Issue 3: Introduction

Issue 3: Introduction
Fareed Abdullah, photo by Masi Losi
Fareed Abdullah, photo by Masi Losi

2012 is a year of transition for the South African National AIDS Council. Leadership at the top is changing, the structure of the organisation is evolving, and there is a new National Strategic Plan (NSP) that places a much greater focus on prevention.

But will all these changes translate into actual progress in the clinics and hospitals in our communities? Will it have any impact on the constant flood of medicine stockouts and service delivery failures in our health system?

In the first of our two main articles, Dr Fareed Abdullah (the new man at the head of SANAC) shares his vision for the future of the Council. He is under no illusions about the task ahead of him. Then, Mark Heywood, the outgoing deputy chair of SANAC, writes about stepping down and his thoughts on what SANAC needs to do to ensure real progress in the fight against HIV and tuberculosis. He doesn’t mince his words.

Under the new NSP, SANAC has an increased focus on reinvigorating district and provincial AIDS councils (DACs and PACs). In line with this, we profile the good work being done in the KwaZulu-Natal PAC and the Treatment Action Campaign’s work to get DACs up and running in Limpopo. Sandwiched between those two articles is a simple 10-step guide to transforming district AIDS councils into vibrant representative bodies that can bring life into the democratic ideals of the new NSP.

Finally, we have two articles on another changing organisation which is crucial to the future of our health system – the medicines regulator. First, Professor Andy Gray briefs us on the differences between the Medicines Control Council and the new South African Health Regulatory Authority. Then, Nathan Geffen argues that structural change is not enough, and explains why he thinks that the medicines regulator also needs better leadership.