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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Why State policies that undermine HIV lay counsellors constitute retrogressive measures that violate the right of access to health centres for pregnant women and infants
Authors:Woolman, StuISNI
Sprague, CourtenayISNI
Black, Vivian
Periodical:South African Journal on Human Rights (ISSN 0258-7203)
Geographic term:South Africa
health policy
health personnel
access to health care
social and economic rights
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/19962126.2009.11865194
Abstract:On paper, the government of South Africa appears to possess a comprehensive and coordinated plan to provide counselling and antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis to pregnant women and children with HIV. The antiretroviral treatment (ART) programme is intended to keep mothers healthy, while the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programme is meant to prevent HIV transmission to their infants. Yet the plan lacks the requisite commitment of resources to make good its promises. The authors demonstrate a reversal in the health care afforded pregnant women and infants with HIV as a result of the government's conscious deployment of inadequately remunerated and institutionally marginalized lay counsellors instead of health care professionals (who had previously undertaken HIV counselling and testing). Empirical studies conducted in three antenatal clinics in inner-city Johannesburg demonstrate a strong correlation between late payment of HIV lay counsellors and timely medical interventions. Consequently, the authors argue that the State's current policies governing lay counsellors can be more profitably challenged as a retrogressive measure in terms of s 27 of the Constitution (right of access to health care services), than as an instance of 'unreasonable implementation' that falls short of the Constitutional Court's desiderata for reasonableness. Notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]