NSP 2017-2022: Where are we now? Interview with Dr Nevilene Slingers

Dr Nevilene Slingers
Dr. Nevilene Slingers, SANAC’s Executive Manager: Donor Coordination

This was  originally published in the January edition of the SANAC newsletter. 

How far are we with the finalisation of the new NSP? 
It was initially supposed to have been launched on World AIDS Day (December 1, 2016) however, a request was tabled to launch it on World TB Day since TB is the leading cause of death to people living with HIV. Our Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has been instrumental in shining the spotlight on TB at UN level. So, on World AIDS Day we launched a document tabling the Goals and Objectives of the new NSP with the theme, ‘Let Our Actions Count’. This document reflects the lessons learnt from the ending NSP and what helped shape the objectives of the new one. The steering committee is now finalising the objectives of each goal of the NSP 2017-2022.

What were some of the challenges during the development process?
We wanted to be as thorough as we possibly can non the new NSP and so we wanted to interrogate everything and properly scrutinize the current data. We also wanted to ensure that everyone is heard. As you can imagine, consolidating input from all stakeholders was a bit of a challenge. Also, we’re currently operating under trying economic times and considerable financial constraints so things haven’t been easy. There were also a few technical challenges which posed the questions such as, ‘Do we know enough? Are we going to adequately address all the issues before us and, how far can the NSP go’, because it is affected by many other challenges in our society. For example, we advise young girls against “blessers” but, is the environment in which they live in favour that? We need to be cognisant of what drives them to blessers in the first place and deal with those issues.

What were the highlights?
The consultations held in September last year were very helpful, especially the 2-day civil society consultation which was well attended. We held successful engagements that really helped inform a lot of decisions going forward. I really appreciated the willingness in people to engage. The community voices were incredibly interesting. We also learnt a lot about what people are doing out there in response to HIV, TB and STIs.

What excited you the most in the process?
The emphasis on impact! What are the best choices to make that will yield the desired outcomes?! What does the data and evidence we have taught us going forward and, how will that help us reach our targets?! The interesting discussions we held with civil society and the important role they play.

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The draft of the new NSP 2017-2022 is now ready for review

cropped-nsp-logo.pngThe National Strategic Plan (NSP) outlines the strategic framework for a multi-sector partnership to accelerate progress in reducing the morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) associated with HIV, TB and STIs.

The NSP 2017-2022 – which leverages lessons learned from public health gains made under the NSP 2012-2016 – is the product of an extensive collaboration involving national, provincial and local governments; civil society; the private sector; academic experts; multilateral institutions; development partners and other stakeholders.

This is a public working draft of the NSP for HIV, TB and STIs 2017-2022 for comment. It has been developed under the guidance of the NSP Steering Committee taking into consideration all the inputs from the sectoral and national Stakeholder Consultations.

All stakeholders are invited to submit comments to nsp@sanac.org.za

NB: Please note that there are currently placeholders in the text for certain additions to be made.
The final product will include engaging use of color, images, and user-friendly infographics.

Download your draft copy by clicking this link. 

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa calls for stronger action to end AIDS by 2030

L-R: Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi; SANAC Chair Dep. President Cyril Ramaphosa; SANAC Dep. Chair Steve Letsike; SANAC CEO Dr Fareed Abdullah
L-R: Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi; SANAC Chair Dep. President Cyril Ramaphosa; SANAC Dep. Chair Steve Letsike; SANAC CEO Dr Fareed Abdullah

SANAC Chairperson Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on all South Africans to make their views heard on the new National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, TB and STIs. Ramaphosa was speaking at the SANAC plenary held in Pretoria on 11 November.

The NSP is the strategic guide for the country’s comprehensive response to HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections. It is revised every five years. With the current NSP on HIV, TB and STIs (2012-2016) coming to an end in December, the focus has been on the development of the NSP for the next five years – covering the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2022.

The new NSP is set to be launched on World TB Day (24 March), since TB is the leading cause of death in people living with HIV.

“I urge all of you to take part in the NSP development processes. Let us ensure that the various constituencies that we represent also contribute their ideas to the NSP. Working together, we will end AIDS by 2030.”  – SANAC Chair & Dep. President Cyril Ramaphosa

Sex Work

Legalising sex work and protecting adolescent girls and young women also took centre stage at the plenary.

