focus, which are critical to address in order for South Africa to make progress towards the set targets.

Method: This commentary included an in depth review of the NSP, other South African National Strategic Plans and documents, and scientific literature.

Results: The NSP does not address gaps in funding, oversights in prevention and treatment strategies, human resource shortages and lacking health system requirements.

Conclusion: To realistically achieve the NSP targets and goals, a robust, client-centred strategy addressing the NSP gaps needs to be implemented. The strategy must be cost-effective; provide active linkage to care; and address health system weaknesses that inhibit its successful implementation, including human resources, service delivery and supply chain management, accountability and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).

 

Keywords

HIV; TB; STIs; NCDs; prevention and treatment; National Strategic Plan

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