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Continued criminalisation of sex work a concern

NACOSA notes the release of the South African Law Reform Commission report on Project 107 dealing with Adult Prostitution. We are concerned about the impact that the continued criminalisation of sex work will have on the lives of sex workers, particularly as it relates to high and increasing rates of HIV, AIDS and TB in this vulnerable population. NACOSA reaches over 50,000 sex workers per quarter with a human-rights based packaged of services to save the lives of sex workers through access to health and related services. In our experience of working with this vulnerable group, they face chronic levels…

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Sign the End the Violence Petition

South Africa is in the grip of an epidemic of violence against women and children. Let’s join together and do something about it. Sign the campaign petition: End the Violence: Commit to a National Plan on Gender-Based Violence. The campaign calls on government to commit to a National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This plan must focus on better service delivery for victims of violence, address the critical primary prevention aspect of GBV and the roll-out of prevention programmes that should address harmful gender norms and masculinity and equitable relationships amongst men and women alike. It should provide a…

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Conquering extra-pulmonary TB

TB is normally associated with the lungs so most people don’t realise that TB can affect other organs of the body – like the brain, stomach and joints and bones. Loina Loveness Charumbira, a 32 year-old site coordinator from Gauteng, was diagnosed with extra-pulmonary TB in 2008. She shared with us how she was diagnosed, her treatment and how she conquered this rarer form of the disease. When Loveness found herself getting sick and after a few days couldn’t walk or talk, she was admitted to hospital for tests. The test for extra-pulmonary TB (EPTB) was uncomfortable and it took…

Funding boost for training

The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has awarded a R2.06 million grant to the Networking HIV/AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA) to establish and strengthen systems that can respond effectively to the needs and priorities of the country’s HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis response. New and innovative training models for community organisations and local structures will be developed and rolled out, thanks to the grant. DOWNLOAD THE MEDIA RELEASE > Poverty and inequality, HIV, AIDS and TB, violence and unemployment are key challenges facing South Africa – challenges that are integrally linked and interdependent. Civil society plays a vital role in mitigating…

Funding the biggest challenge for members

NACOSA Network members – some 1,500 organisations across the country – are at the forefront of helping to build healthy communities in Southern Africa. In our latest membership survey, 80% reported lack of funding as one of the biggest challenges they face. This was in stark contrast to the 2015 survey where only 63% reported lack of funding as a challenge. The 2017 survey focused on the challenges facing organisations, the systems they have in place to address these challenges and how NACOSA can actively support their advocacy work.  The valuable insights provided will help NACOSA further improve and develop…

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Getting on top of POPI

The Protection of Personal Information Act (called POPI) was promulgated to enforce the Constitutional right to privacy, which includes the right to protection against the unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of personal information. It is naturally subject to justifiable limitations that are aimed at balancing the right to privacy with other rights, specifically the right to access to information and protecting important interests. Organisations should take note of the definition of personal information, which means any information relating to an identifiable natural or juristic person, including but not limited to the following: Information relating to race, gender, sex, pregnancy,…

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Managing risk in uncertain times

It has been quite a start to the year in South Africa and globally. Very little seems certain and financial markets are responding with volatility. This is an anxious time for community organisations who must navigate the stormy waters of both funding and programme delivery in an increasingly uncertain world. How can organisations plan for and manage risk in an environment that is ever-changing? A key oversight responsibility of non profit boards and senior managers is to understand, manage and mitigate against risk to ensure their organisations are sustainable and able to deliver high quality programmes to beneficiaries. The NACOSA…

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Measles outbreak – what to do

The Department of Health has called on all members of the community to be extra vigilant with a measles outbreak reported in the Western Cape and Gauteng. South Africa has set a measles elimination goal so a single laboratory confirmed measles case is considered a potential outbreak. In a press release issued by the Northern Cape Department of Health, detailed information about measles was provided. Measles is a highly infectious disease spread by droplet infection when an infected person coughs or sneezes but it can be prevented by effective vaccination with the measles vaccine. A suspected Measles case is a person of any…

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Clinical trials explained

Because we have largest HIV burden in the world, coupled with a very high TB burden, a number of new medicines, devices and vaccines are being trialed in South Africa. And there will be more to come in the next few years. What are clinical trials and what does it mean for someone to be part of one? WHAT IS A CLINICAL TRIAL? A clinical trial is a scientific experiment to understand the risks of a therapy, drug or medical device and whether it will work or not. Clinical trials are conducted on new medicines, but also to look at how…

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Uniting on World TB Day

World TB Day on 24 March has the theme “Unite to End TB”. But there is much work to be done to achieve this, particularly in South Africa.  We are one of the countries with the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) – the third highest incidence of any country after India and China. And the incidence has increased by 400% over the past 15 years (Department of Health, 2017). It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that 66% of people in South Africa have both HIV and TB infection. TB is still South Africa’s leading cause of death (Stats…

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