It was unanimously agreed that sex work needs to be redefined in order to address the intersectional challenges it presents against HIV response efforts. “We need to redefine sex work to include those who are not selling sex on the streets per se but are still having sex for money,” said Vuyokazi Gonyela of Section 27.

The increase in new infections among adolescent girls and young women means that the country needs a smarter HIV prevention approach. Statistics indicate that 2000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV per week. Current popular trends among young women such as having “blessers” and “sugar-daddies” remain a contentious issue.

“We need to address the issue of blessers in this discussion (about the upcoming NSP 2017-2022),” said one delegate at the plenary.

Lessons from AIDS 2016

Ramaphosa said hosting the International AIDS conference in July this year, left South Africa better equipped to respond to HIV and TB.

“As a country, we emerged from the conference inspired, empowered and far better equipped to confront the many challenges we face. We had much to share and learn about policy, programmes, science, research, funding and social mobilization. Many of the lessons from AIDS 2016 are being incorporated in our new National Strategic Plan (2017-2022),” said the Deputy President.

Opening the conference on the birthday of the late former president Nelson Mandela, was a significant moment, Ramaphosa noted. “Inspired by Madiba’s moral and political leadership, we were united in our message that it is in our hands to end AIDS in our generation.” Thus the theme for this this year’s World AIDS Day, ‘It is in our Hands to end HIV and TB’.

The plenary was also attended by civil society representatives, researchers as well as Minister of Women Susan Shabangu and Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi.

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National NSP Stakeholder Consultation – Speech by Dr Gwen Ramokgopa

SPEECH BY DR GWEN RAMOKGOPA, CHAIRPERSON OF THE SANAC TRUST, AT THE NATIONAL NSP STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION
29 SEPTEMBER 2016

The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
The Deputy Chair of SANAC and Chairperson of the Civil Society Forum
Fellow Trustees of the SANAC Trust
Ladies and gentlemen

The development of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs for the period 2017 to 2022 is one of the most important tasks of the SANAC Trust and it needs to be done in a way that ensures all stakeholders agree with the goals and objectives stated in the Plan and develop a sense of ownership for this Plan for the next five years.

It is important to reflect on the history of the HIV response in this country as in doing so it becomes abundantly clear how important it is to have a National Plan that is owned and supported by all stakeholders.

The miraculous turnaround of the AIDS response that we have seen over the last decade is undoubtedly linked to the last two national strategic plans. The breathtaking rollout of antiretroviral treatment can be traced back to the second NSP that covered the period 2007 – 2011. This NSP called for the national scale up of antiretroviral treatment as it main goal. The Plan would not have succeeded if it were not for the extensive consultation and negotiation that took place within the SANAC structures during 2006. If the Plan was supported only by government and not by civil society then it would not have made as much progress as it did over those five years.

The NSP 2007 – 2011 also saw the massive HCT campaign during which more than 15 million South Africans tested for HIV. This led to a massive surge in the number of PLHIV initiating treatment. A clear articulation of the goals of the NSP led to all partners, including the massive PEPFAR programme, supporting government’s rollout of antiretroviral treatment.

The same can be said for the 3rd NSP covering the period 2012 – 2016 which set ambitious goals for treatment and PMTCT but also set goals for prevention of HIV and a fifty percent reduction in TB incidence and mortality. Both these plans led to a substantial increase in domestic funding for HIV and TB responses.

In development the next five-year plan it is important to build on the successes of the past and to improve upon those areas where progress was slow.

The Enhanced Progress Report published by the M&E Unit of the SANAC Secretariat in May this year provides a clear analysis of what has worked and where we need to do more over the next five years. The report shows that we have more than 3 million people of antiretroviral treatment and the MTCT rate is well below the 2% target set in the NSP. The government and especially the Department of Health must be congratulated for that. So must all the NGOs who have been supporting the rollout at clinic and hospital level.
The report points out that we did not reach the target to reduce new infections by 50%. This is extremely concerning for all of us and it is widely recognised that much more needs to be done to reduce the number of new infections especially in young women where incidence is higher than 3% in most high burden communities. I would like to emphasise that whilst we focus on young women and certain key populations, new HIV infections are high across the board and no target group can be considered to be low risk. Therefore, prevention must be across the board.

