Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, meeting at Modderpoort in the Free State from 16 to 20 February 2009, have been shocked at the news that the Provincial Department of Health in the Free State has withdrawn anti-retroviral medication from HIV positive patients because of shortage of funds.
It is well known and often publicised by the National Department of Health, that patients must be counselled and prepared with great care before embarking on anti-retroviral medication. The Department is clear that it is vital for the medication to be taken consistently, with adequate food, and under diligent medical supervision; if this fails, it is said, the consequences in terms of illness and side effects may be severe.
If medication is withdrawn wholesale from a large group of citizens, the impact on the lives of patients, and on the work of health professionals, will be enormous. Such deliberate action by a Department of Health is irresponsible.
Out of our often-repeated concern for human life and dignity in face of various threats over recent years, and our commitment to the healing and caring ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which we share, we once again speak up on behalf of those whose voice may not be heard. We wholeheartedly support the South African Constitution’s affirmation that access to health care is a right of all citizens, and call on provincial and national government, in the name of God, to find a way to prevent this human catastrophe immediately.
We assure those affected - patients, families, health workers and government - of our prayers and our support.
The Rt Revd EP Glover at +27 (0)84 582 2927 will be available for questions and interviews between 16h00 and 16h30 on the 18th and 19th February and 19h00 and 19h30 on the 18th February. Bishop Glover is Bishop of the Free State.
Item from: The Anglican Church of Southern Africa