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HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
20 June 2000
INTERNATIONAL AIDS CONFERENCE
There was no quorum in the meeting and the two issues, provincial visits and the forthcoming International Aids Conference, were merely discussed with no decisions being taken. The Reproductive Rights Alliance are working on a report on Implementation of Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. At the end of September, the Medical Research Council will produce a clinical study on incidents of back street abortions and whether it has increased since the inception of the Bill.
As a follow-up to the HIV/AIDS hearings, voluntary associations will be invited by the Committee to discuss AIDS sufferers' access to facilities.
Dr Mbulawa (ANC), Ms Baloyi (ANC) and Ms Njobe (ANC) were asked to draw up a roster for provincial visits and to allocate members to various provinces. Because there was no quorum at the meeting no decisions could be taken and the matter was left to these three members to finalise.
13th International AIDS Conference to be held on the 9-14 July in Durban
Arrangements have not been finalised. Attendance at the Conference would be very expensive, amounting to about R7000. There are no scholarships available to Members. Dr Nkomo could not say whether Portfolio Committee members have been formally invited to the Conference. Mr Zackie Achmat of Treatment Action Campaign has asked Members to be there to pressure pharmaceutical companies to reduce their prices and Dr Nkomo had undertaken to try to get people to attend the conference.
Ms Kalyan (DP) asked if they were still trying to get observer status for Members and Dr Jassat (ANC) said they are still working on this but were experiencing some difficulties.
Implementation of Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act Hearings
As a follow up to the recent public hearings on the implementation of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act the Reproductive Rights Alliance, the organisers of the hearings, are working on a report.
At the end of September the Medical Research Council will produce a clinical, objective study on incidents of back street abortions and whether it has increased since the inception of the Bill. There will be a launch of these report along with the report of the Reproductive Rights Alliance. Through IPIS, an international organisation, there may also be some visits from other countries who will study how SA has implemented the Act.
As a follow-up to these hearings, the Portfolio Committee is considering inviting officials of voluntary associations of health care workers, such as DENOSA, to discuss the issue of accessing health care facilities. It is important that all members of society should have access to these facilities.
Medical Aid Schemes
Ms Marshoff (ANC) said that the Medical Aid Scheme situation, highlighted in the media recently, should be studied. The Department should give some input on the situation. The Chair, Dr Nkomo, agreed with this suggestion.
The meeting was adjourned.
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