Although we did not meet the very ambitious targets set for TB there are definite signs of progress and there has been a complete revolution with the use of geneXpert in the diagnosis of drug resistant TB.

One of the most neglected areas of the NSP has been the diagnosis and treatment of STIs. The SANAC Trust has discussed this and identified the need to invest greater resources in the management of STIs. The zero draft of the NSP that is under discussion at this stakeholder consultation has clearly identified the need to address all aspects of HIV prevention and treatment as well as TB and STIs. The challenge will be in the selection of priorities for programmes across the three epidemics. There is only a limited amount of resources available and whilst the plan needs to be aspirational it also needs to be realistic and implementable. It is important that we draw on the tools that we have such as the Investment Case to guide the choices we make and that we should make together.

Consensus building is a difficult goal to achieve but it is essential that we invest the time and resources to create the opportunity for all voices to be heard in a meaningful way. The Secretariat has been systematic in putting together the consultation process and the evidence of this consultation.

One of the major roles of SANAC is to build consensus as I have stated before and the consultation about the development of the NSP is one of the most important processes on the SANAC calendar. It happens every five years and the Trust is committed to raising the resources needed for this consultation process. The Trust has raised R8.9 million for the consultation process so far and has received support from the WHO, Gates Foundation, UNFPA and GIZ. As Chairperson of the Trust I would like to thank these partners for their support.

So far there have been major consultations with civil society, government, the private sector, development partners and public health specialists. We understand that civil society sectors and the government sector have requested further consultations. The Trust is working with the Secretariat to raise the additional funds required for these further consultations. I would like to thank Steve Letsike, Dr Nono Simelela and Dr Yogan Pillay for their assistance in raising additional funds. I also met with the Deputy President who has assured me of his support for raising additional resources.

I look forward to consultation that will take place over the next two days. It is important that the discussion is robust and open and that all stakeholder views are expressed in a constructive manner and in a way that is objective. It is important to choose priorities and to ensure that our inputs are grounded in the evidence and that recommendations are practical and realistic.

We have made great progress to date and what we decide to include in the next NSP will give us the results we need to be able to control the three epidemics in the next five years.

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Discussion Document – National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs (2017-2022)

The zero draft of South Africa’s next National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB, STIs is being shared for review and comment in the midst of ongoing national consultations and consideration by technical working groups. This version is informed by consultation and research to date, while remaining open to forthcoming inputs. The content is not comprehensive nor is it finalised; key targets and priority actions are still being discussed. This is a strategic document, with detailed thematic monographs which accompany the final product. Operational and implementation plans will be developed at a later stage. The NSP development team welcomes feedback of any kind on the zero draft at this stage.

Continue reading Discussion Document – National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs (2017-2022)

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Add Your Voice

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Have Your Say

img_7668Help end AIDS by 2030!

Give us your views on the draft National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs for 2017-2022.

The National Strategic Plan (NSP) is the strategic guide for the country’s comprehensive response to HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections. It is revised every five years.

The South African National AIDS Council has launched a series of stakeholder and online consultations to feed into the development of the plan. The consultation process, which will run until the end of September 2016, is open to everyone to share information, ideas and experiences.

Please tell us:

  • What new interventions should we consider?
  • How do we improve implementation?
  • What can we do to have the greatest impact?
  • How do we tailor our programmes to for specific communities and vulnerable populations?
  • How do we address the social conditions that contribute to the spread of HIV, TB and STIs?
  • How do we increase access to treatment and keep people on treatment?
  • What goals should we set for 2022?

We cannot hope to end AIDS-related deaths and new TB and HIV infections without you.

So get involved! Share your views in the comments section below.

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The National Strategic Plan (NSP)

The National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2012 – 2016 in a nutshell

The National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2012 – 2016 is the country’s third master plan that outlines how the country will respond to the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS, TB and STIs over the next five years. It seeks to improve on the achievements of the last Plan (NSP 2007 – 2011), which massively scaled up our anti-retroviral treatment (ART) programme and sought to decrease the number of new HIV infections.

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