NSP Review 7
Photo by Chelsea Maclachlan, courtesy of the Treatment Action Campaign Archive

By getting involved, you can ensure that AIDS Councils improve the quality of tuberculosis services in your district

Step 1: Get involved

One of the key ideas in the NSP is the provision of structures that channel communication up from districts to provinces, and from provinces to the national level. Most people can get involved in District AIDS Councils. Ask your clinic or mayor’s office when the next local District AIDS Council meeting will be held and whether you or your organisation can attend.

If there is no District AIDS Council in your district, write to your mayor asking him or her why there isn’t one and insist that one must be formed. You can write as an individual, but remember that doing so as part of an organisation or as a group of interested citizens is likely to be more effective.

Step 2: Get informed

You have a right to know what services are provided in your district and what health plans are in place. Investigate this by asking what services local clinics offer, by reading publications such as the NSP Review, or by researching on the internet.

You can then take up specific issues at District AIDS Council meetings. For example, you can ask the chairperson whether there is a provincial operational plan to decentralise TB care in your province. If there isn’t, you can request that representatives from your District AIDS Council raise the matter when the provincial AIDS council next meets.

Step 3: Report problems and suggest solutions

It is vital for activists to take proactive roles in organisational structures such as District AIDS Councils. You must do all you can to educate yourself about the nature of health care problems in your community. Also use all the tools at your disposal to help find solutions. Most importantly, you can’t simply wait for things to get better.

Volunteer, for example, to write a letter to the head of the Provincial AIDS Council to advocate for the development of a provincial operational plan for decentralised TB care in your province.

Or, if you discover problems such as TB tests taking too long to process in your district you can try to find out what has been going wrong. If you learn, for example, that the GeneXpert testing machines have no cartridges, you can report that to the District AIDS Council. You can ask that the shortage be investigated and that the provincial authorities be notified.