Calling for the deregistration of TAC is misguided, self-destructive and avoids fixing provincial health crises
Joint Statement by RHAP and MSF
JOHANNESBURG – Calls for the national deregistration of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) by political organisations, takes aim at the heart of the public healthcare accountability movement and the lives of thousands of patients, while distracting efforts to fix the real everyday crises ordinary people face.
TAC is renowned locally and internationally for its successful citizen-led, patient-centred health advocacy campaigns. Indeed, South Africa’s healthcare ambitions and the objectives of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV and AIDS, TB and STIs, and the Primary Health Care Re-engineering Strategy will not be attained without the energy of empowered patient movements like TAC.
“Without TAC, the National Department of Health and organisations such as Doctors Without Borders, will struggle to reach our long term goals. South Africa needs TAC because it can mobilise communities to test for HIV, aid in treatment education, while also realising government’s goal of ccommunity participation in the health system,” says Andrew Mews, head of mission for Doctors Without Borders in South Africa and Lesotho.
“What TAC needs is support from all of us in the health sector, not condemnation that undermines these objectives.”
When drug stock-outs in several provinces forced healthcare workers to send patients home empty-handed, exposing people to higher morbidity rates and drug resistance, TAC spoke out. TAC has remained vocal through its continued campaigning to fix provincial health crises, despite a rise in opposition to its work from some sectors.
“The recent calls by political organisations to deregister TAC, is like shooting at an ambulance during emergency – it’s self-destructive and short-sighted. In the midst of crises in provincial healthcare TAC’s role as a patient rights’ watchdog is paramount to holding elected health leaders to account for essential services,” says Dr Prinitha Pillay of the Rural Health Advocacy Project.
“These officials have a responsibility to ensure delivery of quality healthcare. Shirking this responsibility and allowing political parties to attack patient activist organisations like TAC is unacceptable – especially in the face of continuing dysfunction.
FOR INTERVIEWS AND MORE INFORMATION:
· Rural Health Advocacy Project, contact:
o Dr Prinitha Pillay, 082 618 6538
o Marije Versteeg-Mojanaga, 074 106 3800
· Doctors Without Borders: for Andrew Mews, contact Borrie La Grange 0832875294