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Health minister recovers from Covid in time to lead SA delegation to global Aids conference


Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla has this week resumed his normal duties following his recovery from Covid-19 after completing seven days of self-isolation without further symptoms and severe complications.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

HEALTH Minister Dr Joe Phaahla has recovered from Covid-19 and resumed his working duties.

“The recovery comes ahead of his scheduled international business trip to lead the South African delegation to attend the 24th International Aids Conference to be held from July 29 to August 2 in Montreal, Canada,” said department spokesperson Foster Mohale.

Phaahla tested positive for Covid-19 last week Tuesday after experiencing minor symptoms and immediately self-isolated.

Mohale said the South African delegation consists of health professionals, policy makers, members of the South African National Aids Council (Sanac) and leaders of civil society organisations working to prevent new HIV infections and scale up access to treatment and related health services for people with HIV.

He said South Africa has been participating in the International Aids Conference for the past two decades, and this is the world’s largest conference on HIV and Aids which brings together scientists, clinicians, academics, healthcare workers and people living with HIV, Non-Governmental Organisations and media from across the world under one roof to share progress made in the fight against the pandemic and best practices, innovations to prevent the spread of new infections.

“Minister Phaahla will join and participate in a number of satellite sessions including the discussions around ‘Moving forward with actions: 90/90/90 recovery towards 95/95/95’ to be led by Dr Thembisile Xulu – Chief Executive Officer of Sanac. He will also use this opportunity to hold bilateral meetings his counterparts from other countries, executive leaders of development and donor funding organisations including Pepfar and Global Fund,” he said.

Mohale added that among the key topics to be discussed during the conference are: Re-engage and follow the science panel discussion to be co-chaired by Prof Linda-Gail Bekker, director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town, the launch of the global alliance initiative to end Aids in Children by 2030, the approaches for HIV cure and vaccine research and the round-table discussions on the future of HIV media coverage.

Other topics of interest include: The new WHO strategies for a sustainable health sector response for 2030 and beyond, expanding Covid-19 Vaccine coverage among people living with HIV and key populations, and the next frontier for HIV treatment optimisation – lessons from the past and visions for the future.

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