Department of Basic Education National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
USAID/Southern Africa Deputy Mission Director delivering closing remarks at the 8th SA AIDS Conference in Durban
USAID/Southern Africa
  • Honorable Deputy Minister Enver Surty (Department of Basic Education)
  • Dr. Granville Whittle, Deputy Director General, Department of Basic Education
  • Dr. Faith Kumalo, Chief Director, Department of Basic Education 

Good afternoon and thank you for inviting me to join you here today

On behalf of the United States government, congratulations to the Department of Basic Education for the launch of the new National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB.

Deputy Minister Surty, this is a significant milestone in the fight against HIV, STIs and TB, and it will benefit South African learners for many years.

The successful implementation of this transformative policy will reach more than 12.9 million learners and more than four hundred thousand educators nationwide.

Global evidence shows how essential it is to reach learners with such information and services. 

Given the burden of both HIV and tuberculosis in the country, it is also a tremendous achievement to note that TB is also included now as a priority within schools.

Implementation of the new policy will impact all initiatives which target adolescents with the view to reducing new HIV infections, including South Africa’s national ‘She Conquers’ campaign and strategies aimed at addressing gender-based violence.  

The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, better known to all of you as PEPFAR, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID are proud to support ‘She Conquers’ through our DREAMS Initiative which works to ensure adolescent girls and young women remain  Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe.

This new DBE policy reflects yet another indication of the South African government’s leadership and commitment to reducing new HIV infections.

We support these efforts to provide comprehensive care to learners and educators.  Specifically, USAID supports DBE’s efforts to improve sexual and reproductive health education and services for adolescents by providing comprehensive sexuality education in the classroom. 

Through PEPFAR, the U.S. government has pledged our support to the DBE to scale-up this pilot comprehensive sexuality education program, as it;

  1. offers age-appropriate, culturally-relevant, and rights-based approaches to sexuality and relationships;
  2. addresses issues of gender and power; and
  3. provides scientifically accurate, practical information in a non-judgmental way to learners.

We must all strive to commit to such approaches in the classroom, in schools, in health facilities, and in our communities at large.

Our resources and support complement the DBE’s HIV and AIDS Conditional Grant allocations.

It is now more important than ever to double our efforts to ensure continued success from the partnership between South Africa and the U.S. government on addressing HIV/AIDS. 

Our partnership framework and bilateral relationships are strong; we need to ensure that we continue to achieve the results we have jointly set our sights on.  We must all increase our efforts on controlling the HIV epidemic.

I want to assure you that PEPFAR is supported by a strong bi-partisan commitment through the U.S. Congress.  The partnership showcased in events such as today’s help to illustrate our ongoing support to the Government of South Africa and DBE.

Deputy Minister − thank you to you and your department for your leadership and commitment.  I look forward to successful implementation of the policy and our continued collaboration.

Thank you.