Tuesday, 30 September 2008

New health minister.

Hopefully in the appointing of a new health minister who follows the mainstream view of the aids issue, we can finally get a decent dose of "shutting the f#ck up" from the moaners out there. Proof the A.N.C is serious about the issue, is interested in giving people the necessary medicine and investing in the health system. Not that it requires proof to anyone but the criminally dumb.

ANC Member of Parliament Barbara Hogan will take over from Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang as South Africa’s Health Minister following President Kgalema Motlanthe’s announcement of his new cabinet.

The news of the demise of Tshabalala-Msimang and the rise of Hogan has been positively received. According to news reports, HIV activists and campaigners gathered around Hogan’s Cape Town flat on Thursday evening to serenade and toast the new Health Minister.

Among those gathered were members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) as well as the Aids Law Project. Both organisations believe that Hogan will better meet the pressing health concerns that South Africa faces, particularly with regard to HIV/Aids.

Aids Law Project attorney Fatima Hassan said that they were "ecstatic” about the appointment of Hogan.

"Manto Tshabala-Msimang should have been replaced a long time ago,” she told the Sowetan.

The TAC said that Hogan had been one of the few MPs to speak out about HIV/Aids during former President Thabo Mbeki’s term in office. She also showed commitment to the provision of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) and supported organisations such as the TAC.

"She has a reputation for being hard-working, competent and principled. We believe that the period of politically-supported AIDS denialism has ended," the TAC said in a statement.

Tshabalala-Msimang’s reputation was blemished by claims she made during her tenure as Health Minister, arguing that ARVs were not necessary and recommended instead that HIV-positive people consume garlic, beetroot and olive oil to maintain their immune systems.

The former Health Minister will serve as a minister of the Office of the Presidency.

Hogan joined the ANC in 1976 where she worked to mobilise white political left participation in campaigning. She also supplied the ANC underground with trade union information. In 1982 she was detained for furthering the aims of a banned organisation and in 1983 found guilty of high treason and sentenced to ten years in prison. Hogan was released in 1990 with the unbanning of the ANC.

In the early 1990s, she worked as the secretary of the PWV regional office, before chairing the finance portfolio committee in Parliament. She has remained in the fields of economics and finance since.

In an interview with News24, shortly before the announcement of her promotion was made public, Hogan spoke about what challenges she thinks she will face in her new job. “I think [a] big challenge is going to be to boost the morale of healthworkers, to create a health system that is functional and responsive to people who are using it - and those are big challenges all in itself.

[And] I think the biggest challenge is HIV/Aids and all the strains that it places on the health system.”

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